CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A Charlotte couple’s investigation of a possible abandoned gold mine under their home began with a shocking discovery in their basement last year as they prepared to decorate their home for Christmas.
Ashley Weidner remembers it was the week after Thanksgiving when she walked down the muddy hill beside her home and unlocked the back door that leads to their basement. She was hoping to get a jump on seasonal decorations but instead, she found a mysterious hole — almost perfectly round and nearly five feet wide — in the ground, directly under her home.
“I couldn’t figure out what it was at first … I was just kind of speechless,” Weidner said. “I’m looking at this debris inside of this very large, very deep hole in the ground and it dawned on me: That was a structural pier at one point that has now crumbled at the bottom of this hole.”
She spent the next week talking with her home insurance company, various structural engineers, soil experts, land surveyors and local construction companies. The hole had swallowed a cement and brick support pillar holding up the floor of their kitchen, dining room and a hallway leading to their bedroom.
Worried the floor under their feet would at any moment collapse, Weidner, 32, and her fiance Darrius Marable, 37, even contemplated immediately evacuating their home for safety.
Ultimately, they stayed but faced an uncertain future. Their home was built in 1933 and no one seemed to know what caused such a sudden, deep opening in the ground.
“Could be a well? Could be a sink hole from a broken sewer line that wasn’t closed off the right way? . It was all these different things that it ‘could be,'” Weidner remembers.