Things are not always what they appear. Pictured is what seems to be a normal house, but on closer inspection, there are quite a few things that raise a lot of questions.
The seemingly ordinary home is found at 3215 Wade Avenue in Raleigh, North Carolina, and at first glance, it appears to be an ordinary brick house. From the outside, it doesn’t look like anything special. In fact, in most ways, it’s pretty much unremarkable — at first.
With its nice metal roof, Doric columns lining the porch, and forest green shutters flanking the windows, it looks like most of the other homes in the neighboorhood. However, when you take a closer look, there are a few discrepancies that grab your attention.
Although it looks like “just another 1970s-era house with a landscaped yard, white columns, and green shutters,” as NPR describes, a second glance reveals so much more. Yet, it’s likely thousands of people drive past this building each month without ever taking notice — just like the owners intended.
The house has no driveway, mailbox, or path to the front door. Although it is hard to determine from the photographs, the windows aren’t really windows at all, and the keyholes to the front door are blocked, making it unable to be opened. What’s more, it never seems to have its lights on.
Despite the fact that it always appears that there’s no one “home,” the house, which is only about 15 minutes from downtown Raleigh, has never been vandalized. Perhaps that’s due to the oddness it radiates.
This house is far more unusual than its appearance would suggest, hiding something inside that most wouldn’t expect. It doesn’t have the usual exterior amenities because, once you see inside, you realize it’s not a house at all, so it doesn’t need any of those things.
Luckily for us, Eric Mennel of NPR‘s member station WUNC got to the bottom of things with an interview and story that got its roots in a Reddit post. Taking cameras to the strange home, he told its story, exposing what this seemingly normal house is really hiding. Quickly, we learn that what’s hidden inside is more important than most people realize. Have a look:
“The ordinary-looking house on Wade Ave actually disguises a pump station for the city of Raleigh public utilities,” WUNC reports, further explaining, that without a pump station to “supercharge” the water, speeding it up to push it uphill, it would run backward and never make it to your sink.
Although the city has about 20 different pump stations, the one on Wade Avenue is the only one disguised to look like a house, leaving many to ask: Why keep it hidden? WUNC has the answer for that, too:
In the late 70s, the city decided, for various reasons, this would be the best site for the pump station. Unfortunately, pump stations are notoriously loud and ugly. There’s a church in the neighborhood, and the city actually held a meeting to hear from the congregation.
Mostly out of courtesy, the city decided to help the station blend in. The house looks just like all the other houses in the neighborhood in terms of architectural style. And to deal with the noise problem, they used sound dampening materials in the construction. So while the walls of your house might be made of wood and plaster, these are made of cinder block.
There are other benefits to keeping these things hidden that go beyond disguising unsightly appearances and muffling unwanted noise. Perry Allen, the city employee who walked Eric Mennel through the house, explained that he believes the pump station would be much more likely to be vandalized if it wasn’t hidden. “They tend to interest people more,” he said of the stations in more remote areas that are undisguised.
However, “the house is monitored remotely, and access is strictly limited to those who know who to call to get in. So don’t plan on going house (or pump station) hunting this weekend,” Mennel warned.
So, is Raleigh the only place that’s ever thought to hide their city’s infrastructure in such a way or could one of these “houses” be lurking in your neck of the woods? As it turns out, things like this are literally hiding in plain sight all over the place. “They’re in Florida, and Virginia, New York, California, Wisconsin,” Mennel explained.
“While no definitive list exists, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to bet there’s one of these ‘houses’ or something like it in every state in the country,” Mennel added. “Some of them hide pump stations. Others hide electrical generators and the like.”
With an ability to hide water pump stations, water towers, electrical substations, cell towers, and more of the infrastructure that we could not live without, what else could the government be hiding right before our very eyes? We will let you draw your own conclusion, but one thing is certain — after seeing the video above, one will observe the environment around them with a little more scrutiny.