Where to Hide Dead Bodies and Thieves: the Laundry Chute

Love this article about the creation and evolution of the laundry chutes. It satisfied the history lover and my darker side as an author. Does it surprise you that this convenience helped people get rid of their “dirty laundry”?


At The Atlantic, Sarah Minor notes that dead bodies, thieves, skulls, and historical bits of ephemera that fly out of pockets on the passage down are just some of the hidden secrets that laundry chutes reveal.

In June 1998, while renovating his home in St. Louis, Joseph Heathcott found a collection of trash moldering in the slender cavity between his pantry and his laundry chute. It was a stack of small paper scraps “lying in repose at various scales,” with sooty edges that were just beginning to stick together and combine. There was a box of playing cards, a train ticket from Kansas City, a receipt, a diary entry, a delivery card, sections of handwritten notes, a laundry ticket, and labels from Christmas packaging. The scraps had gathered over a century, escaping from pockets as garments fell from the second floor, and some of the scraps slipped through…

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