Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Open Sesame: Doors and Doorways

This weather-beaten door is my opening response to Tina Schell’s challenge to find interesting takes on doors and doorways. She quotes Stephanie Torbert who notes that “Doors can lead you to other worlds, or to what is behind what is in front of you.”  You can read Tina’s entire challenge post here.

Taking that cue from her quotation, I present my submission of doors and their stories. In my opening image, the old wooden door is one of many similar openings into the many rooms of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the 16th century fort protecting the Bay of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Behind this door was stored the means for that protection, the armaments that protected the town from seaborne enemies.

This door to the second floor of a building in Skagway, Alaska was not abandoned, nor was the stairway removed at some point in its history. In fact, today, it’s a point of interest on a tour of the city’s early days of prospectors and ladies of the evening. The door opens to the second floor brothel above a bar. Patrons would typically enter through the bar, however those who’s profession would not abide public knowledge of their use of a brothel had their own special method of entrance. A ladder was put out nightly and those who wished to enter under the cover of darkness would find their way upstairs.

On certain model cars, most notably the early 1960s era Lincoln Continental, the back seat doors were hinged at the rear of the door instead of the front. Soon this arrangement began to be known as “suicide doors” because, should the door be opened while the car is moving, the wind would grab it and open it wider. Unsuspecting (and unbelted) passengers attempting to grab the door to close it would be whisked off the seat and onto the highway. These days, there are a handful of vehicles equipped with suicide doors, but those doors all have a principal safety feature. They simply will not open unless the front door is opened first.

This doorway is literally to another place. Climb those stairs, open the gate, and enter the doorway on the left. When inside, have a seat and spend some time riding the iron rails to somewhere else. With an old steam train and the vintage cars that it pulls today, the story is about the journey, not the destination. When these cars were in service originally, they delivered their contents to a new life elsewhere or to visits with friends and family they likely haven’t seen in some time.

The style of door and crescent moon cut in the doorway is instantly recognizable to a large part of our population in America, for sure. What goes on behind this door is familiar to us all. I won’t belabor you with the story here. Let’s just say that on a cold winter’s night, behind this door was an unpleasant place to be.

John Steiner


  1. John, this is one of my favorites of your posts. Each story was more interesting than the one before and the doors really do tell tales! I think I liked the brothel best LOL. Wonderful response!!

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