The Reason Some Houses Have Small Shelves Built Into Hallways

Old houses can be lovely, charming, whimsical, and even eerie in some cases. In a nutshell, they’re full of personality. If you’ve ever been inside an old house, perhaps your grandparents’, you may have noticed some things that are perplexing. There are some antique home features that many of us have no idea what they are (or were) for. Here are 12 historic home features and the functions they once served.

What’s the deal with your grandparents’ house’s random, small nook in the wall? Or how about that tiny iron door leading down to their basement? Many of us remember our grandparents’ houses being full of little quirks that we don’t find in more modern homes. These old house features, on the other hand, serve a purpose. They once served a purpose, but that purpose is now obsolete and non-existent in today’s world. How many of these vintage home features are you familiar with?

In many old homes today, that little niche, nook, or box halfway up the wall doesn’t seem to serve much purpose. Family photos or other decorations are likely to be found in houses that still have them. The phone niche was the name given to this small area. It was from the days when people only had one landline in their homes. The phone niche is where the phone is hung on the wall. Often, these niches included a space or shelf for the telephone and address books. After all, how else would you have known the person’s phone number?

Phone Niche

Until the 1940s, most homes were heated with coal. The coal delivery man used this small door. He would go door-to-door dropping the coal through the door and down a little shoot. Families could then shovel the coal directly into their furnaces. Most homes are now heated with natural gas and/or electricity.

Tiny Iron Door To The Basement, Coal door

Many older homes have pantries, and many of them have a small door to the outside. The ice door is similar to the coal door. Someone would once again go door-to-door delivering ice. They threw the ice through this tiny door, which led directly into the icebox. Modern freezers are powered by electricity, but this was not always the case.

Ice Door

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