Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Basement Memories

Writing about coal last week reminded me of the furnace in the first house I ever bought, on Nebraska Avenue in Lorain (in the Hoy-Lo-Mae Allotment).

The house was built in the early 1940s and still had an ancient gravity furnace in the basement. That's it above, as it looked when we moved in.

I remember looking inside that monstrous thing a few times. It was mostly just a large, empty shell – which makes me wonder if it been converted from coal to gas.

Of course, the ductwork was covered with asbestos, which we discovered when it was time to replace the old furnace with a high efficiency gas furnace. (By the way, the new one was a Janitrol; many people turn up their nose at that brand, but we never had any problems with it at all.)

It was nice to get rid of this pipe (below) when we replaced the furnace.

The rest of the basement left a big impression on me. There was a huge precast concrete double utility sink (shown below).

That thing weighed a ton – I oughta know. I had to eventually bust it up with a sledgehammer when we got rid of it. It wasn’t easy; many of my blows just bounced off it.
In the photo, you can see our mismatched washer and dryer from Dye's Appliance in Lorain. That setup was the best arrangement we could come up with. You can also see the fuse box up in the corner, which still had those old screw-in type fuses.
Although you can't see it in the photo above, there was also a leaky root cellar to the left of the utility sink. The root cellar was actually under the patio. The entrance to it was a large, jagged hole in the basement wall that looked like someone had used dynamite to make it. It looked like a prison break had taken place.
How do I know it was a root cellar? That's what the original owners of the house said it was, after I tracked them down in Amherst and called and asked them. They were quite elderly when I called them, but they graciously answered all my questions.
Anyway, the root cellar was creepy and full of cobwebs. It also leaked when it rained. But there were some pretty good shelves in there, so we stored things in it anyway. 
I didn't go in it very often, and I still think we left some stuff in there when we moved.
It’s still hard to believe that the root cellar was under this patio (below).

1 comment:

Doug Majka said...

I still have Janitrol's in two of my properties, which were built in 1963. In the 25 years of ownership, they always provide heat when it's needed and very rarely do I have gas bills over $100.