Friday, May 12, 2006

No Central Heating

Our grandparents bought Orlando's Dolan Hotel, so we Stutler/Skinner cousins have a certain inside knowledge of the old Dolan Hotel.

The Dolan Hotel had coal fireplaces in five rooms. Coal fireplaces became popular in the late 1800s. They are very shallow, more narrow, but about the same height as log fireplaces. The grate is designed to hold the coals up a little higher and close together.
Haven't found a photo of one of the Dolan fireplaces; they were a little on the order of the coal fireplace pictured here but the grates had a gracious, bowed shape and they were off the floor; attached to the back of the fireplace's interior. The five fireplaces' facades were wood with large retangular openings (unlike the curved opening in the firplace pictured here) and all had mantles.

When my grandparents lived in the former Dolan Hotel the rooms that didn't have fireplaces had gas space heaters. Every one of them was old, with cracked tiles and since my grandparents would have had no use for the several gas space heaters at their Oil Creek home, I believe they were from the Dolan Hotel. Again, I don't have a picture of the Dolan's gas heaters, but they were on the order of the one pictured here. (More on household use of gas in an entry soon to come.)

The Methodist Church had a potbelly stove that sat on the south side of the one room church, about half way back. It looked like the one pictured here. I don't remember seeing a botbelly stove anywhere else in Orlando. Maybe another cousin remembers them.

I don't think I ever saw a woodburning fireplace in an Orlando home built before 1960, but I know woodburning fireplaces would have been the first kind of heating -and cooking means- in the early settlers' homes. In the WPA photo essay of the Donaldsons who lived on Sand Fork, Gilmer County, the family had a log-burning fireplace, as the attached photo indicates. Judging from the size & shape, this fireplace could have been designed for cooking as well as heating.

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