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Old 08-25-2007, 01:03 PM   #1
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Older home question

Does anyone know why the builders on some older homes had a doorway to the outside on the front of the house.

I noticed today an older 2 story home. On the front of the house on the 2nd floor there was a door directly above the one that was on the 1st floor. There is no stairway leading you down from the 2nd floor door but just a balcony.

I then continued to drive around and saw a few others with the same doors but these did not even have balconies.

What was the purpose of these doors? Were they fire exits?

Thanks

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Old 08-25-2007, 01:16 PM   #2
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I don't know, Sizz. Maybe they were for additional ventilation. Buck and I live in an old house, built in 1880. There are 5 exterior doors on the first floor, one on the second floor and one on the third floor.

The one on the second floor opens to the sleeping porch, which is off our bedroom sitting area. The one on the third floor opens onto what is called the widow's porch, not widow's walk.

The sleeping porch was used in the summer months when it was too hot to sleep in the bedroom. Families would pull a mattress onto the porch and sleep there.

Old houses are full of doors and windows. Our house has 52 windows and 34 doors, counting interior and exterior doors. Most of the interior doors have transoms over them, which allows for great air circulation.
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Old 08-25-2007, 01:22 PM   #3
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Katie...the ventilation thing makes since. I was just curious and can't believe I hadn't noticed these details on the houses before. I think its because I'm not in a class that is dealing with architecture so I'm paying a bit more attention. Thanks for the thoughts!
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Old 08-25-2007, 03:38 PM   #4
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Miss Sizz...

Is it possible that the balcony/porch etc. has been removed during a remodel? A second/third story 'outside door' that leads to no where would be very strange.
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:20 PM   #5
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That could be a little dangerous for someone who walked in his sleep.

Another thought...perhaps it's a door to another dimension.
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie E View Post
Our house has 52 windows and 34 doors, counting interior and exterior doors. Most of the interior doors have transoms over them, which allows for great air circulation.
That's a lot of windows to wash and woodwork to paint! I grew up in an old house, but it wasn't that large. It did have a nice sleeping porch across the back that was almost like a tree house, up among the branches of huge oak trees.
It had beautiful woodwork, all white, which my mother (a teacher) painted every other summer, and patched on the alternate years.
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:51 PM   #7
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Sizz, Sounds like a really neat house! I don't know where you are located but a few of the houses in our area also have exits and great visibility on all fours sides of the house. Some of these houses were safe houses for the underground railroad. the visibility and escapability, (if that's a word) were important. This could, however, be due to a removed balcony as mentioned above. For the fun of it, check into the history of your house. Post a photo if you can, would love to see.
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
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That's a lot of windows to wash and woodwork to paint! It did have a nice sleeping porch across the back that was almost like a tree house, up among the branches of huge oak trees.
Connie...I don't do windows. Well not all of them.

And, yes, our sleeping porch is shaded by huge oak trees. It's really nice to walk out onto it and see into the treetops. There's nothing more fun than to be eye-to-eye with a squirrel and go: bwaaaah!
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
That's a lot of windows to wash and woodwork to paint! I grew up in an old house, but it wasn't that large. It did have a nice sleeping porch across the back that was almost like a tree house, up among the branches of huge oak trees.
It had beautiful woodwork, all white, which my mother (a teacher) painted every other summer, and patched on the alternate years.
Constance you think it is still around? Sounds wonderful. The memories you must have about it. You are lucky. I would like to have one like that today.
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:16 PM   #10
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A lot of older houses had front porches on the ground and second floors. When they rotted, they were sometimes torn down rather than repaired, leaving the second floor door to oblivion
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