Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

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Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby labradormommy85 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:45 pm

In the town where I live, there are a lot of old houses (1870-1910) and they've got multiple front entrances. They've usually got a front porch too. I have always wondered why as it seems wasteful. I have thought that maybe one was for entry and one was for exit (due to muddy shoes etc) to keep the home cleaner. This seriously drives me crazy! I need answers!!!!!!!!
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Re: Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby Country Boy » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:07 pm

Older houses often had 1 entrance for family/everyday use and another for formal purposes. The formal entrance would at times provide direct access into the parlor.
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Re: Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby temporal1 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:16 pm

some would have a side entry, sometimes under roof, but open for carriages or buggies to stop to drop off passengers, then drive further to the back of the property to tie the horses; service entrance for household help, ice deliveries and kitchen uses; the formal entry with porch for sitting out, no air conditioning, a lot of socializing was on porches. when you see 2 sets of stairs, generally the front, formal stairs to the bedrooms, the second set of stairs for the maid(s) they would get to the kitchen first, to light the kitchen stove fire and get the day started. the bedrooms were (usually) on the same 2nd level, but the maid's quarters would be to the rear, with steps to the kitchen area. sometimes the maid/servants' quarters would be in the attic. these stairways are plain and kinda narrow, sometimes steep - almost an afterthought.

outhouses were behind the property. sometimes old city lots, in the midwest, would be rows platted 50X250' long+narrow, with alleys in the back. horses would drive through that way. outhouses in back.

right george? :D
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Re: Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby temporal1 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:56 am

lbm, it's interesting to look at old houses and buildings and try to figure out how they were used when built. in many rural communities, it's amazing, if you find records, at how recent water and sewer services were put in place. in some cases, it doesn't seem that long ago. if you become interested in your family's genealogy, you may come across some of these things, as part of your search. it's the details of the lives that add a lot of interest to names and dates. i like to imagine history, near and far, in "real life" terms. the day-to-day living details.

our lives are so electricity-dependent. i wonder if we didn't have electricity, how would "that" be? we would quickly be thrown back in time.
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Re: Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby RobertM » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:30 am

Some of those homes you will find one front door that opens to the living room or formal room. The second door opens to a bedroom. Guess they didn't want to have to walk through another room to get outside. I think it comes from a time when people spent a lot of time out on the front porch. Also helped with airflow through the house before AC (one of the reasons so many spent the evenings out on the front porch).

Each region tends to develop its own building style to deal with the climate in that area. If you run into an really old carpenter, they may be able to tell you why.
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Re: Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby RobertM » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:32 am

I am annoying. I don't try to be ... but sometimes I do.
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Re: Why do old houses sometimes have two front doors?

Postby temporal1 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:21 pm

RobertM wrote:Some of those homes you will find one front door that opens to the living room or formal room. The second door opens to a bedroom.
interesting about the bedroom door. original "master bathroom" ? :D
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