|My House-Commonly know as the Homestead|
Our house, built in the mid to late 19th century (we have plans to check it out), has 2 front doors. Many of you know, we inherited this house from Mr BC's mom, and since she has owned it, we have noticed a lot of houses here in the mid-west that share this architectural oddity.
The left door (unused) goes into the living room (parlor) and the other (the front door) goes into the dining room. The dining room also accesses the stairway, a bedroom/bath and the kitchen, there is an archway inside, between the two main rooms. There is a third door on the left side of the porch as well, with 2 large windows in the living room, I only have one solid wall. Furniture arrangement is fun, and I sit in a chair positioned in front of the unused door. This is problematic for folks who don't know which door is the door we use.
In checking this out online there are many supposed reasons for two front doors:
• One is the "in" door and the other is "out"
• Families were huge and two exits were needed in case of a fire or urgent
• Extra ventilation – people didn't bathe and cooking over an open fire stinks
• When the second generation came of age, the home was always shared
• The second door was for servants, not likely in our neighborhood. • The home was built in two separate sections
• One of the doors was only used for funerals, this was the one my MIL
• One of the doors was only used for the groom to carry the bride over the
According to Old House Web:
Some stories told and written about the use of the two doors have some credibility. These involve using one door for daily, domestic use while reserving the other for formal functions and receiving guests. One door usually opens into the "keeping room," where cooking and other domestic functions occurred, and the other opens to a more formal parlor..... first appearing mostly in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey areas.
|Old House Web|
Since my house has no foyer, this seems to make sense. Without the separation of a center hall, the front door, would have to be off-center and enter only one of the main, ground level rooms. Creation of a second, identical entrance would resolved the issue of imbalance. This is a fairly unromantic reason for the door placement, in comparison, the other reasons mentioned. However, in all likely hood, aesthetics and balance is probably the real reason for my odd 2 front doors.
|Old House Web|