35 Comment

  • is it for an old telephone?

  • Emmaleigh504

    phone nook, and is that a mail box under it? I used to have both of those, but not combined.

  • Is that an exterior wall? If so, perhaps it’s for milk delivery?

  • Laundry chute. Both of my grandparents’ homes had them. We use to threaten to throw annoying younger cousins down them.

  • Laundry chute?

  • Its where the mail comes in – the outside mail slot dumbs mail in the bottom.

  • I would go with phone hutch.

  • I vote phone shelf, with storage for phone books (remember them?) underneath.

  • It’s for the Phone. The land line phone connection (little white box on bottom trim) is the clue

    I’ve had them in a few house i lived in, even on the West Coast.

  • I Dont Get It

    Early prototype for the Elf on the Shelf?

  • Telephone stand. House built c. 1910.

  • Yep, had one of those in an old rental house. It had a drawer underneath for your phone book and notepad and pencils.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Oh, we had an apartment in a wonderful art deco building that had one.

  • Saw a similar one on House Hunters last night in Nashville. Real estate agent told the couple it was for the old phone system since the house was 100 years old.

  • Ah, the old phone nook, I always loved having these in old apartments. And if I recall, the little pull down is a makeshift seat for you, a la Murphy bed

  • Indeed. There is no question in my mind that that is a telephone cabinet. Typically, until sometime in the late 1960s to early 1970s, homes would have only one or at most two telephones — one downstairs and one upstairs. I know that this is hard to believe for people born anytime since the 1990s, but that is how it was. Older homes and apartments have all sorts of great relics such at this. My condo on Connecticut Ave., built in the mid-1920s, has “milk doors” on the hallways outside of each unit — which is where the milkman would put your milk, eggs, butter, and/or cream deliveries every morning. The tenant could then open the door from inside the kitchen and get the daily supplies when he/she got up in the morning. My aunt’s apartment building in the mid-west has the same thing — and that apartment building, which was considered a luxury building when built,also had a separate spigot at the kitchen sink for ice water that the building would pump through the pipes. !!! In addition, both the house that I grew up in — which was built in 1926 — and my house here in DC — which was built in 1927 — have coal doors, as do lots of older homes in DC. That is a small “door” on the exterior of the house, where the “coal man” would deliver coal so that it would go into the basement near the furnace to be shoveled in by the home owner. Finally, I have seen houses here in DC with a small opening on the outside near the kitchens or build in pantries. That is where blocks of Ice would have been delivered for the “ice boxes” that existed before refrigeration was introduced. Fun little relics of another time.

    • Those are all great. My apt building, built in the 1930s, has wooden louvered doors (lockable) on the hallway entrance to each apartment, in addition to the regular door behind. It’s an early attempt at natural air conditioning, by allowing airflow through the apt and into the hallway, while still having privacy. And it is pretty effective – it helps when it’s not super-hot, but in the old days when everyone had both their inner solid door and their windows open, thereby allowing airflow across the whole building, I bet it was even better. However, we now have actual central air, so everything remains shut up tight.

      • Did you live in Sedgwick Gardens? I used to live there and they had the louvered doors. Those things were great.

      • Wow…are those louver doors only for heat relief? I heard from a friend that they were a Jeffersonian style in the sense that owners would have slaves set up food on a dining table while house guests in living room were oblivious to prep eork.

    • And the reason people who had two phones were considered really rich? Because you had to rent each one from the phone company!!! Don’t get me started about how “uppity” my parents thought our neighbors were for having two TOUCH-TONE phones!!!!!

    • dcgator

      Thanks for leaving us late 80s babies out of this!

  • ledroittiger

    You’re all wrong – it’s a shrine to SATAN!!!

    • +1 definitely a satanic shrine. They tried to paint over the pentagram but you can still see the outlines of it if you squint. The cabinet is to the post-sacrifice incinerator. (In old satanic homes they often emptied into a wood-burning home furnace which would be in a utility room below.)

  • I would have guessed it was religious. The statue goes on top and extra candles, etc., goes below.

  • It used to be for your phone, but now it’s for when you get yourself a sweet Madonna dressed in rhinestone and sittin’ on a pedestal of Abalone Shells.

    It will also hold 50 hard boiled eggs.

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