Cheyenne has a ton of older houses, especially near the capital building, in multiple areas, but especially in a subdivision called “The Avenues.” The oldest house still standing in Cheyenne is near the capital building and dates back to the late 1800s. When touring homes built in that era, I tend to find many features in the homes that I do not see in more modern homes, or homes built after the mid 1900s. The layouts are always so different and unique in each homes, however there are some features that they have in common, like small yards, coal shuts, or radiators, etc.
A feature I sometimes see in Cheyenne’s older homes, that I absolutely adore, are cast iron clawfoot bathtubs! Gosh, why did these ever do out of style? My dream bathroom consists of one. After some research on the history of the clawfoot tub, it was the design of tub when indoor plumbing become available. Created in Holland, moving to Europe and the state shortly after, there are were many designs seen. However, their popularity decreased when the increase for showers became what people wanted.
Many questions I get from clients while showing these charming early 1900s homes is what is the hole in the wall that contains a shelf for? Candles? Plants? Books? They can be today! They are actually called “phone niches,” where people would have to put their big chunky communication devices back in the day. AKA: life without the iPhone…
I lived in a house growing up with a laundry shoot, and thought it was pretty neat. I could not fit in it to be able to jump down to the basement quickly. That was probably for the best. However, many homes in the early 1900s era had them. Genius! Today, new built homes have laundry on the main level to avoid having to hall clothes up and down the stairs. This is a “ranch style” feature today.
Something I have yet to see commonly in Cheyenne homes are “servant staircases.” They were common in larger homes in the pre-Civil War era. They are another strange narrow staircase that leads to the kitchen or pantry. A purposely hidden stairway. My uncle from North Dakota had bought an old farm house that had one of these. I found that so interesting!
Going off of the servant era of homes, there is another feature that one might see which is a “servant floor button,” where people could use their foot to step on a button on the floor to call for the servant. Today, they are usually covered up by rugs.
A very common feature in old homes in Cheyenne, unfortunately, is “knob and tube wiring.” This is an old form of wiring that is sometimes referred to as “hot wiring,” meaning that it’s, well, hot! As you can imagine, this wiring is not ideal, but considered up to code usually, unless you want to insulate the attic were it still remains today. It then becomes a fire hazard and costs close to 5 figures to place.
Old homes in Cheyenne are so beautiful and charming. They just don’t make them like they use to do they? But, with all the charming features they have, if you are considering on purchasing one, it is important to get inspections beforehand in case there are some old features that are not so charming!
So, what do you like most about old homes?