Old House Oddities

One of the things I simultaneously love and loath about our house are the historic remnants that linger behind. Some are awesome, and some are frustrating and ugly and make it nearly impossible to figure out where the electricity and water really run. 

We think this box in the kitchen hearkens back to when there would be a pull rope in each room to let the servants know you needed something. I'm terribly sad that it doesn't work, because I would definitely be pulling it every time I needed my drink freshened.

We think this box in the kitchen hearkens back to when there would be a pull rope in each room to let the servants know you needed something. I'm terribly sad that it doesn't work, because I would definitely be pulling it every time I needed my drink freshened.

It's a bit blurry, but that's one of the bells that the school used to ring in classes. They were removed from the upper portions of the house, but are still sprinkled around the basement.

It's a bit blurry, but that's one of the bells that the school used to ring in classes. They were removed from the upper portions of the house, but are still sprinkled around the basement.

Back when the house was a school, they had a sprinkler system. The ceiling sprinklers have since been removed, but the control box remains.

Back when the house was a school, they had a sprinkler system. The ceiling sprinklers have since been removed, but the control box remains.

How many electrical panels does the manor need? There are five here in the basement... and another one in the pantry (here) and two more on the upstairs level (not pictured).

How many electrical panels does the manor need? There are five here in the basement... and another one in the pantry (here) and two more on the upstairs level (not pictured).

More mysterious electrical wiring.

More mysterious electrical wiring.

These pipes in the basement ceiling just make me shake my head.

These pipes in the basement ceiling just make me shake my head.

The basement floor has drains (in lieu of a sump pump, I presume...

The basement floor has drains (in lieu of a sump pump, I presume...

...and the cat enjoys pulling out the stopper to investigate.

...and the cat enjoys pulling out the stopper to investigate.

I'm sure there are more oddities -- like the ancient boiler in the attic that was used for heating the old schoolroom. And I can't even imagine how many unknown oddities are lurking behind the walls -- blocked off passageways for the servants (now turned into closets), a second staircase (where the bathrooms were eventually installed), and probably some rodent skeletons for good measure.