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Coal/wood heating for homes

Posted by Dennis H 
Coal/wood heating for homes
September 20, 2020 11:31AM
A bit early in the fall to ask but I will anyway:
Which was the primary heating fuel for homes in Dallas before WW1?
Coal?
Wood?

Anyone ever see an older Dallas home that had a coal bin or coal chute?

When did natural gas take over for heating homes in Dallas?
I recall the house we had in Oak Cliff had gas floor heaters. I'm guessing it was built
in the 1930s, possibly the 1920s.
Re: Coal/wood heating for homes
September 20, 2020 07:46PM
Dennis, my mother's house on Waverly St. near Sunset HS in Oak Cliff had two gas floor furnaces, and was built in 1913. It also had a fake fireplace, one that had no flue, though there was a fake chimney as well. The floor furnaces could have been added at some date well after it was built, however. It also had gas valves in the living, dining, and bed rooms, and a gas heater in the wall in one bathroom, but not the other.

I have seen a house in Oak Cliff with an oil tank on the back porch for heating oil, though it was not in use. That house was similar in age to my mother's house, but located on Eighth Street near Tyler. I have heard of, but not seen, houses with coal chutes. Coal was a common fuel in Dallas in the early 20th century, and was from the coal mines west at Thurber. The gas and oil discoveries around Ranger provided fuel that displaced coal for the railroads, and probably for home heating.

Added in edit: The oil and gas fields around Ranger were developed in the teens and twenties of the last century, I believe.

A search of the archives will find a discussion of coal burning and houses with coal chutes in Dallas.

I have been told by a relative that my mother's house on Waverly was built in 1925, not 1913. However, I distinctly recall family discussions that said 1913. Since she was not the original owner, and I have not seen paperwork, neither date may be correct, actually. But, it was early 20th century, and Sunset HS dates from that time frame.

Dave McNeely



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2020 10:48AM by old man from dallas.
Re: Coal/wood heating for homes
October 01, 2020 08:05AM
Dave, do you know if the house on Waverly is still there? Do you know the house number? The DCAD siate is fairly reliable with regards to year built information for houses (much better than Collin County). Also, since houses on a street or in a neighborhood tend to be built around the same time, you should be able to determine the correct year (or get close).
Re: Coal/wood heating for homes
October 01, 2020 09:09AM
sharkins Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Dave, do you know if the house on Waverly is still
> there? Do you know the house number? The DCAD
> siate is fairly reliable with regards to year
> built information for houses (much better than
> Collin County). Also, since houses on a street or
> in a neighborhood tend to be built around the same
> time, you should be able to determine the correct
> year (or get close).

Hi Sharkins, The address is 403 S Waverly Dr. The last time I was by there some six years ago the house was still there. The neighborhood (Winnetka Heights?) is a historical district. Though there was some decline in maintenance during the 1970s and 1980s, I think beginning in the 1980s there was a fair bit of new ownership, and neighborhood maintenance improved considerably. Do you have a link for the DCAD? Or I can find it I guess.

Added in edit: DCAD has 1920 as the year built for the house at 403 S Waverly. It also shows heating as being "Central Heat Full," and that reminded me that my mother put in a furnace and air conditioning in about 1974 or so, replacing the floor furnaces and window units that were there when she bought the place some ten years before. The house had an attic fan (whole house fan in today's terminology), and if it was turned on at about ten p.m., and left until around eight a.m., then the house closed, it would remain reasonably comfortable for most of the day so long as the outside high temperature stayed below about 95 and it cooled off into the 70s at night. That fan was about 5 ft across, mounted with a horizontal axis, and was situated above the front porch in the attic rather than at the opening in the hallway between the attic and the living space.

Dave McNeely



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2020 09:28AM by old man from dallas.
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