So thankful for air conditioning, right now

glenda_al

84 after 10 pm


Who remembers growing up when there was no ac?


I do! No such thing.


Fans! That is why I love sleeping with fans now. Just love the noise :o)

SaveComment57Like4
Comments (57)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marilyn_c

I grew up without a/c too. Our house had front and back, screened in porches, and I slept out there in the summer time. Had a fan too....very comfortable. A lot of big houses had sleeping porches...a screened in porch off the bedroom, usually upstairs. I like that idea too.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maifleur01

I grew up without electricity so no a/c or fans. We were not allowed to sleep outside and if we did the bugs probably would have left us with bites. Not living in a town there were no spray trucks killing the mosquitos.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
desertsteph

we didn't have a/c until I was in HS and we moved to an apt that had a window unit. 2 yrs later I moved out and didn't have a/c again until I was in my 30s.

I'm very thankful for a/c today or I'd probably be dead. it was 113 here today. I remember in 1990 I lived in a house with a swamp cooler. in June it hit 122 at Sky Harbor - and the swamp cooler died. fortunately the landlady lived close by and they got on it asap. I remember putting wet towels on the dogs. we had a pool there so I think we jumped in on a regular basis, even tho at 122 even the water would be warm.


1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marilyn_c

Talk about bugs, even though the porches were screened, sometimes bugs would get in. I would stay awake, very late at night, reading. One night after I turned off the lights, a June bug crawled in my ear. (I was about 10 years old). It was very painful, and I woke up screaming, "Help!! He's killing me!" My poor mother and father must have been scared to death, as they rushed to me.

In the bathroom, under a light, he crawled out. For a very long time after that, I slept with a blanket or sheet over my head.

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

No electricity? How about indoor plumbing?

(People who lived in such circumstances must really appreciate modern standards available in homes today.)

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maifleur01

No indoor plumbing. No phone. Wood stove. Walked cross country to a one room school that used to teach the first two years of high school. In the back storage area were kept the hs books which we were allowed to read. Main room had a small library for all 8 grades. It had lights and heat and separate outhouses for each sex with three different sized holes. Has made me appreciate how far I and others have come. However if there is a major problem and the things that I have become accustomed to are not available I can manage.

When I hear people talking about their children reading at their grade level I feel sorry for the children. I would have been so stifled if that was all I was allowed to read. I think I read all of the regular books and most of the HS ones. Was not interested in the physical exercise ones and passed on those.

6 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
functionthenlook

I was 35 before I lived in a house with AC. We still don't like it. We would rather have the windows open with a fan like tonight . Even in the car we rairly use it. We are buttoned up long enough during the winter. We want to feel the warm breezes of summer.

We had a pool at our first house. When we would wake up in the middle of the night stinken hot we would grab our toddler girl and all jump in the pool just in our underpants. We would laugh and swim in the dark under the stars with the lighting bugs flickering around us until we all cooled off . Good memories.

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
OutsidePlaying

Very grateful for a/c when the summer gets like this. I can vaguely remember when we did get window units when I was around 4-5 years old.

The dew point is so high outside it feels heavy with moisture. We had storms and much needed rain late yesterday and we get the fringes of whatever is developing in the Gulf.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ritaweeda

I was raised here in FL and was 27 before I lived in a house with air. We used to think that people with AC were only the rich. I never went to a school that had air until High School. When we were kids a lot of times we would sleep on the floor with a fan blowing on us to escape being so hot. When we had the every day thunderstorms in the summer we considered that our air conditioning because it brought the temps down but it didn't help the humidity. When I was pregnant I used to drive to the only department store in our area (a discount store) and just walk around for hours to cool off in the AC. As a child we were very poor and although most of the time we at least had indoor plumbing and electricity, there was a time when we were homeless for about 2 months and we squatted in an abandoned and condemned house with no running water, no electricity, no windows and huge termite-eaten holes in the wooden floors so yes I am grateful for all of the amenities that I enjoy now and never want to go back to that.

4 Likes Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schoolhouse_gwagain

No AC growing up (outhouse until I was about six). No AC until a little over two years ago - and I'm 66yrs. old. Up until then, it was fans all over this old house and at least two in the bedroom. Not ceiling fans, but pedestal fans or table top.

I was very hesitant about installing central air, thinking it wouldn't be practical in an older house with so many "holes". Well, after a 94 degree day, and just before I was having a new furnace installed, I called the guy and said "Can you add central air?" Since then, I don't know how I stood the heat before!

It took some time to get used to temperature control, but now all is good - so far.

6 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
georgysmom2

As kids, we slept on the floor in front of the front screen door.

5 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marylmi

No AC here. I use fans if needed. With the house being stone it will stay cool unless I open doors and windows.

No AC growing up. Windows and fans for cooling. One nice thing is that it usually cools down at night .

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adellabedella_usa

I think I've always had air conditioning although we didn't always use it until it got extremely hot like in the 100's. I knew people without air conditioning. As I recall their houses were designed to have shade and airflow and porches and maybe some sort of cellar or basement which stayed at a cooler temperature.

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bookwoman

I grew up in an apartment in NYC where we had air conditioners in the bedrooms only, so during the summers the rest of the apartment was hot, but I don't remember it being unbearable. When we bought our first house it had central air, something I hadn't ever thought about, but then again I had rarely been in a house at all at that point. Now I can't imagine life without it (she says, on a 90+ degree day with high humidity).

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chisue

In the spring of 1955 my DM put a giant window A/C in the LR (enough to cool the whole first floor) and a smaller one in the MBR that did pretty well cooling the second floor. This was just in time for a super-hot summer in the Chicago area. Later, it was no trick to add central A/C to our forced air system.

DH and I have always had A/C at home since our marriage fifty-some years ago. I'm hoping our current system (c. 2001) will hold up through the extended heat and humidity predicted for the next two weeks: 'Feels Like' temps of 100F and No Rain. Until last week it rained almost every day since the snow thawed. Goodbye Green. Hello wasps hanging around the spigots outside.

Three years ago we replaced through-the-wall A/C units with mini-splits for the LR and MBR at the Maui condo. These are much more efficient, along with providing whisper quiet cooling.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
murraysmom Zone 6a OH

We didn't have a/c until the last of us kids was grown and moved out. Our house was a Cape Cod and our bedrooms were upstairs, the hottest part of the house. We did have a big floor fan that sat in the hall and pointed towards one room one night and turned to the other the next night. It was really hot when it wasn't your turn. On the main floor we had a cassock fan and we kids would lay on the floor in front of it.

That was one benefit of moving into an apartment of my own with a friend. We finally had a/c.

Oddly now that I am older, I love the days that I can just open all the windows, even when it gets into the 80's. We used to have a number of weeks where I could have the windows open 24/7 and I loved it. Now it seems we have weeks of 90+ temps and the house just becomes too hot with the windows open, so I am grateful to be able to turn on the a/c.

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

Outhouses, no plumbing nor electricity? I thought such conditions were farther back in the past such that anyone who experienced such lack of facilities would be long since dead. I can't imagine living like that but I guess if that's what you have (or don't have) , you do what you do. I'm going to guess these were rural or small town conditions?

If my parents were alive, they'd be in their early 100s now. I know neither ever lived with such limited conditions but for each their lives began and were spent in large cities.


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
amicus

I grew up in a city, but although I never thought of us as 'poor' (because there were plenty of families with less than us) we lived in a very small bungalow with 3 tiny bedrooms and 1 bathroom, for our family of 7. We did get air conditioning before I moved away, but most childhood memories are of using fans or just screened windows, to let in any breeze. I say 'screened' lightheartedly, because the screens on our windows were probably really old, as they were very fragile and always developing a tear somewhere.

So any morning that we'd wake up with new mosquito bites, our mother would double check our bedroom window screens, and sew up any new slits. We used to joke that the mosquitoes must be chewing through the screens to get to us! Now I keep windows open when it's not too hot or humid, but treasure having the ability to just turn on the A.C.

Some people think of Canada as a cooler summer climate, but my area is on the same latitude as Northern California, and we actually get hotter, more muggy weather than many California cities. Last week we got up to 41C or almost 106F!

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maddielee

Willis Carrier is my Hero.

7 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
glenda_al

I have a window ac unit in my bedroom. Close bedroom door and turn off central air. Love the humming of the ac unit, plus I can get it cooler without cooling down the whole condo.

Visiting family in the country, we always sat on front porch, in the dark, no street lights, dirt roads, cause it was much cooler than inside.

I remember being bathed in kitchen wash tub filled with hot water from stove, well on front porch to draw water, feral cats running around underneath the house, going to the COLD creek to swim and jump in from tire tubes hanging from big tree branch. Learning to play checkers at family store with wood burner to keep us warm, in the winter.

Who remembers the smoke house for meats? Lights from a cord hanging with metal pull for turning lights on and off.

Last but not least dog trots, that divided the house. One side for sleeping and the other for eating and visiting. My family in the country did not have one, but my former husband's family had one.

I will be turning 80 first of August, and have all those memories.




7 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michael

Willis Carrier is my Hero.

It's the only HVAC equipment I'll ever own. :)

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schoolhouse_gwagain

We got indoor plumbing in 1959. Most of the neighbor kids, who still had an out house and for some years after 1959, were enthralled with the shower. Mom and Dad let them play in it when it was first installed. I still can see the glee and hear the giggles as they and I danced under the shower head - and it was a very small shower!

Sometimes we kids would stop up the drain with a wash cloth or towel and pretend we had a bath tub - albeit a shallow one. lol this brings back memories.

6 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

Carrier and Bryant are model for model identical, related like Pontiac and Buick. Same owner, same components, same build quality, and I believe the same factories. Bryant tends to be a bit less expensive for the same models as Carrier. Other brands under the same ownership include Payne and a number of others but the other brands aren't twins as are C and B together.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sprtphntc7a

we had one big window unit that cooled the main floor. parents, brother and grandmother all had window units in their BR. my sisters and i slept in the attic, hottest part of house, with NO AC, only a fan... we would sleep in someone's BR on those unbearable nights, on the floor!

they finally broke down and bought a window unit for the attic when were teens!! ugh, there were some hot and humid nights!!

now, we have central air, what a blessing!!! the heat and humidity here is awful. from June to September its on with maybe some days here and there where it can be turned off... i don't know what i would do w/o it!!!!!

Can't wait till the Fall!!!

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adellabedella_usa

Here is house with a dogtrot on the (Oops! LBJ not FDR) Ranch. The part on the left contained the kitchen. The right side had bedrooms. I don't think it was all built at the same time.


I knew people in the 70's and 80's who still didn't have indoor plumbing.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maifleur01

Elmer outhouses were not uncommon in some Midwest cities until the 1950s in the poorer areas when laws were changed and cities extended their sewer lines. Only one family in my grandmothers immediate block had a septic tank until the city extended the sewers in about 1953. I never traveled in the south but remember people telling of their family's not having indoor plumbing until even later.

1 Like Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ritaweeda

Elmer, in 1992 when we took my Mother's ashes up to her childhood home in WV, there was a family living on that remote mountainside who had no indoor plumbing and an outhouse. They did have electricity, though. And I remember quite a few of the people that we visited there when I was about 6 that still had outhouses. Yes it was all rural.

Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sephia_wa

When I was about 14 I spent a summer in South Carolina. Where I stayed there was a large screen porch where we could sleep outside. I loved it. Fortunately the screening did prevent bugs from entering. I loved my summer vacation, but it was too hot and too many bugs!

Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jemdandy

I grew up on a small farm in Illinois. We never had A/C in that house. Electricity did not arrive until 1947 when I was in the 5th grade. We never considered A/C for that old, small, un-insulated house. I spent some sleepless July and August nights there. About 1950, folk began buying window A/C units and most of those were sold to people who had full time employment. Many self-employed farmers and others did not buy A/C units. When electricity arrived in rural Illinois, the most popular appliance purchases were refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, irons, fans, vacuum cleaners, and radios.

In the evening after the sun went down and the breezes quit, mosquitoes were ravenous, so sleeping on the porch was not an option unless it was screened. I have a lot of nostalgia about those times, but reliving that period is definitely not wanted.

Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marilyn_c

My mother was a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell. The switchboard was in the living room. The house was one of the perks that came with the job. It had 4 rooms...living room, kitchen, bedroom and a small room that adjoined the bedroom that was not much bigger than a closet. And an outhouse out back.

When I was 5, we moved from there to a house my parents built.

I didn't have a/c until I got married in 1966 and we bought a house trailer.

Here, there is a window unit in the bedroom. Except for cooking, I don't mind not having a/c and I could sleep fine with just the windows open and a fan....my husband, not so much.

I am outside most of the day...been out since 7 this morning, and it is 4:30 now. I am sitting on the porch. A/c running in the bedroom. I don't dare go in...have work to do outside and if I go in, I won't want to go back outside.

6 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schoolhouse_gwagain

If the temp is in the low to mid 70's and there's little humidity, I prefer to open doors and windows too - especially when there is a breeze. I can open the tall schoolhouse door (has an inner screen door) and open the back door, and the air flows right down the hallway and out the back, freshening the other rooms as well.

I sleep so much better in a cool, even cold, room. The AC is a plus when it comes to that.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Anglophilia

No AC as a child. The 2nd floor apt in Kansas City was boiling at night - I was miserable as I had eczema. Kansas was better as nights were cooler and we had an attic fan. It would bring in enough cool air that in the AM, we'd close all the windows and curtains to keep the cool in and the heat out. But not in my 2nd story bedroom. Eventually, the attic fan really bothered my hay fever so my parents bought a window unit for my BR. Parent's house in St Louis only had window units, but the very thick walls and terrazzo floors on the first floor made it bearable. We made sure the first house we bought in St Louis when married, had central AC. Same, when we moved to KY, but we improved it with a zoned system - two different HVAC systems - one per floor.


With my breathing problems, I'd be dead without AC. No, I am NOT exaggerating...

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nickel_kg

My in-laws never liked using air conditioning in their home. Because, they grew up fine without it so why start that foolishness now? One hot summer week, we house-sat for them. They told us their cat would not come inside anymore, they were convinced she was turning wild. In-laws left, we turned the a/c to a reasonable temperature, the cat waltzed right inside and didn't set foot out-of-doors all week. A sensible animal!

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kathsgrdn

I think we've always lived in homes with air conditioning growing up, although, I do remember using those big box fans when I was a kid. We lived in Navy housing, though, for a big part of it. I did live in Germany for 4 1/2 years with no air conditioning. Wasn't a problem except for one summer it got very hot and humid.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dedtired

As a kid we had window units everywhere. My dad loved ac. I was the only one dying of the heat in summer. There was a big ac unit in my sisters bedroom. Our rooms were connected by a bathroom and she was supposed to leave the doors between open so my room cooled off. She delighted in slamming the doors shut at night so I roasted. She loved to torment me . I was too little to stand up for myself and even when she was told to leave the doors open, she would quietly close them.

in our hot, humid summers, I would really suffer without ac.

I recently returned from Switzerland and ac is not so common. I just cracked the window at night and used the fan and it was fine.

Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DawnInCal

Most of my childhood was spent living in the Lake Tahoe area where it doesn't get warm enough in the summer to need air conditioning. Back then, no one had A/C; I don't now if that's still true of newer housing. It was wonderful to have the windows open during the summer months to let the cool breeze in.

When I was in high school, we moved to the Sacramento area and the summers there were such a shock to my system. Our house there had a swamp cooler that did a decent job of keeping the house cool except on the rare occasion Sacramento had a humid day. But, we were grateful to have it during the 100+ degree summer days.

As a young married adult, both our house and my work place had central A/C. I never liked it. The feel of the chilled air on my skin always made me feel too cold. Hubby liked the thermostat set at 69 - 70 and office buildings are always ridiculously cold, so 100+ degree days usually found me wearing a sweater when inside.

The house we live in now is cooled by a swamp (evaporative) cooler and it does a great job. Today's swamp coolers are not the swamp coolers of yesterday. Our's cycles on and off by way of a thermostat which eliminates the constant blowing air and loud noise of the old style coolers. We only need it from July to mid-September so it is a good choice for us. We still have thermostat ares (hubby likes it around 70 and I prefer it at 75, although when I'm alone, I'll let the house get to 77 or 78 before turning on the cooler. We now compromise at 73 degrees and some days I still need to put on a sweater.

While I'm not a big fan of chilled air, I'm grateful for air conditioning. I can't imagine what life must have been like back in the days when people wore long sleeves, long pants and long dresses and cooked over fire or wood heated stoves during the hot summer months.



2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
stacey_mb

I grew up in a house with no electricity, so no ac or fan, and no indoor plumbing. No ac was perfectly fine with us since we knew nothing about such an innovation in our remote community. Natural methods of heating and cooling were often utilized such as my grandparents' house that had windows located to take advantage of heating by the sun during the winter, and windows excluded where the summer sun would prevail.

It was an innocent and wholesome life in many respects but I have to agree with Elmer, I would not want to go back to those days. Worse to me than lack of ac and indoor plumbing was not having enough books to read and other educational issues.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

Thinking about plumbing and electricity, not A/C, I'm really surprised to hear of so many people living into the mid-20th century with such primitive conditions. Indoor plumbing as a retrofit wasn't that expensive. I'll assume those in such situations were too poor to afford living elsewhere or to improving where they were.

Air conditioning opened up many parts of the country that have inhospitable summer conditions to population growth. Much of the migration into the Sunbelt and the South wouldn't have happened without A/C.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bookwoman

I got curious about this, and found that "about half of US households had electricity in 1925 or so, 85% in 1945, and virtually all by 1960." The big leap in those first twenty years was due to the Rural Electrification Act.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

bookwoman, I believe other contributing factors to this trend were the urbanization of the population (migration away from farms, small towns, and rural areas that took place during this period and that has continued) and also especially the nationwide residential building boom after the war (creating homes in suburban neighborhoods with modern conveniences).

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DawnInCal

I imagine the lack of electricity/indoor plumbing not so long ago is similar to the situation today with internet access. There are still parts of the USA that don't have access to broadband internet. In my area, cable is available in town, but not the outlying areas. We subscribe to satellite internet, but many people can't afford it and rely either on dial-up or don't have the internet at all. The advent of smart phones has helped close the gap, but again, affordability comes into play for some of the population. In 50 - 60 years, people will be marveling that there was a period in their lifetimes when people didn't have the internet in their homes.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
functionthenlook

Now some people elect to spend their freetime without electricity and indoor plumbing. It's called camping in a tent and usually they even pay for the spot to do it. Lol.


2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

Yes, except such rudimentary abodes lacking even basic service like electricity and running water do not provide a very comfortable and convenient existence. In rural areas, the lack of electricity also was a big problem preventing the use of many types of labor-saving machinery and equipment for a farm or ranching operation.

One of Robert Caro's monumental volumes on LBJ, I forget which but it was the one that covered the 1930s, presents his in-depth investigation to report how hard life was in the Texas Hill Country and how severely people suffered from deprivations before electricity became available (as a result of LBJ's efforts).

I can see a teenager rolling their eyes about the tragedy of experiencing a lack of internet service. It's not in the same category as electricity though. SAT and cell internet service may be available in remote areas but permitted usage is usually not very generous and speeds are slow. It's one of many things to consider when deciding where to live and for me, any inconveniences because of lack of normal urban services or an inconvenient amount of travel time to reach civilization by car are things I won't accept. Everyone is different.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maifleur01

At 500 per pole and for stringing the lines between the poles which is what my parents paid in the mid 60's if you had more than a couple of poles needed it would have been beyond the financial possibility of many. Securing a loan in many small towns and rural areas depended more on who you were and who you knew. To receive a telephone from the line across the road my mom had to have the state utility commission tell the company that they had to connect our house. I came across those letters when I was cleaning their house. My father's employer insisted that all employees be on call if something happened or probably it would have been years before they had a phone.

1 Like Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kathsgrdn

Very hot and humid here today in Central KY. 87 right now with 60% humidity. Google says it feels like 94 with the humidity...I agree. Been running around doing errands. My thermostat is set on 78 in my house. I don't like to be hot but also don't like freezing. When I go anywhere I'll bring a light jacket to wear, especially in a restaurant or doctor's office. Had a sleep study on Thursday and couldn't get warm. I asked the woman to turn the thermostat up and she brought me 3 or 4 blankets. Took me forever to fall asleep because I was so cold. I freeze at work too. The two guys who work there like it cold and so do 2 of the women...the rest of us freeze. I and some others have heating pads and wear sweaters, coats and blankets.

Save     Thanked by glenda_al
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

Hundreds of dollars for anything in the 60s was a lot of money. I remember that even in the late 60s, new VW bugs were something like $1500-$2000, an amount most would get a loan for.

maifleur, then as now, a house without features people want wouldn't have been high on anyone's list to live in, much less a place with no electricity. Was it that they were limited in what they could afford? Was there a reason they had to live there?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Marilyn_Sue

My parents and my husband's parents never did have air conditioning. Mine lived in the country and his lived in town. The only indoor plumbing we had was cold running water, not bathroom inside. Never had a fan growing up. When I married in 1953, that did not change, no bathroom inside and only cold running water. This house was in town too. We did not have electricity until the late 1940's and that was because it was not available to people in the country. Living at home, we did have lights and the power for them was generated by a small windmill in a big oak tree. We also had Aladdin lamps and kerosene lamps. We did have radio though and before I left home we had television too, but no indoor plumbing. It all depends where you want to live. I do not like living in town, did for a few years, never again if I can help it. I am 84 years old.

Sue

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maifleur01

Partially Elmer that they could not afford it. They were supporting both sets of grandparents and other family members the way I see some on here think that is what family should do. Having lived it I disagree. Partially because until my grandmother died they did not know that my father had owned the property since he was 21 and my grandmother was convicted of bootlegging. Partially because my father did not want to cross the trade lines as he was a inhouse pipefitter and installing plumbing was a different trade. He was until later a very strong unionist. Partially that was the type of people they were.


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jemdandy

Unless you lived in a town before 1947 in the southern third of Illinois, you did not have commercial electricity. Very few residences did have a DC light plant, usually a Fairbanks-Morse, single cylinder engine generator and battery bank. Within a 10 miles square area, I knew of only home light plant. Without electricity and without city utilities, you did not have running water. There were no flush toilets without water plumbing in the house. All of those houses had outdoor privies by necessity, ergo, outdoor toilets (in rural locations) were common before 1947.

After the arrival of AC electric power, most rural homes were built with an electric well pump, plumbing, and a pressure tank in the house.

Before AC power, it would have been possible to have rigged a water supply to a rural house. That would have had an elevated water tank filled by a windmill pump, an unreliable and problematic system. Small water systems like this were subject to freezing in winter thus not usable in winter months. These were not built in southern Illinois.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
always1stepbehind

Thankful for the A/C here at work. Old boss used to joke that we should pay to come to work for the A/C. LOL Luckily we only get a few unbearable nights when you wish you could check into a hotel or something!! Otherwise, once it cools down, I'm able to cool down my condo with fans.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maifleur01

When a/c comes up I think of 1980 when this area had 17 days of over 100F. People died because they could not afford a/c. Some could not even afford to turn on fans.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aviastar 7A Virginia

I’m almost six months pregnant in Virginia- my geothermal powered central AC is just about the only thing keeping me sane. The heat has become a trigger for migraines this pregnancy so any day 90 or above, which is all of them right now, I try very hard to leave the house as little as possible.

When my in laws purchased the home we now own in 2007- yes 2007- it had cold water in the kitchen from a 20ft hand dug well that drained directly back out an open pipe in the wall, an outhouse, and one light bulb in the living room strung on an open wire hanging from the ceiling. It was occupied in this condition until a year before we purchased it. In this case the owner was a piece of crap who rented it to addicts who didn’t know and couldn’t afford better. But previously a lovely family of 10 lived here until about 1980 without electricity or plumbing.

We’ve added all the modern plumbing, real well, septic, geothermal, heat and AC, electric etc. The in-laws thought they’d have to demo the house and start over, but it turns out asbestos is really good at preserving stuff, so they were able to save the original 1840 log structure.

There’s a big hullabaloo in our area right now because there are areas and homes without proper water. After Emancipation, the previously enslaved people created their own communities, often small and very rural. Those little villages are little more than a collection of homes at a crossroads but now they are on properties that aren’t being approved for septic systems- in flood planes or not large enough to support leach fields. The homes have been passed down through generations but few updates have been made- lack of resources and lack of accessibility, and if we’re being blunt, lack of concern for African American villages that many people didn’t even know existed. So now the county is in process of creating special exceptions for these areas and getting funding for running utilities from the nearest available infrastructure. To their credit, our Board of Supervisors approved the funding very quickly once the issue was raised but it’s not an overnight process.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michael

When a/c comes up I remember the stories my dad used to tell about the hardships of coal camp living.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
laceyvail 6A, WV

Many parts of rural West Virginia did not get electricity until the mid 50s. Many people in their mid 70s grew up without electricity or plumbing. I even know one person, the youngest in the family, whose older brothers and sisters remember a house with a dirt floor.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michael

Thankfully the little league playoffs are complete! Players and families are thankful for a break from oppressive heat, sweat and sunscreen.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nickel_kg

It was the late 1990s when the last few shacks going into the town nearest us were demolished. I knew a woman who lived in one. Her father built it for her as a place of her own when her son was little. It had electricity but no plumbing at all, she went next door to her sister's house for water and washing twice a day. I don't know if it had a window a/c or not. The town gave her a small house in exchange for her demolished shack. She laughed that her new neighbor put up a huge privacy fence as soon as he heard 'poor folk' were moving in. TBH I wouldn't have wanted her son as a neighbor, he was into selling drugs.

Funny/odd that so many of us at least touched living conditions that are now considered primitive.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
desertsteph

I've lived in a few homes that had swamp coolers. that was probably about 30 yrs back tho. and I've lived a short time without working plumbing. I remember one time maybe 15 yrs back that the water wasn't flowing to the inside and I went out to the water spigot and used the hose to shower outside (the best I could with a tank top and shorts on). And I've had to haul water from the water tank out back into the house to backflush the toilet a good number of times. for several yrs I washed clothes in a plastic bin out at the spigot. then about 3-4 yrs ago I bought a washer and still marvel at it when I put clothes in it and it washes, rinses and wrings them out for me. I still hang them out on the line.


1 Like Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Home Tech 4 Types of Photos That You Need to Delete Right Now
Remove these not-so-great images to make way for more, and better, memories
Full Story
Decorating Guides 6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning
Turn off that cash-guzzling, energy-hogging A/C — these methods of cooling your home and your body are cheaper and kinder to the planet
Full Story
Pristine Acres is committed to offering the highest-quality, most professional landscape design/installation... Read More
ADR has over 25 years of residential remodeling experience in MD and VA and can handle any size project. We work... Read More