Monday, November 7, 2011

The Curious Case of the Suspended Chimney

We always knew there was probably a chimney hiding behind our walled off living room corner.

I don't know if it was the crumbling mess of a chimney in the attic or the protruding corner in our master bedroom that gave it away...

But we didn't really have any doubts. That wall was hiding a chimney. Possibly the snazziest Victorian fireplace of all time. You never know...

See those two holes in the wall? Back in January, we did some exploratory surgery to see what secrets the wall held...

What do you know?? A chimney!!

No skeletons though. Half of me expected to discover some tragic Victorian woman who was rumored to have run off with that terribly inappropriate Mr. Thornbury, but who was actually murdered by her controlling husband.


These are the kinds of thoughts I have about my house.

Anyways, a few weekends ago, Stephen and Aaron decided to set the poor, trapped chimney free. I suppose they heard it crying out in anguish and their compassionate souls just couldn't stand the injustice of it all. Or something.

They uncovered the chimney, a bunch of intact Victorian wallpaper, and some original baseboards. With the exception of a little plaster wall debris, all was well in Chimney Land.

Hmm. It's kind of strange that it goes all the way down to the floor. No fireplace. It was probably connected to a wood stove.

It also looks like the brick chimney was covered with a plaster wall. Why don't we do a little exploratory surgery on the plaster wall. See what we're dealing with?

So they pried away some of the lathe and took a little looksie...

Umm... Where are the bricks??

Notice anything strange about the chimney now?? Look carefully.

It only extends 3 feet down from the ceiling. It's completely propped up by timbers. Seriously.

It was nothing but plaster walls for the first 6 feet. The brick chimney is suspended 6 feet in the air. It travels all the way through the second floor and up into the attic, but it doesn't go through the roof. I think the top of the chimney was dismantled the last time a roof was put on the house. All those bricks held up by some timbers. I can't tell you how comforting that is to me... You can see the lowest row of bricks right above the board Stephen is screwing in.

It's so, so weird. Just more of the weirdness that we are accustomed to in this house. I've been referring to it as "The Case of the Curiously Suspended Chimney" in my head. 

We are fairly certain that it was used for a wood stove. The white circle on the chimney is where the stove pipe would have been attached.

Obviously, the chimney isn't even remotely safe to use. I've seen the top of it in the attic and it's a crumbling mess. And there's the whole it doesn't go through the roof part. So, we'll have a fireplace, we just won't be lighting any logs on fire in the fireplace. There's been discussion of ventless gas logs, but we'll see... Probably not.

We were completely flummoxed by the strangeness of the chimney. Stephen was only able to find one other example of an external suspended chimney on the internet. I'd post the picture here, but it won't let me.

A benefit to all the suspended chimney weirdness?

The hollow area beneath the suspended chimney will probably be turned into an Xbox storage area with a cabinet front. It can connect to the TV without ever. being. seen. (along with the TV cords) :) :) :)

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