Eustis Estate

Heating the House

The Eustis Estate was heated by both wood and coal and the basement had storage areas for both. The plans for the house show different rooms for range coal, soft coal, and boiler coal. At some point in the history of the house, there was an electric sawmill to cut wood to proper size, which was then distributed through the house using the elevator.

Paul Johnson, the son of the landscape gardener, grew up at the Eustis Estate in the early 20th century. His autobiography is a great resource about many of the systems on the estate and he described a day working in the basement:

One cold day I followed Dad down the wide stone stairs which led to the big house basement. To me, then still a little boy, the basement seemed immense. The ceiling was fifteen feet high. There were many rooms and compartments in the basement forty to fifty feet in length. The coal bin was as large as a small house. I would sit on a log at the wood pile and watch Dad clean, level and stoke the heating boiler with up to five wheelbarrow loads of coal to keep the fire going over night. By now, Dad and I were warmed up for our walk home for supper through wind and snow. (One Man’s Story, by Paul Johnson, 1991)

When the house was purchased from the Eustis family, there was still a coal bunker left in the basement.