The intriguing answers to today’s Facebook quiz can be found in Pete Mars’ essay “The Dear Old Farms: Gathering Ideas from an Ideal.” What modern conveniences did Stickley include in his construction of Craftsman Farms? Not what you’d expect!
The buildings at Craftsman Farms were unusually advanced and thoughtfully planned. In his essay, Mars states, “Due in part to the profusion of nearby estates and the proximity of Bell Laboratories, electricity came to Morris Plains in 1909, concurrent with the construction of the Farms. Buildings were constructed with municipal electricity, placing it decades ahead of the 90% of rural American farms that didn’t have municipal electricity until after the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.” The Log House had electric lighting throughout. Even the stables and cow barn had electricity.
Electric refrigerators were actually available for wealthy homeowners, but Stickley seemed to know they were not very reliable. Instead he chose to build a massive icebox that filled almost an entire kitchen wall. Mars writes, “Built into a hillside, the icebox benefitted from the coolness of the earth, making more efficient use of ice. Small icebox doors allowed access to staple items while a large 5” thick wood door opened to the walk-in icebox. Shoulder-height doors on the outside of the kitchen allowed ice to be delivered directly to the icebox without the mess of bringing it into the kitchen.” The icebox demonstrates Stickley’s thoughtful design and “green” approach to living.
Coal furnaces were common, and oil furnaces available, but Stickley came up with his own way of heating the Log House. Mars states, “He patented the Craftsman Fireplace, which had a network of chambers within the chimney to heat fresh outdoor air and circulate it into the home. Five Craftsman Fireplaces with large metal hoods were installed. While his heating system increased the heat output of the fireplaces, stoking five of them was undoubtedly labor intensive. Daughter Marion Stickley remembered, ‘In our home we had a man just to take care of the fireplaces.’ ”
What was the most surprising choice for Stickley’s 1911 home? He had a dishwasher! It may have been similar to the one shown here.
Want to know more about Stickley’s unusual laborsaving designs for Craftsman Farms? Pick up a copy of “Mr. Stickley’s Home: 1911” in the gift shop or our online bookstore. There are more surprises than you can imagine!