This past weekend I finally finished a project to replace the valves for my sprinkler system. The original plan, back in 1998, was to cover the valve manifold for aesthetic reasons as well as to keep the plastic from being baked by the sun. The covers were never built and the plastic valves have failed. If that was all this post was about, it would be quite boring, But alas, there is a story. Behind a hydrangea, a rose, and a gas meter is a small door.

As I researched the history of my home, I learned that this door lead to a chute that allowed coal to be shoveled into a bin in the basement to cook and heat the house. The coal chute was eventually replaced by a heating oil tank and then natural gas. I can’t help but wonder if the gas meter was placed here on purpose or if it just happened by chance? Either way, this seems to be the place where fuel was delivered to my house.

As a footnote, while digging a trench to install an electrical conduit between the house and garage, I found coal that has been discarded at some point in the yard. Why it was buried so deep remains a mystery.