The title is a joke from "PeeWee's Big Adventure," but what I want to do is to visit the basements of some of the old stone or brick houses in Galveston, perhaps some of the ones that are open to tourists for a fee. I would like to see the basements and learn the history of the heating systems in these old houses, and the history of heating on Galveston Island. I would also like to know of any periods in the past hundred years when any of these old houses were vacant and liable to going down-hill.
This reminds me of the history of the Battleship Texas, which I have looked into extensively. It holds the same fascination.
Basements are actually pretty rare in Southeast Texas because of flooding, so I'm not sure that you'll find any. But, if you go on a tour of one of the historic mansions like the Menard House, I'm sure the guide has at least some knowledge of how the homes were heated. For the rest of them, you can probably contact the Galveston Historical Society before you leave and get someone who really knows their stuff to just call you back: http://www.galvestonhistory.org/
I know that up until the mid-20th century, central heating was sort of a luxury and that, since Galveston is temperate and rarely gets below freezing, most more modest homes probably had just a fireplace.
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