It's been cold and icy outside. I've been trapped inside. This inevitably leads to me spending time contemplating things. Always a little dangerous.
There is a concrete patch on the floor in my basement. It is hollow underneath the patch. You can tell by tapping your foot in the patch. It's round....maybe 3 feet diameter. I'm pretty sure it is an old well or cistern.
1) This is odd, I think. Over the years, I have toured probably close to 1000 old houses in my city and have never seen an old well or cistern. Never. The city water line dates to the 1800's so very few houses in the city have been without city water.
2) I see no evidence of a feeding system for a cistern on the outside of my house. In fact, I believe the downspouts currently on my house are original.
3) Is there a difference between a well and a cistern? I see the terms used interchangeably, but they seem different.
4) I assume because this mystery patch is near the laundry room, that the water was used for things like washing clothes. I have searched high and low for a photo of what this contraption must have looked like back in the day. Was there a hand pump to pull up the water? Was there an open hole? I have no idea and can't picture what is must have been like. I need a visual.
5) Could this have anything to do with the faint lines I can see on the floor a few feet over that I had been assuming was either a work bench or part of a coal chute?
6) Can something like this restored? Would I even want to?
7) Could this mystery patch have anything to do with the fact that the plaster and the windows in the bedroom above it have been redone?
8) Have I totally missed the boat on identifying this?
9) Is this one of those discoveries that will find me next summer knee deep in dirt in my back yard?