The Ground Floor
The kitchen was the center of servant life. Work started early and ended late, so this room was almost always occupied. The servants gathered here for meals and to talk about their days, their employers, and their lives. The cast-iron stove was running more or less constantly. The cook used it to prepare meals, and it was also the source of hot water for the house. Keeping the fires stoked, both under the stove and around the house, was a crucial job, shared by the cook, the chambermaids, and the man-of-all-work. A mechanical call bell system allowed Gibson family members to summon a servant from all over the house, at any time of day (or night, since there are bells located outside the servant bedrooms on the fifth floor, as well). This was replaced by an electrical system early in the twentieth century.