Did you ever wonder why we call one of the rooms in our homes a "Living Room?" It always seemed strange to me. The room's not alive. Yes, we live in it, but we live in all the other rooms as well. The story behind the name is an interesting one:
Traditionally, when a family member died the family would display the body in the parlor for services. In Detroit in the early Twentieth Century, if you were rich enough or well-connected enough, you could get the Detroit United Railways Funeral Train, via the streetcar rails, to pick up the body at your house to transport it to the cemetery. If you were like most of us, you would have your mortician provide a wagon or carriage to do the job.
But on to the Living Room.
"Professional Mourners" had been around for a long time, but they really became popular in the early 1900's. By 1910, the year in which The Detroit Electric Scheme is set, these "Funeral Parlors" were popping up all over the place. People wanted the bodies out of the house. As the funeral parlors grew in popularity, the word "parlor" became associated with funerals. Since "parlor" was associated with death, a new name caught on for the parlor that was everything "parlor" was not. It was . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . the "Living Room." (This one turned on a light bulb over my head.)