See Thru Gas Fireplaces - There was a day when burning wood in the wood burning fireplace was the only alternative. That's before base-line heaters the furnace and central air. Having a fireplace was absolutely essential.
But, there were so many issues different back then. They were not burning treated wood. There weren't a billion homes in the world at that time. Naturally, it is still excellent for available areas like in the country in your farm house or in your own ranch. But, in city and suburban areas where living is limited isn't conducive to the wood-burning hearth.
But, we don't have to completely trash the whole idea of having a hearth in the home. You will find alternatives. Some of those alternatives appear every bit as good as a wood burning fireplace and throw every bit as much heat.