The hearth has endured, in part, because of the wooden mantel that frames it. A mantel serves not only as an architectural anchor in a room but as a functional shelf on which to display prized possessions. That's why so many of them still grace the parlors, dining rooms, and bedrooms of old houses even when the fireboxes have been walled over to eliminate drafts.
For every surviving example, of course, there are dozens that were torn from walls during reckless remodels. Luckily, many discarded mantels have ended up at architectural salvage yards. See How to Choose a Salvage Mantel
to learn how you can find and refurbish a find of your own.