Under the House, Behind the House

in The Sangamo Frontier

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226514246
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226514239 | DOI:
Under the House, Behind the House

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The cellar feature is at the heart of the site of a frontier farmstead. These are the bellies of the log houses. However, the use of the term cellar is somewhat misleading, as frontier-era cellars were often only three feet deep and four feet wide—kind of like a refrigerator on its side, which is what they really were. The purpose of such cellars was to store and keep cool small amounts of foods kept in barrels, crockery pots, or sacks. If they were positioned away from the edge of the building and partitioned from the rest of the crawlspace below the house, such pits would have offered a secure, dry place to keep food. Complimenting the subfloor pit cellar was the exterior crop storage facility, which was usually located behind or near the house. These pits were precursors to the more modern root or storm cellar that became familiar in rural backyards during the early twentieth century.

Keywords: frontier farmstead; cellar; crawlspace; subfloor pit cellar; storm cellar; crop storage

Chapter.  2738 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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