|FRONT VIEW OF MARGARET'S OLD ROOT CELLAR|
MADISON COUNTY, KENTUCKY
Our recent chat revealed that they once had a very large garden where they grew a wide variety of vegetables. She canned huge amounts of the harvest. One year she canned about 500 quarts of green beans. She gave lots of her vegetables away. Now she only grows a small patch of tomatoes as her husband helper passed a few years ago.
Some root cellars are inside houses, usually the basement. My mother had one in our basement that she called her fruit cellar. Maybe it is just a matter of semantics whether one calls the cellar -- fruit or root?
Most root cellars in the U.S. are built into sides of hills. The idea of root cellars was born in 17th century Europe and traveled to the U.S. They became a traditional part of rural living. They are not used in great abundance anymore but still can be found in some country areas.
|SIDE VIEW OF MARGARET'S HILLSIDE ROOT CELLAR|
This particular cellar was built by Margaret's husband of cement block. He lined the walls with shelves to store the glass jars of canned goods. The floor space was saved to spread out potatoes. It was kept chock full.
The cooling and insulating properties of the surrounding ground preserve the freshness of the fruit and vegetables.
|CLOSE UP VIEW OF UPPER FRONT DOOR AND CEMENT BLOCK ROOF|
The temperature of these outside root cellars remain slightly above freezing during the winter which slows down spoilage. Produce stored in indoor cellars, usually the basement type, do not have the same storing qualities as the outdoor cellars.
A wide variety of food could be stored in Margaret's cellar if she desired -- cured meats, milk, cheese, dried foods, canned food, fruit and vegetables.
|GHEEN, MINNESOTA, FARMER PUTTING DIRT ON ROOT CELLAR ROOF|
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, LEE RUSSELL PHOTOGRAPHER 1937
Here are a few Farm Security Administration photos of root cellars in the western part of the country. Photos were taken by the photographer Russell Lee who worked for the FSA during the depression years.
I have captioned my post's last three photos with information known about each one. These pictures represent the "hey day," of root cellars.
|HOMINY THOMPSON IN DOOR OF THE ROOT CELLAR HE BUILT|
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, LEE RUSSELL, PHOTOGRAPHER 1937