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The Sangamo FrontierHistory and Archaeology in the Shadow of Lincoln$
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Robert Mazrim

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226514246

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226514239.001.0001

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Under the House, Behind the House

Under the House, Behind the House

(p.87) Chapter Six Under the House, Behind the House
The Sangamo Frontier
University of Chicago Press

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

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