Tom Porter Root Cellar Municipal Heritage Structure
Elliston, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Tom Porter Root Cellar is located along the old Shore Road (now a path) at Porters’ Point (also known as “The Point”), Elliston. It is a hillside type cellar with a rock facade and wooden door. The municipal heritage designation is confined to the footprint of the structure.
The Tom Porter Root Cellar has historic, architectural, aesthetic and cultural values.
The Tom Porter Root Cellar was built in 1879 by Porter and has historic value given its age and because it survives from a time before modern day refrigeration, when such structures were very important for storing and preserving foodstuffs. This particular cellar also evokes an earlier period in Elliston because it is situated along the old Shore Road, now used only as a walking path. As well, its roof is supported by a steel beam from the Eric, which was shipwrecked at Flower’s Cove, near Maberly in 1878. The beam was transported by horse and cart and is visible from inside the cellar.
The Tom Porter Root cellar has architectural value as a good example of utilitarian design and functionality. Root cellars such as this were common in rural locations to store vegetables and other food items, and were built so that the temperature inside was more moderate than winter cold or summer heat. They also maintained an appropriate level of humidity. The Tom Porter Root Cellar is of the cellar type that is built into the side of a hill. The exterior at the face of the hill is reinforced with visible local stone and mortar, and the entrance is a wooden door of vertical boards.
The Tom Porter Root Cellar has aesthetic value in the rural cultural landscape of Elliston. It is one structure in a larger, community-wide collection of root cellars that makes the community’s landscape remarkable.
The Tom Porter Root Cellar is still in use and has cultural value in Elliston. Roots cellars have a connection to a subsistence economy where people farmed, hunted and gathered much of their family’s own food. Once commonplace, these cellars have become symbols of the history of subsistence in rural Newfoundland and specifically of the Town of Elliston, which declared itself Root Cellar Capital of the World in 2000.
Source: Town of Elliston Town Council Meeting Minutes of 2007/04/10
All those exterior elements related to the historic and aesthetic value and design of the cellar:
-exposed stone on front;
-type, material, size and placement of door;
-the general rugged appearance, with sods;
-built-in hill construction;
And in the interior:
-the visible steel beam from the shipwrecked Eric.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Food Supply
- Food Storage Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Elliston, PO Box 115, Elliston, NL, A0C 1N0
Cross-Reference to Collection