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Tom Porter Root Cellar Municipal Heritage Structure

Elliston, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/04/10

Exterior photo view of front of Tom Porter Cellar, Elliston, NL, winter 1999; Tourism Elliston Inc., 2007
Tom Porter Root Cellar, Elliston, 1999
Interior photo view of the Tom Porter Root Cellar, Elliston, NL, 2007; showing steel beam from the "Eric" 1870s shipwreck used in construction; Tourism Elliston Inc., 2007
Interior of Tom Porter Root Cellar, Elliston, 2007
Exterior photo view of front of Tom Porter Root Cellar, Elliston, NL,  summer 2007; Tourism Elliston Inc., 2007
Tom Porter Root Cellar, Elliston, 2007

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/05

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.

Heritage Value

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

Character-Defining Elements

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 location.

And in the interior:
-the visible steel beam from the shipwrecked Eric.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Food Supply
Food Storage Facility

Architect / Designer



Tom Porter

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Elliston, PO Box 115, Elliston, NL, A0C 1N0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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