Cleaning Up The Cold Storage In The Basement

The cold storage in the basement.  I put the dehumidifier in it to suck any moisture.

When we first looked a the house, the shelves of the cold storage in the basement were lined with ball jars full of preserved food.  The old kind with the glass lids and metal clamps. I’m not sure how long they had been there or if Florence,  who was 104 years old when she died in the house, was still eating from them.

When we moved in, the house had been cleared out and all that was left in the cold storage was one corked bottle with an oily liquid in it, a big empty ball jar and a few glass ball jar tops.

The hand wrought hinge

Our house was built about 1840 but the cold storage room has a door and hinges on it that date back to a much earlier home.  The wood on the door is hand planed and made from two pieces of wood.  One  19 1/2″ and one 8 1/2″.  The latch and hinges are hand wrought.   There is one coat of paint on the door.  Brown on one side and blue on the other.

The hand wrought latch on the door

The walls of the room  are plaster and there are bars on the outsides of the windows. The floor which was probably put down in the 1950s is slate and cement.    There’s a light bulb with a pull string also put in in the 50s.   This is an old metal thermometer hanging by the door.

the thermometer is about 2 inches long

Today I cleaned up the cold storage room.  Until last summer, when we had a lot of rain and the basement was damp for months, the cold storage stayed dry.

Many of the boxes of paperwork we stored on the shelves instead of food were damp and moldy.   They were old anyway and needed to be disposed years ago.

I filled up fifteen bags with damp and moldy paper, dusted the shelves, and swept the floor.  From now on I’ll store our paperwork in the attic and leave the cold storage to house my dahlia bulbs over the winter.

I kept think that if our Amish neighbors lived in our house they’d make better use of the cold storage room.

Except of the electric and water pipe going through it has all its original features.  Whenever I’m in it, it takes me back in time.  I imagine the house that the old door came from and wonder if it stood on the property before this house was built.  Perhaps the panty shelves or other wood in the house come from it too.

I get a sense of satisfaction knowing the room is cleaned up and all but empty.  I’ve been in a lot of old houses in the area and although I’m sure there are some, I never saw a cold storage room still intact.

I feel like it deserves to be taken care of and preserved.  I’ll make use of it with my dahlia bulbs, but maybe in the future someone else will use it for it’s original purpose.

If they do,  it will be ready for them.

The other side of the door leading into the cold storage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art