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Oxon Hill in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Root Cellar

Oxon Hill Farm - Oxon Cove Park

 
 
Root Cellar Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 22, 2011
1. Root Cellar Marker
Inscription.
This root cellar may not look much like a refrigerator. But in the 1830s, it was probably the closest thing the DeButts family had.

A good root cellar is damp, well ventilated, and very cool but never freezing. Like this one, most root cellars are built partly or entirely under ground to keep them cool. You can see the ventilation chimneys on the north and south sides.

Roots cellars get their names from their contents – they are used mainly to store root crops such as beets, carrots, potatoes, and turnips. Root crops had many advantages for farmers such as the DeButts family. Some are ready to eat early in spring; others can wait for harvesting after the first frost. And they are edible before they fully mature, so if you need a carrot you can dig up a young one. Corn and wheat donít work that way.

Properly stored, some root crops last for months without spoiling. Many other vegetables, such as squash, cabbages, onions, and melons will also keep better in the root cellar. This building let the DeButts family store vegetables well into the winter.

[Renderings of] "Some fruit and vegetables often stored in a root cellar."
Squash photograph courtesy of Visual Language Library: Antique Botanical Illustrations: 1640-1900. Fruit and vegetable photographs courtesy of Complete
Oxon Hill Farm Root Cellar and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 22, 2011
2. Oxon Hill Farm Root Cellar and Marker
Produce Library
by Brand X Pictures
.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 48.143′ N, 77° 0.491′ W. Marker is in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Oxon Hill Farm Hiker Trail west of Bald Eagle Road. Touch for map. Bald Eagle Road is accessible south of the the Capital Beltway (I-95/495) from Oxon Hill Road west of Indian Head Highway (MD 210). Marker is at or near this postal address: 6411 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill MD 20745, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wheat and Tobacco (within shouting distance of this marker); The Burning of Washington, D.C. (within shouting distance of this marker); Why a Brick Stable? (within shouting distance of this marker); The DeButts Family Comes to Maryland - Mount Welby (within shouting distance of this marker); Two Centuries of Farm Buildings (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); War Comes to Mount Welby (about 300 feet away); "Rockets on the Hill" (about 500 feet away); Sweet Sorghum (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oxon Hill.
 
Additional keywords. farm life; Mount Welby
Some Fruits and Vegetables Often Stored in a Root Cellar image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 17, 2011
3. Some Fruits and Vegetables Often Stored in a Root Cellar
Close-up of illustrations on marker

 
Categories. Antebellum South, USHorticulture & ForestryNotable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 29, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 29, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 502 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 29, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3. submitted on December 24, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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