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Root Cellars:
Almost all slave dwellings at The Hermitage had small rectangular pits under the floorboards. Called root cellars, these pits functioned primarily as storage space for root crops such as potatoes and turnips. The underground pits were slightly cooler than the cabins and this helped preserve the food for months after the harvest. The pits also served as a secure space for personal possessions and items the slaves wanted to keep out of view. Because of this use, some researchers refer to root cellars are "hidey-holes." The variations in size and shape from cabin to cabin, and even within the same cabin, suggest the slaves built these features, possibly without Andrew Jackson's knowledge. This original brick-lined root cellar beneath the glass floor panel, is a representative sample.
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