Keeping Room

Dublin Core


Keeping Room


This room is not the original kitchen at Cherry Hill. The original kitchen was where the modem kitchen is today. This room was originally called a "keeping room". It served as a pantry where dishes and food could be stored. It also served as a barrier between the kitchen and dining room. Unlike today, people in the mid-1800s did not like the smell of food permeating the house. It was thought to be "lower class" to have smells coming out of the kitchen. The first hint of food was the presentation at the dining room table.

Inventories of Cherry Hill indicate cookstoves were used by the very first owners of Cherry Hill. The hearth in this room is too shallow to have ever been used for cooking, although it is presently set up with hearth cooking utensils.

Although this is not the original kitchen , one can still get a feel for the daily activities that took place in a kitchen in the 1850s. Notice there is no running water in the kitchen, only a dry sink. Water was drawn from the well in wooden buckets and carried into the house on a wooden yoke like the one in the bucket next to the table. Refrigeration was also a problem. People stored much of their produce downstairs in the nice cool cellar. The cellar is behind the door next to the back staircase. At one time Cherry Hill also had an icehouse for storing things that needed to be kept cooler.

There are many signs of how food was gathered and prepared. The musket is an indication of how meat was often obtained. Nothing was ever wasted. The down (soft feathers) from game were used to stuff pillows or in this case a turkey feather was used as a baster. The sugar cone, like the one on the table, originally came wrapped in indigo colored paper. This paper was often saved, boiled in water and later used as fabric dye.

Other interesting items found on the table include a pot scrubber, potato masher, old clamp iron, apple corer and coffee grinder. Some objects have changed more than other over time.

Over the fireplace herbs are drying, much as they would have been in the 1850s. The herbs hung to dry on the fireplace are typical of the resourcefulness of the housewife in using plants near to hand. Sage was used to flavor meats and to mask the odor of any faint taint. Tansy was used around the doors and windowsills to keep ants away. Cinnamon could also be used but was too expensive for most people to use for such a purpose.

There is also a com dryer over the fireplace. The pair of cooking utensils were often custom made by the blacksmith, tailored in the length of the woman's arm. On the mantle a candlemaker, lantern, tole painted tin pitcher and tin box can also be found.

Unless noted, items in the keeping room are gifts of the Northern Virginia Antique Arts


Cherry Hill



Collection Items

Ladderback chair
Cowhide seat

Wooden stool
Turn of the century. Four legged. Primitive. Oval plank seat, probably pine. Wide split in seat.

Blue and white spongeware pitcher
Used by the Riley family at Cherry Hill farmhouse.

Halfstock gun
Style is that of a gunsmith from upper New York state. Parts of an earlier, full-stock, Kentucky rifle was salvaged for this gun. The barrel might predate the 19th century. The beautiful, Kentucky style, patch box is out of keeping with a…

Powder horn
Used for holding gun powder

Used to pump air to fires

Used to hold logs above the floor of the hearth. They stood on short legs and usually connected with an upright guard, giving them the appearance of a dog. Most were made of wrought iron- also gilded bronze. Plain ones were used in kitchens as…

Made at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Iron corn dryer
Ten prongs.
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