This earth-covered concrete structure, built in 1908, provided cool storage for large quantities of fresh vegetables and other perishables needed to feed the men stationed at the post. The metal vents on top allowed air to circulate and kept the cellar temperature constant.
Can you spot... the pointy black metal things on top of this hill?
The hill is actually a root cellar, used to store food in a cool place before refrigerators were invented. The metal things on top are vents that allowed air to circulate and keep the temperature constant. You may notice that the vent design coordinates with the decorative metal work on top of the Quartermaster’s Store House.
This earth-covered structure, often confused as a bomb shelter or ammunition storage, actually is a root cellar that provided cool storage for large quantities of fresh vegetables and other perishables needed to feed the men stationed at the post. The concrete structure with four metal vents was built in 1908 for a total cost of $5,400.
When Fort Missoula became the site of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula in 1976, the root cellar was used as storage for Museum collections. In the 1990s the root cellar was deemed unsafe for collections storage, and efforts were made to clean and preserve the root cellar and to properly store and catalog what was salvageable from the cellar. Today the root cellar remains empty, and is still cared for by the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.