Before the invention of the refrigerator, there was still the need to preserve food. One way to do this was by storing it in an icehouse. The congregation constructed this octagonal icehouse in the fall of 1888. In that time, winter ice was collected and stored in the belly of this building. The ice would stay frozen for months. Eventually, the icehouse was converted into a potato house in order to store root vegetables grown on the farm. Most touchingly, just inside the doors, there are prayers to St. Joseph and St. Therese, placed there by early sisters.
REFLECTION: “Our life is grounded and rooted in love, and without love we may not live.” -Julian of Norwich
The icehouse was later converted to a root cellar where ice, and eventually, root vegetables were stored. This building has interesting features including double-layered walls which could be stuffed with insulation such as straw or sawdust. It also has a transom window above the door which helps regulate the temperature by letting warm air escape. Inside the house, there are hooks that were used to hang meat from the animals raised on the farm. Apples from the orchard and crops such as garlic from Homecoming Farm have been stored here. The door faces Rosary Hall where the kitchen was located. The Potato House is listed on the National Historic Register.
Scroll down on this page for a video about the Potato House.