The Summer Kitchen & Root Cellar are original to the Farm. Originally, the Summer Kitchen was used primarily as a smoke house and was so referenced in a notation in the 1883 History of Bates County. When the Seelingers purchased the property in 1884, the function changed to a smoke house in the winter and a summer kitchen in the summer.
In those days, all cooking was done on wood fired cook stoves. This was great in the winter as it provided heat for the dining and kitchen areas. But in the hot Missouri summers, cooking could make the home even more unbearably hot. The solution was a Summer Kitchen. During Spring Cleaning time, the men would move the stove out to another building - the Summer Kitchen - and all cooking was done there until the cool fall nights set in. The Root Cellar was used to store "root" vegetables - carrots, turnips, potatoes, squash and pumpkins during the winter and early spring. Also, ice would be cut from the pond and packed in sawdust in the Cellar so that the family could have ice cream possibly up to the 4th of July. The cellar also provided a refuge from tornadoes.
Restoration has begun on this structure. The first work was to remove the original crumbling foundation and stone lined root cellar walls and relay the original stones with new mortar. The original floor beams were repaired and a new floor and room put on the building. These efforts stabilized the structure and work was put on hold while other more pressing restorations were carried out. In 2007 a tornado struck the farm and toppled a tree onto the roof causing extensive damage. Another new roof was installed.
The final restoration work has begun with the first, and most pressing need being to relocate the wild honey bees that had taken up residence in the double wall near the door. A bee keeper carefully removed the bees to another location. Poplar Heights Farm is mindful of the importance of bees in the environment and are participating in the Great Sun Flower project and constructing and installing bee habitats for wild bees and mason bees to help increase the bee population.
Work began on the exterior of the building. The west side was also heavily damaged by the tornado and falling tree. The window was replaced and the siding repaired.
Following the restoration of the brick patio area, the stone steps were returned to the door on the east side.
As the building had double walls because of its original design as a smoke house, little interior work was needed.
The bulding was painted to match it's original colors. The auxilliary stove and chimney were installed and once again cooking can be carried out during the hot Missouri summer months without heating up the Main House.