The above linked article tells about California coolers. Before refrigerators were common in San Francisco homes, the California cooler was popular. It’s meant to keep things cool by letting the cool, foggy air of San Francisco into the pantry.
These days, if they haven’t been removed, they are kept for earth friendly reasons, and they are perfect for storing things like wine and tomatoes, which normally shouldn’t go in the refrigerator, but still like it cooler.
This was a fun fact I ran into about my hometown. There is always something new to learn.