sod house

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HermitJohn, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ran across following website about family who built a sod house in their back yard as an experiment.

    http://www.jameslnelson.com/The Sod House.htm

    Some neat links to other sod house sites. One of most intriguing was a sod house put on a foundation and the sod was mortared!!!
     
  2. MoonShine

    MoonShine Fire On The Mountain

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    Well,that's really interesting. Thanks for the link.
     

  3. shelbynteg

    shelbynteg Well-Known Member

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    Its been a few years, but I remember my great-uncle's house, the original front part was sod that had been mortered. Such a shame, after he and his wife passed, it was abandoned and eventually just fell down.
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Family story that my paternal grandfather was born in a sod house in SE Nebraska in 1882. He was like #12 out of 16 kids and they moved around a lot, so had moved on by time he could remember anything.

    Personally the only sod house I've ever seen was at the Iowa State Fair when I was a kid. It was a reconstruction of course and over by the antique farm equipment which I liked to look at.

    Back then I think I just saw it as a kid would a cobbled up tree house or whatever, not something people actually set up housekeeping in. Now I suppose kids couldnt even relate to it in that way as everything has to be factory built, shiney, and government approved.
     
  5. shelbynteg

    shelbynteg Well-Known Member

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    At home, in the very northern Texas panhandle, you still read obituaries for people who were born "in a creek bank". That country was settled reletively late, and with no ready timber, homes really were fashioned by digging into the banks of creek beds.
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I have read that it takes about an acre (43,560 sq. ft.) of grass to build a sod house.
    The last sod house project in Kansas that I heard about, ended in failure. It was determined that the grass was not like that of old and simply wouldn't hold the sod together properly. Perhaps a wet year with shallow roots.

    Sod houses were the norm when my home area of Utica, Kansas was settled in the 1880s and a little earlier. Most were small and of just one or two rooms. A ridge pole and branches from trees usually held up a sod roof. After a rain, the interior would drip water for days until the roof dried out. Centipedes and other insects as well as snakes were also a part of sod house living. Of course dirt floors swept down to hard clay was also the norm.

    I still own the quarter section of land that my maternal grandfather homesteaded and built a sod house on. My sister-in-law owns the quarter where my fathers family homesteaded and built their sod house on. The quarter to the north is where they lived first, in a "dug out". A dug out being the local term rather than a creek bank home that shelbynteg spoke of.

    Over 250 sod house photos at this first link.
    http://specialcollections.wichita.edu/collections/ms/95-20/sodhouse.html
    http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ndfahtml/hult_sod.html
    http://webpages.marshall.edu/~irby1/laura/sodhouse.html
    http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/natbltn/600-699/nb620.htm
     
  7. shelbynteg

    shelbynteg Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe Utica is more than 200 miles from my hometown, Follett, Tx. Why, that's just a hop, skip and jump away on the high plains!
     
  8. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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