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  • Notes From The Frontier

Sod Houses – Humble Homes of the Prairie

Once westering pioneers reached their destination, they had to build homes. Those homes reflected the available natural resources of the land. In forested areas, log homes were popular. Some areas in rocky terrain used stones. Some in the Southwest, where clay was plentiful, used adobe. On the Great Plains, sod houses, called “soddies,” were the most common abodes. (There were some wealthier settlers who brought pre-cut timber cabin kits with them offered through the Sears & Roebuck catalog, but these types of homes were more rare on the early prairie.)

The humble dirt and grass homes were made with about the only natural resource available: sod. Pioneers used a special plow that could cut the dense virgin sod, then it was cut into bricks and stacked. All of it was very hard work. And a sod roof was the most challenging to build of all and could weigh more than three tons!

Below are two excellent videos. The first one is a two-minute video of sod house history.

History of Sod Houses VIDEO

The second video, below, is a truly fascinating Oklahoma Historical Society virtual tour of a 126-Year-Old Sod House Museum (built in 1894) in Aline, Oklahoma. After viewing this video, you’ll be very glad to live in a modern home!

Old Sod House Museum Virtual Tour VIDEO

You may find these related posts interesting:

-How to Build a Log Cabin

-Outhouses-Gems of American Architecture

"Sod Houses - Humble Homes of the Prairie" was first posted on Facebook and on March 11, 2020

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