The sod house or "soddy" was a successor to the log cabin during frontier settlement of Canada and the United States. The prairie lacked standard building materials such as wood or stone; however, sod from thickly-rooted prairie grass was abundant. Prairie grass had a much thicker, tougher root structure than modern landscaping grass.
Construction of a sod house involved cutting patches of sod in rectangles, often 2'×1'×6" (60×30×15 cm) and piling them into walls. Builders employed a variety of roofing methods. Sod houses accommodate normal doors and windows. The resulting structure was a well-insulated but damp dwelling that was very inexpensive. Sod houses required frequent maintenance and were vulnerable to rain damage. Stucco or wood panels often protected the outer walls. Canvas or plaster often lined the interior walls.
Notable sod houses
Sod houses that are individually notable and historic sites that include one or more sod houses or other sod structures include:
- Addison Sod House, a Canadian National Historic Landmark building, in Saskatchewan
- L'Anse aux Meadows, the site of the pioneering 10th-11th century CE Norse settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland, has reconstructions of eight sod houses in their original locations, used for various purposes when built by Norse settlers there a millennium ago
- United States
- Cottonwood Ranch, Sheridan County, Kansas. The ranch site, listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), included a sod stable
- Dowse Sod House, near Comstock, Nebraska; NRHP-listed and operated as museum
- Heman Gibbs Farmstead, Falcon Heights, Minnesota; the NRHP-listed site includes a replica of the original 1849 sod house
- Jackson-Einspahr Sod House, Holstein, Nebraska, NRHP-listed
- Leffingwell Camp Site, Flaxman Island, Alaska, listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
- Minor Sod House, McDonald, Kansas, NRHP-listed
- Pioneer Sod House, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, NRHP-listed
- Gustav Rohrich Sod House, Bellwood, Nebraska, NRHP-listed
- Sod House (Cleo Springs, Oklahoma), also known as Marshall McCully Sod House, NRHP-listed
- Sod House Ranch, Burns, Oregon, (does not include a sod house)
- Wallace W. Waterman Sod House, Big Springs, Nebraska, NRHP-listed
This article needs additional citations for verification
. (December 2009)
- ^ Blevins, Win. Dictionary of the American West. Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2008. Soddy. ISBN 0875654835
- ^ Sod Houses Forest Preserve District of Cook County (Illinois)
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