Bricks of Earth

soddie-blogThe first “home sweet home” for many early pioneers was a soddie—a house built from two-feet-thick “bricks of earth,” cut from the prairie sod The bricks were stacked to form walls for a small shelter, usually sixteen by twenty feet. Space was left for a door and a small window hole. Before they had glass, homemakers rubbed bacon grease on paper to fill the window. The roof was made by spanning ridge poles from one sod wall to the other, then covered with four to six inches of dirty. It is said that after a rain, the roof leaked for days. Field mice burrowed into the walls and snakes hunting mice overhead sometimes fell through the ceiling. Most soddies had dirty floors. They were meant to last a few years until lumber could be hauled in to build a cabin.

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