Shelter On The Western Frontier

And Everyday Life--Including Food Preparation


  • Pioneer Sod Houses Soddies are small houses with walls built of stacked layers of uniformly cut turf. This site has a number of photos of preserved and also re-constructed soddies in the mid-west.
  • Sod Houses Photos and text of some sod homes in Bowman County, ND--some lived in well into the 20th century!
  • Sod Houses By Jessie & Amanda of the St. George Elementary third and fourth grade class
  • Northern Great Plains: Sod Homes Early settlers on the treeless prairie could not build their homes from lumber: It was expensive and not readily available. The prairie did, though, provide an unlimited resource that the settlers could use--sod.
  • The Northern Great Plains, 1880 to 1920 Photos from the Fred Hulstrand and F A Pazandak Collections: Sod Buildings including houses, barns, post offices, lean-tos, and much more!
  • Pioneer Dugouts
  • Dugouts From the "Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl" web site. How dugouts were made.
  • The farmers of the Great Plains were met with lack of adequate housing, water, and fuel. Characteristically perseverant people, they made the land productive and built their sod houses or "soddies" from it too.
  • "Soddies" How they were built and also what it was like to live in a soddie on the plains.
  • Prairie Homestead One of the very few sod dwellings intact today. On the National Register of Historic Places in Philip, South Dakota at the North East entrance to the Badlands National Park.
  • An Old Time Dugout Root Cellar A bit on the history of root cellars, and also diagrams and instructions on how to build one. Also includes: Root Cellar Basics and also The Granddaddy Of All Underground Storage Areas which doubles as an underground shelter. This is a good site!
  • Emergency food storage: The Pallet Root Cellar vThe root cellar system allows for the storage of a great amount of food in a small space that is naturally regulated at a constant temperature of about 63 degrees year round.
  • The Garbage Can Root Cellar This root cellar keeps potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, and apples through the winter. An ingenious idea!
  • Building an Outside Root Cellar There is nothing better than a good root cellar where you can have delicacies such as carrots, beets, cabbage, turnips and belgian endive in the middle of winter.
  • Rocky Mountain Workshops A hands-on workshop in the handcrafted tradition of scribe-fit log construction, located in the beautiful setting of Pingree Park. The founder, Peter Haney, restored the foundation of the historic Virginia Dale Stage Station, built in 1862. He has built with logs in Russia and Argentina, and organized a timber framing workshop in Argentina in January, 1998, and 1999.
  • The Preservation of Historic Barns The family farm has been a vital image in the American consciousness, and the young and expanding United States depended upon citizen farmers for its stability and its freedom. As the main structures of farms, barns evoke a sense of tradition and security, of closeness to the land and community with the people who built them.
  • Log Buildings: Their preservation and repair.... includes a history, traditional log construction, corner notching and other fastening techniques, and even how to prepare "chinking."
  • The Clear Creek History Park The 1870s Clear Creek History Park is a living history park and museum in Golden, Colorado and home to the several log cabins and other structures equipped to show how life was lived in the late 19th century.
  • The Homestead Act of 1862
  • The Homestead in Western Canada A web site by a third-grade teacher in Canada.
  • Daniel Freeman The first person in the nation to file a homestead claim, January 1, 1863.
  • Homesteading in Alaska Questions and answers on how to do it today.
  • Homestead Shanties on the Move The homestead shanty was not regarded as a permanent fixture. It was erected for the purpose of proving up a claim, that is, satisfying government requirements for residence and improvements.
  • The Conrad Weiser Homestead On the Pennslyvania Trail of History. Conrad Weiser, a pivotal figure in Colonial Pennsylvania, who served as ambassador and interpreter to the Iroquois Nation.
  • The Parker Homestead State Park The sod-roofed log cabin is representative of the thousands of simple frontier homes that provided shelter for hopeful pioneers who settled Montana. It is located in a one-acre park with passenger vehicle access only. The site is undeveloped, unsigned, and no fees are charged. It is located 8 miles west of Three Forks on MT Hwy 287.
  • The Homesteader WebRing Lots of interesting links here!
  • Buffalo as a Food Source From: Essays on Native American Life and Relations With Non-Natives 1600-1850.
  • Meat Potting Before refrigeration changed everything, "meat potting" was a more prevalent way of preserving meat than either salt curing or drying. These pages tell all about how to do it.
  • The Old Timer Page The way things used to be done.
  • Tanning & the Preservation of Other Animal Parts Also includes a bibliography on Leather Clothes
  • The Out House Every thing you've always wanted to know... including links to The Great Outhouse Race
  • The Oxen Page All about choosing, raising, handling, yokes, and taking care of oxen
  • Pioneer Food and Medicines This site describes farm life in the mid 1800's.

    Send comments, suggestions or inquiries: Overland Trail

    [Overland Trail | Personalities | Links |

    Created and maintained by Elizabeth Larson
    Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 All Rights Reserved