Lane County Historical Museum Dighton, Kansas home of the Lane County Bachelor

 

Sod House Exhibits

HISTORY OF THE SOD HOUSE

     This sod house was laid up under the supervision of George Lawrence and Art Bentley.  Sod is made by using a specially constructed instrument called a “sod cutter” by cutting strips about four inches thick of heavily matted, root-filled top soil from the native prairies.  These strips were then cut into “bricks” about 12 by 24 inches.  These sod bricks were laid up into 24- inch thick walls, which held a roof of heavy timber and boards covered with more sod.  When such a house was complete, the pioneer was set for all weather.  This sod house started out with a sod roof but in an effort to preserve the items in the house for future generations to appreciate, the society decided to put a shingle roof on the sod house.

      The following are quotes by early day pioneers about sod houses: “They were wonderful houses, warm in winter and cool in summer, but oh, when it rained!  That muddy water would start leaking through the roof and it kept on leaking through two days after it was clear out-of-doors.  We had a trundle bed in which mother would put the children and push it under the bed to keep them dry at night while she and father would sit under an umbrella.”  “Our father built a three room sod house on the homestead.  This sod house was typical of all the sod houses on the plains.  It had a board roof covered with sod and topped with clay or ‘magnesia’ from a nearby canyon.  The object of the ‘magnesia’ was to seal the cracks between the sod so that the roof would not leak, but the roof leaked anyway and whenever it rained mother would gather up pots and pans to put under the numerous leaks to protect the contents of the house.”  “Where we took the sod off the ground for the house, we planted our garden and that first summer we had many kinds of garden vegetables.”  “My sister and I went to school in a one room sod house with no plaster on the walls and with a dirt floor.  We had to take our own seats for none were in the school – if we had no seat, then we sat on the floor.”

 

Temporary Exhibits

 

 

 

The Joy of Making Art A Tribute to Mary Alice Bosley

© 2015 Lane County Historical Society

Dighton, Kansas