But sod construction had it’s limits. The dimensions of these depended, among other things, on the strength of the builder—the blocks were dense, and had to be sized so that the builders could lift them. Dakota, Maintained by mnelson Typical blocks cut with a grasshopper plow might measure four inches (10 cm) deep by 12 inches (30 cm) wide by 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm) long. Our sod house is freely available for viewing year-round. In 1982, the house opened as a museum. Want to see some more historic houses in Nebraska? [8][9] It has also been suggested that the idea of building with sod came from European immigrants, either Russian-Germans, who are known to have built rammed earth dwellings in the Plains, or immigrants from the British Isles, particularly from Ireland, where turf houses were built with stone foundations and frames to support the turf. "Family Effort Rescues Birthplace From Ruin". What a great find! Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. Walls were generally two or three wythes thick; the vertical joints were staggered to avoid creating a direct path through the wall for wind and vermin. Don't miss the life-size sculpture of a bison and American Indian on horseback made from barbed wire. Collections home page. Nebraska Capitol Gift Shop. Today, the Dowse Sod House is the best surviving example of an original pioneer sod home in Nebraska. Restaurants near Sod House Museum: (0.12 mi) Nebraska Barn And Grill (0.11 mi) Pizza Hut (0.21 mi) Mi Ranchito (0.27 mi) Lasso Espresso Company (0.34 mi) McDonald's; View all restaurants near Sod House Museum on Tripadvisor $ Some maintain that the inspiration came from the earth lodges of the local native peoples, including the Omahas and the Pawnees. |   Montana  |  Nebraska  [40], William Dowse lived in the house until his death in 1951. [2][3][34], Two east-facing doors led into the house. Often, the soil was excavated one to two feet (30 to 60 cm) below ground level; this reduced the height of the walls, and thus the amount of sod that had to be cut. |  New Mexico [33] The family moved to Nebraska in 1873, accompanied by Sarah Dowse's parents; the latter remained in Loup City while their daughter and son-in-law established their homestead, then moved to Custer County in 1874. If the exterior was covered over with whitewash or stucco, the houses could last much longer. The configuration of the west wall is not known, since the wall was removed in 1924. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. A single window faced eastward from the kitchen-hall. [35][43] In the course of several years, over $6,000 was raised for the project. Today, the Dowse Sod House is the best surviving example of an original pioneer sod home in Nebraska. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form: William R. Dowse house". Comstock is nearby and would have had such objects available to purchase. In 1935, the exterior walls were fortified with concrete to stop erosion of the sod. [2][34] In 1924, two additions were made. aid  |  Series Description   Built is 2008, the Archway’s replica sod house gives visitors an idea of what life was like for the first settlers of European descent in Nebraska territory. Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska Tourism Commission301 Centennial Mall South PO Box 98907 Lincoln, NE 68509-8907 (402) 471-3796. All of the farm's outbuildings were destroyed; but the house escaped undamaged, apart from a sawhorse blown through one of the windows. Windows were flush with the exterior walls of the house. In the following year, he married Sarah Wagner, who was born in 1854 in Auglaize County, Ohio. [11], The sod house was not without its disadvantages, however. [42], In about 1981, descendants of William and Florence Dowse decided to restore the house. 20–21, 66. [2][34], The plan of the house was L-shaped, with stems projecting to the east and to the south. It was built in 1900 and occupied until 1959. "Stephen H. Long's 1822 Geographical, Statistical and Historical Map of Arkansas Territory (from the Carey and Lea Atlas of 1822)". Were there July 24 2019. Throwback Thursday Photo, Pumpkins on the Prairie The Garness family pose in front of their sod home in Custer County for Nebraska photographer Solomon D. Butcher in 1887. SOD HOUSE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION This approach, however, tended to produce rough and non-uniform blocks, which complicated the task of laying them in even courses. In the late 19th century, a modified plow designed specifically for sod cutting was invented: this "grasshopper plow" replaced the mouldboard with a set of adjustable rods, which allowed the operator to cut a uniform strip of sod three to six inches (7.6 to 15.2 cm) deep and 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm) wide. It was right off the interstate and worth a stop. The floors were packed dirt; the ceiling was muslin tacked beneath boards. Series 1 - By State Browse photographs by city name or subject: Colorado | Kansas | Minnesota | Montana | Nebraska | New Mexico North Dakota | Oklahoma | South Dakota [21][22], At the house site, the grass was removed. Nebraska, North Loup, Valley County, At that time, concrete was applied to the lower portion of the exterior sod walls: boards were placed against the wall and concrete poured into the space between board and wall, then allowed to dry before the boards were raised and the process repeated. The weight of the roof helped to keep it from blowing away in strong winds, and the insulating power of such a roof helped to moderate temperatures within the house. (Isabel Fodge Cornish, in Pioneer Stories of Custer County, Nebraska, collected by Emerson R. Disappointed in not being able to see it. They repaired the home and furnished it with pioneer-era objects like furniture, decor, and a cast iron stove. Preferred species included buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides), slough grass (Spartina pectinata), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi). [12] To protect against invasion by rodents, insects, and snakes, the interior walls were often shaved smooth and plastered with lime, or with a mixture of local clay and sand or ashes;[7][13] the lower portions of the exterior walls could also be reinforced, with planks or concrete if they were available, or with a second layer of sod to thicken them. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. MS 95-20 Privacy Policy | © document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); The Archway. [33][37] Pioneer-era interior furnishings such as a cast-iron stove were installed. The window wells were beveled, widening toward the interior of the house; this admitted more light to the house. [3][34], The interior was divided by wood partition walls into three rooms. The eastern quarter of Nebraska was also well supplied with timber. [10], A simple sod house could be built in about a week, and for a cost of less than five dollars. [26][27], Early sod houses were roofed with sod. U.S. National Register of Historic Places, National Register of Historic Places Focus website. Ellis, Karen Kuhns. Browse photographs by city name or subject: Colorado  |  Two books by Solomon D. Butcher (1856–1927), Nebraska photographer of the homestead era, whose works include over 1,000 photos of sod houses: Pioneer History of Custer County and Short Sketches of Early Days in Nebraska (1901), and Sod Houses, or the Development of the Great American Plains (1904) Spanning I-80 at Exit 275, the Archway offers a unique historical exhibit that brings American history to life and so much more. Apr 19, 2019 - Look at the details in these pioneer houses built in the 1800s. Both additions were clad in wooden shingles. Between 1886 and 1912, he produced nearly 3,500 glass plate negatives; over 1,800 of these were taken in Custer County, and over 1,500 show sod houses. Series 1 - By State [44] A fence was built to exclude cattle from the house. Trees were scarce on the prairie but, native grasses sent roots deep down into the soil which made prairie sod a useful building material. [5], There is no consensus among scholars regarding the origin of sod construction on the Plains. 315 Platte River Drive, Gothenburg, NE, 69138, 315 Platte River Dr, Gothenburg, NE, 69138, 301 West 1st Street, Gothenburg, NE, 69138. Some were sod houses, dugouts, or wooden frame, but they were the first shelter the pioneer men and women had when they homesteaded on the Great Plains prairie. [34] William Dowse, Jr. and his wife Inez occupied the western addition. [32], In October 1900, William Dowse married 18-year-old Florence Murphy, daughter of John and Leah Thrist Murphy. Broken Bow, Nebraska: Purcells, Inc., 1968. However, these earth lodges were circular in cross-section, and built upon heavy timber frameworks. An itinerant photographer, Butcher conceived the idea of creating a photographic history of pioneer life in Nebraska. If you walk to the left of the red barn, you can see the sod house further back but that's about it. Two windows faced northward: one from the kitchen-hall, one from the bedroom. A number of contemporary photographs show occupied sod houses adjacent to frame barns and outbuildings. Also, barbed wire sculptures. [7][13], Sod houses continued to be occupied and built even after wood for construction became available. Sod House at Windlass Hill, Ash Hollow State Historic Park, Nebraska ID: JG5R32 (RF) Morrison family in front of sod house in Custer County, Nebraska in 1886. The complex prairie grass root system in the dirt helped to hold the bricks together. A Sod House in the Sandhills Nebraska 325 grants on the old trail often had to stop while the buffalowere crossing the road. [28][29], The first homestead established in Custer County was that of Lewis R. and Sarah M. Dowse, who in August 1873 occupied a site on the Middle Loup River. [34], The new house was located northwest of the homestead of the senior Dowses. The west sod wall of the house was removed completely, and a second shed-roofed addition constructed to extend the house to the west. SOD HOUSE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION MS 95-20 Finding aid | Series Description | Manuscript index | Special Collections home page. Kansas  |  Minnesota  Close to the highway and neat to see how homes were made in primitive days. Lumber was scare and sod dwellings were the first home for many pioneers. Hotels near (LNK) Lincoln Municipal Airport, Hotels near (LBF) Regional Airport Lee Bird Field, Gothenburg Historical Museum: Tickets & Tours‎, First Presbyterian Church: Tickets & Tours‎, Swedish Crosses Cemetery: Tickets & Tours‎, View all hotels near Sod House Museum on Tripadvisor, View all restaurants near Sod House Museum on Tripadvisor. It was closed when we stopped in March. It's a small museum but very interesting. Butcher's photographs are now owned by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Florence Dowse remained for another two years before moving to Comstock; she died in 1969. Moreover, several of the sources that give the later date also state that William Dowse, Jr. was the last occupant (e.g. In May 1982, the house was opened as a museum. Blocks could also be cut with a plow. Descriptions of these homes can be found in reminiscences written years later, but there are … Kampinen, Andrea L. "The sod houses of Custer County, Nebraska". When Nebraska pioneers began putting down roots in the area, they found a dearth of materials with which to work. |  Manuscript index  |  Special Fire damaged the roof and shingles were blown off, allowing leakage; all of the windows and doors were broken or destroyed.

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