sod house

sod house, house with walls made of strips of sod laid horizontally in courses like bricks. Sod houses were common in the frontier days on the western plains of the United States, where wood and stone were scarce. The sod, turned by the plow and held together by roots, was lifted in strips and usually cut in 3-ft (1-m) lengths (sods). The walls were hewed smooth with a spade and were often plastered with clay and ashes. Sometimes roofs were of frame construction; usually they were thatched or covered with sods, which had to be replaced after heavy rains. Sod walls were fire- and windproof and good insulators, but they permitted only small window openings. For other earth houses, see rammed earth.

See E. Dick, The Sod-House Frontier (1937).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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