The Dugout in the Side of a Hill

  When the pioneers began their conquest of the western prairie, they found materials for building shelters close at hand.Where timber was availabls, the settlers sometimes built log houses.Most prairie homes, however, were either sodhouses or dugouts.These houses could be built quickly and easily.

  The dugout was a room dug in the side of a hill.A few railsor posts were used to make a door frame and, possibly, a window.The front wall was made of pieces of sod or logs.Sloping back onto the hill was a roof made of poles or logs covered with a layer of brush, a layer of prairie grass, and a layer of dirt.

  As soon as a covered wagon halted at a new homestead, the head of the family took out his spade.The family lived in the wagon for the few days that it took him to build a dugout.