The treeless prairies offered little shelter, so people used the land itself as a building material. Thick slabs of sod were cut out of the ground, dried, and used like bricks to construct a cozy dwelling that kept families warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Inside, the walls were covered in cloth, whitewashed, or even wallpapered to keep the bugs out and the dirt at bay. Most sod houses measured 18 by 24 feet – which was the minimum size required by homesteading law. The rough and ready sod houses, with their leaking roofs and dirt floors, have come to symbolize the resilient pioneering spirit of Alberta’s early farmers.
Beiseker’s Sod House project was spearheaded by Leah Uffelman of the Beiseker Museum Society. It was built in 2006 by a team of twenty three volunteers, aged 12 to 75, who worked 300 hours and used 1400 rolls of sod to complete the project. Check out an article about Beiseker’s Sod House written by Karen Morrison for the Western Producer.
And here are some images of our sod house being constructed: