Friday, 27 February 2015

Old West Photo Friday: Home Life on the Frontier

Life for American settlers on the frontier was tough. They arrived with a few precious possessions they had managed to haul from their homes back east or in Europe and had to make the rest themselves.
Homes would often be makeshift affairs. The main priority was getting a crop in so they wouldn't go hungry the next year. The top photo shows a home in what's probably Oklahoma. It appears to be made out of turf blocks as was common for homes in the territory. Turf was free and easy to build with and had the advantages of being fireproof and a good insulator. This family has built their home against a hill to shelter it from Oklahoma's fierce winds.
The bottom photo shows the home of the Winslow family in the 1870s at Mount Ayr Township, Osborne County, Kansas. It's built of logs with mud daubed between them to keep out drafts. It appears to have a turf roof as you can see some grass growing on it. At least there's no cow!
The cabin is small for so many people, but life was lived mostly outdoors. It must have gotten claustrophobic during winter storms, however, and would give rise to "cabin fever". In Alaska and other northern areas, people could be trapped in these tiny cabins for weeks and sometimes went insane.

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is odd the cow is on the roof.
Houses were so small back then. Almost obnoxious how big they are today.

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