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Historically, sod houses, log cabins, dug outs or any other shanty all had one thing in common. They were temporary dwellings at best. When the government land was purchased or claimed, the settler was required to put up a house.

Sometimes branches and sod were used for the roof with pieces of wood for supports. Windows and doors were made from old boxes that came with the pioneers on their long journey. The floor was hard-packed earth, which could be swept and sometimes sprinkled with water to keep it from being dusty.

As materials became available, improvements were made. A board roof was the first improvement. Next came board walls of rough lumber and finally a wood floor.
7) Sod Home
This replica of a claim shanty was built on this site in 1976 and finished in 1977. It contains elements of the sod house as well as natural evolution of improvements.

This claim shanty housed an entire family. Several photographs on the wall show life on the prairie. The furnishings in the home include: a bed with rope instead of wire springs, a straw mattress, and an old trunk that held their belongings.It was also common to have the skull of an animal hanging over the door. 
Because of a lack of wood, "buffalo chips" were burned for heat. Rain was caught in the rain barrel for washing. The pioneer women did the washing outside when weather permitted. The wash bench held the wash tub with the soap and water, thus saving her from bending over so far.

The well outside a claim shanty was simply a hole that was dug until ground water was reached. A pail attached to a rope was let down, and the water flowed into a pail. Turning a handle on a rod brought it up.