Custer County Historical Society

Homestead autopsy
8:00 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Unlocking prairie secrets from a sod house

Researchers prepare to take down a section of a sod house in Gates, Neb., in order to study the bricks made of dirt.
Credit Jackie Sojicko for Harvest Public Media

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19thcentury. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

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