Well, guess what! You can visit Morrin, a small town in Alberta, and find out.
Sod houses were common in the pioneer years on the prairies. There is a reason they call this area the grasslands. So, our industrious ancestors used what they had and built houses out of dirt and grass - at least until they could build a house that wouldn't deteriorate in the weather.
The source I've linked to says these houses were in use mostly "before WWI" - wow, to me that seems to step right into modern times! It is the same as the era shown in the first season of Downton Abbey!
These houses were not meant to last. The Morrin sod house is a replica, which was originally built in 1980 to celebrate Alberta's 75th birthday and later rebuilt in 2009. Unfortunately, the house was closed the day we visited the site, but we did check it out from the outside. Inside, there are supposed to be items that would have been common in pioneer households, so I'm disappointed to have missed that opportunity.
|Here is the sod house. Isn't it cozy?|
|This is a close up of the wall. Yep - sod really means sod.|
Can you imagine moving from a big city in Europe to live in a place like this? A bit of culture shock, hey?
If you are a writer, how do you research times you can't visit?