Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties


The other day I received a package in the mail from Shelter Publications, located in Bolinas, California. They had contacted me earlier in the week to see if I would review some of there books and that they have a book on Tiny Houses in the works.

They sent some terrific books and I have decided to share with you the oldest one, because it has some neat ideas and really gets back to the basics of building construction.

In the classic book Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: And How to Build Them, D. C. Beard covers a wide array of possibilities for building your own dwelling out of nothing but materials provided by nature. This book was originally published in 1914 and Shelter Publications has chosen to reprint it and make it available again.

D. C. Beard explains how to construct a variety of worry-free shelters appropriate to a natural environment that is by turns both friendly and foreboding. Included are a sod house for the lawn, a treetop house, over-water camps, and an American log cabin. I even found a shanty plan that looked remarkably familiar to the Sonoma Shanty. It just had a lower pitched roof, otherwise the dimensions are almost identical.

Fully recognizing that the outdoorsman builds a shelter with the intention of inhabiting it, Beard explains how to build hearths and chimneys, notched log ladders, and even how to rig secret locks. Illustrated throughout with instructional line drawings, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties goes back to the can-do spirit of the American frontier and belongs in your library of tiny house books.

I really like this book, the sketches are wonderful, the information is timeless. If you are looking for a book to get you back to the basics, this is it.


by Kent Griswold (Tiny House Blog)

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to our feed


  1. Thanks Tyler and Grant for adding this additional information. Nothing like a good book that can be gotten in a variety of ways and even free from Gutenberg 🙂

  2. I’ve had this book out of the library so often it thinks it’s mine! Usually there’s no competition but last time I went to get it someone else had already borrowed it. Yay, a fellow enthusiast in the area.