Tiny House in a Landscape

Dave sent me the information about these photos that are on a really cool site of historical pictures called Shorpy Historic Archive.

Dugout house of homesteaders Faro and Doris Caudill with Mount Allegro in the background. Pie Town, New Mexico. The Caudills at dinner. 35mm Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee.


Before industry and technology gave us sawmills and frame houses, this is how the average person lived in much of the world. The dugout or pit house, with sod roof, log walls and earthen floor, is among the most ancient of human dwellings — at some point in history your ancestors lived in one.

Especially popular among 19th-century settlers in the Great Plains and deserts of the West and Southwest, where trees and other building materials were scarce, dugouts were warmer in winter and cooler in summer than above-ground structures; just about anywhere in North America the ground temperature three feet down is 55 degrees regardless of the season.



October 1940. “Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, coming out of his dugout home at Pie Town, New Mexico.” View full size. 4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee. Another example of the dugout-style structure used for the homesteader dwellings and church in the Dead Ox Flat photos.

Photo Credit and text: Shorpy

by Kent Griswold (Tiny House Blog)

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April - October 12, 2009 Reply

Great pics! I just recently found Shorpy.

PJ - October 13, 2009 Reply

I keep looking at these pictures and I’m just speechless. To build a house like that and live in it, that’s dedication and tenacity. Thanks for sharing these.

Michael - December 1, 2012 Reply

How about some of the interior?

Wade Fox - November 1, 2013 Reply

I think it is great that people can live just fine like this. A small home, off the grid is how we should all live. A simply and easy life, as long as I have internet…

A Life Lived Under The Earth - August 14, 2014 Reply

[…] five years ago (in 2009) a reader named Dave sent Tiny House Blog information regarding the Shorpy Historic […]

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