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)

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Tyler Onbekend - September 4, 2009 Reply

There is a very nice series of excerpts from this book online at Google Books, if you need any more convincing to get hold of a full copy of this great little book:

Grant Wagner - September 4, 2009 Reply

This book is also available in its entirety and completely legal on-line at Project Gutenberg

Kent Griswold - September 4, 2009 Reply

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 🙂

Stan - September 5, 2009 Reply

I remember that book from Jr. High School (1974)…I was tiny house minded way back then…LOL! Will have to get me a copy.

Alice - September 5, 2009 Reply

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.

dave - September 6, 2009 Reply

Free legal download of this book and also other books on human manure toilets. Old books on cooking, trapping , old time gardening. etc

Simple Living News Update: Week of September 7th - September 14, 2009 Reply

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