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Memory Mondays – Small Settler Homes

This month’s #MemoryMondays are featuring small settler homes! These very small houses were built by early Saskatchewan settlers as temporary shelters until they could build larger, more permanent homes. When made of sod they would be called sod houses or “soddies” while wooden constructions were frequently referred to as “shacks.”

These four photos all come from the WDM’s Barton Collection of photos, which document multiple generations of one family on a farm near Saskatoon. These photos date to between 1903 and 1908.

To get a feeling for how small some of these homes could be, check out the sod house in the WDM Saskatoon or the settler’s home in the WDM Yorkton!

This photo was taken in 1907 or 1908 and shows a group of people sitting in front of a small wood shack. The photo references one of the men being hired help for the farm.

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This 1908 photo shows the interior of one of these shacks with a bed tucked into one corner. The walls appear to be plastered making it difficult to tell if it’s made of mostly wood or sod.

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Taken in 1904, this photo shows a small sod house in the middle of the prairie. Two people are standing in the door, which gives a sense of how small this house was.

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Though this photo was taken in 1903 the notes on the photo emphasize that the shack was built many years earlier, likely in the 1880s. The walls of the house are wood but the roof appears to be sod.

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