Pioneer Housing

The Log House

Would you have liked to live in a log cabin back in the pioneer days?

Sounds fun, but life wasn’t always easy back then. Pioneers didn’t have all the modern comforts we have today. They had running water–if they built their home close to a running river or stream! Their homes were homemade cabins made with rough logs. The logs weren’t bought at a store, the pioneers had to go into the woods and cut them down, prepare them, and assemble them to make a house. Sometimes the logs were hand-worked–called hewn–into square shapes so they would fit together better when they were stacked on top of each other. Watch this video below to see how typical pioneer homes were built.

Today, many kids enjoy building their own miniature log cabins with toys called Lincoln Logs. These toys are notched dowel rods that resemble small logs. They’re supposedly named after Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and grew up in another log cabin in Indiana.

To see President Lincoln’s cabin in Indiana click here (don’t forget to come back here!)

Have you played with Lincoln Logs before? Here’s a picture if you haven’t.

The Pierre Navarre Cabin in Leeper Park, South Bend, Indiana

Want to try and experience pioneer life for yourself?

In the pioneer days, you would have probably had to walk a little way to get water. So, the next time you're thirsty go outside and walk around the block before getting a glass of water.
When it's time to do your homework:
Break out the candles! With your parents permission and help...shut off all the lights in your house, light one candle and sit down next to it and do your homework. Candles don't give off as much light as you think. Pioneers would have to make their own candles (and lots of them!) in order to see inside their cabin at night.

The Native American Home

Many times people think that all Native Americans lived in teepees. This is not true. Around our area most Native Americans lived in homes they made themselves called wigwams. They were fairly easy to build, take down, and rebuild when tribes moved from place to place. Want to know how to make one? Just watch this sped-up video of a group of students building a traditional wigwam.

Native Americans would also make a longer version of the wigwam and it was called a long-house. The homes would be covered with large pieces of bark off trees. They were also covered with furs, mats, and vertical rushes tied together. What are rushes? They are long tube-like plants that would provide good insulation when tied together-just like the ones used to cover the wigwam in the video.

Even though Native Americans around our area did not live in teepees (or tipi), it is interesting to see one set up. Watch the video to see how a traditional plains Indians set up their teepees.

Which one do you think is easier to build–the wigwam or the teepee?

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