North Dakota Vernacular Building



Dear Shelter Blog,

Attached, please find the photos I took of a German-Russian farmhouse ruin in SW North Dakota last September. It was most likely built in the early 20th century by German-Russian immigrants using local materials and deploying techniques they learned prior to their arrival in the U.S. Note the fieldstone covered with earthen stucco, wood shake roof, and straw insulation. Sadly, the generation that built these structures is long gone and there is no evidence they passed their building knowledge on. Even in its ruined state, this structure is still beautiful, owing to its natural materials and modest proportions.

To learn more about the efforts to restore the remaining examples of German-Russian structures in North Dakota, visit the Prairie Earth group on Facebook or Google Dr. Tom Isern, a historian at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

–Susan Nicholas

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