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HOMES ON THE PRAIRIE

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The Prairie Early Settlement The Great Wave Who Came What They Farmed, Dreamed
Trees to the Prairie The Balloon Frame The L Wheat Boom, Bust Death of the Dream

The L

L-house

L-house today

Typically, the prairie home consisted of two rectangles married in the shape of an L or a T. To step inside one of these houses and do a quick scan was to see pretty much all that there was to see in the way of a floor plan. A living room, a bedroom, a kitchen in the wing off the larger rectangle. A narrow staircase would lead to a couple of bedrooms conforming to the space below and the angles of the roof above.

After a few years in the house, and following a good planting of wheat, a farmer might erect a simple porch in the crotch between the angles of the rectangles. Some time later, he might add a second floor above the kitchen.

The house was most often set near the center of a farm's 160 acres, so that a farmer had the same walking distance to each of the four corners of the property. Windrows were planted to cut the westerly wind, which explains the inevitable clump of trees guarding prairies homes to this day.

Neighbors were welcome, but there was elbow room aplenty. Harvest time brought people together, as did church services, holidays, births, deaths, and fenceposts for gossip. The busiest door was the back one, which led to the barn. The busiest room was the kitchen, because it was the warmest and smelled of fresh baked bread. Families led lives of hard work and basic pleasures, entirely befitting the little L houses in which they lived.

NEXT: Wheat Boom/Wheat Bust


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Death of the Dream