October 1940. "Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, coming out of his dugout home at Pie Town
, New Mexico."
4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee. Another example of the dugout-style structure used for the homesteader dwellings and church
in the Dead Ox Flat photos. Before industry and technology gave us sawmills and frame houses, this is how the average person lived in much of the world. The dugout or pit house, with sod roof, log walls and earthen floor, is among the most ancient of human dwellings -- at some point in history your ancestors lived in one. Especially popular among 19th-century settlers in the Great Plains and deserts of the West and Southwest, where trees and other building materials were scarce, dugouts were warmer in winter and cooler in summer than above-ground structures; just about anywhere in North America the ground temperature three feet down is 55 degrees regardless of the season. [Addendum: This picture was taken using Kodachrome sheet film (5 inches by 4 inches) and (probably) a Graflex Speed Graphic press camera. The image you see here was scanned from the positive transparency itself, not a print.] | Click image for Comments.