An article from "A Centennial History of Morland and Community"
1881 - 1981

At least Three Sod Houses Still Stand in Kansas

     Morland, Kansas, Nov. 30, 1950 - Graham County came up with prompt refutation - two examples, in fact - when a Kansas columnist recently wrote that "the last sod house, a familiar fixture on the homesteads in the pioneer days of Western Kansas, recently was vacated. It is located near Oakley in Logan County."

     "There are very few old sod houses left standing in the country today, but Graham County still has at least two," Jan Meyer wrote in the Morland Monitor. One of them still is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Gene Desbien and children. Made partly of sod, then faced with stucco, it stands on the former Custine farm in Pioneer township in the northeast part of the county.

     The other sod house in Graham County, was vacated a few months ago by the Fay Kline family. This house, built by Chelmar Teel in 1910, has three rooms of sod, with a large frame addition at the back. Shown below, the sod section, 15x32 feet, and eight feet high, has four windows and two outside doors.

Sod House Built in 1910!
Image Sod House
     The walls are about two feet thick and in good condition, except at one corner where cattle have rubbed against it since the place was vacated. The shingle roof appears as if it once had been covered with tin.

     The inside of the "soddie" is papered with a light, gray pattern and all the woodwork is painted white. The board floors are in good condition.

     "When you find a friend and one that is true, change not the old one for the new."


Morland, Kansas, Nov. 7 -- One of the few remaining sod houses in Kansas located near this Graham County town in the northwestern part of the state is slowly being worn away by the ravages of nature.

Sod House Built in 1902!
Image Sod House
     Built in 1902 by Chalmer Teel, who now lives at Winchester, Kansas and Sam Kline, who lives here, the sod house is located fifteen miles northwest of here and has been billed as a major attraction for tourists visiting Kansas.
Occupied Until 1946

The Teels were the original occupants of the house. They lived there several years until the Sam Klines occupied it. A son of Sam Kline, Fay Kline of Morland, his wife and daughter lived in it until 1946 when they moved to a more modern home.

     Fay Kline said it made a comfortable home with low upkeep costs and this it was cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than conventional houses.

     The elder Kline, who now is 81 years old, migrated to Kansas in 1878 and helped build several sod houses, the one near here being the last one built purely for housekeeping purposes.

Hoped to Preserve It

     In May of this year the Hill City Chamber of Commerce leased the sod house and a plot of ground surrounding it from Fay Kline with the intent of preserving it as a historical monument. However, to date, no action has been taken to repair the house which is slowly crumbling.

     Should the old sod house wear away, however, this county will still not be without a structure of sod as A. T. Sanger of Morland is now building such a structure adjacent to an irrigation lake he recently completed one mile north of town. The building will not be a home, but merely a tool shed and a shelter in case of storm - Kansas City Star, November 8, 1953

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