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
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.
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.
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.
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