October 11, 2011

Can you imagine?

Imagine leaving your home country to begin a new life. After many long miles to the Kansas Smoky Valley and a vast prairie, digging a hole and gathering indigenous building materials-
Here is your new home:

(Originally published in the 1991 Svensk Hyllningsfest program booklet.)
by Scott Fredrickson and Nancy B. Peterson:

“If you look in the American Heritage Dictionary, you will find the word dugout described as "a pit dug into the ground or on a hillside and used as a shelter."
Although the definition is simple, it says much about early life in the Smoky Valley. If walls and rocks and piles of dirt and debris could talk, we might have the opportunity to learn much about life in rural Lindsborg more than a hundred years ago.
Many of the early settlers spent their first months in dugouts, popular shelters on the prairie. As soon as they could construct more permanent dwellings, the early dugouts became basements, fruit cellars, even dumps. Such is the case of the Hoglund dugout, located just west of Lindsborg."

"Gustaf and Maria Höglund, a young husband and wife from Fernebo, Sweden, created their first home in a simple pit, or dugout, about 6 ft. x 12 ft. in the summer of 1868. They used their wagon as a roof. They lived in the dugout for two years as they built a larger stone structure adjoining the shelter. The dugout and a small part of a corner wall of the larger house remain."

Northeast edge of the Dugout site.

Wild asters near the site.

 "This dugout is not handicap accessible!" 
I was reminded again of the stout Swedish settlers who dug, hauled, sweated, bled, cried, prayed, lived and died to make a place in Kansas to call home- a home I can appreciate and love even more because of the determination and sacrifices of many immigrants!

Learn more about it!


Olivia said...

Wow! 2 years in a dugout with a wagon as a roof!!! I can't imagine!

TAB said...

They had to have a sense of humor to live like that, I'd imagine. I am sure there was some grumbling as well. Lots!
This is encouraging to me, though, to be thankful for what I have. Especially compared to that simple dugout.

tsbjf said...

At the Johnsons' (Paul & Robin), their house is over the original homestead--the original Johnson dugout! It is amazing that people lived like that, but they were hardy, they did what they needed to do to survive. Amazing to think about going through Kansas winters like that though.

Laurie said...

Joanne-Oh! I've been out to the Johnson's, but I'd forgotten about the dugout! What an unusual blessing for family to still live on the original site!
Yes. The Kansas winters AND summers would have been hard to weather in a dugout. I'm thankful for conveniences these days!