Scenic USA - Oklahoma

McCully Sod House

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McCully Sod House - Aline, Oklahoma

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   In an area with a limited number of trees and commonly arriving with very little money,McCully Sod House - Exterior Oklahoma pioneers quickly covered the plains with thousands of buffalo grass sod houses. When the Oklahoma territory was opened for settlement on September 16, 1893, hundreds of settlers streamed across the land looking for the perfect site to establish a new life. Marshall McCully took part in the run into Cherokee Outlet, stopping in Jet, Timberlake Springs and finally settling in Aline. That fall McCully lived in a "dugout", a hollowed out room in a ravine. Arriving with 25 cents and a two cent stamp to his name, McCully hitched his team to an 18 inch plow and split open a half acre of buffalo grass. The sod was then chopped into 18 inch lengths. With these sod bricks, McCully erected a 12' x 24' two room house. From the few trees in the area, McCully Sod House - Aline OKsplit poles were used as rafters and twelve inches of sod were laid over the top for a roof. From a nearby alkali pit, clay was used to plaster the 18 inch interior walls. Most homes had a dirt floor, but the Aline sod home received a wood floor cover in 1895. Sod houses were cool in the summer and easy to heat in the winter, but the ceilings rained down dirt, insects and snakes. Ceilings were covered in cloth and often the covering was just a collection of old flour sacks.
   There's no explanation why the McCully house survived, but today it is protected indoors at the Sod House Museum. The McCully family lived in the home from 1894 until 1909 when a large two story frame home was built. In 1963, the Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the home, the last soddy built by an Oklahoma pioneer.

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