Tag Archives: “Earth Sheltered”

Thanks for the links


Posted on November 27, 2013 by

Earth Sheltered Links

Here are a few new links to look at.  There have actually been a few in Houzz lately, but I lost the specific links…  Maybe I will find them again another time.

Kentfield House from Houzz.com

Kentfield House from Houzz.com


Messy Nessy Blogs about offbeat and unique things, including Earth Sheltered Homes.  Here are two articles that were shared recently on the Malcolm Wells Yahoo group, but I think you can find more on the site if you dig around a bit..

RockHouses_EnglandThis first one is about Englands abandoned Rock Houses.  It appears that these homes were abandoned after hundreds of years of continuous use due to shutdown of the local industry.  Many believe this underground villiage inspired Tolkein to include them in The Hobbit.  The very old homes are still in great shape, although some are inhabited by endangered bats.



And this second one is about a hand-dug underground home and garden in California known as the Forestiere Gardens.  The owner dug subway tunnels in NY at the end of the 19th century.  He found the surface of Fresno to harsh (this was before air conditioning), so he started digging in his spare time.  On his own, and without power tools, he dug out an estate of nearly 100 rooms, passageways and courtyards covering 10 acres.


TerradomeThis one is for a partially built earth sheltered home in California…  This typical Terra-dome home is more bunker than beauty (to each his own), but the site is still interesting for seeing the construction process.  Its also for sale, if you want to live in that area.



Posted on June 23, 2012 by

There are lots of interesting examples of earth shelters throughout history, many are still lived in around the world.

Not sure what "Alternate Text" means, this is to test and see.

The Mandan Earth Lodge was the permanent home. The TeePee was just for hunting expeditions during good weather…

Even here in the USA, the Mandan indians of Dakota, famous for their mobile Tee-Pees, used earth sheltered dwellings as their permanent homes.

Imagine whole villages of these things…



Imagine explorers finding whole villages of earth sheltered homes…

After the natives were displaced by settlers, earth sheltered homes continued to be popular for the same reasons.

The Laura Ingalls Dugout on the banks of Plumb Creek, 1874, MN.

In 1874-6, Laura Ingalls (Wilder) lived in a Dugout (before moving to Iowa after three years of crop failure).  She used her memories of Plum Creek to write “On the Banks of Plumb Creek”.

This sod dugout was built in Nebraska, 1890. The wagon parked on the roof has a load of Sod.

This dougout was built on South Loup River in 1890.  You can get more info from “Mother Earth News“…

Other Homes

Posted on June 23, 2012 by

I am certainly not the first person to think that it would be a good idea to live underground.  Most primitive cultures figured out that a cave or earth covered dwelling had many benefits.  Even today, many cultures around the world (particularly those in dry areas with extreme climate and a shortage of wood) still consider this to be the most reasonable way to build a home.  I will slowly add “History” and “Around the World” pages under this one…  Find them in the Pages tree in the side bar or under the pull downs at the top of the page.

Bugs was always safest in his underground home

The quaint earth sheltered home of Alfred the Hedgehog

Fiction also has its share of earth sheltered living.  Tolkien is famous for his Hobbit and Jules Verne had “The Undeground City“.   Kids are comfortable with earth sheltered homes because so many kids shows (telletubbies) (Franklin) (Alfred Hedgehog) (Fraggle Rock) feature them.  Bugs Bunny was always safest in his underground home.  To be fair, these underground homes were chosen because these characters were based on animals (even made up ones) that lived underground, but I still enjoy seeing them.  Ironically, The Flintstones lived in a 50’s style, above grade, ranch house (I guess they were primitive)…  Still, it was made from stone and had cave like interiors, so it sort of counts.   Actually, Dick Clark is famous for living in a Flintstones style home, but I guess it would be a stretch to call it an earth sheltered home… Of course, Batman and Bond villains always lived in underground homes.  I think it was in one of the “Agent Cody Banks” movies (I have young children) that I saw an underground “lair” that had a central column and concrete ribs similar to the structure planned for my own home…

Here in North America, it was common to find earth sheltered homes in the 19th century and even with the natives before that.   I am convinced that if not for our easy access to cheap energy, more of us would still be living that way today.   However, even thought their neighbors think they are a bit strange, there are many of these earth sheltered homes around the country.  Most are successful, others were spectacular failures.   I plan to add sub pages about some of those efforts also.  You can also find some interesting examples on the “Links” page.


Very old stone and earth bermed buildings with sod over the roofs are not uncommon in northern Europe.