History Culture Architecture
Germans from Russia Housing Construction
The following electronic message was received from Arthur E.
Park, California, sent to Sharon Leigh at the University of Indiana.
15 September 2005
Since lumber was apparently more plentiful along the Volga River,
I am not
aware that they used sod as a building material which was common
Black Sea Area.
I clearly recall my mother describing their method of preparing
with straw to give it stability and letting it dry for a given
period of time
until it became very firm. It was then cut into approximately
6x10 blocks and
stacked for drying. It when it had become nearly as hard as rocks,
ready for use as building material. This process was called the
"batzen" which is a German word for clumps of mud. After
was completed in house form, it would be white washed, giving
it a very
satisfactory appearance. Incidentally, the floors were also of
hardened clay soil which could be swept and was very commonly
with fine river sand on Saturdays.
It would require research to determine if this process originally
Germany, or if it was learned from the idigenous Russians. It
may have been
the latter. However, there is also some evidence that sod was
used for the indigent peasants' huts in Germany.
This same practise took place on the western praries of the USA
was also very scarce and people were existing on very limited
when they had established incomes and savings accounts, they quite
began to construct houses of wood.
Trust this may provide further insight on your question.
Arthur E. Flegel
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