Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/239

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THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT

will protect with their lives, but to one who "lives in the open," no truer or more loyal friend can be found than in these rough men of the hills. Frugal, but hospitable to the extreme, they take great pleasure in the entertainment, in their humble way, of strangers who may chance among them.

Many of the homesteaders in this region after struggling along for a number of years, often facing death through cold or starvation, were compelled to relinquish their claims and leave the hills. So to-day one may find in many places the old dilapidated "soddy" and the scrubby, straggling timber claims of those who gave up the fight. On the other hand, many of those who managed to stay in the region have prospered. The sod shanty was for many years the characteristic habitation of the homesteader's family. This home was added to from time to time until a rather low, three-or four-roomed house of sod with plastered walls afforded much more comfort than the old conditions. At first the roof was also made of sod, but in later years the board or tar-paper roof has been substituted for the leaky sod. Those who have gone into the hills in the past few years and have taken claims under the Kincaid act have commonly built shacks of rough boards. Many of the older residents of the Sand Hills have lived for a number of years in very comfortable frame houses with most of the conveniences of the common farm house. Even the cement block has invaded the hills, and now there are numerous ranches with cement-block homes and round about the many other well-constructed buildings of the up-to-date ranch. Thus the development of the civilization and the architecture of the Sand Hills has passed through a number of periods in many ways as interesting and as remarkable as the evolution of the landscape and the vegetation of this great pasture domain.