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Underground — 11 Comments

  1. I learn so much about this city from you I think kindadifferent.net is a great education about the Twin Cities. Thank you for taking the time to do this. You are a great neighbor!!

  2. Thanks, Nancy! Exploring the Cities helps me over the hump of getting acclimated here. I’m happy to share what surprises and delights me, and glad you enjoy it.

  3. Thanks Mark, I’ll have to get out there when it reopens in the spring to see the log-and-sod cabin. Sod makes the ultimate bermed house: all berm and no wood. Of course in the places where the natives and, later, land-grant immigrants built soddies, there weren’t many trees or much else besides prairie.

  4. I wonder if these structures weren’t so popular in Minnesota because our frost goes so deep in the winter. And we need lots of light here just to keep spirits up!

  5. Pat, the light / depression axis has to be part of it. Even normal windows don’t bring in much light at this time of year here in the Vitamin D Deprivation Belt. The bermed houses in the New Mexico high desert, with open courtyards facing south, allow plenty of light.

    Frost line: good point. In Massachusetts it’s 2 feet; here it seems to be 3′ 6″. The berms on both Minneapolis structures profiled are deeper than that.

  6. There is an underground home near Hinkley, MN, that we always pass on our way to my family’s cabin. It is at the NE corner of Two Rivers Road and Dahl Road (County Highway 18) just to the west of Hinkley. You can see the south-facing front somewhat using Google Street View. This side of the building has an interesting “cowl” or overhang. My dad said it was likely designed to keep the house cooler in the summer by blocking the higher-angled sun but capture passive solar radiation during the winter when the sun is lower in the sky. I’ve always wondered what it was like on the inside.

  7. Hi Keith, you’re doing exactly what I did and if you’d like, you can always go back on my timeline on Facebook for the past 3 years or so. I post photos and facts of Minnesota every single day. Then I go see the stuff I’m talking about. Makes an outsider well-informed and part of the fabric. You’ll be a Minnesotan in no time! Anyway, I craned my neck one day driving in West Bloomington, I believe on either 94th or 90th St. I thought I saw an underground house and kept trying to make out exactly what it was. Perhaps sometime you and Katharyn and I can drive the streets of West Bloomington and do some house viewing. Could be fun!

  8. Thanks, Brian, your timeline is indeed a rich source, and I may just mine it for inspiration in days to come (with credit of course). And as for the drive around West Bloomington: say when!

  9. Any more details about the location and present conditions of the bermed house in Shakopee, MN? We are in search of it because we live in Shakopee and have it on our hearts to research Earth bermed houses. Any information would be great.

  10. Lucas, I did a bit of searching and couldn’t find any more about that Shakopee house. The link in the blog post indicates it was built in 1977 and designed by one Joe Topic. I see indications that someone with that name has been resident in Shakopee since the 1920s: possibly three generations. Do you know that name? My best suggestion would be to get in touch with him; perhaps he is still living in the house of interest.

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