Underground — 13 Comments

  1. I learn so much about this city from you I think kin​dad​if​fer​ent​.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.

  11. I have some infor­ma­tion about two earth bermed homes in MN that have not been list­ed or talked about yet: The first one is locat­ed just out­side of For­est Lake. I had a chance to go inside this home back in 2015. This home was very nice and although I did not specif­i­cal­ly ask the own­er at the time, he nev­er men­tioned any trou­ble with the home. I believe it was built in the late 70s or ear­ly 80s.

    There is also an earth bermed home in Men­do­ta Heights. Although I was nev­er inside this home, I did get to speak with the own­er on the phone. He is the orig­i­nal own­er and said he nev­er had any issues that some sim­i­lar homes have had. This home was built in the late 70s and the gen­tle­man I spoke with still lives in it.

  12. Hi Robin, wel­come to the con­ver­sa­tion. Thanks very much for the updates. I’d like to hear more, if you’d email me pri­vate­ly (check under the About menu item).

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