Tiny houses truly do come in a number of sizes and shapes. From tiny houses on wheels to houseboat to yurts to high wall tents, there is a tiny house out there for almost every situation. The same was true even at the turn of the 20th century when the Pacific Northwest saw significant numbers of settlers looking for a new life. However, the journey from moving towards the Northwest to a peaceful life in the serene woodlands wasn’t an easy endeavor.
The settlers had to instantly confront the dark dense woodlands while also fighting against the large timber and logging outfits to find enough timber to build houses and other structures as expansionists had to. Because of the incredible amount of forest harvesting being done at the time most of what was left behind was scrap wood, rotten logs, and extremely large stumps. It is important to remember the the types of trees being logged ranged from giant Sequoias as low as Sacramento, CA to Douglas Firs in Oregon. This seemingly unusable wood is what because a form of recycling, reusing, and repurposing, on an incredible scale.
Some of these stumps are reported to be as tall as 10 feet high with girth from 18 feet to 27 feet! The settlers saw vast amounts of farmland just waiting to be cultivated but somehow they had to work out a way to clear the land first. The towering stumps could prove to be unsurmountable. They would either have to be burnt out or somehow rooted out, and cleared. There was no other way to lay out orchards, crop rows, and allow for livestock grazing.
Ingenuity soon took over though and some settlers starting learning to live with the stumps rather than work around them. They built roofs over them and began hollowing them out.
A favorite stump house was the cedar stump which proved to be safe, well insulated, and could grow to 27 feet in diameter. This was perfect until a family could put together more planed and ideal lumber for a “proper” house. The stump would then take on a different purpose as a roof on the top and a gate or a window on the side, was perfect for a chicken coop, goat shed, or even horse stall. The stumps kept the animals safe from predators such as bear, bobcats, and even raccoons.
Over the past few years and with the wide-spread acceptance of the modern tiny house movement there seems to be a bit of a stump house Renaissance. In northern California where logging is still rather predominant, some enterprising modern explorers have turned leftover stumps into modern shelters complete with solar energy and second stories!
The hollowed out stump house above – carved by Noel Wotten – is an example of what is possible within the walls of a tree.
The homes were certainly suitable for the pioneers of the Pacific Northwest and could again be the trendiest thing in tiny houses.
What do you think about stump homes? Would you live in one? Would you be willing to do the work involved to fully inhabit one? Let us know in the comments section.