Mandan Council House

 

 

 

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By Dan Beard

tbp127.gif (3230 bytes)
Fig. 127

The Mandan Ridge-Pole

After the hardships of a wilderness trip up near Hudson Bay in search of fresh ideas for you boys, the writer is glad to get back to his own camp at Wild Lands, on Big-Tik Pond, Pike County, Pennsylvania, where he may work in the woods, even if he has not time to play there.  Work and play, however, are the same thing under different names, for play is doing a thing because you want to do it, and work is doing the same thing because you must do it. 

In his books for the boys the writer always tries to remember the things he wanted to do when he himself was a lad, but things which he often failed to do, because there was no one writing for boys then on these topics, and older people did not give much time to superintending boys' play. It is safe to say that no boy who has read Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, etc., has not, as he closed these books, given a sigh and wished for a desert island, or at least a cave house, and there is no good reason why he should not have a cave house. Most boys have made attempts to dig caves, but this is dangerous work, for the bank is very apt to cave in on the workers, and does so somewhere in the country every year.

To do away with this real danger the Founder designed and put in his Jack of All Trades the first working drawings of an underground club-house ever published; but since then other writers, lacking inventive skill, have used the author's underground house designs as their own, and published them for the boys, so now it is "up to" the author to furnish a new set of designs, and here they are:

This Camp, Den, or Mandan Council

can be built in the woods, a vacant lot, or a city backyard, as the case may be. If your Fort has access to the woods and open country, cut two crotched or forked sticks like those shown by E and F in Fig. 127. Dig two holes two or three feet in the ground --the deeper the better--and set the poles in them, hammering the ground down tightly about them so that they will be firm and rigid; then cut a ridge-pole (A B, Fig. 127) and place it in the crotches as shown in the diagram. To make

The Sides

tbp128.gif (10360 bytes)
Fig. 128. 
The Frame of a Mandan

cut a goodly number of poles (G G G, Fig. 128) and lay them up against the ridge-pole, as shown in the diagram (Fig. 128).

To make the sides firm, force the lower ends of the G poles into the ground; or, if the ground is too rocky, place a row of big stones at the base of the side or G poles, to prevent them from spreading out at their base and slipping from the ridge-pole. 

tbp129.gif (4837 bytes)
Fig. 129.
The Mandan's Rear Alcove

At the back end of the shack make a half--circle on the X Y (Fig. 129), and set up a number of poles with their upper ends resting against the A B stick, or ridge--pole, and in the fork of the E stick, or upright, with their lower ends pushed into the ground on the half-circle mark (Fig. 129). It is only necessary to

Cover the Frame

tbp130.gif (5962 bytes) 
Fig. 130.
Two Ways to Cover the Aides

with a thatch of balsam boughs, straw, hay, or bark to transform it into a good camp. To thatch with balsam or other boughs it is necessary to have some poles nailed on horizontally, as L L (Fig. 130), or some smaller green sticks woven in and out of the G sticks, basket fashion, as M M (Fig. 130). Begin at the bottom as you would in shingling a house, and weave in the green boughs as shown by K (Fig. 130). 

Overlapping these put another row of thatching, and so on until the top is reached. Do the same with the opposite side, and the camp is covered ready for occupancy. If you are so very fortunate as to be in a real wild country, where big pieces of green bark of spruce or birch may be obtained from lumber camps, or any other bark which may be removed in big pieces, then you can

Shingle the Shack with Bark

Begin at the bottom, and place the pieces of bark (H H, Fig. 130) so that the end of one piece overlaps the end of the other. When the bottom row is finished, put on another row in the same manner, with their ends overlapping each other and their bottoms overlapping the first row, and so on until the top is reached. 

Hold the bark in place by laying heavy poles against them, as shown in Fig. 130. Do the other side the same way, and cover the top or sides by another row of pieces overlapping the top rows of each side.

tbp131.gif (4688 bytes)
Fig. 131.
Two Ways of Fixing the Roof-Tree for a Board Roof

But if your Fort is in the city or town you can use such material as the town affords, and make your ridge-pole (A B) of two-by-four timber notched at each end, as shown by A1 A1 (Fig. 131), to fit on the top of the upright E and to be firmly nailed in place. Or a plank may be nailed, with its edge upward, to the upright E, as shown by A2 (Fig. 131), and the sides made of boards (G1 G1 G1, Fig. 131). 

Any sort of lumber can be used for the G Siding, and covered with old tin roofing, oil-cloth, or anything which will prevent the water from leaking through the cracks.

tbp132.gif (11034 bytes)
Fig. 132.
All Done--Lots of Fun

To make a cave of one of these shacks it is necessary to cover the brush, boards, or thatch with sods, clay, and dirt, as in Fig. 132. A hole is left at A for a chimney.

The fireplace is made directly under the chimney hole, so that the smoke may ascend and go out of the chimney. The ends of the sticks at A (Fig. 129) will not interfere with the passage of the smoke, and may be left inside the chimney.

If grass seed, weeds, or flowers are planted on the dirt-covered shack, they will grow, and the Mandan council-house will look like a green mound of earth or a garden.

If you make a cave-house of Fig. 131, cover the sides with any old thing you can find, like pieces of canvas, oilcloth, tin, sheet-iron, or carpet laid over your green boughs; then hay, straw, grass, dry leaves, or a thick layer of small green boughs with the leaves on them, and over this put your sods and dirt.

Make the entrance (Fig. 132) in the same manner as you make the main structure, as shown by the dotted lines in the diagram.

To make a cave of one of these shacks, cover the thatching with sods or clay, over which put a layer of fine dirt and plant it thickly with grass seed, grain, or any cheap, quick-growing plants; even weeds may be used to conceal the house and give it the appearance of a mound. 

This kind of work needs more than one boy's labor, and is best built by a club of boys like a Fort of the Sons of Daniel Boone. Such a club must have a constitution, and the reader will find one here suited to his needs as an out-door lad or a Buckskin boy of America.

The Boy Pioneers

 

 

   

 

 


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Peer- Level Topic Links:
Adirondack Lean-To ] Bark Teepee ] Beaver-Mat Huts ] Boys' Den ] Boy's Gym ] Daniel Boone Fort ] Covered Council Ring ] Dixie ] Fallen-Tree, Peel Bark ] Half-Cave Shelter ] Indian Communal ] Indian Shelters ] Lean-To: Wilderness ] Log Tents ] [ Mandan Council House ] Mossback ] Newbrunswick ] North Woods ] Old Tents ] Pole House ] Pontiac ] Racks and Wrinkles ] Red Jacket ] 12' Tepee Plans ] Wire Kens ] Woodcraft Cabin ] Woodcraft Stone Cabin ] Woodcraft Outhouse ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.