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Although Anaktuvuk Pass has half a dozen sod-covered houses, only one is still occupied. Situated in the middle of town, it is a log cabin constructed of logs hewn flat on three sides and lapped at the corners. Measuring about 15 feet square and covered with sod, it was built in 1960 at a site about 25 miles south of Anaktuvuk, and moved to this site shortly after. At that time, a second room, about 14 feet by 15 feet, was added to the first. The house is semisubterranean, set about 1½ feet to 3 feet into the ground. The gable roof has a ridgepole and two purlins, on which are closely laid rafters, hewn flat on one side, supporting canvas on which sod was piled. The floor was composed of end panels from gas crates. The door was small, about 2½ feet by 4½ feet.

After having sat vacant for a few years, the house was renovated by the present resident. He replaced a few rafters, then laid corrugated aluminum roofing on top, and sod on top of that. He also built a plywood arctic entry and replaced the flooring with plywood. He insulated the roof on the inside and put a vapor barrier and a new covering on the interior walls. The house is one of the last inhabited sod-covered dwellings in Alaska.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland



Alison K. Hoagland, "House", [Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 260-260.

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