An All-Cement Chicken House


As the co-editor of a blog that has way too many subjects for its own good, I take great comfort in the eclecticism of Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Magazine. In the pages of the Craftsman you’ll find poems by Carl Sandburg, and critiques of Maxim Gorky next to practical tips on the construction of chicken coops.

As to this particular coop, from a 1916 issue, I agree that, “Beauty certainly cannot be claimed.” And the production of concrete is an environmental nightmare so I, personally, would not build a concrete chicken coop. But the anonymous architect of this coop should get a few points for coop innovation.

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  1. I spent one high-school summer in the cold, cold libraries of Goddard Space Flight Center, looking up old popular-science magazine articles on solar eclipses. That was a bizarre summer job!

    One of the things I remember is that the 1920s were a time in which being “an inventor” was the fad, and ads promising to make people the next Thomas Edison were big — like ads telling people you could be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs today.

    At any rate, there were lots of little articles like this about “modern” technology. One article described how Thomas Edison had just invented concrete furniture for your home: you could have a china closet or a bureau made of concrete, thanks to Edison!

    I also remember the car-safety ads (then as now, with women touting the safety aspects). “A metal framed car is so much easier to see out of than a car with wooden supports!” Sheesh.

    Your post brings back a blast from my own past, as well as from our country’s past!

    • MM, You are so right to connect this coop to Edison. I had forgotten about Edison’s concrete house idea and did not know that he even wanted to mold all the furniture and built in cabinets in the same concrete pour! Interestingly, Stickley’s Craftsman Magazine has an article on a San Diego architect named Irving Gill who did really beautiful concrete houses. I had the privilege, many years ago, of editing a documentary on Gill.

  2. I tell you I’m tempted. It could easily be made rat snake proof! (The last few years I’ve had major issues with rat snakes including killing adult chickens. The slimed head and neck were the giveaway.)

    But this year I have a new hawk around and it’s getting the chickens. So I’m facing having to lock them up in a roofed enclosure. I miss the previous hawks. Sigh.

  3. I must be missing something — how can a cement house with a floor, ceiling and only 3 walls be vermin proof? Vermin around here wouldn’t just give up with one whole wall wide open.

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