View Full Version : Prefab buildings

11-25-2006, 11:21 AM
I have heard of some folks building prefab structures that replace tents at reenactments, which is fabulous. Does anyone have pictures or information? I am wondering how big they are, how they are transported, if you bring furnishings, too, etc. , or if anyone sells plans for them.

Thank you, Joanna Jones

11-25-2006, 07:10 PM
A unit that is always at the Columbus Belmont Days in Oct has a couple. They are just big enough for two adult males to sleep in. The ones they have the bunks are like those found on a naval ship that are attached to the wall and fold down they have canvas roofs and are transported by flat bed truck. The truck has a tilt bed and a wrench that pulls them onto the bed. I think the unit is the 3rd Ky. If you are not in a hurry to put them together you should com to this event it is always the second weekend in Oct around Columbus Day. They are always there since the event is only miles away from there home town.

Mint Julep
11-25-2006, 09:54 PM
I've seen several of these over the years and no two seem to be alike. Most follow the basic plan of walls that pin together, but the size and shape vary. Most are scaled down and usually remind me of an oversized playhouse like you see in the back yard.

The one that seemed easiest to use was built with a soft wood that was planed down pretty thin to make it lighter. The four walls pinned together in the corners top and bottom. The front and back had "A" gable tops built in and were connected by a ridge pole across the top much like a tent. A canvas was stretched tight over the top for a roof. The rope beds connected to the wall and had four legs for stability. These beds were not antique, but made by the guy that built the house, so the whole thing worked together. He used a small stove in the back for heat and had a hole in the back for stove pipe. The thing had no windows.

He could take the thing apart in minutes and two guys could load a wall in the truck without assistance. A regular pickup truck could hold it easily.

Ms. Betts had a temporary home at RR2 that, as I recall, had two rooms and a wooden roof. I believe Beau Peep built that one onsite in the days prior the event with some prefab parts.

There was a photographer at RR2 with a "field studio" that was a large building in one open room, windows, a solid wood floor, and a large canvas roof designed to let in the light for the photographer.

11-27-2006, 07:03 AM
Dear Joe:

As I recall, at RR2 Ms. Vicki was staying in the dog-trot house, which was a premanent and I believe period, structure on the land.

The pre-fab house was made in Texas by the two folks who were living in it -- whose names escape me at the moment. It was made before the event in their back yard from the salvaged floor of an old gymnasium which had suffered extensive water damage and was being discarded by the town where they lived. They got the entire floor by agreeing to save the town the cost of hauling it off. They then cut it into walls and used (I think) angle iron to make a sort of "peg" arrangement to hold the walls together. It was a two room cabin, with a door and windows, but i don't think the windows had glass in them. They transported it in sections once it was disassembled in either a Uhaul truck or a trailer, I think the latter.

Not a small project, and unless you are very careful with materials, can easily be a pain to transport.

Karin Timour
Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
Warm. Durable. Documented.
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
Email: Ktimour@aol.com

11-27-2006, 03:00 PM
I have made a prefab building, we use it as our sutlery at events. When assembled it is 9'x13' with a canvas roof. It is made of 10 pannels which are pinned together and has a canvas roof. It has 4 windows (no glass) with shutters and 1 door. It tranports on a flat trailer or in our horse trailer. It takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to erect.

There are some pictures from inside it on our web page. See link below, feel free to contact us with any questions.


Mint Julep
11-27-2006, 09:44 PM

You were around it more than me, but I could have sworn it was her.

I can't find my pics from that event, but I still have the letter you wrote me in the middle of the night.


Jim Mayo
11-28-2006, 10:38 PM
Here are two types of huts my regiment constructed for a living history at Petersburg back in the early 80s. Sides were constructed from flooring nails to replacate cut nails and then bolted together with lag bolts. Ed Bears visited that weekend and remarked it was the first time he had been in a shebang. It is obvious that the hut in the second picture took more time to build than the ones in the first.

11-30-2006, 06:34 PM
Thanks to everyone for the inspiration. I decided that I'm not content with having built a rope bed that disassembles - now I want a house. Of course that means we need to buy a truck or van, now. My husband is rolling his eyes. He claims to be content with a blanket on the ground, but I have a feeling if I had a house with a bed he might decide being a civilian has certain advantages. Of course, he better never think about sneaking out of his camp to come join me - I'd turn him in! Joanna