SOL Link: USII.2
The Great Plains Region
How did people’s perceptions and use of the Great Plains change after the Civil War?
How did people adapt to life in challenging environments?
Read this letter from a pioneer living on the Great Plains. The last 4 sections of the letter are of particular interest and a great example of people from this time period.
Elling Ohnstad's Sod House Homestead photographer Solomon Butcher poses with his own first
Examine the pictures below from the US Library of Congress, and answer the following questions:
- What do you notice about the terrain of the area? What advantages or disadvantages might the terrain offer for farming?
- What building materials appear to have been available to the homesteaders?
- In what proportion of the photographs do you see water (a lake, a stream, etc.)? What is the importance of that observation?
A very popular concept for many people, is the idea of the "untamed Wild West" where cattle ranches took up most of the space. In many minds the cowboys roam without any barbed wire fences in the way as they herd the cattle to the railroad. Once on the train, the cattle go to Chicago and the meatpacking factories. In reality, the "Age of the Cowboy" and wide open spaces was short lived. It's still fun to listen to the "Singing Cowboy" known as Roy Rogers - a popular Hollywood actor from the 1940s -1960s and imagine a time when the range was wide open.
Click on the videos and articles below for information on inventions and adaptions used by pioneers in the West or check out this page for information on all the inventions below. If the video is on YouTube, we will watch it in class.
Barbed Wire Steel Plow Dry Farming The Sod House
Beef Cattle Raising Growing Wheat on the Great Plains Windmills
Try this Fill-in activity on the Great Plains.
Game # 1 Great Plains 1
Game # 2 Great Plains 2
Game # 3 G.Plains Harder!
Game # 4 G.Plains Hardest!