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Henry David Thoreau's $28.12 house
 
By: Dan Miller

Content from 48days

Henry David Thoreau devoted himself to a simple lifestyle -- in an effort to...


“Simplify, simplify.” “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”


In his own words:

I have thus a tight shingled and plastered house, ten feet wide by fifteen long, and eight-feet posts, with a garret and a closet, a large window on each side, two trap doors, one door at the end, and a brick fireplace opposite. The exact cost of my house, paying the usual price for such materials as I used, but not counting the work, all of which was done by myself, was as follows; and I give the details because very few are able to tell exactly what their houses cost, and fewer still, if any, the separate cost of the various materials which compose them:--

  • Boards .......................... $ 8.03+, mostly shanty boards.

  • Refuse shingles for roof sides ... 4.00

  • Laths ............................ 1.25

  • Two second-hand windows
    with glass .................... 2.43

  • One thousand old brick ........... 4.00

  • Two casks of lime ................ 2.40
  • That was high.
    Hair ............................. 0.31
  • More than I needed.
    Mantle-tree iron ................. 0.15

  • Nails ............................ 3.90

  • Hinges and screws ................ 0.14

  • Latch ............................ 0.10

  • Chalk ............................ 0.01

  • Transportation ................... 1.40 I carried a good part
    ------- on my back.


In all ...................... $28.12+


These are all the materials, excepting the timber, stones, and sand, which I claimed by squatter's right. I have also a small woodshed adjoining, made chiefly of the stuff which was left after building the house.
I intend to build me a house which will surpass any on the main street in Concord in grandeur and luxury, as soon as it pleases me as much and will cost me no more than my present one.



http://www.transcendentalists.com/walden_economy.htm




 

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