Tiny Homes are a part of a movement towards a simpler, less expensive, existence, but if you are following the blogs, Pinterest board and the like, it becomes apparent that true simplicity is an uncomfortable ideal for we still tend to get drawn back toward complexity and our familiar comforts.
In Helen (Beckley), West Virginia in the 1920’s coal miners, single or married and living away for the week, would live in one room “Bachelor Shanties” and when you visit the museum there you can see one as it was lived in. As it says on the sign, this was truly an example of living with only the bare necessities. The “Tiny Homes” of today are luxurious!
I am not good at estimating measurements, but I think I would be fair to say that this shanty is no more than 80 square feet, if that.
This sign shows an actual photograph of the inside of a miner’s shanty (bottom) and (at the top) the mining camp with miner’s houses for those who lived there with their families.
A more specific description of the miner’s shack and his situation.
And outside view of the shanty. That washtub hanging outside was used for washing themselves and for washing clothes.
A peep inside. If you look up near the top of the picture, you can just see a single light bulb, although they would not have had them at that time, thus the kerosene lantern on the shelf above the stove. In the top left corner of the picture is a cast iron wooden-match holder hanging on the wall for lighting the lantern and the stove. There is a luxury/necessity in sight – a rug on the floor. The walls and ceiling are of old-style bead-board.
Now you can see in. It’s completely basic. The washpan on the wall would be for washing dishes. A coal stove (with a small coal shovel) for cooking and heating with some cookware on the wall and on the stove. A few dishes, some utensils in a pitcher and a Bible. A rocker, 2 chairs and a bed can be seen. In the corner is a washstand for shaving / basic upper body cleaning (see the mirror above it?). You can also see another touch of home – homemade curtains at the windows.
From this angle you can just see a chamber pot on the floor next to the stove. Yes, that is the toilet. I didn’t ask where they had to take it to empty it everyday. You can see a suitcase at the end of the bed.