Description of the Construction of an Algonquin Lodge (House)
The typical Algonquian lodge of the woods and lakes was oval, and the conical lodge,
made of sheets of birch-bark, also occurred. The Mohegan, and to some extent the Virginia
Indians, constructed long communal houses which accommodated a number of families.
The dwelings in the N. were sometimes built of logs, while those in the aand parts of the
W. were constructed of saplings fixed in the ground, bent over at the top, and covered with
movable matting, thus forming a long, round- roofed house. The Delawares and some other
eastern tribes, preferring to live separately, built smaller dwellings. The manner of
construction among the Delawares is thus described by Zeisberger: "They peel trees,
abounding with sap, such as lime trees, etc., then cutting the bark into pieces of 2 or 3
yards in length, they lay heavy stones upon them, that they may become flat and even
in drying. The frame of the hut is made by driving poles into the ground and strengthening
them by cross beams. This framework is covered, both within and without, with the above-
mentioned pieces of bark, fastened very tight with bast or twigs of hickory, which are
remarkably tough. The roof runs up to a ridge, and is covered in the same manner.
These huts have one opening in the roof to let out the smoke and one in the side for an
entrance. The door is made of a large piece of bark without either bolt or lock, a stick
leaning against the outside being a sign that nobody is at home. The light enters by small
openings furnished with sliding shutters." The covering was some- times rushes or long
reed grass. The houses of the Illinois are described by Hennepin as being "made with long arbors" and covered with double mats of flat flags. Those of the
Chippewa and the Plains tribes were circular or conical, a framework covered with bark
among the former, a frame of movable poles covered with dressed skins amongthe latter.
The villages, especially along the Atlantic coast, were frequently surrounded with stock-
ades of tall, stout stakes firmly set in the ground. A number of the western Algonquian
towns are described by early explorers as fortified or as surrounded with palisades.