James K. Radke

Photos © James Radke, all rights reserved

Ozark Giraffe

An Ozark Giraffe house

An Ozark Giraffe house. I will be posting images of Ozark Giraffe architecture. Initially the photos will be from in and around the Springfield area and as the project expands I will travel to nearby towns in Missouri and Arkansas to highlight this unique Ozark vernacular.

The following explanation of Ozark Giraffe was found on the California Route 66 Association website

The Ozarks were probably the origin of a colorful building style commonly encountered along Route 66. Often called Ozark giraffe. these slab-rock dwellings are a 20th-century variation on the older cobblestone house tradition. The technique may have been based on the cement-and-gravel wall construction method promulgated in the late 19th century. Ozark giraffe houses became especially popular in rural areas in the 1930s when agricultural extension bulletins depicted and encouraged the use of the technique. Slab-rock building was a true folk craft passed on with local and personal adaptations. The flat, smooth slices of rock embedded in cement were an economical use of indigenous material, which was mostly limestone that split easily. Often the use of stone and concrete went beyond veneer and was structural as well. In some rock-faced houses, the walls are formed of a pasty cement mixture combined with pebbles, then poured into wooden forms, with flat, smooth slices of rock embedded in cement on the exterior. In other examples, standard frame construction is covered with rock slabs. In Missouri this was sometimes used as a way of stabilizing and rebuilding existing frame houses that were deteriorating. The finest examples of this building style, such as the Wagon Wheel Motel, are in Missouri, but a substantial number of structures in Kansas and Oklahoma, such as the Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma, provide color and variety in the landscape.

Please click the link to visit the Gallery of  Ozark Giraffe buildings.

The Rock house in Reed Springs

Jeanette and Bruce host a series of music each year at their home, the Rock house in Reed Springs. I wish that you all good have been there last night for an amazing evening of music provided by Distant Relative.

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