Magazine article Sunset

The West's Original Mobile Home

Magazine article Sunset

The West's Original Mobile Home

Article excerpt

Historical, practical, and lightweight, the tepee is making a comeback

* On a cool fall evening, my fiancee and I threw another log on a campfire, stared up at twinkling stars, and listened to the sound of a trickling stream a few feet away. All this took place inside our quarters for the night--a 20-foot-diameter tepee that architect Jim Dummit has nestled in his backyard in San Luis Obispo, California. In warmer months, Dummit uses the 20-year-old structure for dining and for guests. When winter comes, he simply rolls up the canvas shell and stows the 15 shaved-bark poles that form its skeletal frame.

The word tepee, or tipi, comes from two Sioux words: ti, which means dwelling, and pi, which means portable. Nomadic tribes (such as the Sioux, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and Crow) who lived on the Great Plains used them because they break down quickly and can be easily moved from location to location. Their tepees, which were dragged travois style, were made from buffalo hides and, later, from canvas. The design is sophisticated, with subtle, refined touches like wind flaps (a Cheyenne invention) that help draw smoke up and out, as well as interior liners that direct incoming air up the insides, stop ground-level drafts, and diffuse shadows. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.