THE five log houses of Plymouth, built by the Pilgrim Fathers nearly three centuries ago, were probably the first substantial buildings constructed by the white man in America. With the advent of the white settlers the log cabin superseded the wigwam of the savages, and during the period when saw mills were scarce and timber plentiful to the point of being burdensome, the log building was the logical-indeed the only possible kind. The sawmill followed the settler and as sawed lumber became more plentiful the frame building logically superseded the log building.
Today lumber for many purposes has reached an almost prohibitive figure, and the rapidly diminishing supply gives no hope of future reductions in prices. Furthermore, in most sections of the United States the best lumber is already used up, and the quality of the future supply will not equal that of the past. Instead of having timber to destroy, as did the settlers of a generation back, the farmer of today finds good timber scarce, and lumber expensive.
Concrete is taking the place of lumber, because, beside all of its other advantages it is cheap, and in every sense of the word economical of home labor and materials. Under a man competent to oversee the work, the most unskilled farm laborer can readily be trained to mix and place concrete properly, while men skilled in carpentry are required to do the work on frame buildings. Most farmers have gravel or sand on the place or can obtain it at small expense, and in many instances, the only material which has to be bought outright is the cement.
The last few decades have witnessed remarkable progress in the manner of raising animals for the market, in dairying and the growing of crops as well. A few years ago, hogs were protected during the winter only by rude shelters, and in the Northern States, were not marketed until the second year. Because of the lack of protection during cold weather the farrowing season was necessarily short, and the profits of the hog raising business seriously curtailed. The situation was much the same in the raising of other animals. The introduction of substantial buildings-preferably of concrete-is changing conditions to a remarkable extent, simplifying and lightening labor and increasing profits....