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GSBN:Responses from Nebraska about RR workers and bales

Roger Welsch, who wrote the article that appeared in Shelter magazine, says
in his recent email to me:

I would be amazed if this were indeed the case because most of the baled hay
and straw buildings are no where close to the main rail lines.  Besides, on
the rail lines wood and brick were readily available, as were railroad ties,
out of which houses were also built.  Where would railroad workers get
bales?!  For farmers they were a constant by-product and in one example I
ran into, a solution to an agricultural problem: a farmer near Scottsbluff
found his fences all snarled up with tumbleweeds.  So he ran a baler along
the fence and built a home out of the baled tumble weeds!

I'd sure want to see some documentation on that railroad workers assertion.
It's just about as likely that drugstore operators invented the form because
they had all the left-over soda straws! (That's Roger's humor!)

And from David Murphy at the Nebraska State Historical Society...

I have not run into any references to RR workers and baled hay buildings.
They certainly could not have been built before baling technology, and the
greatest share of the railroad lines were
completed before then.

Migrants finding shelter among bales in a field is reasonable, but has
nothing to do with "building."

And Joyce adds:  We'll keep working on it and let you know what we find. And
if anyone has a chance to ask Tom R. where he found the references to
railroad workers and bale buildings, we'd like very much to know and
whatever else he found in his research.


Joyce Coppinger, Managing Editor
The Last Straw journal
GPFS/TLS, PO Box 22706, Lincoln NE 68542-2706 USA
402.483.5135, fax 402.483.5161