The Cherokee "Hot House"

Taken from a manuscript prepared by J.P. Evans in 1835

"Their dwellings generally consist of small log huts, too insignificant to need a description. But their ‘hot houses’ are more remarkable, though more trifling in appearance. They are small, low huts constructed of small logs, mud and clapboards.

In forming the roof, generally, a layer of thick puncheons is first laid on, then a thick coat of mud and lastly, clapboards to prevent the mud being washed off by the rain. A small opening is made in the end, capable of admitting a man; to this a shutter is made. Thus all visible avenues through which air can find admittance are carefully closed.

Burning coals and embers are kept in the centre, or such fuel as produces little or no smoke kept burning. Were there not hundreds of living witnesses before his eyes, a white man accustomed to pure aire, could scarcely believe that a salamander could exist twenty four hours in such a situation. But during the winter months many old men spend the greater part of their time in a '‘hot house'’ and employ themselves in roasting potatoes and parching corn.

Many young people, destitute of bed clothing, find a good substitute at night in the heated air of a ‘hot house.’"