About Joseph Steffens House
Historic Architecture, Architecture, Interesting Places, Other Buildings And Structures
The Joseph Steffens House is a historic house located in eastern Carroll County, Illinois, east of Milledgeville. Settler Joseph Steffens built the rammed earth house in 1843; it is the only surviving rammed earth house in the state. Rammed earth construction uses soil to build walls by pressurizing it in molds; the method was common in continental Europe and saw some use in 18th-century eastern America and in the Great Plains and Southwest during the Great Depression, though it was rare in Illinois. While Steffens claimed that he borrowed the construction method from his former house in Canada, he was also likely influenced by American authors who promoted the method and a local timber shortage.