Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Tiny House Movement,” in which people seek to live in a way that is simpler, inexpensive, has less environmental impact, and is more conducive to free time. A particular pleasure can be gained by designing and building a tiny house. Online, many variations are pictured. A tiny house has been defined as a dwelling that is 100 to 400 square feet in size.
Author and philosopher Henry D. Thoreau (1817-1862) can rightly be credited as a pioneer in consciously choosing to build and live year-round in a tiny house. He lived for just over two years in the woods of Concord, in a 10-x-15-foot house, which he famously wrote about in “Walden; or Life in the Woods” (1854).
Emulating Henry D., I built an even smaller cabin in the woods nearly 40 years ago, in which I lived (with the help of a nearby regular house) for 8 ½ years—a great experience. Consequently, I’m interested in the tiny house movement and similar approaches to living. After I married, I built a modest 24-by-28-foot timber frame house in the late 1980s. It seemed huge. I used to joke that “This is what Thoreau would’ve built if he’d had a family.” But philosophers and families have different needs—I’ve learned that lesson.
Given the above comments, imagine my interest when I learned that a member of my family had lived in a tiny East Sandwich house for 19 years. Since I first heard about my great-great uncle George Armstrong years ago, I have discovered more information about him, and I’d like to tell his story.