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Cost of Thoreau’s Walden House In Today’s Terms

# Cost of Thoreau’s Walden House In Today’s Terms

As he reported in Walden, Thoreau’s house cost him about \$28.13. What is that in today’s terms?

The folks at Shelter Seeker calculated the cost a little differently, and came up with a figure of about \$2,800. They said:

Materials for Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin (From his notebook)

In brackets I have given a (very) approximate conversion into today’s money. Considering a day’s wages was approximately \$1 in 1845, a rough sense of the costs involved can be gained by multiplying each figure an average day’s wages today. For ease I have done so by about 100.

Boards: \$8.04 “mostly shanty boards” (\$800)

Refuse shingles for roof and sides: \$4.00 (\$400)

Laths (strips of wood for plaster to adhere to): \$1.25 (\$125)

Two second-hand windows with glass: \$2.43 (\$243)

One thousand old bricks: \$4.00 (\$400)

Two casts of lime: \$2.40. (\$240) “That was high. ” (A “cast” is an old measurement, lime being “cast” out from a mold.)

Hair: \$0.31. “More than I needed” (\$30 of hair is more than we need today, too!)

Mantle-tree iron (Iron for the Fireplace?): \$0.15 (\$15)

Nails: \$3.90 (\$390)

Hinges and screws: \$0.14 (\$14)

Latch: \$0.10 (\$10)

Chalk: \$0.01 (\$1)

Transportation: \$1.40. “I carried a good part on my back.” (\$140)

In all: \$28.13 (\$2,800) We can assume the whole project cost somewhere between \$1,500 and \$3,000 – cheap in anyone’s books!