Drawing from a variety of materials close at hand, German-speaking immigrants from the Black Sea region of Russia and Ukraine adapted traditional housing forms to suit their need for economical shelter on the North American Great Plains. They employed shared cultural memory of familiar architectural traditions to create a remarkably durable mode of shelter in a resource-poor context. As an example of cultural memory, the Hutmacher complex in western North Dakota is comprised of earthen-roofed, stone-slab buildings and a cemetery with ethnically distinctive iron cross grave markers. Enduring remnants of immigrant culture on the northern Great Plains stimulate our awareness of ethnically distinct architectural traditions. Many of these traditions are just now becoming well-known through scholarship at the same time they are rapidly disappearing from the contemporary landscape. Traditional building contexts like the Hutmacher site provide important vehicles for learning about architecture, about people, and about cultural values.