The Talk of the Town: Kit Manufacturers Negotiate the Building Industry, 1905-1929
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Urban historical scholars have neglected smaller urban centers, including their residential environments and the forces that shaped them. For a time, one of these forces was the mail-order kit home. Kit manufacturers sold houses to families throughout the United States and Canada but enjoyed their greatest success in small towns where detached single-family homes were the norm. They worked to insert themselves into local building industries: They challenged lumber dealers and ignored architects but strove to mollify the contractors on whom they and their customers depended. They attracted considerable attention and met with initial success: Emerging rapidly after 1905, they had hit their stride by 1914 and enjoyed a heyday in the 1920s. They were stricken by, and failed to recover from, the Depression in large part because lumber dealers had learned how to compete with them.
has subject area