Kit Houses

Chronology 7 Kit Houses

In the early 1900s, kit house companies took customer service a step further by providing home buyers with, quite literally, a complete house in a boxcar. Building materials traveled by rail to the nearest train station and then to the building site by truck. A local builder or the owner assembled the house, using materials and instructions provided. In contrast to handbooks of the previous century, which catered to the upper class, these catalogs marketed an economical, efficient, and customizable suburban ideal to the middle class, especially women. To attract customers, many kit house companies provided financing with favorable rates.  Bungalows and Foursquares were the most popular styles.


Sears Modern Homes, 1919. Courtesy of Rachel Shoemaker Collection, Internet Archive.