Kit Houses

Chronology Block 5 Post Civil War Shoppell and Palliser

Palliser’s New Cottage Homes, Pallister & Company, 1887


In the late nineteenth century, architects jumped on the plan book wagon in droves, bringing the pattern book concept a step closer to the mail-order house kit. Bridgeport, Connecticut, architect George Palliser’s first catalog, Model Homes for the People, A Complete Guide to the Proper and Economical Erection of Buildings (1876), featured a floor plan, specifications for all details, an illustration of each home, along with a brief description of the features of the house and an estimate of the cost to build.


Shoppell’s Modern Homes: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 1 No. 13, 1889


Through his Cooperative Building Plan Association, Robert W. Shoppell produced a competing line of catalogs, beginning with Artistic Modern Homes of Low Cost in 1881, as well as home-building guides and a magazine. Shoppell also publicized his designs in periodicals, an inexpensive way to expand his market that proved highly profitable. Both Shoppell’s and Palliser’s catalogs featured advertisements for building materials in the rear pages, providing a ready resource for home builders.