Mail Order Homes: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Mail Order Homes? What is the purpose of this website? Who is Rebecca Hunter?? What are Mail Order Homes? Mail order homes from catalogs were popular from the early 1900s until the 1980 s. Three companies were headquartered in Chicago: Harris Brothers, Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck. Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold an estimated 65,000 homes in over 400 different models from 1908-1940 . In addition to the Chicago companies, there were also 5 other major mail order companies that sold mail order homes during that time. Many of these homes are still standing today. They are popularly located in towns or cities with a railroad station nearby since rail was the method in which they were delivered A few weeks after the customer would select a home and place their order, several railway boxcars containing all the thousands of pieces of the home What is the purpose of this website? With the help of this mini-grant awarded by the Illinois Humanities Council, the Melrose Park Library will document the history of the area Who is Rebecca Hunter? Author, researcher and lecturer Rebecca Hunter became fascinated with the phenomenon of mail order homes in 1996, and is currently engaged in the study of kit homes and agricultural buildings marketed from 1906-1946 by nine different companies. Hunter has sought these buildings throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and in many other states. She has located mail order buildings in over 400 Illinois municipalities and in 29 other states. Working with the Elgin Illinois Heritage Commission, Hunter located and photo documented over 250 mail order homes in Elgin, and to date has authenticated over 170 of these. Hunter's books, "Elgin Illinois Sears House Research Project" and

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