Sterling Homes

The following information on Sterling Homes originally appeared here, a website dedicated to Wardway Homes. All material is copyright  protected and owned by Dale Patrick Wolicki and Rosemary Thornton. Original research on Sterling Homes is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.

We will help you make your dream come true – your dream of a home that is really a home. We will send you a home that will be more cherished as the years pass on. We want to see you own a Sterling System Home which will be a joy through your life, and which will be passed on to your children as a fitting inheritance (1917 Sterling Homes).

Sterling Homes, based in Bay City, started out life as a lumber company, International Mill and Timber Company. In the early 1900s, Aladdin Homes turned to International Mill and Timber hoping that they’d be able to fulfill a backlog of millwork orders for Aladdin kit homes. International Mill was not able to meet the demand, so Aladdin Homes went elsewhere.

International Mill and Timber had glimpsed the Promise Land: Kit Homes sold through a mail-order catalog.

In 1915, this Bay City company launched their own line of pre-cut kit homes and called it, Sterling Homes.

Sterling Homes offered construction services for developers and one of their largest clients turned out to be General Motors, which paid for 1,000 houses built in Flint Michigan (for GM workers).

Post-war troubles and a recession in 1921 forced Sterling Homes into bankruptcy. Bay City businessman Leopold Kantzler purchased their assets and put Sterling Homes back in business with a new focus on cottages and smaller homes. During the Great Depression, the company focused on its retail lumber business (International Mill and Timber). Like other companies, it survived World War One by manufacturing wartime housing and military structures. After the war, during the building boom of the early 1920s, Sterling Homes shipped more than 250 homes a month.

Hampered by outdated models and advertising, Sterling Home sales dropped throughout the 1960s. The last catalog was printed in 1971, and the same catalog was sent out each year (with updated price lists) until 1974, when the company closed its doors, having sold about 45,000 homes.

Want to learn more about Sterling Homes? Montgomery Ward’s Mail-Order Homes has information on all the national kit home companies. To read more about this fascinating new book, click here.

Sterling Homes "Rembrandt" from the 1917 catalog

Sterling Rembrandt in Roanoke, Virginia