Based in Chicago, Harris Brothers got their start tearing down things. In 1893, they started business as The Chicago House-Wrecking Company. According to Dr. Rebecca Hunter (fellow researcher and author), they became “Harris Brothers’ Homes” in 1913.
Of the six national companies, selling kit homes through mail-order catalogs, Harris Brothers was probably the least-well known.
Their catalogs are certainly quite interesting, with lots of vintage photos and loquacious copy. Below are some images from the Harris Brothers’ catalogs, together with a living example of a Harris Brothers’ kit home, The La Grange.
Thanks to Harris Brothers' "Wonderful Offer," this young couple can build their dream home economically, but judging by those blueprints, that's a pretty simple house. This logo appeared on the cover of the 1915 and 1917 Harris Brothers' catalogs.
Testimonial from the 1915 Harris Brothers' catalog. Mr. Dunn apparently didn't get the memo that their name was changed in 1913. Either that or, this was a really old letter.
If someone knew how to look, it'd be fun to find this house in Kansas. Mr Ketcham owned it in the 1910s. It's a real beauty, too. Classic prairie style.
Did Mr. Elliot build two HB homes in a row?
La Grange from the 1917 Harris Brothers catalog. Note the rounded porch on the home's left front (in floorplan).
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Floorplan, up close. Note the rounded "Varanda" (sp). This is an unusual feature and is always the first thing that catches my eye on this model.
LaGrange - close up.
LaGrange in Ocean View section of Norfolk, VA. That rounded porch has been enclosed.
To learn how to identify kit homes, click here.
To learn more about Harris Brothers, click here.
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