For five years, Dale Wolicki and I labored to write a book on Wardway Homes titled, The Mail Order Homes of Montgomery Ward. My oh my, did we work hard on that book!
This incredible tome has 347 pages and more than 500 vintage and extant photos of the kit homes sold by Montgomery Ward in the early 1900s. Dr. Rebecca Hunter wrote a couple chapters for us, too. I suspect that Dale put a few thousand miles on his Mercury Mountaineer, photographing houses from Mississippi to Michigan and Kentucky to Pennsylvania.
Like Sears, Montgomery Ward also sold kit homes through their mail-order catalogs. Sears started in 1908; Montgomery Ward started in 1909. Montgomery Ward saw the writing on the wall and closed down their “modern homes” department in 1932; Sears held on another eight years until 1940.
Sears sold about 70,000 kit homes during their 32 years in the kit home business. Based on our best guess, we suspect that Montgomery Ward sold about 25,000 kit homes.
Dale and I maintain a website devoted to Wardway Homes here. It’s another website that’s just stuffed full of information on Wardway Homes.
To visit the website, click here.
To learn more about our book, click here.
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Montgomery Ward also sold kit homes. This is the cover of their 1931 catalog.
And they did have some truly beautiful homes.
Dale and I worked for five years to research and write this book.
Teddy especially enjoyed reading about the Wardway Newport.
Wayne Ringer stands in front of the Norfolk and Western's 1218 (A Class), the last known 2-6-6-4. When built in 1943, this was the most powerful steam locomotive in the world. I'm including this photo here because these were the type of trains that hauled the 12,000-piece kit homes from the southern mills to waiting customers in all 48 states. And I'm also including this photo because this is just a cool photo. This train is now on display in Roanoke, Virginia at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
From the 1919 Pacific Ready Cut Homes catalog, this picture shows two workmen loading 12,000 pieces of kit house into a boxcar.
Montgomery Ward offered many kit homes, but this is one of my favorites. They named it "The Kenmore."
Learn more about Wardway Homes by clicking here.
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