Destroyed. For No Good Reason.

It’s gone.

The historically significant Pop Culture Building at Bowling Green State University has been torn down.

The behavior of the administration in this sorry affair (and their lack of response to a groundswell of support to save the house) has been abysmal and inexcusable.

It’s my hope and prayer than anyone who loves old houses and American history will not provide another dollar of financial support to this “institute of higher learning.”

If you’re already on the BGSU donations list, call the Alumni Center and ask to be permanently removed from the “Donation Call List.” It’d be wise to explain (briefly) why you wish to be removed. The phone number is 888-839-2586.


BGSU should adopt a new school motto: “Destroying our history: One piece at a time.”


Photo is copyright

Based on research done by Rachel Shoemaker, we've learned that it took Virgil Taylor about four months to turn his 12,000 pieces of kit house into a home (in 1931/32). This solid, sturdy, well-built and well-maintained home couldn't offer much resistance to the heavy equipment. With this single act, BGSU has destroyed a significant piece of their history. Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.



Despite an outpouring of support from faculty and staff at BGSU and folks throughout the community and throughout the country, the "powers that be" at BGSU destroyed this iconic piece of American history. Photo is copyright 2012 Allan Shillingburg and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.



A petition with 2,100+ signatures was presented to college president Mary Ellen Mazey, urging her to consider alternatives to the destruction of this unique Montgomery Ward kit home. This is the result. Photo is copyright 2012 Allan Shillingburg and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.


Im too disgusted to be eloquent.

I'm too disgusted to be eloquent.

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  1. Cindy Catanzaro

    I am heartsick. That Mazey lady can take a hike back to West Virginia. I am ashamed that she represents my State of Ohio Ohio in any way.

  2. Sears Homes

    @Cindy Catanzaro
    Me, too Cindy. It’s so disturbing. The cost to move this house was estimated at $18,000 which wasn’t too far from the cost of demolition.

    What’s the point of destroying such a fine old house when there are so many sound alternatives?

  3. Rachel Shoemaker

    She has a Phd and has to understand the historical value of this house not only to Bowling Green, the state of Ohio but also to the entire country. I wonder what was in this for her?

    Why else would an educated woman who oversees higher education demolish history? I think she knew that folks would react this way and when she saw how strong the feelings really were she KNEW it had to be gone before students returned otherwise she would have more trouble.

    I also believe that with more time someone would have stepped in and saved this building so she knew she had to act immediately. The citizens and students of Bowling Green need to keep an eye on her and start attending every meeting that concerns university property.

    Anyone who truly cared about the people who were so passionate to save this historical treasure would have delayed this and giving them an opportunity to move this house. Does she really think we are all stupid enough to buy her story? Maybe she is stupid enough to believe the person who told her that.

    Larger, and older, houses than this have been moved, this isn’t new!

    I am just sick.

    This is exactly why I am trying to find what treasures we have. Little is known about these houses in Oklahoma. Our local university has devoured what we had already. I know that a Sears Corona is now a parking lot at Tulsa University. Welcome to the club BGSU; you just razed a piece of history for another parking lot!


  4. Heather Robinson

    I’m so sad about this. Thank you for keeping this website running so that people can see what a wonderful history these houses have.

    I was a popular culture major and remember going into this building to see my professors, and even with its small rooms and tiny hallways, I still loved it. 🙂

    I’ll donate my money to some other institution that really cares about its history, its alumni, and its community.

  5. debbie bond

    As a last effort, I truly hope the house materials were salvaged. The lack of thought and consideration that BGSU put into this demo is truly appalling!!

  6. fran

    So sad, so wasteful, so arrogant an act. No wonder Ohio always has such poor ratings.

    Our leadership is mediocre and arrogant.

    My sympathies to the BGSU community who tried to save this. I’m so sorry.

  7. Rachel Shoemaker

    Kit home historians and aficionados across the US are in shock right now.

    How can anyone destroy what appears to be one of the rarest of kit homes known? The culmination of THREE of the major kit home companies is gone forever: Sears, Wardway and Gordon Van Tine.

    That makes it a truly rare house. I feel like there has been a death in our family, and what makes it so hard is that it wasn’t an accident. It was a homicide.

  8. Heather

    I am abhorred by the endgame of this tragic saga.

    My cousin is an alumnus and current faculty member of BGSU and when I first heard he was rallying support to save this beautiful building I jumped right on board, despite having never even been inside the building personally.

    Just looking at a photograph was enough for me to see the historical significance and charm of such a home and know that its loss would be a tragedy to all.

    When it was my turn to pick my college, BGSU was my second choice, losing out only to a beautiful campus tucked in the mountains of upstate New York.

    Seeing this story play out and feeling the chills running down my back as I stare at the above pictures of the demolition only makes me feel like I made the right decision when I chose to go to an institution whose administration not only listens to the voices of the members of its campus and community, but encourages us to stand up for things we believe in and works to do everything in its power to weigh all of the available options before making decisions.

    I’m sad and ashamed to see that what was once one of my top-choice colleges is home to an administration who can’t see anything beyond the delusions of profit.

  9. Michelle

    I saw in one of these posts that someone had interior photos of the Pop Culture House.

    I have been inside of the house but would love to see these photos.

    If anyone has any will you please let me know. I would so love to see them! This whole thing has just made me sick. When I heard the news this morning I immediately felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

    Just can’t believe they destroyed it so fast.

  10. Ken Bielen

    I have interior shots I took a few weeks ago. Not sure how I would get them to this blog though.

  11. Jan

    Very, very sad. It is a loss for not only us but for future generations.

    What is most upsetting for me is to read from various sources, that an effort had been previously made to have this house declared historic and the university thwarted that attempt.

    No chance was given to any organization or group to raise the funds to move this house before the demo or in earlier years.

    If that information is true, then this makes the destruction of this house even more shameful to all that were involved.

  12. Thomas Daum

    I feel for your Community, a lot of folks don’t seem to understand, once they’re gone, they’re gone forever, and for what? History is a prologue to the future. That was history and it was history in the making. Sure, it was a long time ago, but history is history. Look at the monuments in Rome.

    Who’d bother visiting room if it weren’t for the remnants of the ancient structures (among other things).