The Central Virginian

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Do you know how to identify a kit home?

Posted on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

In the early 1900s, a person would be hard-pressed to find an American household that didn’t have a mail-order catalog. Massive 800,000-pound, smoke-belching locomotives chugged along the tracks delivering a variety of merchandise to anxious customers. And it was also in the early 1900s when mail order companies offered entire kit homes. Today, these houses are typically found in towns with a strong railroad presence, such as Louisa, Mineral and Gordonsville.

Nationally known author and speaker Rose Thornton will introduce the homes in our area in a special event presentation at The Louisa Arts Center auditorium at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.   Thornton will show modern photos of kit homes in our area comparing them to vintage catalog images.  The public is invited to bring pictures of homes for identification.

Considered the country’s number one authority on kit homes, Thornton has appeared on television and has been featured in more than 100 national publications. Twice in the last three years, the story of her unique career was picked up by the Associated Press and in May 2009, she was interviewed on BBC Radio.

Sears Homes are not only Thornton’s vocation, but her passion. The public is invited to learn about this uniquely American story and how to identify the kit homes in this community. The Louisa County Historical Society will sponsor the event at the Louisa Arts Center located at 214 Fredericksburg Ave., Louisa. Call (540) 967-5975 or e-mail for more info. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.