The City of St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission welcomes Rebecca Hunter, nationally recognized mail order homes expert, for a seminar on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the Municipal Center, 2 E. Main Street, St. Charles. The seminar is open to the public.
Companies such as Sears and Montgomery Ward sold homes by mail from 1900 to the 1940s. The homes were selected from a catalogue and shipped in pieces to be constructed on site. Older neighborhoods in St. Charles are thought to contain numerous mail order homes; however, this has not been previously researched or documented.
The Historic Preservation Commission is conducting a survey to determine where mail order homes are located in St. Charles. Based on visual evidence, Ms. Hunter identified nearly 70 houses in St. Charles that appear to resemble a mail order home model. Surveys were sent out to these houses, asking residents for any information to help verify if their home is a mail order house. The residents also were invited to attend the seminar.
Ms. Hunter is a nationally known author, researcher, and lecturer on mail order homes, who has focused much of her research in the Fox Valley area. Ms. Hunter will present how to research and identify mail order homes, including what clues may indicate that a house was purchased as a kit, or built to a plan provided by a mail order home manufacturer.