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The Mail Order Houses of Central Virginia

Date(s): 9/15/2013


The Louisa Arts Center, 214 Fredericksburg Ave, Louisa 23093
Historic Mail-Order Houses September 15th

In the early 1900s, you'd 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 2:00 on Sunday, September 15th. 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.

Thornton has traveled to 24 states to give 200 lectures on Sears Homes, from Bungalow Heaven in Los Angeles to The Smithsonian in Washington, DC. She has addressed a wide variety of audiences from architectural preservationists in Boston, St. Louis and Chicago to kit home enthusiasts in small towns across America. She has authored numerous books which she will have available after the presentation.

Considered the country’s #1 authority on kit homes, Rose has appeared on PBS (History Detectives), A&E (Biography), and CBS (Sunday Morning News). Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, L. A. Times, Dallas Morning News, Old House Journal, American Bungalow, Blue Ridge Country and about 100 other publications. Twice in the last three years, the story of her unique career was picked up by the AP and in May 2009, she was interviewed on BBC Radio.

Sears Homes are not only Rose’s vocation, but her passion. Join us for a celebration of this uniquely American story, and learn how to identify the kit homes in our own community. Event address: 214 Fredericksburg Avenue. Sponsored by The Louisa County Historical Society. Call 540-967-5975 or email louisahistory@verizon.net for more info. Admission is free but donations appreciated.

Elaine Taylor

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