St. Petersburg, FL - The affordable housing shortage of the mid-20th century led millions of post-war singles, couples and families to embrace the 1950s- and 60s-era mobile homes that had evolved from the trailer houses of the 1930s and 40s.
Low cost and mobility was the attraction of those mobile homes of yesteryear.
Low cost and quality craftsmanship are the big draw today, thanks to the passage in 1974 of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the first HUD Code manufactured homes, which commenced production from coast to coast, bringing an end to the mobile home era.
Young first-time homeowners and retirees, two major demographics that often turned to mobile home living, were joined by upscale professionals and frugal millionaires who discovered the luxury of a custom-built HUD Code home could be had for half the price, in half the time of a site-built home.
Yet many people who could afford most any kind of home have found reason to celebrate and restore the older mobile homes, much like aficionados of classic cars -- people like E. Jon and Pat Chione, a couple of retired snowbirds who traded in their fine townhome in Montgomery, Illinois for an updated mobile home in St. Petersburg, Florida.
"I didn't want to spend my life keeping up with and paying for upkeep on that big place." Pat Chione said. "I wanted to enjoy life."
The Chiones, who owned a classic car and a classic boat, never dreamed they would one day live in a "classic" mobile home -- until they spent a few days in the “park” living in one that belonged to a relative. They quickly discovered that the refurbished home and the Highland 55+ community it was in did not square with their preconceived notions about the MH lifestyle.
When some 22 million Americans live in pre-HUD Code mobile homes, or their post-1976 manufactured homes priced at a fraction of conventional housing, one wonders why the myths and misunderstanding about factory-built homes persist.
Discover the truth about America's truly most affordable
housing and its storied history with the fast-paced video of the
evolution from trailers, to mobile homes to modern manufactured homes in
the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Manufactured Housing on MHLivingNews here
Photo Caption: Top right, 1939 Schult trailer house, 1954 Spartan Mobile Home, on display at RV MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Bottom left and right, interior pictures of a residential style manufactured home by Sunshine Homes of Red Bay, AL. 40th Anniversary seal credit - McAllan South Rotary, collage credit, MHLivingNews.com
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L. A. "Tony" Kovach, Publisher