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Mail-Order Houses

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Rosemary Thornton may have driven by your house a few times. She may have even slowed down, whipped out her camera and snapped a few pictures. But, she’s not casing the place. Thornton is documenting history. If she’s interested in your dwelling, it’s likely you live in a kit home, a mail-order house that could be purchased out of a catalog in the early 20th century. More than 70,000 American families across the country purchased kit homes, which were even offered by Sears at one point. A lot of those houses were built in North Carolina neighborhoods. Thornton, author of “The Houses That Sears Built: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sears Catalog Homes” (2002), joins host Frank Stasio to talk about discovering kit homes in the Tar Heel State.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Content Director Lindsay Foster Thomas is a multiplatform journalist and audio storyteller with a background in public radio that began right here at WUNC.