Between 1908 and 1940, Sears, Roebuck, and Company sold 70,000 homes through their catalogs. These were called Kit Homes, and they ranged from simple one-story cottages to elaborate two-story homes with columns and fireplaces. The house arrived in pieces in a boxcar. And they helped spark the first wave of suburbia.

Host Kevin O’Connor speaks with Rosemary Thorton, author of The Houses That Sears Built, and Avi Friedman, author of Pre-Fab Living, about this then-groundbreaking concept. How did the kit home answer a booming need for affordable and modern housing? And why did their popularity disappear? And is there a place for a modern kit home today as we face yet another housing crisis?

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