Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of knowledge about the history of Montgomery Ward's kit home business. Like a number of similar companies, they began selling materials, lumber, hardware, and plans before World War I. By 1922, they began selling under the Wardway name and were closely affiliated with the Gordon Van Tine Company, which manufactured their homes for them. Many of their homes are identical to those offered by Gordon Van Tine.
The Wardway "ready-cut" kits were sold until 1931. The Depression years took their toll. Much of the profit in the kit home business came from the mortgage financing that accompanied the sale, not the materials or the house itself. According to the research conducted by Dale Wolicki, an architectural historian and expert on Gordon Van Tine, New Deal mortgage programs through the Federal Housing Administration allowed home owners to refinance existing mortgages at a lower rate. By paying off their Montgomery Ward contracts, homeowners effectively cut the profits that allowed the company to pursue the business. Though other manufacturers were able to survive, Montgomery Ward terminated their kit home business as a result.
For now, we hope you enjoy some of the content from our c. 1930 catalog, which was probably the last catalog Montgomery Ward produced.
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