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Sterling Systems Homes

by International Mill & Timber

1916 Sterling - Women AdvisorsBay City, Michigan was the home of three major kit home manufacturers including International Mill & Timber, Aladdin, and Lewis Manufacturing. Located on Saginaw Bay with its easy access to Lake Huron and blessed with an abundance of timber, milling was big business. It was a logical location for multiple kit home builders to emerge.

International Mill & Timber had generous terms. In 1915, the average annual income was about $650. Many of the homes in the Sterling catalog were well within reach of the average buyer. By making a 50% cash down payment, they could arrange financing for the remaining balance for 24 months. After two years, a buyer could own their home free and clear.

One unforeseen problem proved IM&T's undoing. Purchasers would buy the house and build it without owning the land. If the buyer ran into financial problems, the local bank foreclosed on the lot and IM&T was left with the bad debt and no financial recourse. By 1922, after the death of the founder W. D. Young, the company went bankrupt and was subsequently reorganized under a new owner.

Sterling was purchased by Bay City lumber dealer, John Kantzler, and continued to sell kit homes until 1971. The company was dissolved in 1975.

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