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Mobile Homes

The term “mobile home” usually is used to refer to any home that is just that – mobile.  As far back as the 1500s, bands of gypsies were roaming from town to town with mobile homes that were carried by horses.  Mobile homes first popped up in America in the 1870s.  They were used as beachfront property in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and horses too moved these homes.
What we know as mobile homes were first used in 1926.  Called trailer coaches, they were pulled by cars.  Many people used them during camping trips.  By the end of World War II, these portable trailers grew in the mobile homes most of us remember.  After the war (and the onset of the Baby Boom), there were many veterans who still needed housing.  The mobile homes were a quick and inexpensive way to provide housing for families.  These homes were mobile, so if the family needed to move to find jobs, they could just take their houses with them.

Mobile homes of the early 1940s were on average 8 feet wide and 20 feet long.  There were three to four separate sleeping quarters, but no bathrooms.  The bathrooms were added by 1948.  By the end of the decade, the length of mobile homes had reached up to 30 feet.

As the need for more space grew, so did the size of mobile homes.  However, mobile homes were not seen as safe.  They were often dangerous in the event of bad weather, such as a tornado, and fire spread through them quickly. 

Today, the term “mobile homes” refers to any factory built housing that was created before June 15, 1976.  What exactly happened on June 15, 1976?  The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, often referred to as HUD, pass the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Act.  This act required tougher building standards to make the homes safer.  In 1980, Congress changed the name from “mobile homes” to “manufactured homes.”

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