Our company is planning to put out a newsletter in the coming months and one of the features we are planning to run is on the history of the industry. Researching this topic has been a little difficult because there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of information on the subject online. I’d like to ask if any of you know of any great resources that may assist us in this.
Well, you can talk to the old guys like Frank Rolfe and George Allen.
In my MHP library I’ve got a few history books that are interesting reads in and of themselves, and have great bibliographies:
‘The Unknown Wold of the Mobile Home’ by Hart, Rhodes & Morgan
‘Galloping Bungalows’ by Thornburg
Hope this helps,
Charles, I think it’s the very first cd in the bootcamp home study course that has a history of MHP’s. If you have the home study course go back to that and listen to that CD.
I appreciate the comments. I have been in contact with George Allen & Ken Rishel for this and will also likely be in contact with the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
Thank you! the link has lots of topics and info that I find extremely useful.
Jefferson - Thank you for the best laugh I’ve had all day!
>Well, you can talk to the old guys like Frank Rolfe and George Allen.<
I’m sure both of them will appreciate your comment.
I pieced together my knowledge of the history of the industry from a number of books and on-line resources, but the bulk has come from talking to the moms and pops that I have purchased parks from. My first question to any owner is “how did you come to own this park” and that typically leads to some interesting nostalgic stories of mobile home parks in the early days. You also get interesting trivia from the strangest sources, such as my orthodontist who used to live in my first park – Glenhaven – when he was in dental school in the 1950s, and told me that every tenant proudly parked their British sports car in front of their trailer.
While the MH/RV Hall of Fame and Museum is a fun stop when you are driving through Indiana, it is 80% devoted to RVs unfortunately. You can find more historic mobile homes in some parks I’ve driven through. The only “mobile home” it has is the 1954 Spartan, which is the final item on display. But seeing the progression from RV to mobile home is definitely interesting.
Perhaps the best glimpse into the industry at its heyday is the movie “The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball and produced in 1954. You can sometimes find it at Walmart in the $5 bin, and always on Ebay.
Frank - You are correct on the museum part itself, which is something many of us are giving money to correct. There will be a new addition some day that is MH specific. Jim Scoular is heading that fund raising drive.
What you might not know is the library is packed with MH related materials and information and it is a first class source of historical information on the MH industry. I have used it many times. You might also be interested to know that many of the public articles you have written are also there, as well as many articles about you and Dave.
The Hall of Fame also has a fairly extensive collection of items that are MH related in storage until the MH wing is built and they have room for public display. You can arrange (in advance) to go through those items as well. Some of us in the MH industry have vintage and restored mobile homes in storage we intend to donate as well when they have the space.
Just for general amusement and interest –
The very first episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (a famous television show from the 1950’s) takes place in a MHP. It’s available on Netflix (where I found it). I would write a synopsis but that would spoil the twist ending, which was the fun of the series. Obviously it was not filmed in a trailer, but it and the trailer park are the “set.”
I’ll just put this spoiler in by way of comparison to the present day image of MHP’s.
(1) A violent crime happens in the MHP.
(2) the victim has mental problems.
(3) the hero commits a felony in response (but gets arrested of course).