Special Delivery: A Home Coming in the Mail


In the early 20th century, shopping for a new home was as simple as flipping through a Sears catalog. Carmel and Home Place have a number of kit and catalog homes that people selected, had shipped to town – in Carmel’s case on the Monon Railroad – and quickly constructed. Find out more about these early mail-order homes at “Kit and Catalog Houses in Indiana,” a program offered by the Carmel Clay Historical Society on February 10.

The term “kit house” is used to describe houses that you ordered as a set: plans and all necessary materials. Usually, the materials were cut to the right size and labeled.

The term “catalog house” could refer to a kit house, but it could also refer to a house built after plans sent by mail. A number of nationally known architects offered catalogs of house plans; they mailed buyers copies of house plans for a set fee. The client would then hire a contractor.

Presenter Paul Diebold of the Irvington Historical Society has extensive experience in preservation. He works as a  Leader of Survey and Registration at the Department of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and specializes in early 20th-century domestic architecture.

“Kit and Catalog Houses in Indiana” will take place at 2 p.m. on February 10 at Carmel Christian Church, 463 E. Main Street in Carmel. Admission is $5; free for CCHS members.

For more information, visit www.carmelclayhistory.org.

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