Harris Brothers Kit Homes

Spotlight Tuesday – A Harris Brothers Kit Home Formerly Owned by Champion Boxer

Like Sears and Aladdin, Harris Brothers was a kit home company. Unlike their more well-known competitors, however, Harris started out life as a house-wrecking business and is probably the least known of the national companies of the day that sold kit houses. Initially, when they were hired to demolish exhibitions at the 1893 “Devil in the White City” Chicago World’s Fair, they were known as the Chicago House Wrecking Company. (By the way, the H.H. Holmes Murder Castle was not razed by the house-wrecking company, but rather was mostly destroyed by an explosion and fire. What remained of the first floor became a sign shop and book store, until in 1938 it was razed to make may for the U.S. Post Office).

 

12 June 1910 The Chicago Tribune

According to a 1910 Chicago Tribune article, the Chicago House Wrecking Company owned a plant covering 40 acres and employed over 1,000 workers.  In 1913, however, the company changed its name and its business focus to Harris Brothers. Chicago House Wrecking Company had become a misnomer, as the business had been venturing into steel, wire and a mail order business for several years at that point. At first the mail order business was a sideline to keep the business busy after all the World’s Fair demolitions dried up, but it soon outgrew the parent company.

 

Harris Brothers published their first house kit catalog around 1913, and constantly marketed their products in local and national publications.

 

1926 Chicago Tribune

 

1929 Chicago Tribune

 

1956 Chicago Tribune

The company’s last mail-rder catalog for pre-cut homes was issued in 1931, but the company remained in business until 1958.

 

Identifying Harris Brothers kit homes can be difficult because so many knockoffs were built. We would mainly find true Harris homes in the Midwest. One home that has not been verified, but points to being a Harris home, is located in Boardman, Ohio.

186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

House view featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

This charming California style bungalow was constructed in 1922 and offered 2 bedrooms, one bath and 1.056 square feet.

 

It was built for Jimmy Jones (1896-1979), the 1st world champion boxer from Youngstown, Ohio. He lived here with his wife Edith and son Jack in the 1920s and 1930s.

1937 Baltimore Sun

 

 

 

 

An Inside Look at Jimmy Jones’ Harris Brothers M-1000 Kit Home As It Appears Today (not for sale – sold 9/2021 for $88,500)

Porch yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

This home has had lots of updates over the years, including: roof, central air, blown in insulation, sewer line, downspouts, gas line, electric, and roof on garage, but still retains much of its original character and charm.

Yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

The M-1000 offered a large front porch in the front with exposed rafters, as well as beautiful stone pillars and chimney.

Kitchen featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Kitchen featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Kitchen featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

You can still see the kitchen’s vintage tile, original built-in coupled with newer sturdy oak cabinets with laminate countertops.

Kitchen featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Kitchen featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Kitchen featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Living room featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Living room featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

Boasting lots of space, the original hardwood oak & pine floors in the living and dining rooms are still intact today. Note all the windows and natural light, too.

Living room featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Living room featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Bathroom featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

The original bathroom is long gone, but it now features updated ceramic floors and a tub/shower combo.

Bedroom featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

The two bedrooms have carpet with hardwood floors hidden underneath.

Bedroom featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Bedroom featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Bedroom featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Property featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Porch yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
House view featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Porch yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Road view featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
Yard featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512
House view featured at 186 Erskine Ave, Boardman, OH 44512

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