Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Remember When . . . Sears Sold Houses?

First, don't forget the TITLE CONTEST, detailed on Monday! Now, onto the real post . . .

In my '20s research for Mafia Princess, I checked a book out of the library that got into very detailed descriptions about the time. One of the most interesting things I came across was drawings for houses that you could order from the Sears catalogue. I mean, lol. Housewares, sure. But houses?

The layout of houses changed greatly around that time. Back in the day, rooms were small and many because of the heating source--keeping them small cut down on the transfer of smoke and dust from one room to another. But as cleaner fuels and electric heating gained prominence, rooms opened up. Got bigger, but fewer in number. Interesting, huh? I didn't realize until then that that's why really old houses have so many teensy tiny rooms.

In the same (or nearby, anyway) section of the book, it talked about the extreme dichotomy between rural and urban life. In the country (read: where I live), it looked like it had for the last century. Horses, buggies, no electricity . . . indoor plumbing wasn't a must. (I shudder at the thought.) In the cities, everyone had electricity, cars were more numerous than horses, and I daresay the advent of bathrooms that included toilets were welcomed with open arms.

When I eventually sit down to write the sequel to Mafia Princess, which will be titled Gangster's Girl, part of the book will travel to my hometown of Cumberland, Maryland. I'm looking forward to this--I get to go to all the historical stuff around here and try to get an idea of what this place looked like in the '20s, when it was a booming railroad city instead of one barely larger than a town. Back then, we'd earned our nickname of Queen City, being the second largest in the state. And I can just see my bobbed blonde sauntering down the brick streets!

1 comment:

  1. So ... how did the houses get shipped? Was it like all the stuff came and you built it yourself, or...?