Friday, April 8, 2016

Something BIG broke in our system

I remember the Sears kit houses. I remember them being fairly good quality and I also remember a day and age when the average American man with a common set of tools and knowledge could build it with the help of some equally average friends. Someone would know something about electrical, someone would know something about plumbing, just about everyone could man a saw or swing a hammer. And nobody was union. While $6000 was a substantial amount of money for the day, that house put together by licensed builders, plumbers and electricians would cost around $200000, depending on location. What happened to a nation of common sense, common skills, do-it-yourself Americans?


12 comments:

Craig said...

Thanks to the Federal Reserve, our money is worth less and less and less until it won't be worth anything.

J Bogan said...

And "Can Do " became I can't. Don't forget the government either. You need a permit, to get the permits,and everything else requires a license.

drjim said...

It's gone, all gone, Angel.

And it's gone because of our marvelous "education" system.....

Anonymous said...

I built my own house, everything but the concrete, gas lines and the metal roofibg. I was planning on doing the roofing but my house is multi story with 32 foot from the ground eaves and a 10/12 pitch... making it 47 feet at the roof peak. With the winds around here and the metal sheets being over 60 sqft in size it was a little much for just me.

Exile1981

Anonymous said...

the ad is from 1908. $4,080 of 1908 dollars would be worth: $107,368.42 in 2015 dollars.

That is without heating or air conditioning. So not as cheap as it looks.

Anonymous said...

I am part of the generation that built California to its peak. Like me, the rest of us are now old and in the way. We are likely the last generation that knows how to do such things as your house. When we die, most of our knowledge dies with us.

Then you get to depend on wetbacks and the moron kids who whine like a burnt puppy if they get a sliver in their finger. I ramrodded a lot of jobs and had the boss send me hundreds of "kids", NONE of whom knew his asshole from his hammer.

I say best of luck to the survivors because it will be another couple generations before talent exists in any quantity again.

Winston

Anonymous said...

I remember a day when you'd get a bunch of friends together & they'd help you build the place, weekends & evenings. It was about 30 years ago for me, but it's still happening around here, & I bet where you are, Angel. Not as often as before, but where interest rates were in the '70s & '80s, you did as much as possible yourself. When you & most of your friends work in various parts of construction, buy the beer & run a grill (or--gasp--get the girls to fix the food) & provide the materials. Better than half of us would show up with our own tools, 'cause we trusted them more than catch-as-catch-can company tools borrowed for the work.
Hell, in the '80s, my county didn't even inspect plumbing, figuring most folks knew the 3 Rules of Plumbing. The .gov has put more roadblocks in the way, but it still gets done.
--Tennessee Budd

Eric Greene said...

This is no shit. When I was a tool and die apprentice in Lodi my boss, a Vietnam vet and Lodi born and bred took me to his mother's place one day. The family settled in Lodi who knows when and made a dairy farm on 80 acres, 'build the barn before building the house!'They named the road after their family name.
I heard stories of seeing an indigenous person hunting the deltas from the old timers and finding pottery etc in the fields clogging the discs.
The house they built was ordered from Sears and Roebuck, delivered on a flatbed truck as a kit and assembled by all the cousins and uncles. Redwood, hammered copper ceiling, exposed wiring. It was beautiful when I saw it. She sold the land to a developer years ago. I can only hope the house was preserved.

Dick said...

I loved the floor plan. If it is a little over 100K in today's dollars, it is a bargain. Huge rooms, porches, and an attic with staircase access, plus a basement. The total sq.ft. has to be large. Way bigger than my 1600 sq/ft 1979 3/2 standard suburban box.
Sears homes were of good quality and of course the "Craftsman" name means gorgeous design.

riverrider said...

well most of those without skills will not make it thru the next phase, which is sickly a comfort to me.

Anonymous said...

Those stairs with no landings at the change of travel direction can be murder on those with bad ankles / knees. The same can be said with spiral stairs - BE CAREFUL descending or ascending those.

Great idea in general, owning your own home back then was easier when you didn't have so many codes to conform with.

Thanks Angel - cool blast from the past.

Bob said...

I was the last of my circle of friends to build my own home. Took eight years. My sisters sons are/were builders and creators, but their sons are useless wimps. Circumstances forced us to move out, but I still miss the place 40 years later. Take a look-see at bobandjansplace.blogspot.com