Minter Homes Corp.


In a 1945 photo, a Norfolk & Western freight can be seen making it way
past the Minter Homes mill on Pine Street in Kenova.


HUNTINGTON -- Founded by William E. Minter, the Minter Homes Corp., a manufacturer o
f ready-to-build housing, was established in Huntington in 1913 as a division of Huntington
 Lumber & Supply Co. Minter Homes later opened a mill on Pine Street in Kenova
 and a short-lived sister company in Greenville, South Carolina.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward already had established a market for
 pre-cut houses. Minter emulated these better-known competitors by issuing a
 catalog of house plans and supplying the specifications and all materials
 needed for construction. Customers could choose anything from
three-room cottages to elaborate, columned mansions.
 The mail-order construction kits included
 everything from nails to roofing.

Something the kits didn't include was bathrooms, although for an extra
 charge the company would provide a plan for an outdoor privy.

Initially, Minter patented 24 three- to five-room house designs that immediately became
 popular with the developers of West Virginia coal camps and Southern cotton mill
 towns. By 1910, the company had a regional sales office in Chicago and
 corporate offices on Fifth Avenue in New York. Minter had,
 by that time, patented 74 additional designs.

At Nitro, the West Virginia town established in 1917 by the U.S. War Department for the
 manufacture of munitions for World War I, Minter supplied the plans and materials
 for 1,724 houses which were built in six months' time. The explosive plant's
 unskilled laborers lived in four-room houses, carpenters and mechanics
 lived in five-room houses, and the executives lived in six-room houses.

Minter didn't limit itself to supplying individual homes. The
 company's catalog also included bunkhouses, boarding
 houses, and even school buildings and churches.

According to the "West Virginia Encyclopedia," at the peak of its
 operations the company employed 125 workers in addition
to 10 traveling salesmen and had annual revenues
 of as much as $3 million.

By 1954, Minter Homes had gone out of the ready-cut home business, instead
 concentrating on custom mill work, finished lumber, windows, doors and
other items for building contractors. With only six employees
 in 198283, the company finally closed its doors.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Sept. 11, 2017.


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