Harris Brothers Bungalows

1920 Homes by Harris Brothers, formerly Chicago Wrecking Company

Harris Bros. Kit House

Harris Brothers Kit House - No. M-1501

Harris Brothers originally began business as the Chicago House Wrecking Company in 1893. For many years, and through several expositions including the Chicago Exposition in 1893 through the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, the company bid and successfully removed the salvage materials from a number of sites ... a highly profitable endeavor.

From 1912 to 1922, there was an overlap in operations between Chicago House Wrecking Company and Harris Brothers Company. In 1910, the Chicago House Wrecking Company offered its first book of plans, which is noted in the the Catalog of Copyright Entries for January-December 1910 in the Library of Congress. In 1912, Chicago Wrecking/Harris began selling plans and offering with them a building list of materials, though at that time the houses were not pre-cut. (The competition among like-minded lumber dealers was intense and each was jumping on the innovations of its competitors.) The earliest book of plans offered independently by the Harris Brothers Company that we have found was published in 1914 (Benson Ford Research Center).

Though the history of Harris Brothers is remains murky, a quotation from the 1920 catalog distances the operations Harris Brothers from the Chicago House Wrecking Company:

"In our earlier career we were incorporated under the name of the Chicago House Wrecking Company. For years we were known to the public, under this name, as the Bargain Mart of the world, but as time passed we were, by reason of the great savings made on new lumber and mill-work materials purchased for customers, forced into the new material business and we realized that the old name gave the wrong impression. Millions of dollars have been spent by us to acquaint the buying public with the old name, still the four Harris Brothers, the men who built this great institution decided that their best interests demanded a change of name that would not mislead. Remember we furnish new material only."

The Chicago House Wrecking Company is thought to have continued operations through 1938.

See more plans for vintage Harris home plans at Antique Home.


The Bungalow Book: Floor Plans and Photos of 112 Houses, 1910 by Henry L. Wilson
America's Favorite Homes by Robert A. Schweitzer, Michael W. A. Davis

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