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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Manufactured Homes

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

Manufactured homes, frequently called mobile homes, are single-section or multisection dwelling units made in factories and sold fully built. Such units are also used for schoolrooms, bank branches, construction site offices, and similar commercial applications. North Carolina's manufactured home industry received a tremendous boost during World War II, when it was necessary to provide housing for the military and for civilians working in war production factories (often quite far from their previous homes). This need continued in the postwar years, although the speed with which manufactured homes were produced often led to a lack of quality and safety. The industry was thus faced with the challenge of dispelling the "trailer park" image, which it accomplished to some extent.

Demand for manufactured homes grew through the decades, and financing options for buyers of these homes became closer to those for buyers of conventional housing. The industry continued to encounter zoning restrictions, which virtually deny the use of these homes unless they are placed in a manufactured housing park or community.

Greensboro's Oakwood Homes became one of the nation's most successful manufactured homes companies, designing, manufacturing, and marketing single-section and modular (multisection) houses and financing the majority of its sales. The company operated manufacturing plants in Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Arizona, and several other states before its acquisition in 2004 by Tennessee-based Clayton Homes, Inc.

Additional Resources:

Oakwood Homes: