Mobile Home Stereotypes: Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Mobile Homes

Mobile homes have had it tough, they are judged, misunderstood, stereotyped, labelled negatively and lied about constantly. The mobile home stereotype seems to be the most prominent. When someone uses the words ‘trailer trash’ they are essentially judging 18 million people based on the actions and lives of only a few. 

Most of these lies surrounding mobile homes and manufactured homes aren’t just simple misunderstandings, they are outright lies. Whether the people that continue to spread these lies are doing so intentionally is unknown.

Unfortunately, the professionals that are supposed to find the truth are the very ones that spread mobile home stereotypes and lies the most –  the journalists. Although journalist are supposed to let truth prevail, though more often than not, the exact opposite happens. 

Take for instance, the weatherman that stood in front of a camera and stated that the tornado they were expecting would most likely take a left at a particular point in his community because there was a trailer park just down the road.

To even think such a thing is silly but he certainly had no problem making the statement to his entire viewing audience. 

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Other journalists just can’t stop writing about mobile homes. Articles about fires, murders and crime that have occurred in a mobile home are all over the internet and in print. I’ve discussed this issue in-depth in an editorial called Journalists are Biased, where I express my opinion on these so-called professionals. In short, it’s not a good opinion, although I understand that sensationalism sells and especially so when it happens to the middle and lower class. Still, if you must constantly write about fires and crime that occur in a mobile home you should make an effort to write about the same events happening in a stick-build home. 

It is unacceptable for a trained journalist to continue to spread mobile home stereotypes and lies. Google Search is but a push button or screen touch away, and if you are to neglectful to do a thorough research on your chosen topic, then you probably should have picked another field to work in. There are many sites that allow journalists to research their vast inventory, some are even free so there’s no excuse. 

Snopes.com happens to a free reference site where you can find information about urban legends, myths and rumors. They do a fine job of getting to the very bottom of the myths and lies and sharing the truth.

However, they are occasional tricksters. 

The article, Goin’ Mobile, tells a very entertaining but very untrue tale. 

A quick synopsis of the article is that the word “mobile” in mobile homes is not based on the fact that they are moveable.

According to this article, they were called mobile homes because a hardworking couple from Prichard, AL whose names were James and Laura Sweet, invented the idea of a type of house that could be put together quickly and cheaply at a central location and light enough to be moved anywhere the purchaser wanted to put it. 

Mr. Sweet had read a newspaper article about the need for housing since the end of World War II was over and all the servicemen were coming home. He went to his commercial illustrating wife with his new idea and she drew up the plans of a mobile home that had electricity and plumbing as well as separate rooms instead of the layouts of that required you to walk through a small bedroom to get to the bathroom .

Mind you this would have HAD to be after September 2, 1945 when World War II finally ended.

They supposedly took all their life savings, mortgaged their home and borrowed against their life insurance policies to start the first true mobile home manufacturing company called Sweet Homes that was very close to Mobile, Alabama, hence the mobile in mobile homes.

It also says that the song “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynard Skynard is a knock off of Sweet Home’s commercial jig. 

Here’s a couple of those ads: 

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If you go to the very bottom of the Goin’ Mobile page and click on the “More Information About This Page” link (the little box beside the words is the link, not the words) it tells you plainly that you should never rely on one authority for all your information. It is plainly listed under the “False Authority” tag. Apparently, there are several stories they have made up. Perhaps it was a test to see just how gullible internet readers are and to see if they could get the false claims out there. 

Always, always do your research. Whether buying, remodeling, moving or selling a mobile home. It is always in your best interest to research. As far as journalists that refuse to educate themselves about mobile and manufactured homes, I beg of you to step up your game. Journalism is supposed to be about finding truth, not spreading lies. 

As always, thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living.

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5 Comments
  1. CrystalMHL says

    Shirlee, I have watched The Long Long Trailer and actually have a
    poster (reproduction) from it! I guess the fact that I have blog about
    mobile homes has made me into a \”collector\” of anything mobile home I
    can find..lol…I don't like the word trailer really, as it conveys
    (to me anyway) a small utility trailer you put four wheelers on and
    pull with your truck. I understand that it means both but trailer is a
    much \”cheaper\” sounding home than mobile home. Thanks you guys so much
    for reading and commenting! It's an honor to have you!

    On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM, Crystal Adkins
    wrote:
    > I haven't been able to find anything at all on a company called \”Sweet
    > Homes\” although to be honest I have NOT researched anything on company
    > start-ups that may have began in AL (other than Sweet Homes). There
    > very well could be mobile home companies that have began in AL. I have
    > ordered a complete antique book series with a catalog system on Mobile
    > Homes, hopefully that will show me some more history footnotes.
    > Libraries around me have been fruitless. Internet researches are about
    > my only means but if I can't find at least to viable references I will
    > not repeat it. Of course, the fact that Snopes tells you that this is
    > a fake story themselves once you click on the bottom link was my 1st
    > resource. Doing internet searches on the beginning of mobile homes,
    > mobile home inventions, inventor of mobile homes and the ever
    > distinguished \”who built the first mobile home\” search had nothing
    > about Sweet Homes. I do have a post about the history of mobile homes,
    > but didn't get to in depth with it. I was basically getting my feet
    > wet and just trying to convey the fact that mobile homes basically
    > came from the gypsy caravans found as far back as the 1500's. If you
    > can find anything on Sweet Homes by all means send it to me. At one
    > point in American history there was well over 500 companies that built
    > mobile homes. At last count there are less than 50 now. I have just
    > found that this first quarter of 2012 has been a great quarter and
    > sells are up! It may just get better for the industry after all the
    > doom and gloom forecast. Also with all the buy-outs and takeovers it
    > would be really hard to get info on each and every company. I wish I
    > could make it to Indiana just once and check out the RV and Mobile
    > Home Museum's library, that would be my idea of wonderful vacation!
    >
    >
    >

  2. CrystalMHL says

    I haven't been able to find anything at all on a company called \”Sweet
    Homes\” although to be honest I have NOT researched anything on company
    start-ups that may have began in AL (other than Sweet Homes). There
    very well could be mobile home companies that have began in AL. I have
    ordered a complete antique book series with a catalog system on Mobile
    Homes, hopefully that will show me some more history footnotes.
    Libraries around me have been fruitless. Internet researches are about
    my only means but if I can't find at least to viable references I will
    not repeat it. Of course, the fact that Snopes tells you that this is
    a fake story themselves once you click on the bottom link was my 1st
    resource. Doing internet searches on the beginning of mobile homes,
    mobile home inventions, inventor of mobile homes and the ever
    distinguished \”who built the first mobile home\” search had nothing
    about Sweet Homes. I do have a post about the history of mobile homes,
    but didn't get to in depth with it. I was basically getting my feet
    wet and just trying to convey the fact that mobile homes basically
    came from the gypsy caravans found as far back as the 1500's. If you
    can find anything on Sweet Homes by all means send it to me. At one
    point in American history there was well over 500 companies that built
    mobile homes. At last count there are less than 50 now. I have just
    found that this first quarter of 2012 has been a great quarter and
    sells are up! It may just get better for the industry after all the
    doom and gloom forecast. Also with all the buy-outs and takeovers it
    would be really hard to get info on each and every company. I wish I
    could make it to Indiana just once and check out the RV and Mobile
    Home Museum's library, that would be my idea of wonderful vacation!

  3. Shirlee says

    When we lived in a double wide many years ago, a friend of our always called it a trailer. Yes, it was old and needed work, but you certainly couldn't hook it up to the back of a truck and head out for the weekend! I know she was being snide and looked down on the 'trailer park". I think it's funny they're called mobile because really, any house can be moved with the right equipment.

    Have you ever seen the movie The Long, Long Trailer starring Lucy and Desi Arnez? Very funny and they actually do pull their home behind their car!

    Have a great day!

  4. Friar Don says

    Although this history sounds closer to what I would believe. 😉
    http://www.westcoastmobilehomes.com/history
    My recent post Yesterday’s Wakeup!

  5. Friar Don says

    With the exception of the last ad you showed, most of the ads you showed from the early 30s/40s seem to be what I would call "trailer tents" so to say. The ads even extort the ability to "see the world" and live in comfort as you do so. That said, was there such a family that made slightly larger mobile homes in AL that did decide to make money on the returning Vets and build different forms of housing for them to purchase and set up "quicker" and "cheaper" than other housing of the time?

    Friar Don, OBR http://exposeyourblog.com
    My recent post Yesterday’s Wakeup!