Posts Tagged ‘mobile homes’

RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum

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You don’t need a mansion on the hill to be somebody. It’s not the house but the people inside it.” That’s what Stephen Lee Duncan of Aurora, Colorado, told Swiss citizen and photojournalist Frimmel Smith in 1998. Duncan was among many people Smith interviewed and photographed in conjunction with the American Institute of Architecture to create a traveling exhibit entitled “Wheel People” which tells the story of Americans who choose to live in manufactured homes in deference to site built housing.

The “Wheel People” exhibit was created in 1998-99 by Smith with the cooperation of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum and many state manufactured housing associations.  She identified people throughout the country to interview and photograph and traveled for over one year assembling their stories into this exhibition.

After displaying the exhibit at locations around the country from Washington DC, Richmond, Virginia; Biloxi, Mississippi; Chicago, Illinois and others, Smith donated the entire exhibit to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana.

'Wheel People' Exhibit at RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum

‘Wheel People’ Exhibit at RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum –
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Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, said, “The ‘Wheel People’ exhibit is an excellent addition to our manufactured housing collection.  It not only traces the evolution of manufactured housing from trailers to mobile homes and finally to manufactured homes, it also shows the diversity of those who choose to live in homes on wheels.

“From Maine to California, occupants include people of all ages and incomes, from college students to senior citizens; America’s wealthy and her poor as well as white and blue collar workers, artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, and health care professionals.

“Visitors to the museum will be able to tour historic examples of homes on wheels, experience the ‘Wheel People’ exhibit and then step outside to visit a modern manufactured home currently being constructed east of the museum facility—we expect the home, loaned and erected by Fairmont Homes, to be completed and opened to the public in early November.

“The RV and manufactured housing industries sprang from the same root, but evolved into two separate industries – recreational travel and affordable housing.  It’s impossible to tell the story of one industry without including the other.

“We believe the ‘Wheel People’ exhibit adds an important and interesting chapter to our goal of telling our story and interpreting our heritage.  Even those who have visited the museum in the past, I encourage them to come by again as our exhibits are always changing and evolving.”


Kristi Collier is a columnist explained that Winter Texans are a lot younger, they have a lot more money and they’re not afraid to spend it.

“The older ones, who a lot of them lived through the depression, they save everything and they’re not real spenders,” Collier said.

Cory Reed, park manager for Citrus Mobile Park in Edinburg, said that one of the new trends she is seeing is that Winter Texans are leaving much sooner than usual.

“The younger Winter Texans are more transit,” Reed said. “They don’t stay as long and they move around more. I’ve had a lot of people that have left already.”

“Something that we haven’t had to deal with before is that they all have to have their wireless Internet,” Reed said. “It’s an important feature for the park. I’ve had several people tell me they’re not going to come back next year if we don’t get it fixed.”

Because some people are only staying for two months, they’ve had to turn away people who might have stayed for four months.

“I foresee at some point we’re going to have to redo our rent structure,” Reed said.

Rod Graham is the webmaster of the Winter Texan Connection said, “It seems as though that more (people) are retiring from blue collar jobs and are coming down. Where as 10 years ago you could just about say the majority of Winter Texans retired from farming. Now we’re seeing a lot more coming from office jobs and things like that.”

The 2008 UTPA study reported that the average Winter Texan household income is around $50,000 with 69 percent of respondents’ incomes falling in the $20,000 to $60,000 range.

Graham also notices that more and more Winter Texans are buying property here and flying back and forth instead of driving back year after year.

“Over the last 10 years it’s been RV after RV on the road,” Graham said. Now, it seems as if they’re buying mobile homes in the parks, and either drive a car down or have a car here and fly back and forth.

On average, a typical Winter Texan has been coming to the Valley for 9.1 years, and stays for around 4.2 months, UTPA reported.
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