She Started The Tiny House Trend 100 Years Ago And Believed The Best Way To Improve People’s Quality Of Life Was To Start Living In Smaller, More Economically Savvy Houses

panu101 - - illustrative purposes only

Over the last ten years, the tiny house trend has taken over many people’s lives.

A lot of people have chosen to downsize their lives and belongings to fit inside teeny tiny homes, some of which can travel all over the country.

People choose to live in tiny homes for a wide variety of reasons. Some find it more affordable, some want to be free from clutter, some build them to help the environment, and some people mostly use them as a place to rest in between travel journies.

While we’ve seen some pretty extraordinary tiny houses over the years, do you know anything about the woman credited for starting the tiny house trend in America in the 1920s?

Caroline Bartlett Crane was a sociologist and social reformer who believed that one of the best ways to improve society, people’s quality of life, and our environment was to start living in smaller, more economically savvy houses.

Passionate about housing reform for many years, Caroline was inspired to encourage Americans to build smaller homes after a trip to Great Britain in 1891, where she visited a “foundational settlement house” built in association with the Salvation Army to house the working class.

After her trip, she returned to America, ready to make valiant efforts to reform municipal housing and help people build smaller, freestanding houses that provided residents with a better quality of life. Her services especially thrived in Rochester, New York, in the 1910s, but she is said to have helped at least 60 cities with consulting.

Caroline’s work caught the attention of President Herbert Hoover. In 1924, he encouraged her to design and build one of these practical small homes for the “Better Homes in America” contest, and she delivered.

Alongside George Gilbert Worden, an architect from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Caroline designed a fantastic tiny home called “Everyman’s House” in Kalamazoo. It was a space and money-saving home designed to resemble a sweet Colonial cottage. 

panu101 – – illustrative purposes only

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2