The Minter Homes Corporation, a manufacturer of ready-to-build housing, was established in Huntington in 1913 as a division of Huntington Lumber & Supply Company. Founded in 1912 by William E. Minter, the lumber company was well situated to capitalize on the logging in southern West Virginia. It was located near three major logging streams, Twelvepole Creek, and the Guyandotte and Big Sandy rivers, while the Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio, and Norfolk & Western railway lines converged at Huntington and nearby Kenova.
The Sears, Roebuck Company and Montgomery Ward already had established a market for pre-cut houses. Minter Homes emulated these better-known competitors by issuing a catalog of house plans and supplying the specifications and all materials needed for construction. Customers could choose anything from three-room cottages to elaborate, columned mansions.
In addition to supplying custom millwork, doors, windows, interior trim, mantels, and other building supplies, the corporation shipped individual house packages and entire mill or industrial villages throughout the South and East. Notable among these villages was the town of Nitro, established in 1917 by the U.S. War Department for the manufacture of munitions for World War I. Minter Homes supplied the plans and materials for 1,724 houses, which were built at Nitro between February and July, 1918. The company did not limit itself to supplying individual cottages and bungalows. In addition to school buildings and churches, the catalog also listed bunkhouses, boarding houses, and multi-family dwellings, all suitable for construction in mining or lumber camps.
At the peak of its operations, the company employed 125 people in the mill in addition to 10 traveling salesmen and had an annual business of $3 million. By 1954, Minter Homes had gone out of the ready-cut home business, concentrating its work on custom mill work, finished lumber, windows, doors, and other items for building contractors. With only six employees in 1982–83, the company finally closed its doors.
This Article was written by Cora P. Teel
Last Revised on October 20, 2010
Wintz, William D. Nitro: World War I Boom Town. Charleston: Jalamap, 1985.
Cammack, Lucius H. Huntington. Huntington Chamber of Commerce, 1912.
Huntington Lumber & Supply Company Catalogue Number 101. Huntington Lumber & Supply Co., 1916.