Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of History

Committee Chair

Jeff Wiltse


discriminatory zoning practices, manufactured home zoning, manufactured housing, mobile homes, Montana housing, Montana manufactured housing, resource extraction, restrictive zoning practices, trailer houses, transportable housing


University of Montana


This thesis examines the history of Montanans use and perceptions of manufactured homes. Nationally, manufactured housing has enjoyed a dynamic historic and social evolution, as revealed by federal, state, and local documents, newspaper reports, periodicals, and interviews. Yet, manufactured housing struggles to escape its mobile origins and the negative stereotypes acquired during its rich history. In Montana, the housing form has experienced unprecedented success, both as transportable housing in the boom and bust cycles of the State as well as permanent housing. Montana’s rural population has embraced mobile home’s convenience and affordability. However, public misperceptions persist despite its success as a housing alternative for a diverse population. Their nontraditional appearance and negative stereotypes have led urban governments to pass discriminatory zoning, affecting homeowners, dealers and developers. Responses have included lawsuits, stigmatization, attempts to cooperate with county commissioners to address public concerns, and the imposition of strict community regulations on trailer court tenants to counter negative stereotypes. Montana has made progress, with legislation passed in the 1990s forbidding discriminatory zoning practices and protecting tenant rights. Prejudice, however, continues to influence the housing forms acceptance and to marginalize both manufactured homes and their owners.



© Copyright 2011 Zoe Ann Stoltz