Warning, if you were educated in Mississippi's public schools, these pichurs ain't for colorin!
When you think of Mississippi, what comes to mind? Illiteracy? Sweltering heat? Bigotry? Velvet Elvis? These are all valid responses. However, we must remember what Mississippi gives to the world of architecture. The mobile home is an icon in every Mississippi town with as much symbolism as the second place trophy (Civil War memorial) adorning every Mississippi town square.
As with African Americans and gay people, labels for mobile homes have changed over the years. Manufacturers are trying to evade negative connotations. First it was a "trailer", then a "mobile home", and now the preferred nomenclature is "manufactured housing". We predict the next moniker will be "candominiums".
Covering all the notable mobile homes of Mississippi would be as tremendous an undertaking as putting a man on the moon. For that reason, we've decided to concentrate on the great mobile homes of Columbus, Mississippi. Please join our tour.
Blessed are those whose home is in the spirit - Khabouris Manuscript (Aramaic)
Blessed are the poor in spirit - Traditional interpretation
Having your home chosen for this tour is one of the most exciting social honors in the state. Competition is intense to present our judges with perfection in every detail of mobile home life, such as these newly constructed entry steps.
New mobile homes can be bought on almost any street corner in Mississippi. Here, at the annual Home Show in the Columbus K-Mart parking lot, you can see a fine display of new homes. It pays to shop around. Many of last year's homes are on sale in the fall to make room for next year's models. Whether you call them mobile homes, manufactured homes, trailers or hillbilly heaven a truly great mobile home doesn't just happen. A lot of time and effort is required to turn a pile of 2x4's and aluminum siding on wheels into a work of art.
Good deals can always be found at the yearly "scratch and dent sale." Although you can save some time by having the retailer "customize" your home in this manner, you will still need to weather it and have some accessories added to the yard such as a Trans-Camaro or a stove. Most mobile home dealers are honest people doing their best to beautify the landscape with only the finest quality dwellings available. But watch out; some unscrupulous dealers have started placing undamaged homes on their "scratch and dent lot." If you are looking for a "customized home" the old "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware) applies. Make sure the dealer discloses what customizing has actually been done!
You might not realize it, but days of research go into creating appealing mobile home designs. In this example, the designers conducted market research by observing the grocery purchases of the target market. It was determined that 99.9% of that demographic preferred sliced white bread loaf-style, and as a result of that keen insight, this tasteful design proved irresistable.
This home has a grand entrance, but you can see the owner isn't really concerned about the "mood" created by the home and its landscape. It's an older model home which has been kept way too clean. What gives? The lawn has been mowed and the garbage has been set out! This home requires a lot of work if they ever want it to be a "Great Mobile Home!" Perhaps, when the owner is finished discussing the pros and cons of WCW vs. WWF, he'll have time to devote to his home.
This is a good start. A little rust is evident around the edges, corrugated aluminum is set against the skirting and some trash is piled around the well-weathered porch. This home is well on its way to becoming a redneck castle, but would never qualify for a FEMA loan.
Now, look what adding some dogs, a chicken and a Trans-Camaro can do for a mobile home! No, the car isn't up on blocks (yet) but it still adds that extra touch that only the Trans-Camaro can. The film classic "Smokey and the Bandit" lives on in the heart of every mobile home dweller. Other notable features of this home include the custom-built air conditioner support and the fine use of windows. Adding too many windows to a mobile home makes them far too bright on the inside, fading the rugs and uphostery.
A screened porch is a must in the South. Here you can see a screened porch put to good use as a storage area for a stove, refrigerator and other appliances. Although not as trendy as placing appliances in the yard, a screened porch allows the public to view your collection. However, it does make it more difficult to get the coveted "rust" color on the appliances. Also note the truck and Trans-Camaro in the yard; a definite plus!
In this part of Mississippi, it's hard to keep the yard properly decorated.
Many cruel people believe that only a sub-human family could occupy an old broken down bread truck like this one from Lauderdale County, Mississippi. However the artwork on the side is anthropological proof of modern homo sapiens. This energetic and artistic family quickly grew wealthy enough to purchase a stick home through video filmmaking and internet opportunities.
Here we see the back-to-nature, save our ecology sentiments so native to trailer residents, proudly fluttering in the front yard. Or, has the payment on the electric bill been a little slow? We all must prioritize, and everyone knows that owning a working dryer isn't nearly as important as that giant satellite dish out back.
Kids can be a great inspiration! Their toys add a colorful touch to the landscape and only a child can place objects with a randomness so necessary in making the yard not look "staged." Of course, a fishin' boat doesn't hurt, either!
Is it a home, or is it a boat? The jaunty nautical theme suggests a whimsical "BoaterHome". Cars sensibly parked around the Boaterhome will function as little lifeboats, should disaster occur. In this outstanding example note the four cars are on blocks are camoflaged with weeds. In fact the rusted car to the right is covered with so many weeds it's difficult to spot. The resulting effect is subtle yet pleasing to the eye and keeps the neighbors from getting too jealous. This is a textbook example working within an architectural theme, yet keeping things sedated.
An uneven lot can be turned into an asset with only a few cement blocks. Notice the strategic placement of blocks holding up the back end of this fine example of "trailer bending." Placing more blocks in the center of the home would destroy its gentle curve and completely spoil the striking effect. Trailer bending is also practical; spills flow to the lowest point in the trailer. This not only saves clean-up time but also makes it easy to feed the dogs. As a side note, the beer can and cigarette carton yard ornaments add colorful garden whimsy.
Here's a family taking full advantage of a sloped lot. Other kids are jealous, because these children can sit on pie pans and slide down the hallway.
Latinos have arrived in Columbus! All the neighbors said they couldn't concentrate on their TV sets after Pedro finished painting his trailer, so they moved away.
The South is famous for gracious hospitality, and no place lays this claim on thicker than Mississippi. Clearly this tradition is not limited to the plantation house. "y'all come on down! We got a cot fer ya! Our pool blew away, but Mom 'n them still have one."
Tornadoes cause hundreds of dollars of damage to mobile homes every year and some trailer dwellers take measures against them. Others just let nature help them with their decorating. Here we see an example of using tires to help hold the roof on during those frequent Mississippi storms. With the roof protected against even the most severe twister the owner can put more emphasis on landscaping.
More square footage is often needed to house some of the larger collections (and occupants). Here, the rare "Leisurama", a '60's precursor to the ubiquitous "double wads" and transformer toys, could travel as a single wide and then unfold to luxurious proportions when set up on site.
It's a sad commentary on our culture, but the collections which take so many years to acquire can easily be stolen. Some mobile home dwellers have had to resort to fences to keep their treasures safe.
Insecurity often leads mobile homeowners to purchase mean dogs such as a Pit Bull or Rottweiler, known in these parts as 'Rocks'. Sadly, this family's Rock mistook their home for a can of Alpo.
On the streets of New York, this car would draw laughter, but in Mississippi, this Transcamero 4x4 is a sex machine, capable of out boggin' any foreign-made yuppie SUV. For those who don't know, boggin' is a fascinating sport where contestants see who can get the furthest in a field of slick mud.
Mississippi trailer folk don't get mad, they get even! Provoke a feud with your neighbor, and you might return from work one day to find no pad on your pad!
Yard ornaments are especially appealing when they add color to the composition. But there are so many colors, how does one choose? These mobile home residents knew the beautiful shades of the '70s would come back in style and they bided their time. Now, they have gorgeous burnt-orange and avocado antiques to add that special touch to their landscape.
In the American dream, people work hard and prosper. Here the owners (previously living in a mobile home) achieved the upward mobility of a stick-built home but never abandoned their traditional landscaping values.
Here's a superb example of 12-pack engineering. A mobile wood burning, forced air heating and air conditioning unit . Note the extension ladder supporting the ductwork. We all know the rule: "If the van is a-rockin', don't come a-knocking", but the more appropriate conclusion here is: "If the van is a-smokin', don't come a-stoking".
Why does the county insist on placing signs in front of homes with "slow" children? Is it really a good idea to advertise such facts? How does one enter this home? That's the beauty! As you can clearly see by this example, enough landscaping material can hide the front door from those pesky neighbors. Moving that much landscaping material into a yard takes a lot of work but if you plan it in stages it'll go smoother.
Mississippi has a well-deserved reputation for beautiful women. Women who dress nice for football games, have lovely nails and hair, and who can't resist a man in a muscle car from the 70's. We heard this guy, with his homemade Buick Rivera Batmobile, gets more action than a toilet seat.
A fine example of the art of architectural additions. Note how the style of the original home is tastefully mirrored in the choice of the mobile home addition. If the sign out front is any indication, you would be welcome to move in, should you stop by and feel the sudden urge to "git Saved". And surely, such an attractive option is why the addition was needed.
Here's a conundrum. Do all Southern Baptists live in mobile homes, or are all mobile home dwellers Southern Baptists? Above is the parsonage for the "DOUBLE PORTION CHURCH COLUMBUS MS; ELDER OLDEN JONES PASTOR" (and bus driver). Does this mean you have to bring TWO 'covered dishes' every Sunday? Since the Baptists defrocked all their female pastors, Ms. Eldon Olden Jones was forced to change her affiliation.
For Baptists, it's "Good Faith, not Good Works" that is guaranteed to open those Pearly Gates. Hence, they know that the lawn edging around this little tree will install itself properly with sufficient prayer and faith in the Holy Ghost. To see how much progress was made in a year, click on the picture.
Is this what they mean by "Holy Rollers"? Ahh! what better structure to build a church than a mobile home? This pastor can just pick up the underskirt and go wherever and whenever Jesus says. It's sure to go down in architectural history along with the great cathedrals of France. But then, Notre Dame doesn't have a Trans-Camaro! (no, the car is not planted)
Because so few have experienced the joy of living in a Great Mobile Home, the 4 Seasons motel offers a fabulous opportunity. You can meet others who share your passion in the free communal jaccuzi. Social tip: Be sure you are up to date on Nascar. It's a sure-fire way to win friends.
Sometimes, when in the presence of the work of a great artist, one gets tingly all over! Here the thoughtful placement of 'found objects' such as matched grocery carts, yard appliances and an exercise machine evokes that majestic sensation. Vandals and thieves take heed! There are five dogs chained up in strategic places, along with 25 cats who amazingly, all looked exactly alike! The camera couldn't capture the love of animals that permeated the atmosphere. Truly, this home has earned the title, a Great Mobile Home of Mississippi.