The once-dreamed wonders of trailer life

Originally published at:


L. Ron Hubbard lived in a trailer after the war, and he was trash.


My dream of taking an Airstream around the country will keep me out of the Social Register?

So be it.


Trailers are stigmatized because the poor can afford them

What an insight. It’s like poverty food, but house, including the part where hipsters come back and decide it’s cool again.


In this regard there’s a lovely new development from Southern California (where a lot of people are living in cars anyhow due to the housing crunch): a sometimes predatory unregulated market of mobile home rentals on the streets of L.A.

Ladies and gentlemen, the new “dream” of trailer life in late-stage capitalist America:

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Blame it on the Depression:

“In the Great Depression in the 1930s, people started living in trailers which were designed for travelling and vacationing but out of necessity, people started to make these tiny mobile units their homes,” says Andrew Hurley, author of Diners, Bowling Alleys and Trailer Parks.

“They started parking them on the outskirts of cities and that’s when they become associated with working class and impoverished people.”

There was institutionalised discrimination, he says, as federal-backed mortgages were denied to owners of mobile homes, while zoning laws forced these communities to the very outskirts of towns and cities.

The 40s and 50s were their heyday, helped by the innovation of “double-wides”, which meant they came in two separate units and formed a larger home.

“But the idea of permanent living in a mobile home didn’t really catch on and by the 60s and 70s the private housing industry had caught up with demand so people that could afford to move out gave up their trailers for a more conventional suburban type of housing,” says Hurley." -BBCNews 2013

Today’s “Tiny Houses” built for hipsters with cash to burn and a desire to go glamping in lieu of camping will unlikely fall into the same category or stigma that trailer parks have. Hell, even Trailer Park Jesus couldn’t raise a family in one of those tiny things.


Is trash. Thetans don’t die.


New Tiffen or Entegra "RV"s…ah Motorhomes can set you back about 500K.

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Also, I know quite a few gay couples that retired and moved into gay campgrounds with a RV as a permanent resident. Gay communities in urban areas are rare or too expensive for older people. In middle America, it’s gay campgrounds. Some pull up stakes and migrate with the weather.
If you google ‘gay campgrounds’ you’ll find some…and they usually sell lots for RVs or ‘tiny home’ for either vacation weekend homes, rental or permanent residents.


I’ve got a tiny house… well, small one anyway. It’s not any kind of statement or anything… it’s just small is all.


Trailers are stigmatized because the poor can afford them, and when the first generation of Tiny House dwellers start selling up in earnest, Tiny Houses will be stigmatized too.

How one measures wealth/poverty all depends upon what one values, and what sort of symbols one uses to communicate this. There is no way to know how successful a stranger may be without first knowing something about what it is they are trying to do.


I just ditched my apartment and moved into a 24’ travel trailer on a nice lot by a lake. I’m paying about half what I was for my shitty apartment, can’t hear my neighbors fighting every night, have an actual yard that I can fish from, and I’m about a thousand percent happier with it. I’m sure some people think it’s trashy, but fuck 'em.


In the ’40s, people living in “regular” homes also looked upon those in RVs and mobile homes as “trailer trash” because they had to go to the outhouse or the campground wash facilities just to use the toilet.

Interesting. I’ve lived in trailers, and seen a great number of trailers. None of them lack some sort of toilet facilities. None I’ve seen had a bath, but all but the smallest have a shower (actually I had a 16’, 2700lbs trailer that had a shower - but I have at least seen RVs with no showers).

So either things have changed since the 1940s, or people were making wrong assumptions (or deliberately misunderstanding out of cruelty).

Of corse an RV park either needs to plumb in all the sites, or having a toilet in the RV isn’t all that useful (or you have to move the RV to a dump site before you fill the black tank…which isn’t all that fun), or the site can have a honey bucket truck…oh, ok, I’m off in a rathole again.


Is that payment the lot fee, or lot fee plus the loan (or rental) of the trailer as well?

(I’m not judging, I spent a happy 7 years in trailers, although mine were a wee bit larger fivers, but they weren’t in a site that sounds as nice as yours because I still had to commute to work…)

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I don’t think so, but if they will, it will probably depend on localization. As an example, in Poland both old, tiny houses and extremely small flats are highly sought after, if the localization is convenient. I bought a 12.4 sq.m.(134 sq. ft) flat near the centre of Warsaw, in a building originally built as a housing for military personnel, and it was a good idea. Just the time that is saved on daily commute is worth it (it’s 15 min. walk to the work), and not having to own a car is another bonus :slight_smile:


If I owned a tiny house on wheels - like some I’ve seen, I’d be nervous about going out to get groceries and coming back to find that someone had towed my house away. I guess you could remove the wheels and anchor the home to the ground somehow.

My wife spends her working hours in a trailer on her school’s grounds teaching French, but those things aren’t tiny or on wheels. I like a lot of the tiny houses I’ve seen online, but some of them are really expensive and don’t seem very practical.


The lot fee. I paid $2000 cash for the trailer that I saved up about a year ago, and then another grand or so over the last year fixing mostly minor issues with it before moving in. I do still commute to work though, I was lucky enough to find a really nice lot only a few minutes from my work. My apartment was just under $1000 a month, my lot fee here is $460, so it’s nice to be able to actually save a little money up and pay down my credit cards and student loans now. Here’s a picture I took the day I moved in if anyone is interested.


True, but an awful lot of American tiny houses are on exurban plots for that getaway feel. It’s going to be a rude shock for people to learn that their $50,000 modernist tiny house is, as far as real estate goes, just a shed in the woods.


I think Airstreams (new or used) are enough of a luxury item that they are rarely considered trashy.





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