by Vicki Priest (c)*
Many people seem to know of the small concrete Ken-Way homes in Port Huron, but that they were a very local and very short-lived phenomenon seems less widely known. Ken-Way, or sometimes just “Kenway,” homes were developed by Kenneth Wyillie of Port Huron. They were made by assembling locally constructed pre-cast walls–which included insulation, wiring, and plumbing–at the house site (the foundation and roof were not pre-cast). The homes were built from about 1950 to 1957. These years are representative of articles or ads found regarding new Ken-Way homes in the local newspaper, but some homes may have been built shortly before or after.
An article from November 1951 (The Times Herald, page 5) reported that “several of the modernistic, flat-roofed buildings already have been erected in the Port Huron area.” A 1950 ad states that they had built a “test home” five years prior.(1) It can be assumed–perhaps wrongly–that the address of the home they provide in the ad is that “test home.” Whether it is the 1945 test or another early example, it is still standing and shown below the pictured ad.