The first part of the 20th century is considered the golden age of rail in New Zealand and the railways were a major employer. In towns based on the railway it provided housing for its workers.
Standardised planning through pattern-books and use of prefabricated components were features of railway house construction. In the period up until 1926, approximately 300 houses were produced by a Frankton factory.
In Te Kuiti the Historical Society has preserved memories of this era with its pre-cut Railway House which has been restored to how it was when it was first assembled in the 1920s. A visit to the house with its coal fired stove, copper for clothes washing, tiny scullery and living rooms gives an enlightening insight to the way of life before electricity became widespread.