In 2006, a woman in Beckley, West Virginia sent me an email. “Ersela” thought she’d found about 40 kit homes in Beckley, and wanted to ask if I was available to come to her town and give a lecture. For the next several months, we talked back and forth and in 2008, I went to Beckley and gave a talk on Sears Kit Homes. Over the course of a couple years, I also visited Charleston and Lewisburg, and the surrounding areas.
I’m still amazed and impressed by how many kit homes I’ve found in these communities. How did so many kit homes end up in West Virginia? I’ve no idea. This is a picture-heavy post so I’ll keep the words to a minimum. Enjoy the photos, and please leave a comment. And if you know why West Virginia has so many kit homes, please comment on that, too! And - if I have misidentified a city, please let me know.
To see pictures of Sears Homes in Charleston, West Virginia click here.
To read more about how to identify Sears kit homes, click here.
To read about my favorite Sears Home in Rainelle, click here.
Sears Vallonia, from the 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog. This was a very popular house.
A beautiful Sears Vallonia in Lewisburg, WV
Sears Altona from the Sears Modern Home's catalog
Sears Altona in the tiny town of Ronceverte.
Sears Lynnhaven, as seen in the 1929 catalog
Sears Lynnhaven in Rainelle, WV
Sears Marina, Model #2024
Although significantly remodeled, this is clearly a Sears Marina, #2024. This house is in Lewisburg. Note how the shed dormer still retains its three little windows.
Aladdin was another prominent kit home company, with a large lumberyard and mill in Greensboro, NC. There were many Aladdin Kit Homes in WV, too. Here, you can see the Aladdin Genie going back into his bottle (presumably on the back porch) after building a house for his master in a day (I'm guessing here).
The Aladdin Pasadena was one of Aladdin's most popular homes.
As a point of comparison, this is a PERFECT Pasadena in Lynchburg, Virginia. Note, the side porch is still in original condition.
Here's a nice Aladdin Pasadena in a small town just outside of Rainelle, WV. To the uninformed, this may look like a grove of trees, but there is an Aladdin House there. Sometimes, it's hard to identify these kit homes because of surrounding landscaping. This house called my name from the highway, and once you hear the sound of an Aladdin Pasadena, you never forget it. :)
Aladdin Virginia from the 1919 Aladdin catalog
An Aladdin Virginian in White Sulphur Springs, not too far from the famous hotel, The Greenbriar.
Gordon Van Tine was yet another popular kit home company of the early 1900s. Here's the GVT "Durant," a fairly popular little bungalow.
The Durant, in Lewisburg, WV.