Hopewell’s Historic Kit Homes: And They’re Not in Crescent Hills (Part IV)
As mentioned in prior posts, Hopewell, Virginia has eight Sears homes in their Crescent Hills neighborhood, but they have dozens of Aladdin kit homes throughout the city. It’s a puzzle why so much energy and ink is invested in these eight Sears Homes, while the Aladdin homes are ignored! If I were a little Aladdin Home in this small Richmond suburb, I might feel snubbed!
The Aladdin homes are mostly worker cottages and definitely more modest than their fancy cousins in Crescent Hills, but these small homes also have an important story to tell. They tell about Dupont coming to Hopewell in the early 1900s and building a factory and creating jobs and investing in modest homes for their workers.
And it’s a part of Hopewell’s history that’s disappearing. Judging by the empty lots, countless numbers of these modest homes have already been leveled. Perhaps as people become aware that this is a piece of Hopewell’s history, the remaining houses might be spared.
Aladdin, like Sears, was a company that sold kit homes through their mail-order catalog. Kit homes sold by both Aladdin and Sears were made with top-quality lumber and builing materials. In fact, Aladdin offered their customers “$1.00 for every knot any customer can find…”
These were good houses, made with building materials the likes of we will never again see in this country. At the very least, the lumber in these homes should be salvaged when the homes are leveled. At the very least.
Down by the waterfront, on Ramsey Street, I found a perfect Wenonah (and that is the correct spelling). This is a fairly unusual house for Aladdin, and I’ve only seen two in my house hunting career.
The next house is an Aladdin Brighton, and it’s the only “Brighton” I’ve ever seen. And while I’m not 100% sure it’s an Aladdin Brighton, the fact is, it’s smack dab in the heart of a significant collection of Aladdin kit homes in Hopewell. There are kit homes on all three sides of this house, and a river sits behind it. As mentioned above, Ramsey Road seems to be the place where the supervisor’s homes were located.
The Brighton was a spacious and beautiful home, and it’s very believable that this house could have been built for upper management.
Unfortunately, the landscaping around the house prevented me from getting better photos, but based on the high number of Aladdin kit homes in this neighborhood, and the striking similarities between The Brighton and the subject house, I’d say the little white bungalow on Ramsey Street is indeed an Aladdin Brighton!
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