Dear friend and indefatigable researcher Rachel Shoemaker has found an abundance of kit homes in Oklahoma, and she’s now found THREE kit homes in Tahlequah, Oklahoma! The most impressive of her finds is a beautifully maintained Gordon Van Tine “Roberts.”
More recently, she discovered an Aladdin “Cape Cod,” and an Aladdin “Wenonah,” in Tahlequah. Aladdin was one of six national mail-order companies that sold entire kit homes through their catalogs. (Sears was better known, but Aladdin was bigger.) These “kit houses” typically arrived by train in 12,000 pieces and came with a 75-page instruction book that told the homeowner how all those pieces and parts went together. Today, there are about 75,000 Aladdin kit homes in the country (compared with about 70,000 Sears Homes in the country).
Tahlequah, Oklahoma was the original capital of the Cherokee Nation in 1838. According to Wikipedia, Tahlequah became a settlement in 1832. The Cherokees also beat the United States to the punch (so to speak) in adopting prohibition well before the temperance movement was even a gleam in Lyman Beecher’s eye. According to Oklahoma Genealogy, Cherokee councils enacted a law in 1841, prohibiting the sale of “ardent spirits” within the Cherokee Nation.
Street signs in the city of Tahlequah are printed in both English and the Cherokee language.
On a final note, we think we may have found a Sears Modern Home #126 in Tahlequah, but we need a kind soul to get a photo for us. If you live near the area, and you’d be willing to do that, please leave a comment below.
To contact Rachel Shoemaker, send her an email at [email protected]
Rachel has done extensive research on the kit homes in Oklahoma, and has traveled countless miles, researching and documenting these historically significant homes. We’re both puzzled as to how and why so many kit homes landed here, but it’s time that someone hired Rachel to do a proper survey of this impressive collection of Oklahoma’s architectural treasure trove of kit homes. Heretofore, all the work she’s done has been at her own expense.
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