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The Aladdin Shadowlawn: A Mass of Lights and Shadows

Did you ever see a more beautiful picture of its kind than the one shown here? A mass of lights and shadows, softening the greens, browns and grays of the foliage; shingles and cobbles delight the eye. You can almost feel the touch of the sunbeams patterning the lawn, and you just want to stroll up the steps and into the inviting shade of the porch.  (From the 1919 Aladdin Homes catalog)

So reads the promotional text for the Aladdin Shadowlawn. And it is a beauty. That Shadowlawn was probably one of Aladdin’s top five most popular designs.

Aladdin, like Sears, sold kit homes through a mail-order catalog. Aladdin started business in 1906, and Sears started two years later in 1908. Sears closed their Modern Homes Department in 1940, but Aladdin continued on until 1981!  To learn more about Aladdin’s history, click here. Thanks to Dale Wolicki for info on Aladdin!

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

The Aladdin Shadowlawn as seen in the 1919 Aladdin catalog.

The Aladdin Shadowlawn as seen in the 1919 Aladdin catalog.

Probably my favorite Shadowlawn, and its right here in Hampton, Virginia. I wonder if these people even know they have an Aladdin Shadowlawn. If theyre like most people Ive encountered, theyre convinced its a Sears Kit Home because theyve never even heard of Aladdin.

Probably my favorite Shadowlawn, and it's right here in Hampton, Virginia. I wonder if these people even know they have an Aladdin Shadowlawn? If they're like most people I've encountered, they're convinced it's a Sears Kit Home because they've never even heard of Aladdin.

Another favorite Shadowlawn, and this one is in Tarboro, NC. Aladdin had a big mill in Wilmington, NC.

Another favorite Shadowlawn, and this one is in Tarboro, NC. Aladdin had a big mill in Wilmington, NC, so it's not surprising that there are many Aladdins in North Carolina.

This Aladdin has had some additions, but it still looks good. Its in Rocky Mount, NC which also has an abundance of Aladdin kit homes (and a couple Lustrons, too).

This Aladdin has had some additions, but it still looks good. It's in Rocky Mount, NC which also has an abundance of Aladdin kit homes (and a couple Lustrons, too).

This Shadowlawn is close to home, and its in Portsmouth, VA (my home town). Its in a section of town known as Port Norfolk (yes, its in Portsmouth), not to be confused with West Norfolk (also in Portsmouth) or South Norfolk (which is in Chesapeake). I live in Norfolk. Period.

This Shadowlawn is close to home, and it's in Portsmouth, VA (my home town). It's in a section of town known as Port Norfolk (yes, it's in Portsmouth), not to be confused with West Norfolk (also in Portsmouth) or South Norfolk (which is in Chesapeake). I live in Norfolk. Period.

Another beautiful Shadowlawn and this one is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo is courtesy of Rachel Shoemaker, and may not be used or reprinted without permission.

Another beautiful Shadowlawn and this one is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo is courtesy of Rachel Shoemaker, and may not be used or reprinted without permission.

Another Shadowlawn close to home, this one is on Elm Avenue in Portsmouth.

Another Shadowlawn close to home, this one is on Elm Avenue in Portsmouth.

The fake Shadowlawn shown in the planbook has a much higher pitch to the roof. Look at the position of the eave brackets here.

The "fake Shadowlawn" shown in the planbook has a much higher pitch to the roof. Look at the position of the eave brackets here.

Is this a Shadowlawn in Maryland?

Is this a real Shadowlawn in Maryland or another fake?? Porches come and go, and sometimes, they're never built in the first place. The windows sure look right, but look at that roofline. It's much higher and steeper than a true Shadowlawn. I'd have to say it could be the planbook house (shown above). To be sure, I'd have to go inside the house and measure the rooms.

This house in Lombard, Illinois is definitely NOT a Shadowlawn. The roof is way too steeply pitched, the eaves are too small, and the brackets are in the wrong place.

This house in Lombard, Illinois is definitely NOT a Shadowlawn. The roof is way too steeply pitched, the eaves are too small, and the brackets are too small and not placed where they should be. This is a "faux" Shadowlawn. There was also a plan book design that looked a lot like the Shadowlawn. It's possible that this house came from a planbook.

Is this an Aladdin or Plan Book house? Id lean toward Aladdin, mainly because Ive found so many Aladdins in this part of Norfolk (Lafayette/Winona).

Is this an Aladdin or Plan Book house? I'd lean toward Aladdin, mainly because I've found so many verified Aladdins in this part of Norfolk (Lafayette/Winona section).

Located on Alby Street in Alton, IL, this probably is a Shadowlawn, despite the slightly different window arrangement. The brackets are right, the roofline is right and the house just looks like an Aladdin Shadowlawn. The living room stretches across the entire front of the house, so changing the windows around a bit wouldnt be too problematic.

Located on Alby Street in Alton, IL, this probably is a Shadowlawn, despite the slightly different window arrangement. The brackets are right, the roofline is right and the house just "looks" like an Aladdin Shadowlawn. The living room stretches across the entire front of the house, so changing the windows around a bit wouldn't be too problematic.

Another favorite Shadowlawn, this one is in Concord, NC.

Another favorite Shadowlawn, this one is in Concord, NC.

Another favorite, this is in Baton Rouge, LA. For years and years and years, everyone thought this was a Sears House, but no one knew the model name. When they drove me out to this house and said it was a special Sears House, I couldnt help but giggle. Way too often, Aladdin kit homes are called Sears Homes, just because Sears was a more well-known name.

Another favorite, this is in Baton Rouge, LA. For years and years and years, everyone thought this was a Sears House, but no one knew the model name. When they drove me out to this house and said it was a "special" Sears House, I couldn't help but giggle. Way too often, Aladdin kit homes are called "Sears Homes," just because Sears was a more well-known name.

And this Shadowlawn in Baton Rouge had a matching Aladdin Garage.

And this Shadowlawn in Baton Rouge had a matching Aladdin Garage.

The Peerless Garage, offered by Aladdin as a match to the Shadowlawn.

The Peerless Garage, offered by Aladdin as a "match" to the Shadowlawn.

The Aladdin Shadowlawn was very spacious.

The Aladdin Shadowlawn was very spacious.

A precursor to the Aladdin Shadowlawn was the Massachusetts.

A precursor to the Aladdin Shadowlawn was the "Massachusetts." (1914)

To learn more about Aladdin, click here.

To learn more about identifying kit homes, click here.

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  1. Rachel Shoemaker
    January 3rd, 2012 at 12:32 | #1

    I absoultely LOVE this blog on the Shadow Lawn. It is such a pretty house and when you see it you never forget it! It is such a happy house that just says “welcome” It is no wonder why it was so popular either from a kit or a plan book. I can picture my furniture in this house and the yard landscaped. Now, I just need to find one for sale in Oklahoma!

  2. Amanda Wilmoth
    May 8th, 2013 at 11:16 | #2

    Hello and Good Morning!

    I’ve stumbled across this blog while searching for answers about my house. I, too, am the owner of a lovely kit home. This is undeniable. I noticed prior to purchase, that the the floor joists were numbered. And, now that I’m renovating, I’ve decided to do a little investigating. I’ve been loosely looking for several weeks now.

    Now, in my absolute ignorance, I was under the impression that there were two major manufacturers of kit home: Sears and Montgomery Ward. I, however, am almost positive that I own an Aladdin Shadowlawn.

    Currently the floor plan is the exact dimensions and the footprint is nearly identical, excluding that the downstairs pantry has been turned into a powder room.

    I knew upon viewing this house, that it had to be mine. All of the original woodwork: trim, doors, window sashes, built-ins, etc… were intact and in lovely shape. The home is the single most solid hundred year old house that I’ve ever seen, also, it has an insanely efficient use of space.

    I purchased the home as a foreclosure property from it’s second owners, who occupied the home for 6 years. It sat vacant for nearly a year prior to me purchasing the home. The home is still referred to as the “Meyers’ Place” in the town and this, as I gather was the original builder and occupant.

    I live in Cherokee, KS, a now, mostly abandoned former mining town two hours Northeast of Tulsa and two hours South of Kansas City.

    It is a depressed community, but the home was priced at a third of appraisal and an absolute steal. Not to mention, a fraction of the home cost of the neighboring towns of Pittsburgh and Girard.

    I’m seeing a trend of younger folks coming into the community with the exact mindset of myself. Buy inexpensive and then, unearth a treasure.

    The house I viewed over a year ago had pool table green carpet, a dropped ceiling in the living room, paneling in areas, plaid wallpaper on the kitchen cabinets(not original to the home, but crafted soon after), unfinished pine wainscoting tacked up in peculiar places, layers of wallpaper, layers of paint, horrible hump and bump carpet upstairs, bath board and steel plating in the bathroom, peel and stick vinyl tiles.

    There had been a leak around the chimney in the largest bedroom, upstairs bath was only partially functioning.

    It’s been a fun year of bursting pipes, tracking down leaks, blackouts, learning which outlets to not use, showering in the basement utility shower, and more stories. I’m currently in the demo stages of what is going to be a very slow transformation. I’m wanting to maintain as much originality of the house while giving it modern comfort and, of course, my fingerprint.

    Just wanting to share with someone who might have interest, suggestions, ideas, answers.

  3. May 8th, 2013 at 12:16 | #3

    @Amanda Wilmoth
    Amanda, do you have photos you could send to either Rosemary or me?

  4. Amanda Wilmoth
    May 9th, 2013 at 23:52 | #4

    Rachel_

    I’ve sent photos to Rosemary. And, oddly, I’d found you on Facebook after finding a blog of yours and realizing our close proximity. I sent a hoard of photos and a little detail about the house on there.

    I’m sure it went to your “other” folder. Check them out. :)

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