Home > Uncategorized > Sandston, Virginia: Another DuPont Town

Sandston, Virginia: Another DuPont Town

Figuring  out how many of the old Penniman houses were shipped to Norfolk has been a challenge. In addition to the many “DuPont Designs” found at Old Hickory (Tennessee), we’ve been finding additional designs at other DuPont plants around the country.

And last month, I purchased “DuPont: One Hundred and Forty Years” (Dutton, William S., Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951), and found this:

DuPont Engineering Company was operating a shell-loading plant at Penniman, Virginia…and it was operating plants for the bag-loading of cannon powder at Tullytown, Pennsylvania and at Seven Pines, Virginia, all vitally important projects” (p. 247).

Took me and the hubby a few minutes to figure out that Seven Pines, Virginia was now Sandston. And my heart sank a little when I learned that Sandston is also the site of the current Richmond Airport.

Colleges and hospitals are notorious bungalow eaters. Only one corporate entity is worse: Airports.

On Saturday, as Milton and I were returning from the Virginia Historical Society (in Richmond) we saw the Sandston exit off I-64. I couldn’t help but take the exit into the small town of 7,500 people (2010 Census). And there in Sandston we found many examples of our DuPont houses.

However, I suspect that dozens (or more) were torn down when the airport was built. In fact, uncharacteristically, they apparently tore down the big fancy DuPont models and left an abundance of the modest “Six-Room Bungalows” (and yes, that was their official name).

Surely there are some vintage photos of Sandston (pre-airport) somewhere in the world. If so, I’d love to find them. Because based on our 30-minute visit to this town, there is at least one never-before-seen DuPont model present in Sandston that we’ve not seen in any other DuPont towns.

And I’m also wondering if the residents of Sandston know much about the history of their many pre-WW1 bungalows.

Lastly, it’s a puzzle as to why DuPont had so many munitions plants in such a small area of Virginia. There were munitions plants at Penniman, Hopewell and Sandston (then Seven Pines). At least Hopewell and Sandston got to keep a few of their old DuPont houses.

To  learn more about Penniman, click here.

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One of finer homes in the DuPont line was the Arlington.

One of "finer" homes in the DuPont line was the Arlington. This house was built at Carney's Point, NJ, Old Hickory, TN and probably at Penniman as well.

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To the typical McMansion buyer, this may look like small potatoes, but for industrial housing, this was high living.

To the typical McMansion buyer, this may look like small potatoes, but for "industrial housing," this was high living. Typically, these homes were for the supervisors of the plant.

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Arlington

This Arlington looks darn good considering that it was built as industrial housing in 1916.

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Another Arlington in Sandston.

Another Arlington in Sandston. This one is in beautifully original condition.

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The Haskell was also present at

The Haskell was also present at Carney's Point, NJ, Hopewell, Penniman and Sandston.

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This was not a very wide house.

This was not a very wide house. In fact, it appears to have been about 20' wide.

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This is a sideways Haskell in Willoughby Spit (Norfolk). It was moved here in the early 1920s - from Penniman.

This is a "sideways" Haskell in Willoughby Spit (Norfolk). It was moved here in the early 1920s - from Penniman. It's not a very big house.

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There are several of these houses in Sandston. Too wide to be a Haskell and too narrow for the Arlington. Ive dubbed it a Baby Arlington.

There are several of these houses in Sandston. Too wide to be a Haskell and too narrow for the Arlington. I've dubbed it a "Baby Arlington."

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Another Baby Arlington

Another "Baby Arlington"

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And yet another.

And yet another.

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Another DuPont model at Sandston is The Ketcham.

Another DuPont model at Sandston is The Ketcham.

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Dupon

The windows have been replaced in this old DuPont house, but it's still readily identifiable as a "Ketcham."

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Dupont kit

I'd just love to know if the homeowners know about the unique history of their old house.

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And

Ketcham Number Three, in Sandston, Virginia.

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But hands down, the #1  most prevalent house found in Sandston is the

But hands down, the #1 most prevalent house found in Sandston is the"Six Room Bungalow."

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And

And they are everywhere in Sandston. In the last 97 years, they've undergone all manner of renovation.

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Some

Some are mostly original.

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Some

Some have had been thoughtfully added on to.

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Some

Some look like quite modern and tidy.

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Some

Some are barely recognizable as one of DuPont's "Six Room Bungalows."

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Some

Some have had a rough time of it.

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What happened to the big fancy modes there in Sandston?

What happened to the big fancy DuPont models that were almost surely there in Sandston?

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house

Were they reduced to rubble when the airport was built?

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Mark Hardin found this in Sandston. Very interesting marker, but is it right? The 230 houses

Mark Hardin discovered this plaque for Sandston, Virginia. Very interesting marker, but is it right? The "230 Aladdin Houses" are (apparently) the DuPont houses. In Penniman, Virginia and DuPont, Washington, E. I. DuPont Nemours contracted with local business to build these company houses. Did they use a different approach in Sandston? Photo is copyright Leon Reed, 2010.

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To contact Rose, please leave a comment below!

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  1. Dale Wolicki
    November 10th, 2013 at 19:44 | #1

    The political influence on the distribution of military contracts was the same in 1917 as it is in 2013.

    Back then Virginia had a very large population compared to the other states, thus it had more Representatives in Washington so military contractors scattered their projects throughout the state, just as they did throughout the country.

    This may seem inefficient but remember the federal government financed these projects, so there was no penalty for the contractor. The same happened in the manufactured housing industry, with contracts given to build housing in Hopewell Virginia (Aladdin), Nitro West Virginia (Minter Homes), Wyandotte Michigan (Sterling Homes)

  2. Ed Baggett
    February 12th, 2014 at 15:07 | #2

    Re: Sandston, Virginia: Another DuPont Town

    I showed this article to Lee Conner a well known real estate developer in Sandston.

    One the houses shown in the article was occupied by his wife’s family. They were one of the families that established Sandston Presbyterian Church across the street from the house 87 years ago.

    One of the daughters, born the same as year as Shirley Temple Black, is one of the authors of a book about Sandston. A copy of the book is in the Sandston library.

    She said the sign is absolutely correct. She says no houses were torn down to build the airport.

    The airport, originally called Byrd Field, was built on empty land. She did question whether house pictured were DuPont homes. Neither she nor Mr. Conner were aware of that. Mr. Conner was ware that house the pictured was built by Sears.

    I joined Sandston Presbyterian Church as a teenager in 1959. I can attest to integrity of both of these people, even though they sometimes refer to me as a ‘kid’.

    I am just a history buff who lived in Sandston many times and loves the town.

  3. February 12th, 2014 at 17:57 | #3

    The Sandston Aladdins (erected by Dupont) were thoroughly researched and information published in 2007, 2009, and 2011 by the Founders Club of Sandston in publications compiled by June Banks Evans of Bryn Ffyliaid Publications.

    –SANDSTON Virginia: The First Twenty-five Years 1921-1946, 276 pp, reprint 2013 $34 free ship
    –Remembering Sandston, supplement, vol 1, 24 pp, $7 free ship
    –Remembering Sandston, supplement, vol 2, 24 pp, $7 free ship

    ORDER FROM: June Banks Evans, 560 Dix Dr, Brodnax VA 23920

    bryn.ffyl@earthlink.net

  4. February 13th, 2014 at 10:05 | #4

    Ed Baggett :

    Re: Sandston, Virginia: Another DuPont Town

    She did question whether house pictured were DuPont homes. Neither she nor Mr. Conner were aware of that. Mr. Conner was aware that house the pictured was built by Sears.

    Hi Ed,

    I can assure you - none of the houses shown above came from Sears.

    I’m also 100% certain that the houses shown above ARE DuPont designs. Of that, I have no doubt whatsoever. Were they built with lumber furnished by Aladdin? I suppose it’s possible. But I did not see 230 DuPont houses. Where are they now?

    It’s interesting to know that the airport’s construction did not take out any older houses. That’s a piece of happy news!

    Rose

  5. Megan H.
    February 16th, 2014 at 14:08 | #5

    I actually live in one the Sandston homes you have pictured, the corner lot. Thanks by the way for not showing the disaster that is the back yard. A couple of things:

    A) Yes, my house is the Ketchum, but it’s backwards. Strange, or maybe not. My home is owned by my husband’s grandmother and has been used as a rental since the 70s. Both family and non-family have lived here.

    In the 80s a woman shot herself in the living room and her daughters found her when they got home from school. Probably not the kind of history you were getting at but history nonetheless.

    B) No, most people in Sandston do not know the history of their homes or neighborhood. Which is what causes them to do bone-headed things like painting the brick fireplace and cedar shingles. Or putting plastic on the plaster and lath walls and then painting over it.

    C) The corner lot across the street was renovated just before hurricane Irene in 2011. We got to see inside prior and it was in complete disrepair. There were holes from the bathroom to the ceiling, it was just awful.

    Then, after the storm, a tree fell and clipped the corner of the roof. The house now looks great and has central heat and air but has completely lost any semblance of an old house.

    My grandma has some aerial pictures of the area, maybe even in the book mentioned by others but I’ll definitely have to get them for you!

  6. Mark Hardin
    February 18th, 2014 at 15:20 | #6

    I’ve heard the same things said about Aladdin in some of the other DuPont plant villages as you all mention here about Sandston, Virginia.

    I believe that DuPont stick built most of the worker houses using their construction force when possible such as small plants like Ramsay MT. but in areas where the plants were built or expanded at a quick rate such as Sandston they did use a lot of Aladdin structures to supplement housing.

    This was also done in Hopewell, Va. and Carneys Point, NJ. and other locations where actual Aladdin catalog models as well as six room bungalows were built in large numbers.

    The 230 houses at Sandston include the six room bungalows like Hopewell.

    Most DuPont plant sites commonly have a model or two that was only found at that site.

    There may be a Aladdin model common to Sandston that is not a catalog model or a model built at any other site. I am willing to bet that there are DuPont models built there that were not constructed at other plant sites.

  7. February 19th, 2014 at 14:18 | #7

    To settle some questions about Aladdins in Sandston, certain information should be shared.

    According to final agreement dated Feb 1919 of U S Housing Corporation in settlement of claims by Aladdin Company for Seven Pines project, sub-contracts with Owen-Ames-Kimball Co, actual completed buildings were 75 DuPont houses, 51 Painter Houses, 5 Type A Dormitories, 4 Type B Dormitories, and 7 Florence Houses.

    The agreement mentions that certain un-shipped houses could be bought by any purchaser within one year of agreement date.

    Original contracts called for 75 DuPont houses, 200 Painter Houses, 12 Florence Houses, 5 Type A Dormitories, 4 Type B Dormitories, and 8 Garages.

    This combination of completed and un-shipped buildings probably accounts for the 230 buildings stated by O. J. Sands as bought for the new village. The original sales orders Aug/Sep 1918 listed DuPont Special @$933, Special [22' x 37'] @933, Style A @ $1119, Style B @ $1119, Style C @ @1119, Style D @ $1119, and Florence @ $1288.

    Some of the A and B styles were to have reversed floor plans. Contract orders show Styles B, C, D were cancelled. Both the Square Club (moved to E. Wmsbg Rd) and the Library (demolished) were Style A buildings, according to material published in SANDSTON: the First Twenty-five Years -1921-1945. (See my previous message for order information.)

  8. April 7th, 2014 at 09:55 | #8

    Hi June,

    I was in Sandston last week, and visited the library and read your book, and re-read the comment you left at my website. I have a few more questions.

    You wrote,

    “According to final agreement dated Feb 1919 of U S Housing Corporation in settlement of claims by Aladdin Company for Seven Pines project, sub-contracts with Owen-Ames-Kimball Co, actual completed buildings were 75 DuPont houses, 51 Painter Houses, 5 Type A Dormitories, 4 Type B Dormitories, and 7 Florence Houses.”

    DO you have a copy of that “final agreement”? I’d LOVE to see it. And was this a sales contract? Or some other type of document?

    You also wrote,

    “This combination of completed and un-shipped buildings probably accounts for the 230 buildings stated by O. J. Sands as bought for the new village. The original sales orders Aug/Sep 1918 listed DuPont Special @$933, Special [22' x 37'] @933, Style A @ $1119, Style B @ $1119, Style C @ @1119, Style D @ $1119, and Florence @ $1288. “

    Are you saying that O. J. Sands purchased those un-shipped Aladdin homes? And do you have a copy of this original sales order?

    Please tell me more.

    Thanks for your help.

    Rosemary Thornton

  9. Carol
    May 15th, 2014 at 03:12 | #9

    I’m from Nashville and worked near Old Hickory for a while. Old Hickory Village is a community that was started when DuPont built a plant there on Old Hickory Lake.

    The DuPont complex is massive and they make non-woven fabric today. You can take a Google drive through Old Hickory Village. The Davis model sits on a bluff above the river and is painted sage green. The side of the house faces the road. I believe the road is called Lakeshore Drive.

    Google Old Hickory, TN and find the DuPont Plant. The river is on the NW side of the plant and winds around behind the village. everything in that “horseshoe” bend is Old Hickory Village.

    Old Hickory Blvd is the main road through the town. I haven’t lived in the area for 8 years and I hope memory serves me correctly.

    The rumor is that many houses were moved there by rail. All of the plans look like village houses. There are many many blocks of these houses in the village. Drive on Google, I have when I’ve been homesick. The streets make you feel like you are somewhere other than Nashville. Very charming area, especially Lakeshore Drive.

  10. Fay Tyler
    September 16th, 2014 at 16:25 | #10

    @Megan H.

    Megan: Part of your ’story’ sounds familiar to me.

    What is the name of the Sandston street where the woman was living who killed herself?

    Thanks, Fay

  11. Lynne
    February 4th, 2016 at 13:45 | #11

    @Carol
    The street you are referring too is actually called Riverside. I live in Old Hickory in the Village and I was actually born and raised there.

    It is an amazing community that many refer to as “The Best Kept Secret In Nashville.”

    You can find lots of information about our community on several websites but here is one that we share a lot http://www.oldhickory.org/ and we are also very active on FaceBook with several groups dedicated to our community. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Hickory-Village-Old-Hickory-Tennessee/329028137213022 and https://www.facebook.com/groups/oldhickory/

  12. Patrick
    September 6th, 2016 at 12:24 | #12

    I still own a 6-room Bungalow and have completely remodeled the outside. No homes were torn down when the airport came. Huntsman road and Gray street did extend into the airport grounds, but were cut off by the runways and fences. Several of the Army base buildings still exist and new homes were built on the remains of the old base roads.
    One casualty of the homes though was the golf course that was in the vicinity of Otey Lane, Huger Drive, Huger Court and Wooton road.
    There was a church and warehouse at the corner of Huntsman and Raines, but both had burned down by 1963. I was very small, but remember the heat from the warehouse fire on my face as all the neighbors watched The fire. P.L. Burnette was the fire Chief then. (I think)
    The houses were built in four stages and expanded outward from the town center. 1921 - 1926, 1945 - 1952, 1956 - 1959, 1960 - 1966. Lee Conner would know if those dates are correct.
    One new house was added on the end of Sedgwick street in 1984 and I was the first owner. It was a Jim Walter 6-room bungalow!!! It was built on a vacant lot that was part of Mrs. Lampkin’s farm. I had a tool shed that was once her chicken coop. It was torn down in 1988 and replaced with a modern barn-style shed.

  13. Patrick
    September 6th, 2016 at 12:26 | #13

    @Fay Tyler
    Confederate Avenue and Union street.

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