Archive

Archive for April, 2014

Sweet Home, Alabama (Sears Magnolia)

April 26th, 2014 Sears Homes 10 comments

Sometime in 2005, the new owner of the Sears Magnolia in Piedmont, Alabama sent me several dozen photos of the house. Recently, I rediscovered the CDs. Those photos reminded me that I also had a 1984 newspaper article about that Magnolia.

Unfortunately, I do not have any record of whose photos these are, so they appear below without attribution. I’m hoping someone reading this might help me figure out who took those pictures!

Below are the photos, and the 1984 article from The Anniston Star.

Piedmont boasts a Sears Catalog Mansion (November 1, 1984)

by Viveca Novak

Piedmont - When the late doctor Fain Webb and his wife filled out the order form Magnolia, the catalog description likened the Magnolia to the “famous residence at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the poet Longfellow composed his immortal works.”

The Magnolia rolled into Piedmont in 1921 on a box car one day. Accompanying instructions told the dentist and his school-teacher wife how to assemble everythnig into the configuration of a dwelling.

“Everyone in Piedmont thought it was the prettiest house in town,” remembers Piedmont native Louise Golden. “Little did my mother dream that we would ever own the house.”

It was one day in 1964 that Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Woolf, Mrs. Golden’s parents, got a call from the Webb’s daughter who offered to sell them the homestead for the unbelievably low sum of $12,500.

At the time, Mrs. Woolf was 60 and her husband was 80, retired from years in the Inn business that included running the Piedmont Hotel in the late 1920s. With the help of a $20,000 loan from the Small Business Administration, the Woolfs made the necessary adjustments to complete their dream.

On January 1965, the Colonial Inn opened its doors for supper.

Four bedrooms upstairs were rented to help repay the loan, “but they were very careful about who they rented to, ” says Mrs. Golden, who returned to Piedmont to help her parents run the new venture.

The $2 Sunday smorgasboards attracted upwards of 100 people each week.

“We had Miss Alabama and Miss Poultry Queen for our Christmas Parade one year,” recalls Theresa Kaisor, city historian and asst school board superintendent. “We carried them over there to eat dinner.”

The Inn’s reputation spread far and wide and travelers of all kinds made the necessary detours to stop a night in Piedmont.

Two years later, Piedmont was mourning the closing of the inn, following the death of Mrs. Woolf. Though Mrs. Golden was urged to keep the inn open, it was a task she declined.

In 1970, the house underwent another rebirth with its sale - for $19,000 - to Calvin and Patricia Wingo, two history professors at Jacksonville State University who have a penchant for restoring old houses to their original grandeur.

The Wingos tore up the carpeting and refinished the hardwood floors, replaced the roof and wiring, repaired the bases of some of the columns and painted the whole house. Their son was born soon after they moved in.

Two families occupied the house between 1974, when the Wingos sold it, and 1980. It’s more recent history causes residents to shake their heads sadly. Under the ownership of Charles Grissom, from 1980 to this year, the house burned twice, destroying most of the interior on the first floor and the basement.

It has gone unoccupied for many months.

But the new owner, Winford Kines, hopes it will be a dream house once again, despite the fire damage and theft of one of the mantle pieces and an old pedestal sink.

Kines has begun cleaning out the burned basement and the yard in the initial stages of his project. It may take me a few years, but I hope to live in it someday, Kines said. He has already won a community for lifting the house above the status of neighborhood eyesore.

*

My #1 favorite Magnolia story here. It’s well worth the read!

Join us on Facebook!

What is it about Magnolias and fire?

*     *     *

The Sears Magnolia was quite a house (1922 catalog).

The Sears Magnolia was quite a house (1922 catalog).

*

In 2008 I visited the Sears Magnolia in Piedmont. Unfortunately, no one was home.

In 2008 I visited the Sears Magnolia in Piedmont. Unfortunately, no one was home.

*

I helped myself to a few good photos while I was in the neighborhood.

I helped myself to a few good photos while I was in the neighborhood.

*

This Magnolia

And walked around a bit.

*

And went up on the front porch.

And went up on the front porch.

*

Youll notice the dormer on this house is quite different than the dormer on the other Magnolias.

You'll notice the dormer on this house is quite different than the dormer on the other Magnolias. I've no idea how that came to be. It appears that the house has its original siding, so we can't blame this on the siding salesmen.

*

Some features of the house

Some features of the house remain intact, such as these oak columns in front of the living room fireplace. The inglenook window and built-in bench are missing.

*

Did you read the whole article before scrolling down to look at the photos? If so, youd know that someone broke into the house and stole a fireplace mantle. Im guessing this is the mantle.

Did you read the whole article before scrolling down to look at the photos? If so, you'd know that someone broke into the house and stole a fireplace mantle. I'm guessing this is the scene of the crime. However, what they're missing in mantles, they make up for in vacuum cleaners.

*

Bear

Incredibly, the windows and trim on the sunporch are all still original. Then again, all of these photos were snapped more than nine years ago. The antique oak filing cabinets are a nice touch, too, but they obstruct the windows a bit.

*

Another view of the sunporch windows.

Another view of the sunporch windows.

*

living room

This appears to be the dining room, in use as a parlor or den.

*

living room also

From the dining room, looking into the living room.

*

Looking

Remember reading about that fire? Apparently the staircase took a hit.

*

A really bad hit.

A really bad hit.

*

Definitely

The balustrade in the Magnolia was quite beautiful but sadly, in the Piedmont Magnolia, it's all gone. Here, it's been replaced them with 2x4s (gasp) and a planter stand (eek).

*

nebraska up

As a contrast, here's a picture of a Magnolia in Nebraska that is no longer with us. You can see that it had a beautiful balustrade. This house was razed about the same time the newspaper article above was written - mid 1980s. Photo is courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Second floor sunporch.

It's nice to see the original doors are in place, even if the hardware didn't survive. This is the second floor bedroom (master bedroom).

*

Side

It's incredible that these original paneled newel posts survive (with balls on top), and yet the house has obviously been through some hard times. I know that the house sold recently. Perhaps now it will be restored.

*

My #1 favorite Magnolia story here. It’s well worth the read!

What is it about Magnolias and restaurants? Read about another Magnolia restaurant here.

What is it about Magnolias and fire?

*      *      *

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Exactly Did You Have in Mind, Mr. Dozier?

April 24th, 2014 Sears Homes 4 comments

It was Mr. J. M. Dozier of Lee Hall, VA that purchased Penniman after World War I ended.

Thursday, after spending many hours at the York County Courthouse, I learned that Mr. Dozier bought Penniman from DuPont in April 1926, after the U. S. Army left.

J. M. Dozier and his wife Annie paid $84,375 for the whole kit and caboodle, which included 2,600 acres, and all tenements, hereditaments and appurtenances.

DuPont even financed the sale for Mr. Dozier with no money down.

The first payment of $28,125 was due in April 1927, the second payment due one year after that, and the third (and final payment) due in April 1929.

It was a pretty sweet deal.

According to an article that appeared in the January 1926 Virginia Gazette, Mr. Dozier had big plans for Penniman.

“The development of [Penniman] will entail the expenditure of a considerable sum,” said the article in the Virginia Gazette (January 15, 1926).

And yet, it never happened.

In 1926, $84,375 was a tremendous sum of money. Surely Mr. Dozier had plans to develop this 2,600-acre tract on the York River. Did something go wrong?

Did they discover that the land was uninhabitable for some reason? Or did they find a few too many buried live shells, left over from the U. S. Army?

What happened?

After 1926, Penniman disappeared from the pages of the daily papers until 1938, when Dick Velz with the Richmond Times Dispatch did a retrospective piece on this “Ghost City,” which had been left largely undisturbed since the U. S. Army cleared out in the early 1920s.

Penniman is a fascinating piece of Virginia’s history but there are days (like today) when the mysteries pile up so high and so deep that I fear I may never figure out enough of its story to write a worthy tome.

To read more about Penniman, click here.

If you have a theory as to what happened to Mr. Dozier’s big plans, please leave a comment.

*

January 16, 1926

Sounds like these two "outstanding Peninsula business men" had big plans for Penniman. ("Virginia Gazette," January 16, 1926).

*

Richmond

What happened after Mr. Dozier paid $84,375 for 2,600 acres of choice real estate on the York River? Did something go terribly wrong? Did they learn that the land was unsuitable for residential development? (This appeared in June 1938 in the "Richmond Times Dispatch.")

*

Penniman

Amongst the piles of papers I have collected on Penniman is this treasure asking Dr. Goodwin if he's interested in buying Penniman on the York River. And look at the date. It was after Mr. Dozier had paid off his note to DuPont.

*

Penniman

Penniman was situated between Kings Creek and Queens Creek, on the York River, and during WW1, it was home to about 15,000 people. It was probably one of York County's finest pieces of land. This map shows the village of Penniman as it looked in Spring 1918. Map is courtesy Hagley Museum and Library.

*

To read more about Penniman, click here.

*     *      *

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Atomic Powder Room

April 22nd, 2014 Sears Homes 20 comments

Pink bathrooms. I love them all. I wish I could save every pink bathroom in America. I eschew the fools who decimate and destroy old bathrooms.

For one, it violates the First Commandment of Old House ownership:  “Thou shalt not destroy good old work.”

Secondly, the quality of workmanship and materials found in older bathrooms can’t be replicated by the modern junk sold at Lowes and Home Depot.

I loved the 1960s. And that’s why I love my old house. It was built in 1962, and it still looks like 1962.

We purchased this house from the home’s original owner (his estate, actually) and it looks much like it did in 1962. Style-wise, this old house would best be described as a “Mid-Century Modern” brick ranch, and (be still my heart).

Soon after we closed, I started looking for Retro Wallpaper and couldn’t find a thing. Then I saw a blog at Retro Renovation about a woman who did her own “Atomic Kitchen,” I decided to give it a try in my own 1960s kitchen. It turned out beautifully.

Next, I was ready to hit the bathroom. And yes, it took a lot of time (more than 100 hours), but oh boy, what a blast! My only regret is that I’m now out of rooms to “decorate” with Retro designs!

If you like the look, please leave a comment below!

To read about My Atomic Kitchen, click here.

To see vintage images of real-life 1950s kitchens (including a PURPLE kitchen), click here.

I also “restored” the bathroom in my 1925 Colonial Revival. Read about that here.

*

It started

The trouble started when I saw that blog at Retro Renovation. It inspired me to replicate the "Atomic Ware" pattern on my own kitchen. And when I was done, it looked gorgeous!

*

Bath

By contrast, my old bathroom looked dull as dishwater!

*

bath 2

It needed some snazzy new colors!

*

Crave yard (see link below)

At "The Crave Yard" (see link below), I discovered this pattern and thought it might work for my bathroom. I used this as a guide, but my own pattern was a bit different.

To see all manner of cool retro ideas, visit The Crave Yard here.

fve

It started with "flecking" the walls which made a big mess. I'm still finding charcoal gray flecks on the floor, the toilet, the shower curtain, etc. I used a toothpaste and a $2.99 sample can of charcoal paint to do the flecking. I dabbed the paint on the toothbrush, and then ran my index finger along the bristles, which sent all manner of gray specks flying onto the walls. I did a few practice runs with cardboard before I went crazy on the walls.

*

Bath 3

Using that pattern (taped to the door trim) as a rough guide, I started behind the bathroom door. I figured it was the least noticeable part of the whole room. The door came off the hinges and stayed that way for several days.

*

32

I used templates to draw the patterns on the walls. Spacing was random. REAL random.

*

six

Next step was to paint "between the lines." I used Sherwin Williams Duration paints (quart size). The colors were pink, turquoise and gray (pink and gray were color matched to the existing bathroom colors). The turquoise was a wild gamble, but it worked. The chair atop the counter helped my aching shoulders. Kneeling on the counter left me too low and standing was too high. The chair was jusssssssst right.

*

messy

The process was rather messy. Note the dead pen in the trashcan. I killed off at least 40 pens.

*

Even before I was anywhere near finished, I began to fall in love.

Even in the early stages, I began to fall in love.

*

undne

You can see how the black lines really make a difference.

*

post 437

The cacophony of retro designs created a mid-century modern masterpiece. I was very pleased.

*

home stretch

As I finished up around the door (which was back on its hinges by this point), I was quite smitten with the overall look. You can still see the "pattern" taped to the bathroom mirror.

*

curtains

The turqouise worked out well. The towels were found on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond ($5.99 each) and that curtain, well, that's another blog. In short, it was a white curtain that I dyed turqouise (too dark). And then I bleached it (too light). And then I dyed it again (too dark). And then I washed it in hot water (just right).

*

Pretty 376

Am I pleased with the end result? Abso-galootely!

*

Pretty 2

I can not walk into this bathroom without a big grin on my face. The dots and the colors make me smile.

*

nice

Even Mr. Grumpy Bear likes it. ;)

*

Even bathrub

When we finished, I noticed that the bathtub was smiling.

*

I made a few of my own

These are the "Atomic Balls" that I added to the pattern. They were easy to draw and looked right at home.

*

North star

The pattern on the right is known as "North Star" and figuring out that six-point cross about drove me to hard liquor. The amoeba was easy and fun.

*

not a rtocket

And my old favorite, the starburst.

*

Who doesnt love ameoga

Two amoebas walk into a bar...no wait, that's something else.

*

I went for a slightly differen tlook over thes shower head

I went for a slightly different look on the wall with the shower head.

*

picture s84746

The whole gang.

*

templates

I created templates to draw the patterns on the wall.

*

About 25% of pens

Shown above are the pens that survived. This represents about 25% of the Sharpies used in the project. Many gave their lives in service, and went to the great beyond.

*

For the amoeba, I used these oil-paint sharpies (white).

For the amoeba, I used these oil-paint sharpies (fine and regular).

*

Peoples reaction to The Worlds Most Beautiful Atomic Powder Room is mixed.

People's reaction to The World's Most Beautiful Atomic Powder Room is mixed. Some fall in love with it, and others say things like, "Well, as long as you and Wayne like it, that's all that matters."

*

And we do!

And we do love it.

*

A lot

A whole lot!

*

Please leave a comment below!

To read about Sears kit homes, click here.

The blog that piqued my interest originally can be found at Retro Renovation.

Read all about my kitchen dots, here.

*      *      *

The Amherst: All The Charms and Hominess of the Bungalow

April 20th, 2014 Sears Homes 1 comment

…combined with the advantages of a two-story house!

So promised the advertising copy that accompanied the pictures in the 1914 Aladdin Homes catalog.

One week ago today, hubby (Wayne) and buddy (Milton) and I were wandering around Carney’s Point, NJ, admiring an entire neighborhood of Aladdin kit homes.

In Carney’s Point, I saw several models of Aladdin houses that I had never seen before.

The fun started along Shell Road (the main drag through town), where I found several Aladdin houses, many of which were in very good condition.

Since returning home, I’ve read through two books detailing the history of Carney’s Point, but neither book has so much as a mention about the fact that they’ve got a large neighborhood (more than 100 houses, I’d guess) of Aladdin kit homes.

Do they know?

If the do know, where’s the placard?

If they don’t, send them a link to this website! :D

Is your house a kit house? Click here to learn more about “The Nine Signs.”

*

In the 1916 Aladdin catalog, this promotion appeared. Mark Hardin and I have been wondering if Carneys Point is the town to which theyre referring.

In the 1916 Aladdin catalog, this promotion appeared. Mark Hardin and I have been wondering if Carney's Point (New Jersey) is the town to which they're referring.

*

The Amherst (shown here) appeared in the 1914 catalog. Apparently, it was not a big seller, but there are several in Carneys Point.

The Amherst appeared in the 1914 catalog. It was not a big seller, but there are several in Carney's Point.

*

Floor plan

Look at the size of that living room!

*

floor plan 2

All four bedrooms are good size, too.

*

Love the description, complete with the typo!

Love the description, complete with the typo!

*

Because it has so many unique features, it should be easy to identify!

Because it has so many unique features, it should be easy to identify!

*

This Amherst is on Shell Road in Carneys Point.

This Amherst is on Shell Road in Carney's Point.

*

Nice house

Wish I had the nerve to ask people to move their vehicles, but I don't.

*

An Amherst in the heart of the Aladdin Neighborhood.

An Amherst in the heart of the Aladdin Neighborhood.

*

Best feature is, original siding!

Best feature is, original siding (but replacement windows). Alas!

*

And its for sale!

And it's for sale!

*

Due to the small lots and mature vegetation, it was hard to get shots that were a good match to the catalog image.

Due to the small lots and mature vegetation, it was hard to get shots that were a good match to the catalog image. Well, let's say it was hard to get good shots and *not* get arrested. This is a good shot of the details down that bay-window side. That funky small window in the bay makes this house *easy* to identify in the wild.

*

Fortunately, I was able to get a good shot of this.

Fortunately, I was able to get a good shot of this. from an angle that matched the catalog, however... That front porch addition is a little "clunky."

*

What a fine match!

What a fine match!

*

And what came with your house?

And what came with your house?

*

To learn more about another DuPont town, click here.

To read about another town filled with Aladdin Homes, click here.

*

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Girl Scouts Hunt German Spies

April 18th, 2014 Sears Homes 1 comment

In the Summer of 1918, the Great War was very much on everyone’s mind.

In reading through Ladies’ Home Journal and McCalls‘ magazines, I’ve found a plethora of articles about women’s’ war work, and what ladies could do - at home - to help defeat Kaiser Wilhelm.

But one of the most memorable articles I found was in the July 1918 McCalls’ Magazine. A short story featured a division of 35 Florida Girl Scouts, who walked a ten-mile patrol each night along the St. John’s River - with rifles slung over their shoulders - on the hunt for German spies.

“They have been trained in marksmanship,” the article said, adding, “They are afraid of nothing and ready for anything.”

Last year, I read a book called, Unintended Consequences.

It was a fascinating, well-written book and rich with history, but its most memorable point was that a mere 100 years ago, Americans were comfortable with firearms, and in the early 1900s, most Americans grew up on farms, and we knew how to  handle shotguns and rifles. (Contrast that with today’s nuttiness, where a student was suspended last week when he brought a bright yellow water gun to school.)

Can you imagine what would happen today if we armed 13 to 16-year-old girls with rifles, and asked them to patrol a stretch of coastline, prepared to shoot enemy combatants?

Oh MY!

To read more about why I’m reading 100-year-old women’s magazines, click here.

To learn about kit homes, click here.

Girlie Scouts

"The few, the proud, the girlie scouts!"

*

To read more about why I’m reading 100-year-old women’s magazines, click here.

To learn about kit homes, click here.

Want to purchase “Unintended Consequences”? Click here.

*      *      *

The Grant: A Charm All Its Own

April 17th, 2014 Sears Homes 1 comment

Recently, Wayne (hubby), Milton (buddy) and I traveled to the National Archives and Records Administration in Philadelphia to do research on Penniman. Along the way, we stopped at Carney’s Point, NJ to check out the houses in that neighborhood.

Carney’s Point, like Penniman, was the site of a World War 1 DuPont munitions plant.

In 1891, E. I. DuPont de Nemours bought the land, which had been owned by the descendant of an Irish immigrant named Thomas Carney. DuPont had purchased the 17 square mile tract so that they could build a plant and manufacture smokeless gunpowder.

When The European War began in July 1914, demand for smokeless gunpowder exploded (so to speak). (World War I began in Europe in July 1914, and was originally known as The European War.)

At Carney’s Point, the population swelled from 2,000 (pre-European War) to 25,000 (1917). In their great rush to provide industrial housing for all these people, DuPont turned to Aladdin to supply pre-cut houses. One of the houses that was built in the Aladdin neighborhood was The Grant.

This is one Aladdin model that I have never seen anywhere else, and yet there’s a surfeit of them in Carney’s Point.

Do you know of a “Grant” in another community? Please leave a comment below!

And please share this link on Facebook or with your old-house loving friends!

*

The Grant, as seen in the 1914 Aladdin catalog.

In the 1914 Aladdin catalog, it was called, "The Jackson."

*

People on prch

I just love the drawn-in people.

*

In 1916, it was renamed

In 1916, the little house was renamed The Grant.

*

Pretty basic floorplan

This first floor was 20 by 20 (400 square feet) and had a pretty basic floorplan.

*

And perhaps most interesting, no bath

And perhaps most interesting, it had no bathroom (as shown in 1916).

*

You can assemble it on youor next stay-cation.

Best of all, you can assemble it on your next "stay-cation" (last paragraph).

*

Cutie

This one is easy to spot with the unique window arrangement and Arts & Crafts porch.

*

nice house and cheap

This front porch on this Grant is largely original, but covered in siding and screens. The Victorian screen door isn't a good look, but that's kind of off-set by the 1950s wrouught-iron railing.

*

unfortunate placement of ac

These folks went with vinyl siding instead of aluminum. Plus, it has a beam sticking out of its eye.

*

house house

And this darling little house (which also has its original front porch) is for sale for a mere $112,900, which seems like a pretty good deal (assuming that it has an inside bathroom).

*

my favorite

This was my favorite, because it's untouched by the ravages of roving home-improvement companies and vinyl-siding salesmen. I'd love to know if this is the original siding, or if it was added in later years. We do know that some of the DuPont designs were offered with "composite siding" which is a nice way of saying, "crappy asphalt roll siding" (which is what we're seeing here).

*

detail

Oh yeah, baby! Original windows! I *love* it!

*

detail around porch

And nice detail around the front porch.

*

A view of Carneys Point in the late 1910s. .

A view of Carney's Point in the late 1910s/early 20s. This photo was taken in the 200-block of Broadway.

*

To learn more about Penniman, click here.

To read about another town filled with Aladdin Homes, click here.

*     *     *

Little Piece of DuPont History For Sale

April 10th, 2014 Sears Homes 6 comments

And it’s right on the Delaware River.

The 97-year-old beauty is located in Carney’s Point, New Jersey, home to one of DuPont’s many WW1 munitions plants. This most certainly would have been a house for the upper management at the Carney’s Point facility. It’s a huge house (three full stories and a basement), and it sits on a beautiful lot, facing out to the Delaware River.

We’re coming around to thinking that these houses were probably designed by Aladdin (a kit house company based in Bay City, Michigan), and they were probably built with materials supplied by Aladdin.

For now, that’s mostly speculation, but based on what we’ve learned heretofore, it seems very plausible.

The listing says that this house was built in 1917. That’s believable. We entered “The Great War” in April 1917, and that’s when we went crazy building munitions plants throughout the country. Interestingly, Great Britain credited DuPont and their munitions production with being largely responsible for their victory in The Great War.

To see the more modest housing provided to munitions workers, click here.

To learn more about how we got started on this topic, click here.

Pieceo of history

It's a beautiful house and appears to be in good condition. It was probably designed by Aladdin and built with materials supplied by Aladdin. Probably. We don't know for sure - yet. Photo is courtesy Patricia Siedle Shorter.

*

house

This house was also built at Old Hickory, TN (another DuPont munitions plant). This page came from a 1920 catalog featuring the houses of Old Hickory.

*

hosue

The floor plan is rather simple. That pantry is a real mystery.

*

house

The "half story" is the third floor, and it appears to be quite spacious.

*

house

The Bay Tree, up close and person. That gate on the side porch is a curiosity.

*

house

And here's our Bay Tree, 97 years old. Photo is courtesy Patricia Siedle Shorter.

*

And its also a pretty house

Do the owners know of its unique history? Photo is courtesy Patricia Siedle Shorter.

*

And its also a beautiful house.

I'm a sucker for sunporches. Very nice! Photo is courtesy Patricia Siedle Shorter.

*

house house house

This ad appeared in the September 1918 DuPont magazine. We know that DuPont had a long-term working relationship with Aladdin, and turned to Aladdin to supply worker housing at several plants, including Hopewell, Virginia, and Carney's Point, NJ. We're trying to figure out if DuPont turned to Aladdin to supply houses in Penniman, Virginia.

*

To learn about how we got started on this DuPont project, you have to read about Penniman, Virginia’s own “Ghost City.”

To see the original real estate listing, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below.

Richmond, Virginia Continues to Amaze

April 5th, 2014 Sears Homes 7 comments

UPDATE! Rose will be giving a talk in Richmond on September 25th at the Virginia Center of Architecture! Click here for more details!

April 4th of this year, I had a delightful time riding around Richmond in a Lexus SUV filled with several knowledgeable, intelligent and interesting women, who also happened to be history buffs and old house lovers.

It was purely enjoyable.

We began our adventure with a single-minded purpose: Looking for kit homes.

On my previous two trips to Richmond, I’d driven myself around town, finding a few treasures here and there, but searching for kit houses is tough when you’re the driver and the watcher.

There were several fun discoveries yesterday, but my #1 favorite was a rare pre-WW1 kit house that I had never seen before. It was a Gordon Van Tine Model #124, and it was on a main drag through town.

And better yet, once I pulled out my books at home and did a little research, I learned that this house in Richmond was featured in a 1913 Gordon Van Tine catalog! Scroll on down to learn more!

Thanks so much to Barb, Melissa, Anne and Jessica for making Friday such a fun day, and thanks especially to Molly for her deft navigation of Richmond’s old neighborhoods!

To read about our other finds in Richmond, click here.

And thanks to Rachel for sending me a copy of her very rare 1913 Gordon Van Tine catalog! You can find Rachel’s blog here!

To learn more about Gordon Van Tine, click here.

1913 Gordon

Many folks have heard of Sears kit homes, but not too many have heard of Gordon Van Tine. This was another national kit home company that - like Sears - sold entire kit homes through mail order. The company was based in Iowa, but we've found several GVT homes in Richmond. Shown above is a 1913 Gordon Van Tine catalog.

*

house 1913 124

GVT Model 124 was called "A Beautiful Stucco Home" (1913 catalog).

*

let me not be put to shame

Stucco "gives an air of distinction and an artistic effect..." (1913 catalog).

*

flp

Number 124 had spacious rooms, lots of windows and a built-in window seats in the living room!

*

houdr house

Not sure about the lavendar paint and green roof, but it is a fine-looking house.

*

Its well hidden by the verdant landscape, butthe greenery,

It's well hidden by the lush greenery, but there's little doubt that this house is a Gordon Van Tine #124. Of all the fun things we discovered on Friday, this was my #1 favorite discovery. But it gets better...

*

house hvirginia

Seems that a fellow named Mr. Farley built a #124 in Virginia.

*

house

Mr. Farley says his house was "modified," but the only difference I can readily see is this half-timber effect on the porch gable. I didn't see that on the other images in this catalog.

*

And yet, here it is in the house in Richmond.

And yet, if you can peek around the flying flag, you can see this half-timber effect within that porch gable. Could it be? Is this Mr. Farley's house that was featured in the 1913 catalog?

*

Apparently

According to the Richmond City Directory, Ernest W. Farley, Jr. and his wife Lucille were living at this address in 1944. Ernest Watson Farley Sr. married Maude Starke on April 12, 1911, and their son (Junior) was born in Feburary 1912. Given that this testimonial appeared in the 1913 catalog, it's likely that E. W. Farley built this house for Maude soon after their wedding, and then deeded the house to his son in later years.

*

What an unexpected delight!

What an unexpected delight to find *the* house featured in a 100-year-old testimonial! And there's a brass plaque on the front of Mr. Farley's home. If anyone knows what's inscribed on it, please let me know.

*

To learn more about kit houses in Richmond, click here.

To join us on Facebook, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below.

Update! Thanks to Anne, I have a little more information on the Farley Family. The first name of both father and son was Ernst (not Ernest, as it appears in the city directory), and Ernst Watson Farley, Jr. was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1968-1971. Delegate E. W. Farley was born in February 1912, and it seems likely that he was born in the GVT #124.

Father (Ernst Watson Farley Sr.) was born in 1879, and was the founder of RECO Industrial Pressure Vessels (in 1914), which was originally located on Brook Street. I wonder if Father started the new business in his new home?

*

*     *     *

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,