Home > Uncategorized > The Roycroft Twins in Jacksonville, Illinois

The Roycroft Twins in Jacksonville, Illinois

Sears gets all the ink, but fact is, Gordon Van Tine was a very substantial (and impressive) kit home company, too. You can learn a lot about GVT by visiting Dale’s website here. Sears sold about 70,000 kit homes, and Gordon Van Tine - based in Davenport, Iowa - sold about 50,000.

Both Dale and Rachel (another dear friend) managed to get their hands on a wonderful old original GVT brochure, filled with testimonials from Gordon Van Tine’s happiest customers, and shared it with me.

One ad in particular caught my eye: It was a pair of Gordon Van Tine homes built next door to each other in Jacksonville, Illinois. Well shoot, Jacksonville was only 90 minutes from Alton, where I often visit family.

Last week when I was in Alton, I drove out to Jacksonville and got some pictures of The Roycroft Twins!

I would love to return to Jacksonville and give a talk on the many other kit homes I found! Contact Rose and let’s make a date!

Tomorrow (or later this week), I plan to write a blog on the REST of the kit homes in J-ville.

Special thanks to Rachel for finding the street address of these two homes. Rachel has her own wonderful blog, and it can be found here.

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The Roycroft, as seen in the 1929 GVT catalog.

The Roycroft, as seen in the 1929 GVT catalog.

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Small house, but good floorplan.

Small house, but good floorplan.

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house

It's a fine-looking house! Other than the twins in Jacksonville, I've never seen one - that I know of. After the vinyl-siding salesmen have their way with a house like this, it has the potential to be transmogrified into a homogenized, faceless, pedestrian, monotonous, dull, featureless front-gabled bore, so I may have missed the others.

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Both Dale and Rachel managed to score this vintage 1920s brochure full of testimonials from happy GVT buyers.

Both Dale and Rachel managed to score this vintage 1920s brochure with testimonials from happy GVT buyers. It's a fun brochure and chocked full of photos.

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I must say, I dont think Id eat much pudding if it looked like this.

I must say, I don't think I'd eat much pudding if it looked like this.

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Inside the brochure, is this fun image.

Inside the brochure, is this fun image. Turns out that 440 North Clay was a business address for Mr. Fernandes, and not the site of the Roycroft Twins.

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But Rachel turned on the ignition to her Google Car and did some virtual driving and found the twinkies on Church Street.

But Rachel turned on the ignition to her Google Car and did some virtual driving and found the twinkies just off West College Street in Jacksonville. (The image above is from the 1929 'Proof in the Pudding' brochure.)

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And here they are today.

And here they are today. Fortunately, the porches and some other details have survived.

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Twinkie #1.

Twinkie #1.

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Twinkie #2.

Twinkie #2.

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Just across the street from the Roycroft Twins, I found this!

Just across the street from the Roycroft Twins, I found this! Did Mr. Fernandes build this too?

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And its in mostly original condition! What a fine-looking house!

And it's in good condition! What a fine-looking house!

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Sears Wilmore, as seen in the 1940 Sears catalog.

And I found several Sears Homes in Jacksonville, too.

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Perfection

Perfection. This was my favorite "Sears House" find, The Sears Wilmore, complete with white picket fence.

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To visit Dale’s website, click here.

To visit Rachel’s blog, just put Mr. Mousie right here.

If you know Mr. Fernandes, please leave a comment!

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  1. August 12th, 2014 at 10:22 | #1

    Oh how fun! It’s my town! I think I’ll be taking a different route to work today so I can drive be these two houses.

    I love reading your blog about all these wonderful old houses.

    We live in a Sears Mitchell or maybe a Ward’s Patrician or maybe really neither one.

    Our floor plan is an exact Mitchell except for one window, but I’ve never found any proof of what it actually is.

  2. August 12th, 2014 at 11:04 | #2

    There were a handful of Fernandes they were in the general contracting business.

    I have an advert for their business.

    Once I figured out where the houses were I “drove” from the office to their home to see if maybe there are other kit homes in the area, and there are.

    I was hoping to figure out if they built them. The father, Simeon, lived in a GVT #122.

    One of his sons was Roy.

    If I remember correctly there is a now a small college very near this neighborhood and several open lots. I contacted the historical society there last summer, or maybe two summers ago, but never heard from them.

  3. Mad Hatter
    November 24th, 2014 at 02:13 | #3

    The Twinkie 1 Roycroft twin house is mine.

    I knew it was a Sears home, but had never seen the original picture of my house and the neighbors after they were built till now.

  4. November 24th, 2014 at 03:13 | #4

    @Mad Hatter
    Hi,

    In fact, this is *not* a Sears House, but a kit home from one of Sears’ competitors in the mail-order kit house business: Gordon Van Tine.

    Gordon Van Tine was based in Davenport, Iowa, and like Sears, they sold kit homes through mail-order catalogs.

    I was surprised to find so many Gordon Van Tine homes in Jacksonville.

  5. Mad Hatter
    November 24th, 2014 at 03:36 | #5

    Oh ok, I always thought it was a Sears one. Good to know :)

    That is cool. I learned something new then :) Yeah there are quite a few in our town that were kit homes, but didn’t realize how many till you posted this and a friend sent it to me via Facebook.

    I’ve been learning a lot about this town this year and I have lived here for 45yrs. So glad you posted this. Thank you

  6. November 24th, 2014 at 09:21 | #6

    @Mad Hatter
    Thanks for replying, Mad Hatter!

    If you’d like, I can send you a high-res scan of that old testimonial page. If I were you, I’d frame it and put it in the front entry hall!

    I really think that Jacksonville should do SOMETHING to promote this wonderful collection of historically significant homes.

    Rose

  7. Mad Hatter
    November 24th, 2014 at 17:38 | #7

    That would be very cool. I would frame it too. Thank you Rose :)

  8. Jax Friend
    November 28th, 2014 at 15:43 | #8

    I’m a former resident of Jacksonville and I recognized every house!

    There are so many more for you to discover. I believe that there is a Twinkie at 515 S Church. You could “drive” there in your Google car to see!

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