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Posts Tagged ‘clifton forge’

Douthat State Park (Clifton Forge)

October 3rd, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Our family first visited Douthat State Park in 1960. In fact, thanks to my father’s meticulous note-taking, I know that our first visit was on June 13th, 1960, which was also my father’s 41st birthday.

Last week, my “new” family (Hubby and I) returned to Douthat and stayed at Cabin #1, the very cabin that the Fullers stayed at throughout their annual pilgrimage in the 1960s. Our last visit was 1969, when Hurricane Camille chased us out, a couple days ahead of our scheduled departure date.

Enjoy the photos - old and new.

To read about the amazing collection of Sears kit homes in Clifton Forge, click here.

Our family first visited Douthat State Park in 1960. Heres a picture of my youngest brother with our mother, Betty Mae Brown Fuller.

Our family first visited Douthat State Park in 1960. Here's a picture of my youngest brother with our mother, Betty Mae Brown Fuller. They're standing in front of the boat rental area by Lake Douthat. Mother was a big believer in life vests, anytime her children were within 200 yards of a body of water (June 1960).

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Apparently, Mother was a big believer in life vests when her children were digging for worms, too, lest he hit an undiscovered body of water hidden just below the forest floor.

Apparently, Mother was a big believer in life vests when her children were digging for worms, too, lest he hit an undiscovered body of water hidden just below the forest floor.

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My eldest brother Tommy fishing on Smith Creek (June 1960).

My eldest brother Tommy fishing on Smith Creek (June 1960).

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My father giving it a go on Smith Creek.

My father giving it a go on Smith Creek.

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Close-up of Tom Fuller (June 1960).

Close-up of Tom Fuller (June 1960).

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Mother and my youngest brother standing on a pretty ricket bridge over Wilson Creek.

Mother and my youngest brother standing on a pretty ricket bridge over Wilson Creek. He looks pretty worried. I would be too.

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Tommy Fuller - more than 52 years ago - at the boat docks by Douthat Lake.

Tommy Fuller - more than 52 years ago - at the boat docks by Lake Douthat.

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Last week (September 2012), my husband and I visited Douthat and we stayed at Cabin #1, the very cabin where our family spent some very happy times. It was quite surreal returning to the very same cabin. The last time I was inside that cabin was 1969, and our family vacated it in a hurry when a park ranger knocked on our door in the wee hours and told us that we had to evacuate immediately, due to torrential rains and flooding from Hurricane Camille.

Last week (September 2012), my husband and I visited Douthat and we stayed at Cabin #1, the very cabin where our family spent some very happy times. It was quite surreal returning to the very same cabin. The last time I was inside that cabin was 1969, and our family vacated it in a hurry when a park ranger knocked on our door in the wee hours and told us that we had to evacuate immediately, due to torrential rains and flooding from Hurricane Camille.

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Inside, the cabin was just as I had remembered. The cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The fireplace was made from native stone from the Blue Ridge mountains.

Inside, the cabin was just as I had remembered. The cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The fireplace was made from native stone from the Blue Ridge mountains.

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The living room was smaller than I remember...

The living room was smaller than I remember...

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And my parents bedroom was teeny tiny!

And my "parent's bedroom" was much smaller! In fact, it was teeny tiny!

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The porch hasnt changed much in the last 50 years.

The porch hasn't changed much in the last 50 years.

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A placard by the front door commemorates the CCC.

A placard by the front door commemorates the CCC.

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In

The doors and hardware are - for the most part - original to the cabin.

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Sadly, the condition of the cabins has been deteriorating. We saw roof leaks and mildew on several ceilings inside the cabin. For all the money our government wastes on overseas spending, youd think they could throw a few thousand at this historic treasure and try and preserve it. As Norm says on This Old House, once a house loses its boots and hat, it wont last long.

Sadly, the condition of the cabins has been deteriorating. We saw roof leaks and mildew on several ceilings inside the cabin. For all the money our government wastes on overseas spending, you'd think they could throw a few thousand at this historic treasure and try and preserve it. As Norm says on "This Old House," once a house loses its boots and hat, it won't last long.

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During our visit, we didnt do any fishing, but we did go fishing for a good signal from the local Appleton Mountain repeater.

During our visit, we didn't do any lake fishing, but we did go "fishing" for a good signal from the local Appleton Mountain repeater (Ham Radio). Hubby toted this stick antenna around for a bit, helping me find the "sweet spot."

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Sweet

The sweet spot turned out to be about 30 feet in front of the cabin, hanging on a tree branch. There's a lot of high tech equipment in this picture. That's a stick antenna, on loan from RASON (Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk), hanging on a piece of clothesline rope, held in place by a log which served as a counter-weight. Incredibly, we got a very clear signal from the Appleton Repeater, about 60 miles away in Bedford, Virginia. I'd LOVE to know where that repeater is located! Is it atop the Peaks of Otter?

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I highly recommend a visit to Douthat State Park. About 15 minutes from the park (in Clifton Forge), you can visit the C&O Railway Museum, and see this beautiful steam locomotive up close and personal!

About 15 minutes from the park (in Clifton Forge), you can visit the C&O Railway Museum, and see this beautiful steam locomotive up close and personal! Byron from the C&O Railway Museum gave us a first-class tour and we relished every moment. It was a highlight of the trip. Both Hubby and I were very impressed with Byron. He was a wonderful tour guide and regaled us with countless *amazing* stories.

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And Hubby got to play engineer!

And Hubby got to play engineer!

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To read more about the C&O Train Museum in Clifton Forge, click here.

To learn about RASON, click here.

To read about those splendiferous kit homes in Clifton Forge, click here.

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The Princeville: A Dandy Home!

May 9th, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

Another not-so-popular house, and yet, it sure is easy to identify! This house has many very unusual features that really make it “jump off the curb” at you.

The arrangement of the dormers on the second floor is pretty eye-catching (three windows in the front dormer, four on the side), as is the corner box window on the first floor. That’ll certainly get your attention! The dining room has a squared-bay with a window seat.

The 1200-square-foot house offered three small bedrooms on the second floor (and one bath), with a spacious living room (21′ by 13′), nice size dining room (12′6″ by 14′6″), and a decent kitchen with its own walk-in pantry.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To hear Rose’s interview on WUNC (with Frank Stasio) here.

The Princeville, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

The Princeville, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

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The living room and dining room were unusually spacious.

The living room and dining room were unusually spacious. That corner box window was a staircase landing with a built-in seat. Very nice!

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Upstairs were three very small bedrooms and one bath.

Upstairs were three very small bedrooms and one bath.

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When I was writing The Sears Homes of Illinois, Rebecca Hunter gave up three days of her life to drive all over northern Illinois so that I could take photos! Rebecca drove me right to this house in West Chicago. Two years later, Im struggling to remember if this is my photo or Rebeccas photo! Lets say its Rebeccas.  :)  Photograph is copyright 2010 Rebecca Hunter and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

When I was writing "The Sears Homes of Illinois," Rebecca Hunter gave up three days of her life to drive all over northern Illinois so that I could take photos! Rebecca drove me right to this house in West Chicago. Two years later, I'm struggling to remember if this is my photo or Rebecca's photo! Let's say it's Rebecca's. :) Photograph is copyright 2010 Rebecca Hunter and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

To learn more about Rebecca’s newest book, click here!

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This is my favorite Princeville in all the world. Its in Clifton Forge, Virginia (near the West Virginia border), which is one of the prettiest cities in the entire country.  This Princeville is in incredibly beautiful condition. Very nice!!!

This is my favorite Princeville in all the world. It's in Clifton Forge, Virginia (near the West Virginia border), which is one of the prettiest cities in the entire country. This Princeville is in incredibly beautiful condition. Very nice!!!

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(Clifton Forge has an abundance of Sears Homes. Click here to see more!)

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Christiansburg, Virginia is near Roanoke and it also has several Sears kit homes, including this Princeville. The porch was closed in, and that altered its look quite a bit.

Christiansburg, Virginia is near Roanoke and it also has several Sears kit homes, including this Princeville. The porch has been closed in, and that altered its look quite a bit.

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Rebecca found this Sears House through old mortgage records. Incredibly, this is a Sears Princeville. YIKES!!!

Rebecca found this Sears House through old mortgage records. Incredibly, this "modernistic" house in St. Charles is a Sears Princeville. YIKES!!!

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Hard to believe that the house in St. Charles (shown above) started out life as a Sears Princeville.

Hard to believe that the house in St. Charles (shown above) started out life as a Sears Princeville.

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There are many more Sears Princevilles out there!

There are many more Sears Princevilles out there!

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To see a sneak peek of Rebecca’s newest book, click here.

Click here to see more pictures of pretty, pretty Sears Homes!

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The Sears Homes of Beautiful Roanoke, Virginia

April 15th, 2012 Sears Homes 5 comments

In the 1960s, my family would make the long trek from Portsmouth (Virginia) to Douthat State Park for our once-a-year vacation.

Ever since I first laid eyes on Douthat (in Clifton Forge) and the Blue Ridge Mountain area, I have been head-over-heels in love. In 1994, my husband and I decided to move to the Lynchburg/Roanoke area, but you know what they say about the “best-laid plans of men.”

We overshot the mountains and ended up living in St. Louis for 12 years. (Long story.) In 2006, I moved back to Hampton Roads and that’s been my home since then.

One day, I will get to the mountains. One day.

In the meantime, I’ll simply admire the mountains “from afar.”

Below are several kit homes that I’ve found in Roanoke (with a lot of help from my dear friend Dale Wolicki).

What were kit homes? These were 12,000-piece kits, sold out of the Sears Roebuck catalog in the early 1900s. Sears promised that “a man of average abilities” could have one of these kits built in 90 days.

Click here to learn more about Sears Homes.

Click here to buy Rose’s latest book on Sears Homes.

A picture of my brother Tom Fuller at Douthat in 1960.

A picture of my brother (Tom Fuller) at Douthat (Clifton Forge) in 1960.

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First, one of my favorite houses in Roanoke: The Sears Alhambra!

First, one of my favorite houses in Roanoke: The Sears Alhambra!

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And here it is, in all its shining splendor: The Sears Alhambra

And here it is, in all its shining splendor: The Sears Alhambra. I wonder if the owners know that they have a Sears House? And this one is in wonderful condition!

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Another beautiful Sears House is the Americus.

Another beautiful Sears House is the Americus.

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And its right there in Roanoke! What a sweet-looking Americus!

And it's right there in Roanoke! What a sweet-looking Americus!

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The Sears Fullerton was another big and beautiful house.

The Sears Fullerton was another big and beautiful house.

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This Fullerton (on Rugby Avenue) had a porte cochere added.

This Fullerton (on Rugby Avenue) had a porte cochere added.

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In addition to Sears, Roanoke has kit homes from several other national kit home companies, such as Montgomery Ward, Harris Brothers, Sterling and Aladdin. Heres a picture of the Aladdin Sheffield as seen in the 1919 catalog.

In addition to Sears, Roanoke has kit homes from several other national kit home companies, such as Montgomery Ward, Harris Brothers, Sterling and Aladdin. Here's a picture of the Aladdin Sheffield as seen in the 1919 catalog.

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This beautiful Sheridan (offered by Aladdin Kit Homes of Bay City, MI) is on Berkley Street in Roanoke.

This beautiful Sheridan (offered by Aladdin Kit Homes of Bay City, MI) is on Berkley Street in Roanoke. Notice the oversized dormers and the bumped-out vestibule.

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The Marsden was another very popular house for Aladdin.

The Marsden was another very popular house for Aladdin.

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Unfortunately, between the landscaping and the truck, it's tough to see, but there's no doubt that that's an Aladdin Marsden hidden away back there.

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And from the front.

And from the front.

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The Inverness was a very rare house, and Ive never seen one anywhere - but in Roanoke.

The Inverness (offered by Aladdin) was a very rare house, and I've never seen one anywhere - but in Roanoke. Notice the many angles on the roofline!

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Is this an Inverness? If so, its been supersized.

Is this an Inverness? If so, it's been supersized. It certainly is a good match.

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The Aladdin Detroit, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

The Aladdin Detroit, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

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And heres a near-perfect match!

An Aladdin Detroit - in brick!

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The Aladdin Florence was a hugely popular house for Aladdin.

The Aladdin Florence was a hugely popular house for Aladdin.

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This Aladdin Florence on Hunt Avenue

This Aladdin Florence on Hunt Avenue is a good match to the original catalog picture.

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As mentioned above, in addition to kit homes from Aladdin, Roanoke also has kit homes from Montgomery Ward.

As mentioned above, in addition to kit homes from Aladdin, Roanoke also has kit homes from Montgomery Ward.

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Heres a sweet little Mayflower in Roanoke.

A Mayflower in Roanoke. This photo was taken four years ago, so this house may have changed a bit since then. Looks a little rough around the edges here.

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In addition to Sears, Aladdin and Montgomery Ward, Roanoke also has houses sold by Sterling Homes (Bay City, MI). Pictured is the Sterling Rembrandt, from the early 1920s catalog.

In addition to Sears, Aladdin and Montgomery Ward, Roanoke also has houses sold by Sterling Homes (Bay City, MI). Pictured is the Sterling Rembrandt, from the early 1920s catalog.

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A sweet Dutch Colonial: The Sterling Rembrandt!

A sweet Dutch Colonial: The Sterling Rembrandt!

To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here.

Want to learn more about Wardway Homes? Click here!

To read about the Sears Homes in Clifton Forge, click here.

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Sticks and Stones and All-Brick Sears Homes

January 28th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

From time to time, people write me and say, “I thought this was a Sears House, but it’s all brick, so I know it can’t be a kit home.”

Actually…

Sears Homes could be ordered with cypress or cedar shakes or clapboards, with stucco, or with masonry, such as cement block (not common), brick (very common) or stone (also not common). If you wanted wood siding, it was shipped from the Sears Mills in Cairo, Illinois, Newark, New Jersey or Norwood, Ohio. If you opted for masonry (block, stone or brick), you purchased it locally, to save on freight charges. Masonry weighs a lot.

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Inside rear cover of the 1940 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

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Small graphic that appeared in the 1933 Sears Modern Homes catalog, below the page featuring the Sears Lewiston.

Sears Homes

At a "small extra cost" you can add brick to your Sears Galewood.

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Sears Auburn in Clifton Forge Virginia with half brick and half wood. Most Auburns were all wood, so this is an interesting alteration. Note, it is solid brick and not just brick veneer.

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Close-up on the brick work of the Auburn in Clifton Forge.

To read more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read more about the Sears Homes in Clifton Forge, click here.

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One Lonely Sears Crescent in Galax, Virginia

September 18th, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

Recently, I visited Galax, Virginia and drove around the town for a bit looking for Sears Homes.

Unfortunately, during my time in Galax, I found only one Sears Home, this little Crescent in a not-so-happy part of town, within a stone’s throw of a massive electrical substation, and very near a large industrial area. It’d be very interesting to know if the owners of this Crescent realize that their little house is a Sears House. Pictured below is the Crescent in Galax, and further below is a happy Crescent in Northern Illinois.

To read more about the Sears Homes in other parts of western Virginia, click here.

Sears House

Sears Crescent from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog. Note the price!

Sears House

Sears Crescent in Galax, Virginia. It's in wonderfully original condition!

Photo taken from an angle that matches original catalog image

Close-up of house in Sears Modern Homes catalog

Close-up of house in Sears Modern Homes catalog

Sears Crescent in Northern Illinois

Sears Crescent in Northern Illinois

Sears Homes abound in Clifton Forge, Virginia!

September 16th, 2010 Sears Homes 4 comments

In the 1960s, our family  frequently traveled from Portsmouth, VA to Douthat State Park in Clifton Forge. Ensconced by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Douthat was (and remains) one of my favorite places on earth.  We’d venture into Clifton Forge to use the laundromat and to buy supplies at the local grocery store.

Even in my childhood, I’d noticed that Clifton Forge had lots of train tracks and lots of trains coming and going.  (Today, there’s a delightful train museum in Clifton Forge - The C&O Railway Heritage Center - stuffed full of treasures and ephemera and photographs. It’s at 705 Main Street in the heart of the city.)

About 40 years after those fun family vacations in Douthat, I returned to Clifton Forge to look for Sears Homes. Take a look at what I found!

To see more pictures of Sears Homes in Virginia, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

Sears Princeville from the 1919 catalog

Sears Princeville from the 1919 catalog

Sears Princeville in Clifton Forge - and what a beauty!

Sears Princeville in Clifton Forge - and what a beauty!

Sears Woodland from 1918 catalog

Sears Woodland from 1918 catalog

Sears Fullerton!

Sears Woodland!

In all my travels, I have never seen a Model #113, until I saw it in Clifton Forge!

In all my travels, I have never seen a Model #137, until I saw it in Clifton Forge!

Landscaping prevented a better photo, but you can see one side!

Landscaping prevented a better photo, but you can see one side!

From the front

From the front

The Sears Auburn is another unusual house. This is a massive house with lots of interesting details.

The Sears Auburn is another unusual house. This is, as the catalog states, a massive house with lots of interesting details. Note the interesting brickwork on the porch, and the bracketing under the eaves.

There are many trees sitting right in front of houses in Clifton Forge. This large evergreen prevented me from taking the picture I wanted to take. Nonetheless, even from this angle, you can clearly see this is a Sears Auburn.

There are many trees sitting right in front of houses in Clifton Forge. This large evergreen prevented me from taking the picture I wanted to take. Nonetheless, even from this angle, you can clearly see this is a Sears Auburn.

Another view of the Auburn

Another view of the Auburn

Close-up of the brickwork on the front porch.

Close-up of the brickwork on the front porch.

Sears Elsmore from the 1919 catalog

Sears Elsmore from the 1919 catalog

Sears Elsmore on the main drag in Clifton Forge

Sears Elsmore on the main drag in Clifton Forge

Like Sears, Montgomery Wardd also sold kit homes. Heres a Montgomery Ward Lexington from the 1927 catalog.

Like Sears, Montgomery Wardd also sold kit homes. Here's a Montgomery Ward "Lexington" from the 1927 catalog.

And in the flesh - The Montgomery Ward Lexington in Clifton Forge!

And in the flesh - The Montgomery Ward Lexington in Clifton Forge!

Aladdin was another kit home company that, like Sears, sold kit homes through mail order. Aladdin Homes are fairly common in Virginia and I found a few in Clifton Forge. However, most of the kit homes I found in Clifton Forge were Sears Homes.

Aladdin was another kit home company that, like Sears, sold kit homes through mail order. Aladdin Homes are fairly common in Virginia and I found a few in Clifton Forge. However, most of the kit homes I found in Clifton Forge were Sears Homes.

An Aladdin Sheffield in Clifton Forge

An Aladdin Sheffield in Clifton Forge

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