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Here in Norfolk, we have a real mystery on our hands. There are 16 little bungalows (which we’ve lovingly named, “The Ethel”) that were originally built at another location (don’t know where), and then moved to Norfolk by George P. Hudson on April 14, 1922.*
There’s an elderly Norfolk resident who remembers seeing a photo of one of the houses being moved into Riverview (Norfolk neighborhood). He says the photo showed the small house being pulled up the road by a team of mules. How we’d love to find *that* photo!
Several months ago, we learned that 3,000 miles away (in Dupont, Washington), there are dozens of identical bungalows, built by Dupont for the dynamite factory in Fall 1909. Thanks to Mark Mckillop, we have photos of the Dupont Ethels (shown below).
Dozens. That’s a lot of “Ethels.”
And then old-house lover and researcher Mark Hardin found another neighborhood of these “Ethel Bungalows” in a little village just outside of Butte, Montana. (It was Mark who found the houses in Dupont, too.)
That neighborhood also has a large collection of Ethels.
And more recently, an Ethel has been found (and photographed) in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Was Muskogee a Dupont town? If not, was there an industrial complex that sprang up in the early 1900s, that needed housing for their workers?
I’d love to know.
So, our Ethel Bunaglow in Norfolk (which came from somewhere else) is a spot-on match to the company houses in Dupont, Washington, Butte, Montana, and Muskogee, Oklahoma and who knows where else.
To read more about what we’ve learned thus far, read Part Five of this ongoing story.
Despite what we’ve learned, many unanswered questions remain. What’s the source of this “Ethel” design? Did they come from Aladdin? I don’t think so, because I’ve searched my collection of early 1900s Aladdin catalogs, and there’s nothing even close.
Are they pattern book houses? If not, where did DuPont get this design? Why are these houses popping up in several of Dupont’s neighborhoods? And where did the houses in Norfolk come from?
If you’ve any information to contribute, please post a note in the comment’s section below!
This Ethel is located in Muskogee, Oklahoma in the 900-block of Boston Avenue. It is a very close match to our other Ethels. The most significant difference is the placement of the front door. (Photo is courtesy of Angeline Stacy and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. )
Another view of our Ethel in Muskogee. You'll note the windows are all boarded up. Not a good sign. Angeline reports that this neighborhood was "a little scary." (Photo is courtesy of Angeline Stacy and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. )
Close-up of that disinctive dormer window. (Photo is courtesy of Angeline Stacy and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. )
And thanks to Mark Mckillop, we have many photos of the houses in Dupont, Washington.
Our "Ethel Bungalow" in Dupont, Washington. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
This Dupont Ethel is in largely original condition. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
I wish Mark had taken his chain saw with him. Landscaping is always a problem when photographing old houses. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
This Ethel in Dupont has seen a little modification. Vinyl siding is not a friend of old houses. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
This is such a distinctive little house. Have you seen it in your neighborhood? (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
Next are the photos of our Ethels, which art in Norfolk. As you’ll see from the photos below, they really are a good match to the houses in Dupont, Washington and Muskogee, OK.
One of our mystery bungalows on 51st Street. Photo is courtesy of David Spriggs and may not be reused or reprinted without permission from David Spriggs.
Good shot of the two bungalows on 51st Street. This photo is courtesy of David Spriggs and may not be reused or reprinted without permission from David Sprggs.
This is one of the houses in Riverview that's in mostly original condition. The little dormer on the side was added in later years.
Close-up of railing
This dormer window is a pretty distinctive feature.
Another "Ethel Bungalow" in Riverview
Aladdin promoted itself to companies as a supplier of industrial housing. It was believed that if a company provided housing for its employees, this would create a more stable workforce. And that was probably true. Dupont turned to Aladdin to supply homes for Hopewell, Virginia and Carney Point, New Jersey and Old Hickory, TN. (1919 Aladdin catalog)
If you’d like to read earlier posts, start with Part I.
And then go to Part II.
To learn more about the kit homes in Norfolk, click here.
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
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