As mentioned in prior posts, Hopewell, Virginia is the proud owner of eight bona fide Sears homes in the Crescent Hills area. That’s well and good, but they also have entire neighborhoods of Aladdin kit homes in other parts of Hopewell. It’s a puzzle why the city invests so much effort in promoting those eight houses, while forgetting about the dozens of Aladdin kit homes. Why, if I were a little Aladdin home in Hopewell, I’d feel sorely neglected!
Most likely, the majority of the Aladdin Kit Homes were ordered by Dupont in 1914, for their dynamite factory in Hopewell. And there along the waterfront - on Ramsey Avenue - are the Aladdin Wenonah, an Aladdin Brighton, and an Aladdin Plaza.
The Plaza sits at the end of Ramsey, and I’d just love to know - do these homeowners know that they’re sitting in a piece of Americana, enjoying their restful slumbers in a historically significant kit home, that was shipped in from Bay City, Michigan via boxcar, with 12,000 pieces of house? And what about the city itself? Are they aware of these precious architectural gems that sit within its borders, uncelebrated, unheralded and unprotected?
It’d be a dandy idea for the city - at the very least - to put a placard in front of these homes, identifying them as Aladdin kit homes, or perhaps include them on their tourism brochures. Urbana, Virginia has ONE Sears House, and look what they’ve done!
A city full of architecturally significant homes is a terrible thing to waste.
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