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Posts Tagged ‘UVA’

An Aladdin Westwood - in Charlottesville, Virginia

August 23rd, 2015 Sears Homes 2 comments

The Aladdin Westwood was offered only in the 1922 catalog, which is curious. It’s a beautiful house and quite massive, but apparently the Sovereign brothers decided it wasn’t a keeper. In September 2013, I gave a talk in nearby Louisa, Virginia and drove over to Charlottesville to see what was lurking in Hoo-ville.

What a sweet surprise to find an Aladdin Westwood at the end of a quiet residential street!

I was with a local historian and we knocked on the doors repeatedly but no one showed up. It’s been two years since I was there. Hope this house survives! These big Aladdin houses don’t do well in college towns. In nearby Williamsburg, Virginia, an Aladdin Colonial was torn down on the William and Mary campus (about 15 years ago).

To read about the other kit homes I found in Charlottesville, click here.

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The Aladdin

The Aladdin Westwood was offered only in the 1922 catalog.

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One of the best parts of playing with kit homes is studying the old floor plans.

One of the best parts of playing with kit homes is studying the old floor plans. I just love looking at these old images, and thinking about day-to-day life in early 20th Century America. The house was about 3,000 square feet - which isn't typical for a kit home! And there's a half-bath on the first floor (1922).

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Not only does the second floor have two full bathrooms (very unusualy for the 1920s), but the front bathroom has a shower! Now that's high living! (1922 catalog)

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Sounds fancy, too!

Sounds fancy, too! And it mentions that shower on the "front bathroom" (1922).

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What a beautiful house!

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And check out that front door!

And check out that front door!

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In all

I was pretty tickled to find this sweet thing in Charlottesville. To date, it's the only Westwood I've ever seen.

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And check out the detail around that front door.

And check out the detail around that front door.

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And check out that front door!

Nice match, isn't it?

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I tried desperately to get a long shot of the house and show that hipped roof, but landscaping prevented it.

I tried desperately to get a long shot of the house and show that hipped roof, but landscaping prevented it.

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If you look down the side, you can see its a good match.

If you look down the side, you can see it's a good match, all the windows are in the right places. It's surprising to see that the columns are still in such good shape. They're almost 100 years old now.

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The Aladdin Westwood looks like the Aladdin Villa in many ways.

The Aladdin Westwood looks like the Aladdin Villa in many ways.

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But the footprint and floorplan are radically different.

But the footprint and floorplan are radically different.

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Its sad to see that the house has been turned into a duplex, but I suppose we should rejoice that - living in a college town - it still survives.

It's sad to see that the house has been turned into a duplex, but I suppose we should rejoice that - living in a college town - it still survives. College towns are notorious "bungalow eaters."

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To read about the other kit homes I found in Charlottesville, click here.

Here are some images of the kit homes in Louisa, Virginia.

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The Original Camp David (Presidential Retreat), Part II

March 3rd, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

In the Spring 1906 issue of American Carpenter and Builder there’s a fascinating article about the new presidential retreat, built for Theodore Roosevelt.  The 15-acre retreat - known as “Pine Knob” - was built in the Piedmont area of Virginia.

This wonderful article also included pictures of the staff and the building.

There was additional text that went with the story that I’d like to include here. The historians among us (such as myself) will find these little details of another time pretty darn interesting. Plus, there are several names in this story, and I suspect that the families would be thrilled to see pictures of their kin, and hear about their work at the presidential retreat.

The original text appears below. Photos of the workers (mentioned in the text) appear at the bottom of this page.  Be forewarned, the story is told using the idioms of its day, and it’s a vernacular that is a bit jarring. Nonetheless, I prefer to let this historical narrative speak in its own voice.

If you’re looking for Rose’s book, click here.

To read Part I of this story, click here.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat in Pine Knob, not too far from Harrisonburg, VA.

This originally appeared in the Spring 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine

This originally appeared in the Spring 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine

Below are pictures of the staff at Pine Knob. Further below are close-ups.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

Close-up of the crew at Pine Knob

Close-up of the staff at Pine Knob

Another close-up

Another close-up

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Last of three slices of the original photo.

And the news item below appeared in the New York Times, December 1905.

Whos Kermit?

Kermit Roosevelt, credited with saving his father's life during a safari, later took his own life after a horrific bout with depression (or melancholy, as it was then known).

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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