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Posts Tagged ‘villa’

The 1924 Tornado of Lorain and An Aladdin Villa

September 25th, 2013 Sears Homes No comments

The picture tells quite a story, doesnt it?

June 28, 1924, a tornado formed over Sandusky Bay and eventually came ashore in Lorain, Ohio. More than 500 homes were destroyed and about 1,000 buildings suffered damage. The storm caused 85 deaths, and 72 of those deaths occurred in Lorain. Fifteen souls perished when the State Theater in Lorain collapsed. In today's dollars, the damage was well more than $1 billion. Later, it was estimated that this was an F-4 tornado, and 89 years later, it remains the 4th most deadly tornado ever experienced in northern states. Photo is courtesy Dan Brady and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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And look closely at the house featured on this postcard: Its an Aladdin Villa.

And look closely at the house featured on this postcard: It's an Aladdin Villa. Photo is courtesy Dan Brady and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Folks must have been in shock.

Folks must have been in shock as they wandered around, horrified at the amount of destruction. The tornado occurred in June, and yet look at the clothing. Judging by these photos, the storm ushered in some cold weather. The houses around the Villa were mostly leveled, but the three-story Villa is mostly standing (sans roof and attic). Photo is courtesy Dan Brady and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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The Villa was first offered in the 1916 Aladdin catalog.

The Villa was first offered in the 1916 Aladdin catalog. That means that the Villa in Lorain was less than eight years old, at the very most, when it was severely damaged by the Lorain Tornado of 1924.

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Fien house

In addition to being "beautiful and modern," it was pretty sturdy.

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Spacious

The Villa was more than 4,00 square feet, not including the attic. The sunporch has a fireplace.

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Sunporch, as seen in the 1919 catalogs line drawing.

The Villa was Aladdin's finest home, and several interior views (line drawings) were featured in the 1919 catalog.

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Living room

The living room was 26-feet long and 16-feet wide.

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Dining room

The dining room must have been difficult to decorate, with two sets of french doors (into the reception hall and breakfast room), three tall windows and a swinging door into the kitchen.

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Seen in 1919

The Aladdin Villa, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

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house house house

If you look closely at the sun porch here (facing the camera), you can see the masonry fireplace in the center of the room. For all the sadness and horror occasioned by this terrible storm, this real-life example proved pretty clearly that Aladdin Homes were strong, sturdy, well-built homes. Photo is courtesy Dan Brady and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Photo is

Today, this house is a shining jewel in Lorain, Ohio and there's not a hint that anything bad ever happened to this almost-100-year-old Villa. Photo is copyright 2012 Dan Brady and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Scotland Neck

Just for comparison, I've included a Villa in Scotland Neck, NC.

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Lorain

I have a special fondness for Lorain, Ohio. Sometime in 2003 (as I recall), I visited Lorain, Ohio courtesy of Valerie Smith at the Lorain Public Library. I had a wonderful time and I must say, it was quite a thrill to see my name "in lights" on the historic Palace Theater! And while in Lorain, I was also the guest of the Kaczmarek family. Lawrence Kaczmarek built a Sears Westly in Lorain County in 1919.

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I met the family

I met the Kaczmarek family when Richard Herman, a descendent of Lawrence Kaczmarek (misspelled above in the testimonial) sent me a letter shortly after my first book was published in 2002. Richard, if you're reading this, I wish you'd contact me. I'd love to hear from you again! Sadly, Mr. Kaczmarek's Westly was torn down in the 1960s (as I recall) to make way for a bridge expansion project.

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To visit Dan Brady’s wonderful blog, click here.

To read another blog about kit homes surviving natural disasters, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below!

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A Supersized Aladdin Villa in Bartlesville, Oklahoma!

April 10th, 2013 Sears Homes 11 comments

The Sears House Lady of Tulsa, also known as indefatigable kit house researcher Rachel Shoemaker, made a little detour the other day on her way home (as we kit house lovers are wont to do), and made a wonderful discovery: A supersized Aladdin Villa in Bartlesville, Oklahoma!

The Aladdin Villa, as offered in the 1919 catalog, was 62 feet across the front (including the sunporch). That’s a big house, but the Villa that Rachel discovered is even wider.

Best of all, the Villa  in Bartlesville is well-loved, and has been painstakingly maintained.

To visit Rachel’s website, click here.

Interested in learning how to identify kit homes?  Click here.

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The Aladdin Villa was the crme de le creme

The Villa was the crème de la crème of Aladdin's kit homes. It was spacious, beautiful, and elegant. This drawing was based on the Villa built in Bay City, Michigan (the corporate headquarters for Aladdin). Maybe that's Otto and William on the front porch?

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Unlike most kit homes, the Villa had plenty of room, and one of the more interesting options available was third floor maids rooms.

One of the more interesting options available was the "third floor maids' quarters."

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The living room was luxuriously

The Villa's living room was prominently featured in the 1919 Aladdin catalog.

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sunporch had a fireplace

And the Villa's sunporch had its own fireplace!

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floorplan

If I'm doing my math right, this house was 62 feet across the front and 26 feet deep. That's a very spacious house. On many Villas, I've seen the optional second-floor sun room.

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Heres Rachels bartlesville

Rachel's found this "supersized Villa" in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Photo is copyright 2013 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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house

From the front, you can see just how massive this Villa really is. Photo is copyright 2013 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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house house hosue

Close-up of the details around the front door. Photo is copyright 2013 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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house house

The owners have done some remodeling to the house, but have done a first-class job. It's one of the most historically sensitive and thoughtful remodelings that I've ever come across. Photo is copyright 2013 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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house house

Rachel even managed to get a picture of this grand old house from the REAR, showing off the massive sunporch. Photo is copyright 2013 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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But wait, there’s more!

In addition to the Villa, Rachel also found a Sears 264P233 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma!

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house

From the 1914 Sears Modern Homes catalog, here's a picture of the Sears Model 264P233.

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As seen

Oh my, what a perfect match!! And it's in Bartlesville! Wow!

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To visit Rachel’s website (focusing on the kit homes of Oklahoma) click here.

To learn more about Roanoke Rapids, click here.

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Sometimes, They’re Sitting in the Middle of Kansas Cornfields

August 5th, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

In 2007, I traveled to Quinter, Kansas to visit Gale Ringer and learn more about his family’s “Ohio.” His grandfather, Mathias Ringer had purchased the Wardway kit home before World War I, and amazingly, this house had stayed in the family through the generations.

During my three-day stay with the Ringer family, we went driving around other parts of Kansas and that’s when we found the Aladdin Villa, sitting in the middle of a very large field.

As soon as possible, I sent a photo of the house to Dale Wolicki (who is THE expert on Aladdin Homes) and he could hardly believe that we’d stumbled upon one of Aladdin’s fanciest homes in such a quiet, rural area.

Aladdin was a kit home company that (like Sears), sold entire houses through their mail order catalog. Aladdin started selling kit homes in 1906 and outlasted all the competition, finally closing their doors in 1981.

Not surprisingly, North Carolina has many Aladdin Kit Homes. Aladdin had a massive mill in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Do you have a Villa in your city? If so, please leave a comment below!

To learn more about Aladdin, click here.

Aladdin was a bigger company than Sears - in its day - but not as well known. They sold about 75,000 kit homes during their 75 years in business.

Aladdin was a bigger company than Sears - in its day - but not as well known. They sold about 75,000 kit homes during their 75 years in business. This page appeared in the 1914 catalog, before they opened their mill in Wilmington, NC.

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The Villa was their biggest fanciest house.

The Villa was their biggest fanciest house.

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Look at the size of these rooms!

Look at the size of these rooms!

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The 1919 catalog featured interior views of the Aladdin Living Room.

The 1919 catalog featured "interior" views of the Aladdin Living Room.

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And the dining room...

And the dining room...

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The Villa, as shown in the 1919 catalog.

The Villa, as shown in the 1919 catalog.

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This Villa is one of the prettiest Ive ever seen. Its in Atlanta.

This Villa is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. It's in Atlanta.

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This Villa is in Scotland Neck, NC.

This Villa is in Scotland Neck, NC.

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Driving around the Quinter area with the Ringer family in 2007, I discovered this perfect Aladdin Villa sitting in the middle of a massive Kansas cornfield. The Villa was probably Aladdins biggest and best house.

And this is the Villa in Kansas, sitting in the middle of a massive Kansas cornfield.

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Aladdin Villa from the catalog

Look at the price! That was an expensive house in the 1910s!

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To learn more about Aladdin Kit Homes, click here.