|207 Oakwood Avenue, Webster Groves, Missouri • suspected Gordon-Van Tine No. 535 • 1922|
I've been away on vacation. But, I'm back, and back to work, and today, I needed a good walk. I also wanted to enjoy some time looking for houses in the town next to mine, Webster Groves, Missouri. So, I headed over that way by car -- about a mile from my house -- and drove around the streets of Webster Groves for a while. I found a house or two to check out, decided I had had enough of driving around, house hunting, and stopped off at the Webster Groves public library for a bit. Since I was already parked, and there is a great neighborhood with gorgeous houses behind the library, I decided to take my walk there.
By that time, it was late in the day. It was kind of hot. And, I wasn't sure I really felt like a walk anymore. So, I walked a few blocks, and took a right, intending to head back to my car.
It's amazing how you just sometimes get a feeling... and I got that feeling. I spied a creamy dark beige house with a dark purple door (just like my house colors!), through the foliage. I could only see a bit... but, I knew. I had stumbled upon the Gordon-Van Tine house I had been hoping to find one day! Right here in Webster Groves: a Gordon-Van Tine No. 535.
this blog post I wrote in June of this year. In this post, I wrote about a testimonial house that I (and others) found, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In that post, you can learn more about the different changes in floor plans over the years, too. There was also a family by the name of Parsch, in Ohio, that owned this model, and sent in a testimonial about it, and you can read alllll about that family, and the house, in this post. And, finally, if you want to read about Edward C. Roberts, president of the Gordon-Van Tine company in 1916, and the No. 535 in which he (however briefly) lived, go here.
|The No. 535 as it appeared in my 1919 catalog. Notice the 9-pane square window sidelights on each side of the door.|
|Nice match to the catalog image.|
Even though the front porch columns have been changed, it sure looks to be a No. 535.
(click to enlarge)
|Entry foyer from the Zillow listing.|
|Remember, you can learn more about the different floor plans, in this post of mine.|
|Here's the living room that you get a glimpse of from the spacious entry foyer.|
|From this view of the front of the living room, you get a glimpse of the side sun porch, to the left of the living room.|
This all follows the original No. 535 floor plan.
|The lovely dining room, just where it should be, across the hall from the large living room.|
So, why did I think that I might find this house -- or some GVT house -- in Webster Groves? Well, I didn't realllly think that I'd necessarily find one in Webster Groves, but I sure felt that I should be finding more GVT models in Saint Louis (Webster Groves is, by the way, in the suburbs of Saint Louis County). Why? Because Gordon-Van Tine had a major plant in Saint Louis. It's mentioned all over the place in my 1919 catalog.
In fact, most of the lumber for a large portion of the states to whom GVT sold, came from our Saint Louis lumber yard.
|From the 1919 catalog. A huge number of states to which GVT sent lumber, got that lumber from Saint Louis.|
In any case, Gordon-Van Tine assured its buyers -- in Saint Louis or anywhere!--that they were getting first-rate architects designing their homes:
Who Lived Here?
It did occur to me, that, given the year of this house (1922), the original owner might have been an executive with the GVT plant here in Saint Louis. And, it may have been. But, I wasn't able to verify the residents at this address before 1930. I couldn't find a 1920s City Directory for Webster Groves, and the 1920 census did not have a listing for this address -- makes sense, since it turns out that the city tax records are incorrect. The building permit shows that the house was built in 1922.
I did, however, find a 1930 and 1940 census listing for this address: Frank C. Hunt, his wife, Eura, and their daughter, Laura, lived here as early as 1930, and perhaps earlier than that. In 1920, they lived in nearby Maplewood, so the move must have happened sometime between 1920 and 1930. Frank was a bank teller in 1930, and his GVT No. 535 home at 207 Oakwood Avenue, was listed as having a worth of $20,000. By 1940, Mr. Hunt had become a bank executive (despite having only an 8th-grade education!), and he gave his yearly salary as over $50, 000... and the home's value as $10, 000--- so, either his estimation of the worth became more realistic, or the years of the depression had drastically affected the Saint Louis housing market. He and his wife included a live-in "servant" by 1940, as well (though not in 1930, according to the census): 21-year old Ethel Threlkeld, from a farm somewhere outstate in Missouri.
|Here in this snippet from the 1940 census, you can see the Hunt family at 207 Oakwood Avenue.|
Of course, we don't even know if this home is a Gordon-Van Tine No. 535, because I haven't been able to document it with a mortgage, or a visit inside to check for marked lumber or blueprints. I've written before about the dangers of mis-identifying homes based solely on a "windshield survey" drive-by id. And, in fact, even in 1919, you could order this house as either ready-cut, or not ready-cut, so we don't know if there would be marked lumber in the house at 207 Oakwood Avenue.
|This is the listing number for the two-porch model of this home, in my 1919 catalog.|
Notice that you could buy the house as either ready cut, or not.
|207 Oakwood is 26' deep, and 39' wide, whereas the GVT catalog shows 24 X 38.|
Also, the catalog shows that we should expect a 21-foot deep first-floor porch, and
the tax records show this one to be only 18 feet deep.
Other Authenticated Kit Houses in Webster Groves, Missouri
• Sears Randolph on W. Frisco
• Sears Stanford in the same neighborhood as the Randolph
• Sears Clifton, right next door to the Sears Stanford
• Sears Lewiston on N. Laclede Station Road
• A custom-design Sears home on Westborough Place
• A beautiful Lewis Homes' Marlboro on W. Lockwood
For other authenticated Sears homes in the surrounding towns of Kirkwood, Glendale, and other areas of St. Louis City and County, please use the SEARCH function on the right-hand side of my blog.