Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sears Parkside in Middletown, Rhode Island

43 Beacon Street, Middletown, Rhode Island • Read the website about this home, here.
Last year, right around this point in October, I did a blog post about an authenticated Sears Parkside model in St. Louis.  Fellow researcher Cindy Catanzaro, of Sears Houses in Ohio, had also shared with me a photo of a cute Parkside in Middletown, Rhode Island, so I included that in my blog post.

sears parkside 1932 catalog
The Sears Parkside is the Sears Jeanette, with an added front vestibule.
This week, I received a message from the owner of that sweet little Sears house, and she shared with me that she had put together a website telling about her home's history as a Sears house, including photos taken during construction, by the original owners, photos of paperwork with Sears regarding the ordering of the kit, and various other interesting photos and bits of information.  It's a great read, and a good-looking website.  Take a look for yourself, by clicking here!

Here is the house in question (with its previous paint colors), showing off its Christmas decorations... and the trademark Sears curly-cue-ended decorative iron strapping :
sears parkside sears door decorative iron strapping

Saturday, October 8, 2016

J. E. Latham's Aladdin Houses In Greensboro, North Carolina

aladdin brentwood
Authenticated Aladdin Brentwood • 318 W. Bessemer, Greensboro, North Carolina • 1919
This is one of the many Aladdin Readi-Cut home kits purchased by J. E. Latham in 1919.
J. E. Latham was a cotton man. A big cotton man, according to the papers.  In the 1920s in Greensboro, North Carolina, he was one of the main stockholders of Latham Cotton Company ("The name Latham in the cotton business is known in every state where cotton is produced and in every country throughout the world where cotton is sold to mills."*), though, before its dissolution in August of 1922, he was involved in the Latham-Bradshaw Cotton Company, which split off to form Bradshaw-Roberson Cotton.  But, besides being a "cotton merchant and capitalist" (as he was described in an article in the Greensboro Daily News on September 4, 1921 [page 6]), he was also involved in buying and selling real estate, through his company, "J. E. Latham Company". And, that's where Aladdin Homes enters the story.
latham cotton company announcement 1922
*Announcement that ran in the Greensboro Daily News, (Greensboro, North Carolina) on Sunday, August 6, 1922, p. 51
In 1917, the J. E. Latham Company was advertising homes and lots in the lovely Fisher Park neighborhood in Greensboro:
Greensboro Daily News, August 30, 1917, page 10.
In 1919, Latham ordered twelve Aladdin homes (among them some of the finest designs Aladdin offered) to be built on spec in the Fisher Park neighborhood. These homes were built on West Bessemer Avenue, Wharton Street, and Keogh Street (now called N. Eugene St.). Latham bought Aladdin Readi-Cut kits to be constructed on these plots, and then offered up the homes for re-sale.
fisher park neighborhood greensboro nc
The West Bessemer/Wharton Street/N. Eugene Street area is where J. E. Latham's lots were centered.
The October 1, 1919 issue of the Greensboro Daily News, listed 11 building permits issued to J. E. Latham, for lots on Bessemer, Wharton, and Keogh:

aladdin building permits fisher park greensboro nc for j e latham 1919
Greensboro Daily News, October 1, 1919
I actually found this after having located all of the houses... it certainly would have saved me time, had I found it first!
The kits purchased in 1919 by Latham are of twelve different Aladdin models:
  • The Colonial
  • The Brentwood
  • The Kentucky
  • The Shadow Lawn
  • The Pasadena (B)
  • The Georgia (#2)
  • The Venus (#2)
  • The Marsden
  • The Winthrop
  • The Willard
  • The Hudson (not located)
  • The Florence (not located)
Though the kits were purchased in 1919, the Guilford County records give 1920 and 1921 build dates for many of the homes.
J. E. Latham's Aladdin Readi-Cut kit home purchases. This list was transcribed from original, hand-written Aladdin sales lists, from the Bay City Aladdin factory, obtained by researchers Andrew and Wendy Mutch, and painstakingly transcribed by Wendy Mutch.  Many thanks go out to them for graciously sharing this research with us.

Let's take a look at the still-beautiful homes that Latham had constructed in Greensboro. Settle in with a nice glass of red wine (or a cup of hot cocoa), because we've got eleven houses to see:

The Aladdin Colonial
322 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina 

Aladdin's Colonial model is one of its biggest and grandest homes.  This one has had a few modifications made to it, but it is documented as a Latham home. He sold it -- to great acclaim -- to Lou M. Bradshaw, for $13,000, in 1922. Bradshaw was, I believe, the Bradshaw of the Latham-Bradshaw Cotton Company.
322 w bessemer avenue greensboro nc aladdin colonial
322 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina • 1919 • Authenticated Aladdin Colonial model
Here is the W. Bessemer house, shown next to the 1917 Aladdin catalog image of the Colonial.
From the 1917 Aladdin catalog, available here.
When the home was sold to Bradshaw, the price of the purchase made quite a splash, headlining a newspaper article about home purchases in the area:
greensboro nc aladdin colonial purchase
Greensboro Daily News, January 11, 1921
 A check of the 1923 Greensboro city directory shows us that the "lot on Bessemer avenue" is, indeed, at the address of the Aladdin Colonial:

1923 Greensboro, NC, city directory
Here is a look at the floor plan of the Colonial, as shown in the 1917 catalog:
aladdin colonial floor plan 1917
Aladdin Colonial floorplan, 1917 catalog. 
The Colonial, as described in the 1917 catalog.

The Aladdin Brentwood
318 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina

On the lot right next to the Colonial, sits this beautiful Aladdin Brentwood:
Aladdin Brentwood
318 W. Bessemer Avenue, North Carolina • 1919 authenticated Aladdin Brentwood
 And, here it is shown next to the 1917 Aladdin catalog image.  You can see that the style of the door (at least the overhang) was modified, as was the look of the small roof over the front bump-out on the left side of the front elevation:

Aladdin Brentwood
Here is the West Bessemer Avenue house compared to the image of the Brentwood in the 1917 Aladdin catalog.

Aladdin Brentwood
Floor plan of the Aladdin Brentwood
Aladdin Brentwood
Description of the Brentwood, in the 1917 catalog. 
Aladdin Brentwood
The reception hall of the Brentwood, as depicted in the 1917 Aladdin catalog.

It appears that Dr. B. R. Lyon was the first owner to occupy the home at 318 W. Bessemer...
and, I see that, in the 1950s, the E. D. Broadhurst Jr. family lived there.
I know a Broadhurst from a Morehead City, NC Broadhurst family, a town on the coast... I wonder if they are related?
The next houses are all in the same neighborhood, a short stretch of W. Bessemer Avenue, that changes name at the bend of the street, and becomes Wharton Avenue.

The Aladdin Kentucky
406 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina

Authenticated Aladdin Kentucky, 406 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina
(Image courtesy of the Guilford County assessor.)
I couldn't be more delighted to have found this Kentucky! Not only am I tickled to see an authenticated Aladdin Kentucky (there are a number of lookalikes out there, by different companies), but it was amazing how I found it.  
The W. Bessemer Avenue Aladdin Kentucky, compared to the Kentucky image in my 1920 Aladdin catalog.
I knew that one of Latham's homes was a Kentucky model, but, after finding the Colonial and the Brentwood, I had spent a good bit of time Google "driving" the streets on that side of the Fisher Park neighborhood, interspersed with various Google searches, and historic newspaper searches.  I had centered my search in the Fisher Park neighborhood, after running across this nomination form for Historic Fisher Park to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. I had done a search for J. E. Latham, and I ran across the mention of the 1913 home of James Edwin Latham (known as the Latham-Baker house) in the NRHP nomination form. It gave the address as 412 Fisher Park Circle, so I began hunting in that area, figuring that his Aladdin spec homes might be nearby.  By chance, I hit upon the Colonial and the Brentwood, and then the Marsden (which I'll be showing in a bit), but I just couldn't find the Kentucky... or the Shadow Lawn, which I was also itching to see.  
aladdin kentucky and aladdin shadow lawn
The Aladdin Kentucky, with the Aladdin Shadow Lawn peaking out from behind trees, right next door.
So, after being side-tracked by various things, I decided to come back to the Google map of the area, but I hadn't actually noted yet what the address was of the two big homes I had already found. I remembered a cross street, so I figured I'd just plop my Google map cursor right around there, and start looking on more streets.  Well, I didn't accurately place my cursor on the lots where the Colonial and the Brentwood sat... instead, much to my delight, when I switched to street-view, from map view, lo-and-behold, I found myself smack in front of the Aladdin Kentucky! And right next to it, was the beautiful Aladdin Shadow Lawn that I'll be showing at the end of the blog post.  As I "drove" down the street, I realized that I had hit upon almost all of Latham's plots, as I ran across the Pasadena, the Willard, the Winthrop, the Georgia, and the Venus... not to mention what I think are examples also of an Aladdin Hampshire, and an Aladdin Sunshine.
It's just about impossible, unfortunately, to get a good shot of that Kentucky, but here it is again, next to the Shadow Lawn, this time thanks to Bing maps.
aladdin kentucky
Another Bing maps view of the Kentucky.
I have to admit that, though the Kentucky is 43' wide, sitting there next to the other bungalows, it doesn't look like the big, sprawling house that I thought it was. There was an even smaller additional model, in 1915 and before, but this house on W. Bessemer is the biggest version.

color version of the catalog image of the Aladdin Kentucky 1915 catalog
The Kentucky, as shown in my 1915 Aladdin catalog. 
The larger, 43' wide Kentucky No. 2 floor plan, is shown on the right, and the  smaller (and later discontinued) model is shown on the left. This is from my 1915 Aladdin catalog, the last year that the smaller version was offered.
You can see all of the Aladdin catalogs online, 
here.
Aladdin Kentucky floor plan
Aladdin Kentucky floor plan, larger of the two models (though only this one was offered in 1919).
This is the footprint of the Kentucky at 406 W. Bessemer, as shown on the Guilford County assessor's website.
This footprint shows that the W. Bessemer Avenue Kentucky is the reverse floor plan to that shown in the catalog.
Aladdin Pasadena (B)
410 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina
aladdin pasadena
Authenticated Aladdin Pasadena (B floor plan) • 410 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina • 1919
Image courtesy of the  Guilford County assessor's website.
aladdin pasadena 1917 catalog
Here is the West Bessemer Avenue house, compared to the image of the Pasadena in the 1920 Aladdin catalog.
The house looks really cute now, with the new pale yellow paint job, and well-chosen accent colors. It's almost impossible to get a good street view or Bing maps view of it, however. This shot at least shows the clipped gables and the enclosed porch area.  It looks like the house must be a reverse floor plan, though there also looks to be some kind of enclosed room or addition on the left side of the house.
The Aladdin Pasadena came in two floor plans, and this house on Bessemer Avenue is the B plan:
aladdin pasadena 1920 catalog
The floor plan on the right is what the Bessemer Avenue house has, though reversed.
Since we see the large chimney jutting out of the center of the back of the roof,
they must have opted for the addition of a fireplace against that back wall of the living room.
aladdin pasadena 1920 catalog floor plan B
These 3-D floor plans give a great idea of the feel inside the house. This looks to be the B floor plan.
In the case of this house, we even have J. E. Latham listed on the ownership history card from the assessor's website:
j. e. latham as original owner of aladdin pasadena

Aladdin Willard
412 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina

aladdin willard
Authenticated Aladdin Willard412 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina
The Aladdin Willard model looks to have only been available in the 1918 and 1919 catalogs. I don't find it in the 1917 or 1920 catalogs. It is a modest bungalow, but, like the other homes on this street, it has been kept up nicely.  It, too, seems to have the reverse floor plan to the catalog, and, of course, the great screened-in porch.

aladdin willard 1919
Here is the W. Bessemer house compared against the 1919 Aladdin catalog image for the Willard.

aladdin willard 1919 floor plan
Blurry floor plan image, from the 1919 catalog.
Aladdin Winthrop
414 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina
Aladdin Winthrop model 1919
Authenticated Aladdin Winthrop model • 414 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Image courtesy of Bing maps (always a darker image, unfortunately, but the Google maps image blocks the view of the bumpout on the left).
Aladdin Winthrop 1917 catalog
Here is the 1917 Aladdin catalog image of the Winthrop, compared next to the extant house on W. Bessemer.
Note the window arrangement, the placement of the front door, the side bump-out with a side window and a set of multiple windows. The chimney on that side is an addition, and may go for a basement wood burner, or for a heating system, as the chimney we see on the left side, is for the living room fireplace (as shown on the floor plan, below).
Aladdin Winthrop 1917 catalog floor plan
Description of the Aladdin Winthrop, as shown in the 1917 Aladdin catalog. 
Aladdin Winthrop 1919
Front of 414 W. Bessemer Avenue, Aladdin Winthrop
Left side of the Aladdin Winthrop on W. Bessemer Avenue. This chimney is for the living room fireplace.
Note how the number and layout of the windows matches the floor plan shown in the catalog. There are many long, straight bungalows of this style, offered by many plan and kit-home companies. You have to pay close attention to the placement of the windows and front door, and to how the porch roof connects (smoothly, not set in) to the main roof.

The image above is from Google maps street view, and it shows us that West Bessemer Avenue stops here, at this lovely Aladdin Winthrop, and becomes Wharton Street. The next several houses will be on that stretch of Wharton Street.

Aladdin Venus (No. 2)
1005 Wharton Street, Greensboro, North Carolina
Aladdin Venus
Authenticated Aladdin Venus (No. 2) • 1005 Wharton Street, Greensboro, North Carolina
Image courtesy of the Guilford County assessor's website
Aladdin Venus 1917 catalog
Here is the Wharton Street house next to the image from the 1917 Aladdin catalog.  This is yet another house with a reversed floor plan from what is shown in the catalog.
Aladdin Venus no 2 floor plan

aladdin venus #2
You can see that they squeezed in a fireplace on the living room. This is the reverse floor plan of model No. 2, keep in mind.
Aladdin Venus interior view
From the 1917 Aladdin catalog.
j e latham comapny greensboro nc aladdin home
This is one of those that lists the J. E. Ltham Co as owner, on the assessor's card.
Aladdin Georgia (No.2)
1001 Wharton Street, Greensboro, North Carolina

Aladdin Gerogia no 2
Authenticated Aladdin Georgia (No. 2, the larger size with the same layout as No. 1)
1001 Wharton Street, Greensboro, North Carolina • 1919
Aladdin Gerogia no 2 1920 catalog
Aladdin Georgia in the 1920 Aladdin catalog.
The house on Wharton Street is the reverse floor plan to what is shown in the catalog.
Aladdin Gerogia no 2
Aladdin Gerogia no 2 1920 catalog
From the 1920 Aladdin catalog.
Aladdin Gerogia no 2
From the 1920 Aladdin catalog.
Aladdin Gerogia no 2 floor plan
From the 1920 Aladdin catalog.
Aladdin Marsden
815 N. Eugene Street, Greensboro, North Carolina
Aladdin Marsden 1919
Authenticated Aladdin Marsden815 N. Eugene Street, Greensboro, North Carolina
According to the application for Fisher Park neighborhood to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, N. Eugene Street was originally called Keogh Street. J. E. Latham had two building permits in 1919 for homes on Keogh Street.
Aladdin Marsden 1917 catalog
The N. Eugene Street house next to the 1917 catalog image.
Aladdin Marsden catalog floor plan 1917
From the 1917 Aladdin catalog.
Aladdin Shadow Lawn
404 West Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina
Authenticated Aladdin Shadow Lawn • 404 W. Bessemer Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina • 1919
Ahhhhh.
And, now, for the pièce de résistance ... an absolutely stunning Aladdin Shadow Lawn, with gorgeous interior photos, thanks to this 2015 Zillow listing. Click any image to enlarge.
aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn interior

aladdin shadow lawn catalog
Here is the Shadow Lawn in the 1917 Aladdin catalog.
And here is our authenticating piece: the ownership history card tying this house to J. E. Latham Company.
From the Guilford County assessor's website
To see my earlier blog post about a lovely Aladdin Shadow Lawn in Bennington, Vermont, click here.

Now... that is the end of the homes that I found, from the list of those purchased by J. E. Latham Company, in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He also bought an Aladdin Hudson kit, and an Aladdin Florence kit, but I have not found them (though I noticed that he had two building permits for Keogh Street (now N. Eugene Street), and I didn't see either of those models on that street. Here they are from the 1918 catalog:
Aladdin Hudson

Aladdin Florence 1918 catalog

If you run across them in Greensboro, please let me know!

What are Aladdin homes?
For more information, read this previous blog post.

Addendum:
Another Shadow Lawn in Greensboro
706 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Greensboro, North Carolina
This is thought by some to be a Sears house. It is a kit house, it is a mail-order house, but it is not a SEARS house. It is a mail-order kit house by the Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan, and the model name is Shadow Lawn.
One of my researcher friends ran across this August 27, 2016 online newspaper article, published by N&R Greensboro.com.
N&R Greensboro.com, Published by the News & Record
In the article, much to our delight, the topic of Greensboro Sears homes was discussed.  We LOVE Sears homes, and we LOVE learning about them and finding them around the country (so much so that we have been working on a National Database of Sears Homes, and we now have over 5000 Sears homes on it). But, what we see in this article, is a common mistake: a house known to have been a mail-order kit house, is referred to as a "Sears" house, when it is actually a kit home by a different company.  The house above, at 706 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Greensboro, North Carolina, is the one mentioned in the article, but it is not a model offered by Sears. Instead, it is a beautiful example of the Shadow Lawn model made by the Aladdin Company of Bay City Michigan (they also had a Wilmington, North Carolina plant, starting in about 1920).  We would love if the writer of this article, Harry Thetford, would consider writing a new article to point out that, not only is this house an Aladdin Company house, but there are many other Aladdin homes in Greensboro.
Here is the 1920 Aladdin Company catalog's depiction of the Shadow Lawn, compared to the house at 706 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.  (You can see the full catalog here.)