In 2006, a woman in Beckley, West Virginia sent me an email. “Ersela” thought she’d found about 40 kit homes in Beckley, and wanted to ask if I was available to come to her town and give a lecture. For the next several months, we talked back and forth and in 2008, I went to Beckley and gave a talk on Sears Kit Homes. Over the course of a couple years, I also visited Charleston and Lewisburg, and the surrounding areas.
I’m still amazed and impressed by how many kit homes I’ve found in these communities. How did so many kit homes end up in West Virginia? I’ve no idea. This is a picture-heavy post so I’ll keep the words to a minimum. Enjoy the photos, and please leave a comment. And if you know why West Virginia has so many kit homes, please comment on that, too! And – if I have misidentified a city, please let me know.
To see pictures of Sears Homes in Charleston, West Virginia click here.
To read more about how to identify Sears kit homes, click here.
To read about my favorite Sears Home in Rainelle, click here.
Sears Vallonia, from the 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog. This was a very popular house.
A beautiful Sears Vallonia in Lewisburg, WV
Sears Altona from the Sears Modern Home's catalog
Sears Altona in the tiny town of Ronceverte.
Sears Lynnhaven, as seen in the 1929 catalog
Sears Lynnhaven in Rainelle, WV
Sears Marina, Model #2024
Although significantly remodeled, this is clearly a Sears Marina, #2024. This house is in Lewisburg. Note how the shed dormer still retains its three little windows.
Aladdin was another prominent kit home company, with a large lumberyard and mill in Greensboro, NC. There were many Aladdin Kit Homes in WV, too. Here, you can see the Aladdin Genie going back into his bottle (presumably on the back porch) after building a house for his master in a day (I'm guessing here).
The Aladdin Pasadena was one of Aladdin's most popular homes.
As a point of comparison, this is a PERFECT Pasadena in Lynchburg, Virginia. Note, the side porch is still in original condition.
Here's a nice Aladdin Pasadena in a small town just outside of Rainelle, WV. To the uninformed, this may look like a grove of trees, but there is an Aladdin House there. Sometimes, it's hard to identify these kit homes because of surrounding landscaping. This house called my name from the highway, and once you hear the sound of an Aladdin Pasadena, you never forget it. 🙂
Aladdin Virginia from the 1919 Aladdin catalog
An Aladdin Virginian in White Sulphur Springs, not too far from the famous hotel, The Greenbriar.
Gordon Van Tine was yet another popular kit home company of the early 1900s. Here's the GVT "Durant," a fairly popular little bungalow.
The Durant, in Lewisburg, WV.
There is another Sears Roebuck house in the little town of Fort Gay W.v. that is a little different but similar to the Aladin Virginia. The house is owned by Regina Hill and it sits right by the rail road on Sunny Side. You may want to check it out.
That’s interesting. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in West Virginia!
There is a Sears House on the main street of Beverly West Virginia which is located 6 miles south of Elkins. Off the top of my head, I believe it is a Vallonia. It presently is up for sale.
Can you send me a photo? I’d love to see it!! 🙂
I have been told that there are so many Sears Homes in West Virginia because of the above average amount of company housing in the early 1900’s. Coal mines and logging companies would buy these houses and let the indentured servants that they called employees live in them but they would have money taken out of their pay as rent to live in these houses when they were working for these companies. In Rock Forge WV outside of Morgantown there is a row of 15 – 20 of these houses that are all the same. They sit right along a trail that used to be railroad tracks and I have been told they were for upper management of a Sterling Faucet Factory that was only a mile away and they would bring the kits in on trains, unload them and build them right along the tracks.
We are currently purchasing a house that we believe is a Lewis “Yosemite,” built in 1926 in Charleston, WV. We are purchasing from the original family and would be interested to know if you have seen the Yosemite built anywhere and if you have any photos.
Our house was remodeled once in 1966 but looks much like the catalog photos we have seen with almost identical floor plan.
I have a Montgomery Wards kit home and i’m trying to find information on it. Such as when did the company offer these kits homes and what was the cost of the kit. In doing some remodeling a few years ago i found that on the back of a piece of molding that i removed it had the buyers name & address, and that it was from Montgomery Wards in Iowa. I know from neighbors that the house was bought by the father of the person we bought the home from (his is that on the back of the molding.
County records show the house to have been built in the early 1940’s, however i found a piece of newspaper (which was used between the subfloor and the wood flooring) dated 1929.
Can you be of any assistance?
I own an Aladdin Standard. I would love to share photos if you are interested.