Poor Little Aladdin Shadowlawn

In the 1980s, I rode by this house (see pics below) and saw that it had been lifted from its foundation, and according to the placard in the window, was headed to a new site, about 2 miles west on Portsmouth Blvd (Route 337).  A new foundation was prepared at the new site – just down the road – and then one day the house was moved.

Now, in 2010, the house is again standing in harm’s way. Across the street from this spacious two-story bungalow is a sprawling, growing, mega-monster shopping mall and complex, with the requisite Applebys, Olive Garden, Lowes, Home Depot, BJs, Walmart, 16-screen movie house, Michaels, Target, Dillards and about 250 more homogenized American stores.

I’d be surprised if this house is not already zoned commercial, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the house is purchased and demolished by some over-zealous developer. Pity, too. The house pictured here is a classic Aladdin Shadowlawn, one of Aladdin’s fancier kit homes.

Aladdin was based in Bay City, Michigan and started selling kit homes in 1906. They remained in business until 1981, selling about 75,000 kit homes. (Thanks to Dale Wolicki for the stats on Aladdin!) The Hampton Roads area has dozens of Aladdin kit homes, probably because of the Aladdin mill in nearby Greensboro, North Carolina.

However, we may soon have one less.

To read more about the kit homes in Hampton Roads, click here.

Aladdin Shadowlawn in Chesapeake, VA

Aladdin Shadowlawn in Chesapeake, VA

Aladdin Shadowlawn from the 1919 catalog

Aladdin Shadowlawn from the 1919 catalog

1 Comment

  1. ShariD

    I have been reading through you site for a short while now, and realized early on where my fascination and desire for one of these great houses comes from! I’ve always had the most intense desire to own and live in a home resembling a Vallonia, or an Alladdin Sunshine, or any of their “style cousins” as long as it has a generous front porch and bungalow style floorplan, and now I know where that comes from.

    I was raised in the Hampton Roads area for over 20 years, and spent a great deal of time in a lot of it! I never knew that the source of that came from the presence of so many Sears kit homes in the area! I know I’ve been in more than one over the years, because there is something very familiar about the appearance and floor plans of quite a few of the ones I’ve seen plans for in a couple of websites, and I’ve ordered and combed through several Sears and early 20’s homes catalog books in the last few months.

    I haven’t lived in the area for quite a few years, but I still feel like I won’t ever be truly at peace until I manage to find and own one of those wonderful houses! They sure don’t build ’em like they used to!!

    Thanks so much for all your time and effort, and for putting everything up on here for so many others to enjoy!!