A few years ago, several cities in Hampton Roads hired consultants (schooled and trained in archeology) to find the Sears Homes in Hampton Roads. After obtaining a copy of the written report and reading it, I laughed out loud. The researchers missed most of the kit homes in our area. Yeah, archeology. Even though the words “architecture” and “archeology” both begin with the letters “arc,” there is a difference in the two arts.
Below are just a few of the kit homes I’ve found in the area. Heretofore, I’ve found 52 in Portsmouth, 75 in Norfolk and about 15 in Chesapeake.
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Sears Alhambra from the 1919 catalog
Sears Alhambra in downtown Portsmouth
Sears Alhambra in Portsmouth, Virginia (Cradock area)
Sears Westly in Portsmouth on King Street. Photo was taken in 2004.
Sears Westly in downtown Suffolk
Sears Crescent in Larchmont section of Norfolk
Aladdin Kit Homes (a competitor of Sears) was very popular in Hampton Roads, probably because they had a massive mill in Greensboro, NC and shipping charges would have been affordable. Sears sold about 70,000 homes during their 32 years in the kit home business (1908-1940). However, Aladdin started in 1906 and went to 1981, selling about 75,000 houses.
Aladdin Plaza as shown in 1919 Aladdin catalog
One of my all-time favorite Aladdin Plazas is in Norfolk, Virginia, about three miles from my home in Colonial Place.
This Aladdin Colonial pictured below is in Suffolk. For years and years, people believed the house pictured below was a "Sears kit home." This is not uncommon. This house (below) *is* a kit home, but it came from Aladdin, not Sears.
Aladdin - another kit home company - offered the Aladdin Colonial. This one is in Suffolk.
This is a kit home from Gordon Van Tine, a competitor of Sears in the kit home business.
Here's a Gordon Van Tine in the Ocean View area of Norfolk - and in perfect condition!
Aladdin Marsden from the 1919 catalog.
Aladdin Marsden in Port Norfolk (Portsmouth)
Aladdin was very popular in the Hampton Roads area. Here's an Aladdin Venus. Note the casement windows.
This Aladdin Venus still has its original casement windows. It's in Colonial Place (Norfolk).
Aladdin Shadowlawn from the 1919 catalog. Note, this Shadowlawn has a porte cochere.
Aladdin Shadowlawn in Prentis Park (Portsmouth)
Aladdin Shadowlawn in Port Norfolk (Portsmouth)
A darling Aladdin Shadowlawn in Chesapeake, VA, just across from Lowes Hardware Store on Portsmouth Blvd West. This house was moved from another location, about a mile due east on Portsmouth Blvd and it appears to be in harm's way yet again - with all the retails shops that have sprouted up around it.
Another Shadowlawn peeks from the pine trees on this quiet street in Suffolk.
The Beckley (from Sears)
This is The Beckley, which is in use as the Sexton's Office at a large cemetery in Newport News.
I've also found several homes from Gordon Van Tine in Hampton Roads.
This pretty little #594 sits on a large parcel of land in Chesapeake's Deep Creek area.
And this is a Sears Americus, which was a very popular house for Sears.
This Sears Americus is in Park Place on 27th Street (Norfolk). Sadly, it's been turned into a duplex.
Sears Whitehall from the 1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Whitehall just off Colley Avenue and 28th Street in Norfolk
Aladdin kit home: The Virginia
Aladdin Kit Home - The Virginia - in Norfolk's Colonial Place
Aladdin Kit Home: The Pasadena
Here it is, right in Norfolk's Lafayette/Winona neighborhood
As mentioned, Norfolk is full of Aladdins and here's the Aladdin Edison
An Aladdin Edison in Norfolk, within a few yards of the ODU campus.
A perfect Aladdin Detroit in Chesapeake
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My mother, Kristin Mitchell, sent me your link and I love it! How interesting that you could pick your house out of a catalog. Although its a little unsettling that the cost of one home is less than two months of rent for me in current times! Thank you for sharing!