Gosh, what a mystery.
We have 16 darling, distinctive little bungalows here in Norfolk that were originally built for (and at) another location, and then moved here (by barge) sometime after The Great War ended in 1918. That’s pretty much all that’s known about them.
And 3,000 miles away in Dupont, Washington, there are dozens of identical bungalows, built by Dupont for the dynamite factory there.
Thanks to Lee and Joh from the Dupont Historical Museum in Dupont, Washington, I now have some detailed photos of the little bungalows out there in Dupont. And – thanks also to Lee and Joh – I have a vintage newspaper article that says the little houses were built in 1909.
After studying and comparing the houses in Dupont with the houses in Norfolk, I’m fairly confident that these two houses – 3,000 miles apart – are the same model. These houses in Norfolk and Dupont have several very unique features, and now the #1 question is, Did these houses come from Aladdin? Or did they come from another kit home company? And if not, where did they come from?
We know that Dupont often turned to Aladdin kit homes to provide them with houses for their workers. We know that Dupont used Aladdin to provide housing at their sites in Carney’s Point, NJ, Old Hickory, TN, and Hopewell, VA. According to local lore, Dupont also used Aladdin to house workers at their guncotton factory in Penniman, Virginia.
Did these houses in Norfolk come from Penniman? There’s a local legend that Penniman had 600+ Aladdin kit homes, but I can find no written record of this legend. Today, I received a response to my query at the Clarke Library in Michigan (where many Aladdin sales records are housed), and they have no record of 600 houses going to Penniman.
The mystery continues. And so does the quest to solve it.
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