Have You Seen This House? (Part 5)

Here in Norfolk, we have 16 little bungalows that were originally built at another location, and then moved here (by barge) sometime after The Great War ended in 1918. For years, that’s pretty much all that was known about them.

Last month, we learned that 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 a vintage newspaper article that says the little houses were built in 1909.

And now there’s a new wrinkle.

Indefatigable researcher Mark Hardin has found another neighborhood of these “Ethel Bungalows” (our pet name for these little houses) in a little village just outside of Butte, Montana. (It was Mark who found the houses in Dupont, too.)

So, our Ethel Bunaglow in Norfolk (which came from somewhere else) is a spot-on match to the company houses in Dupont, Washington and Butte, Montana.

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 provide houses for their workers at their guncotton factory in Penniman, Virginia.

It’s looking more and more likely that our “Ethels” came that guncotton factory in Penniman, Virginia (now the site of Cheatem Annex, a military installation). Dupont built hundreds of houses for the workers, and purportedly, some of those houses were moved after The Great War. This fits nicely with the story of the our Ethels in Norfolk.

Norfolk historian David Spriggs did some digging and found that the Norfolk lots which are now home to our “Ethels” were purchased by George P. Hudson on April 14, 1922, and with a little more digging, he found that George P. Hudson was was listed in the 1925 city directory as “President of Hudson Transportation Co. and New Home Corporation.”  The business of Hudson Transportation Company was listed as, “Lighters and Barges.”

As David says, who would be in a better position to move 16 houses from Penniman to Norfolk than a man who owned a company called, “Hudson Transportation Co. and New Home Corporation”?

And who says history isn’t fun?  🙂

And yet, many unanswered questions remain.

If you’ve any information to contribute, please post a note in the comment’s section below!


One of our mystery bungalows on 51st Street. Photo is courtesy of David Spriggs and may not be reused or reprinted without permission from David Spriggs.


Good shot of the two bungalows on 51st Street. This photo is courtesy of David Spriggs and may not be reused or reprinted without permission from David Sprggs.


This is one of the houses in Riverview that's in mostly original condition. The little dormer on the side was added in later years.

Close-up of railing

Close-up of railing

Close-up of dormer

This dormer window is a pretty distinctive feature.

another Ethel

Another "Ethel Bungalow" in Riverview

Aladdin promoted itself to companies as a supplier of industrial housing. It was believed that providing housing for workers created a more stable workforce. And that was probably true.

Aladdin promoted itself to companies as a supplier of industrial housing. It was believed that if a company provided housing for its employees, this would create a more stable workforce. And that was probably true. Dupont turned to Aladdin to supply homes for Hopewell, Virginia and Carney Point, New Jersey and Old Hickory, TN. (1919 Aladdin catalog)

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  1. Debra Shea

    Found this very interesting! We just purchased a 106 year old Home (Washington State) and we have been trying to get floor plans to remodel.

    We think it might be an Ethel home after reading your article.

  2. Mark Hardin

    I spent the better part of two years researching these houses with Rose and Dave Spriggs.

    We saw similar houses as we searched but never anything that was an exact match outside of the villages that DuPont Company built.

    I believe it’s possible that the design was inspired by some of the houses in the area around DuPont Washington where the earliest examples were found.

    Two of the closest matches I found were at the corner of NE Failing Street and 8th Avenue in Portland Oregon which is about 125 miles from the original houses in DuPont Washington.

    I could never find any evidence to say the were anything other than a proprietary design that DuPont found to be a good fit for its workers.