Here in Norfolk, we have 16 little bungalows that were originally built at another location, and then moved here by George P. Hudson on April 14, 1922. (Thanks to Norfolk historian David Spriggs for finding that date, and also finding the name of the man who moved them! To learn more about what David learned, click here.)
Back in April, 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 Fall 1909.
And then old-house lover and researcher Mark Hardin 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.
Recently, in the name of history, old-house lover Mark Mckillop took a trip to Dupont, Washington and photographed more than 100 of the houses in that tiny village , and then sent me the photos. His photographs prove (as we suspected) that the Ethel Bungalows in Dupont are indeed identical to the Ethel Bungalows here in Norfolk.
To read more about what we’ve learned thus far, read Part Five of this ongoing (and fascinating) story.
Despite all we’ve learned, may unanswered questions remain. Are these “Ethels” kit homes from Aladdin? Are they pattern book houses? If not, where did DuPont get this design? Why are these houses popping up in several of Dupont’s neighborhoods? And where did the houses in Norfolk come from?
If you’ve any information to contribute, please post a note in the comment’s section below!
Our "Ethel Bungalow" in Dupont, Washington. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
This Dupont Ethel is in largely original condition. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
I wish Mark had taken his chain saw with him. Landscaping is always a problem when photographing old houses. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
This Ethel in Dupont has seen a little modification. Vinyl siding is not a friend of old houses. (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
This is such a distinctive little house. Have you seen it in your neighborhood? (This photo is courtesy of Mark Mckillop and may not be reproduced without written permission.)
Next are the photos of our Ethels, which art in Norfolk. As you’ll see from the photos below, they really are a good match to the houses in Dupont, Washington.
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
This dormer window is a pretty distinctive feature.
Another "Ethel Bungalow" in Riverview
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)
To contact Rose, please leave a comment below.
To learn more about the kit homes in Norfolk, click here.
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
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