Thanks to Staunton Sears House Aficionado Leslie Hayes, I now have first-class photos of the Wardway Cordova in Staunton. What a thrill to find folks who love this topic as much as I do!
The Cordova in Staunton is not in great shape, but with a little love and tenderness, it could be restored to its former glory.
Thanks so much to Leslie for the photos! Seeking and finding old kit homes surely is a lot of fun, isn’t it?
To learn more about Wardway Homes, click here.
The Wardway Cordova, as seen in the 1929 catalog.
I love it that the #1 feature of this house is that it has a sink near the rear porch.
The floorplan shows that famous sink in the back...
No bathrooms on the 2nd floor, but two good-sized bedrooms. Apparently that front dormer is in the attic portion of the 2nd floor. That's an odd use of space.
And here's a Cordova in Staunton. The front porch steps were removed, but you can still see one cheek! Obviously, this house is not in great shape, but it could be restored with a bit of effort. Photo is copyright 2013 Leslie M. Hayes and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
Close-up of the front porch steps (the former front porch steps, that is). Photo is copyright 2013 Leslie M. Hayes and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
It's pretty amazing that this house still retains its original half-round gutters, but what's going on with this siding? I've never seen anything like this. Photo is copyright 2013 Leslie M. Hayes and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
Another Cordova in Chesapeake, VA (on Shell Road) near my home in Norfolk.
To learn more about Wardway Homes, click here.
Want to learn more about the kit homes of Staunton? Click here.
* * *
I have been wondering about the history of my house and recently was internet searching for information, much to my surprise I saw my house on a few websites talking about kit homes. I had no idea that my house may be a vintage kit home and I knew nothing about Wardway Homes.
Two years ago I bought the house highlighted above as “The Cordova in Staunton, VA”.
The previous owner of almost 24 years didn’t do a great job of maintaining the property and, in my opinion, didn’t have a real appreciation for its character. I bought this house for the character and am working on restoring it. The previous owner enclosed the porch and I had no pictures of the house prior to the enclosure, but now I do!
The enclosed porch / sunroom is a nice interior entry space for the house but I had thought that the configuration from the outside takes away from the character of the outside front entry so I was already considering to add back a front covered entry porch while keeping the sunroom; but now I understand even more so that it needs to be done in a way that flows with the original plan of the house.
And yes the gray “siding” on the enclosed porch was not properly done (I’ve consulted with a contractor on that mess… it needs to go, I will have it redone, most likely in clapboard and may have clapboard added to the stucco areas on the dormer and upper non-brick side areas for unity).
The house from the outside is definitely very rough around the edges and about half of the inside spaces are also still rough but the house is definitely solid and very sound structurally (one reason why I continued to look past the overall roughness and buy it).
I love this house! The floor plan (1st and 2nd floor) is the same as the Cordova plans above with some slight modifications over the years but the original layout is definitely still there. I will now be on the hunt for further signs (markings on the lumber and I plan to do some historical document searching at the courthouse).
According to the basic City of Staunton property information on the web the house was built in 1930 but I want to verify that myself if possible by finding some vintage hard copy documents in the courthouse records. The previous owner told me it was built in 1947 but I had doubted that all along based on my overall experience in buying the house and what I had already researched.
I recently found out that the first owners lived at this address in 1931 which makes sense with the Staunton record of the house being built in 1930 but I will do some further investigating.
The corner stone on the vintage stone wall in front of the house reads Marvina which I believe was the combination of the first owners’ first names (Marvin and Ina), I have found no other records that lead to this name on the wall except the first owners’ first names.
According to census records, they rented houses prior to their first purchase of this house so it must have meant a lot to them when they built this house so they endeared it as Marvina (my conclusion). So the house seems to also have the marking of it’s original pet name from the first owners.
I have ordered the book Montgomery Wards Mail-Oder Homes, as well as a book about Gordon Van-Tine homes, and am just waiting for them to arrive.
Cool stuff! Thanks greatly for the additional information on my house.