In August 2014, I traveled to Jacksonville to get photos of two Gordon Van Tine homes that were built side-by-side in the early 1920s and featured in a promotional booklet. While I was there, I drove around the rest of the city and discovered several kit homes, from several different companies!
And bear in mind, this was a quick trip in search of the “low-hanging fruit,” so I’m sure there are many more kit homes in Jacksonville.
Perhaps most interesting is that Jacksonville has more kit homes from Gordon Van Tine than any other company. Gordon Van Tine was a kit home company based in Davenport, Iowa.
I also found kit homes from Montgomery Ward and Aladdin.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if Jacksonville hired me to return and do a proper survey and give a talk? Heck yes!
These blogs – which feature one city’s many kit homes – take many, many hours to prepare and write up, so if you enjoy the following pictures, please take a moment and share it with others, or best of all – SHARE IT on your Facebook page.
Enjoy the pictures!
To contact Rose, leave a comment below!
The Sears Barrington was a very popular house (1928 catalog).
Here's a beautiful Barrington in Jacksonville, Illinois.
This Barrington is another beauty. It needs some paint, but retains its original cedar shakes and wooden windows. All that's missing is the original hospitality bench (as seen in the catalog image above).
The Sears Wilmore as seen in the 1940 catalog (Sears last "Modern Homes" catalog).
Tihs may well be the prettiest Sears Wilmore I've ever seen. The picket fence is a lovely touch.
Aladdin was another kit home company, and was larger than Sears. Aladdin started selling kit homes in 1906 and didn't cease until 1981. Aladdin sold about 75,000 homes during their 75 years in business.
Perfect Aladdin Pomona just outside of Jacksonville. It has the original windows with diamond muntins.
The Aladdin Detroit was almost as popular as the Pomona (1919 catalog).
Is this an Aladdin Detroit? I'd say it is. Probably. An interior inspection would settle the question.
The Hudson was a fine-looking Tudoresque Gordon Van Tine house.
As a commercial structure, this GVT Hudson is a bit garish, but it's still recognizable.
Check out the elaborate doorway with its broken pediment detailing .
And there it is! Looking just like the catalog image above!
Mr. Fernandes' Twinkies appeared in a 1920s Gordon Van Tine publication, "Proof of the Pudding." Apparently, the North Clay address was Mr. Fernandes' business address, and not the site of the two homes. The model name was "The Roycroft." Image is courtesy Rachel Shoemaker.
Mr. Fernandes' Twinkies in 2014. Do the folks in Jacksonville know that these two houses are Gordon Van Tine "Roycrofts"? Based on my research, odds are good that the homeowners don't know what they have.
This was an advertisement for GVT Model 583 which appeared in a 1916 magazine (courtesy Rachel Shoemaker).
Close-up of the Gordon Van Tine 583 (1916). Note the small window on the front gable.
A perfect GVT #583 in Jacksonville! And look at the little window in the gable!
Model #603 was one of many Dutch Colonials offered by Gordon Van Tine (1926)
Despite the abundance of trees, I'm confident that this is GVT #603. It's a good match on the home's sides as well (not visible from this not-so-great photo).
The Gordon Van Tine #615 is easy to identify due to the unique window arrangement on the side, including the through-the-cornice shed dormer, and the three windows on the 2nd floor front.
And here's the Gordon Van Tine #615 looking picture perfect!
The Montgomery Ward "Cranford" (1930 catalog) is another house that's easy to identify because it's full of unique angles. It's a Dutch Colonial with two gables stuck on its front. Easy to spot!
Is this a Wardway Cranmore? Sure looks like it to me!
Jacksonville certainly has many more kit homes than I identified during my 60-minute drive through town. If you’d like to contact Rose about coming to Jacksonville, please leave a comment below.
To learn more about the GVT Twinkies I found in Jacksonville, click here.
Click here to see another impressive collection of kit homes in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.
To read more about how to identify kit homes, click here.
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Wow! That trip makes up for all the time you have driven out to some town looking for kit homes and found nothing!
So did they make a similar design of the Dutch Colonials offered by Gordon Van Tine (1926) Model #603? Our looks similar, has more windows and slightly different second floor layout.
We had a Gunnison home from Elkhart, Indiana back in 1950. It is still in use today and looks just as good as it did then. There are several of them in Jacksonville.
Looking for a 4 or 5 bedroom one.
I would love to have this whole article emailed to me. I know a Sears home in Jacksonville!
Would so appreciate. Grew up there and have so much interest in this! Thanks!!!!
I have always been fascinated by kit homes, especially Sears homes.
Would be interested to know if there are any in Springfield.
The first house of the GVT Twinkies in the picture is my house.
The second one my neighbor just moved out of. The neighbors took out the back wall in the dinning room and put in a sliding glass door and a deck. Ours is original still.
And yep when you go into the link that says, “Learn more about the GVT Twinkies,” you’ll see a picture with a cat. That’s our brat Cheetara looking all cute on the sidewalk.
We lived in Jacksonville for a total of 34 years. Not only do I recognize many of these homes you show, but knew who lived in them!
About 20 years ago, I mentioned to the then-president of the Morgan Co. Historical Society that he call you to have you present a program, and then we moved out of state. I guess it never happened?
The man who commented on a house in Rockford that looks like ceramic on metal is referring to a Lustron Home.
There are some of these in Jacksonville (Hardin Avenue!), Meredosia, and Springfield.
How can one get in touch with you, so I can tell you where to find other houses in Jacksonville??
The Dutch Colonial Home with sun porch was our family home (1005 W. Lafayette) for many years.
Loved seeing this! Well built with lots of light. Thank you!
I am familiar with those homes. A couple of them look very much like some of my childhood friends homes. Jacksonville has many unique homes in addition to these. This is my hometown.
I am copying this to the members of the Jacksonville Historical Preservation Commission, of which I am a member.
We have wondered about which homes here were kit homes, and you have answered all of our questions. Great research!
Thanks, Steve Hochstadt
Loved looking at these and the article. Thanks for your research.
I teach history in Jacksonville. This would be a great addition to our curriculum.
Would love to hear you speak more about it if you came to J’ville. Great work.