26 December 2011

Research: A possible match

Well, it looks like my odd little house has even stumped Rose Thornton. That's hard - she knows a lot about kit homes! Her best guess is that she thinks it might - maybe- be a Gordon Van Tine. I have asked her to ask Dale Wolicki if he recognizes that floorplan in his collection, as there are currently no pre-1920 GVT catalogs online.

However, that made me go looking again, in hopes that I might find something useful. And - I might just have done so!

Thanks to the Clarke Historical Library's online archive of Aladdin documents I may have found a possible match. In the 1912 annual catalog, there is a little house called the Sherman. It isn't in the 1910 catalog and there is no 1911 catalog in the archive.

Its footprint is off, it's a little narrower, (ETA: I had the dimensions wrong!) exactly correct, 26x48, and the room dimensions are a little off (another ETA) practically identical except that they are given as divisions of the plan, not wall-to-wall measurements (plus there is a pantry where my house has none), but this is the absolute closest house plan I have yet found. I wish the scan was clearer, I've tried to refine it a bit for my example, but it wasn't very good.

Here she is in the 1913 annual, with two plan options. Neither is as good a match to my little oddball as the 1912 plan (or to the exterior illustration! look at the windows). The only real difference between this one and the next year's example is that there are people in the image, and the scan is clearer.

By 1915, it's clear that no more changes are being made to this design, or even the catalog page, except perhaps for typesetting. The 1914 and 1915 layouts are almost identical. And, in the 1916 catalog, I think I may have hit upon an answer as to why the Sheridan looks so very very much like my little mystery kit home. In 1916, the Sherman's name is changed to the Sheridan, one plan gets updated, and the exterior image finally gets a full update to match the changed plans. 

Look how the unaltered windows (the dining room and kitchen windows have significant alterations in my home) line up with the plan! At this point, while I am very optimistic that this house may, in fact, be a customized 1912 Sherman, because of the differences shown in the overlay image above, it is still equally possible that the 1912 Sherman is a copy of a similar house from a competitor's 1911 or 12 catalog. And, of course, if it is an Aladdin ... why is it all Sears on the inside? What this has given me is a concrete time range for the design of the house. I always had a feeling it was early teens, and now I am certain of it. It makes the search more focused and I am very, very happy about that.


Laurel said...

Just discovered your blog - love it! We just started our own renovation project in December, nice to see we're not the only ones grappling with kitchen design in an old house.

Rachel Shoemaker said...

I have a 1911 Aladdin Houses Catalog. Catalog No.21, Spring 1911 and the Sheridan is not in it. Just so you know.

BMT said...

That is fantastic of you to share, thank you. This means that Mr. Wolfe likely ordered this house as soon as he got the catalog and had it built over summer to have it ready for Marcelline's wedding in Sepetember 1912.

Can I suggest you share that there is one copy of a 1911 catalog left, with the Clarke Historical Library, since they are under the impression that no catalogs from 1911 are extant (US or Canadian)? I am sure they would be glad to know.