The Lewis Company of Bay City Michigan published their first catalog of pre-cut homes in 1913. They were one of three kit home companies located in Bay City for several years, Aladdin, Lewis which later became Liberty and Sterling. Tulsa is home to Aladdin Readi-Cut Homes, Sterling, and now I have identified three Lewis homes. That is VERY exciting! The three Lewis San Pedro homes are located in historic Maple Ridge.
The San Pedro is a very distinctive house and once you see one you will know it! This is the catalog image of the San Pedro from Lewis catalog 1914.
The San Pedro was not a popular model for Lewis Company. According to the man who knows more than anyone about the Bay City companies, Dale Wolicki, the Lewis company didn’t even build a San Pedro model in Bay City! It wasn’t a big seller, no model home built, what a rare treat to have THREE built in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
I have been “looking” at these houses in Maple Ridge for three or four years telling my self I know that house is *something* but I could never find it. When I saw the catalog image I put two and two together. I remembered seeing this image which was published in this book dated 1920.
Unfortunately that San Pedro was demolished about ten years ago. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t found out, yet.
I decided to look through all of my John Brooks Walton books to see what information he might have on that house. No luck. HOWEVER, I did see this house in an advert in one of his books. I have cropped out everything but the house. Take a look!
WOW! Deja vu! That house is at 303 E 18th Str in Tulsa. A few weeks ago I showed my photos to my friend Rosemary Thornton and she thought that this photo was the actual catalog image! If I didn’t know for sure I would have thought the same thing.
This side by side will explain that.
My research shows that the Lewis company shipped three homes to Oklahoma between 1917 and 1920. Most of their records were destroyed in a fire in 1925 but a few were salvaged and are at the Bay County Historical Society. Are the three San Pedros in Tulsa those three houses? Quite possibly because the dates ours were built fall in that exact time frame.
I did a quick search of city directories to see who lived in the San Pedro at 303 E 18th. In 1917 Harry B Pees and his wife Effie were living there until 1919/1920. Harry was a drilling contractor. Per the city directory in 1920 the house was occupied by a lawyer, Fred W Kopplin and his wife Mary. I think we can assume this house was likely built in 1916 sometime.
Just a few houses north of the San Pedro above is another San Pedro! This San Pedro is at 1723 S Detroit and per the 1918 city directory was occupied by MC Rodolph and wife Francis. He was an attorney at McKeriel Rodolph and Ira J Underwood in the Ohio Building. In 1919 the city directory shows RW Kellough at this address which is interesting because he was the original owner of the Gordon Van Tine #560 at 1601 S Madison. Then in 1920 the city directory once again shows Rodolph as the occupant. Hmmmm.
It’s too bad that one of our San Pedros was demolished. I am excited that we still have two of this rare model that the Lewis Company offered in their early years. This is big news for us!
Take a look at what you can see as far as kit homes we have within a few blocks in Maple Ridge.
I am excited beyond words to add the Lewis Company to my discoveries! That gives us homes from Sears, Aladdin, Gordon Van Tine, Wardway, Sterling and Lewis. When I first started this search in the summer of 2008 this was what I found on the internet. Do a search for kit homes in Oklahoma now and see what you come up with! And I haven’t even started to share what I have discovered on here. This blog is a very small fraction.
If you know about a mail order kit home please drop me a message. And, yes, I have heard of the Boulanger house and I hate to say it but it is not a Sears #102 or a Sears house.
A few years ago the Tulsa Historical Society caught wind of my research project, my passion. I helped them put together a short program based on many of my discoveries. You can contact them for information on arranging to see that program.