A Rare Gordon Van Tine Home in Atoka, Oklahoma

In 1916 in Davenport, Ia Gordon Van Tine company vice president Harry Van Scott gave careful thought and planning into a home for his family. The architects at Gordon Van Tine designed an impressive colonial home with every modern convenience specifically for Mr. Scott. It was his desire that every Gordon Van Tine customer have the same advantage to own such a beautiful home as well. In 1916 model number 554 was introduced as one of the first ready cut homes Gordon Van Tine offered.

Gordon Van Tine 1916 Model #554 was the home of company Vice President Harry Van Scott

Gordon Van Tine 1916 Model #554 was designed for  company vice president Harry Van Scott

 

Harry Van Scott’s impressive colonial still stands today in Davenport, Ia.

Harry Van Scott home at 1016 E Locust Davenport, Ia  Photo is from the county assessor files

Harry Van Scott home at 1016 E Locust Davenport, Ia
Photo is from the county assessor files

 

Harry Van Scott’s home shortly after it was built. This photo appeared on the back of the 1916 Gordon Van Tine catalog.

Model number 563  shortly after it was built.

Model number 554 shortly after it was built.

 

Shortly after, in approximately 1917, and about 700 miles south of Davenport, Ia a prominent Oklahoma banker and state senator selected that same impressive colonial home for his family! Tom Memminger was elected the first State Senator from the district comprised of Atoka, Coal and Bryan Counties. Mr. Memminger built his home, also a model number 554, in Atoka, Oklahoma for his wife and son and daughter.

Memminger Family 1917

Memminger Family 1917

 

Tom Memminger served as a State Senator from 1907-1910 and then again in 1922. He was Chairman of the first Democratic Central Committee of Atoka County. In 1916 he was an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He was one of the organizers of the Atoka Building and Loan Association, an owner of the Atoka Press as well as president of the Atoka State Bank until his death in 1927. The home remained in the family until 1975 when his daughter Martha passed away at the age of 83.

The Memminger family and their #554 at 111 W Court Str in  Atoka, Okla around 1920

The Memminger family and their #554 at 111 W Court Str in Atoka, Okla around 1920

 

Isn’t the car awesome? I identify houses not cars so I turned to my friends for help on this one. They tell me it is a 1920 Ford Model T Centerdoor Sedan. I am guessing that is how they dated the photo. Based on some posters in the attic I think the house was built around 1917 and I’ll show you those later. Here’s that awesome car!

The Memminger family and their 1920 Ford  Model T Centerdoor Sedan

The Memminger family and their 1920 Ford Model T Centerdoor Sedan

 

The Gordon Van Tine model 554 is a rare model. The house in Atoka is the only other known house other than Harry Van Scott’s house in Davenport. At this time I might add. The current owners contacted me after discovering that their “Sears” kit house was actually a Gordon Van Tine kit house. That happens a lot!

I was not aware that it is rare until I contacted Dale Wolicki about the discovery.

Doug Lewis sent me current photos as well as what I have shown you. It’s a beautiful and impressive colonial still today!  I hope you enjoy seeing the house as much as I did.

A rare  Gordon Van Tine #554 in Atoka, Oklahoma.

A rare Gordon Van Tine #554 in Atoka, Oklahoma.

 

Here’s the most fun part of all! Seeing the inside, seeing the millwork matched up with the images from a building materials and millwork catalog.   By the way, Gordon Van Tine was originally a sawmill in the mid 1800’s that incorporated in 1907 and formed the Gordon Van Tine Company as a way to sell more product through their houses so they too had material catalogs.

In the first image you saw the living room of Harry Van Scott’s house. Let’s look at it again enlarged.

Living room of Mr Scott's number 554

Living room of Mr Scott’s number 554

 

Wait for it………….

Woa....oh... WOW! Deja vu!

Woa….oh… WOW!
Deja vu!

 

Wait, there’s more of the interior!

The front door........

The front door……..

 

 The front door from the millwork catalog.

The front door from the millwork catalog, this door also came in oak.

 

Let’s head upstairs…………

Newel post and stairway.

Newel post and stairway.

 

And the newel post from the material catalog.

Newel post from the millwork catalog

Newel post from the millwork catalog

 

Quite a match so far! We’re doing good.

The number 554 came with a built in linen closet in the upstairs hall.

The number 554 came with a built in linen closet in the upstairs hall.

 

Beautiful! This can also be seen not only in the materials catalog but the homes catalog.

 How about that!  Here's the catalog image of the built in linen closet!

How about that! Here’s the catalog image of the built in linen closet!

 

Wow, did we just BINGO? And there’s even more to authenticate this house! But first let’s take a peek in the bathroom because the original clawfoot tub is still being used. Plumbing was optional in all mail order homes as was electrical for obvious reasons. Gordon Van Tine offered a few plumbing packages and by looking at the tub we can determine which package they selected.

Original clawfoot tub

Original clawfoot tub

 

The Memmingers chose the Royal Plumbing Set.

Royal Plumbing Set

Royal Plumbing Set

 

Let’s take a look in the attic and see what we can find!

The posters in the attic help establish a time as well.

The posters in the attic help establish a time as well.

 

I want to thank Mr Lewis for providing the next couple of photos. This is the real authenticator here! We have Gordon Van Tine identification marks. Sears lumber was stenciled for assembly where as Gordon Van Tine had blue grease pencil writing.

Under the stairs Mr Lewis found this marking.

Gordon Van Tine Number 554 in Atoka Ok stair markings

Gordon Van Tine Number 554 in Atoka Ok stair markings

 

Mr Lewis also found that his floor joists were marked!

Gordon Van Tine Number 554 in Atoka Ok floor joist markings

Gordon Van Tine Number 554 in Atoka Ok floor joist markings

 

Wasn’t that fun? I want to thank Doug Lewis for contacting me about his kit home. He came across my blog while researching his “Sears” house. I enjoyed learning about the Memminger family and this blog was fun to put together because of the Lewis’ family’s photos.

Close the door behind you please, we’ll have another look at the house as we are leaving!

Front Door Harry Van Scott 1016 E Locust in Davenport Ia

Front Door Harry Van Scott 1016 E Locust in Davenport Ia

 

Front Door Harry Van Scott 1016 E Locust in Davenport in 1916

Front Door Harry Van Scott 1016 E Locust in Davenport in 1916

 

Front Door Memminger-Lewis house in Atoka, Oklahoma

Front Door Memminger-Lewis house in Atoka, Oklahoma in 2013

 

What an impressive colonial home and it’s in OKLAHOMA!

An impressive colonial!

An impressive colonial indeed!

 

Have you seen a Gordon Van Tine number 554? It was later renumbered to 563. Here is another image from my 1920 catalog.

The number 563, I like this image.....it shows the awnings just like you see in the vintage photo of the Memminger house!

The number 563, I like this image…..it shows the awnings just like you see in the vintage photo of the Memminger house.  Winner winner chicken dinner!

 

Do you know of a mail order house just waiting to be discovered? If so please message me here or on facebook.  You can find me in Pinterest as well.  I also try to keep everything on Flickr where you can see the images in original size.  My photos are shot with a Nikon D700 so the images are great.  I have also uploaded a few of my rare catalogs.

And please visit my mentor’s blog, without Rosemary I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I want to thank another person who has taught me a lot the past couple of years, Dale Wolicki.

Their guidance and encouragement keeps me going!

Everyone have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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11 Responses to A Rare Gordon Van Tine Home in Atoka, Oklahoma

  1. Jan says:

    Oh, what fun that was! It is so wonderful to see these treasures lovingly cared for and appreciated. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Charles says:

    I enjoyed that! Thanks

  3. Wow, what a great blog!! I just love the photos of “then and now”!

    And a great find, too!

    Last week, I was talking with another author and history lover, and he said, “Who makes money at this (writing about history)? It’s a nice little hobby that keeps us entertained and keeps us out of trouble!”

    I’ve been thinking about that ever since. It keeps us entertained and it also keeps a piece of our culture and history alive!

    Thanks for taking the time to put all those pictures together. What a treat.

  4. Dale Wolicki says:

    Sooner or later Rose and I will have to make a trip to Oklahoma to see the collection of mail-order homes you’ve found.

  5. gladys powell says:

    How interesting! In the early 1980’s, I worked across the street from this beautiful home. I always admired it, and wondered if it was of some significant meaning. Enjoyed reading and seeing all the history regarding this beautiful home in my hometown. Thanks!

  6. Caroline Memminger Kilgo says:

    Rachel, the original owners of the Atoka house were my grandparents. Very nostalgic to see the interior pictures. I can verify that they are absolutely accurate!
    I have an original copy of the catalog page without the room pictures.
    I was never “allowed” into the attic :) so had not seen the posters. My Dad was a soldier in WWI. We did find a Gordon-Van Tine board when we were cleaning out the house after my Aunt’s death. We found my Grandfather’s state Senate election certificates and some other memorabilia of the 1907 Legislature in a box at the back of a closet in an upstairs bedroom that had been nothing but storage when I was growing up. Thanks for the memories.

    • Caroline, THANK YOU! The pleasure has been mine. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about your family. The current owner sent me a pdf of what you had written about your family along with the old photos. At least I think it was written by you. I also turned to the internet and read quite a bit about your grandfather. It has been one of my favorite homes to research thus far. What a treasure and how awesome that we have one here in Oklahoma! This is a rare find, this model has not been documented anywhere else except for the home of Harry Van Scott in Davenport, Ia.
      If you have any more photos of the house I would love to see them!
      Thanks for contacting me. I hope to someday visit Atoka and see your family home. I’m fortunate the current owners shared photos with me and I know that many people across the miles appreciate it too! Seeing the inside of a mail order house like this is a rare rare treat :)

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