The Gordon Van Tine #535 is the one house I can not seem to get away from, I call this house my destiny. This was a popular model for Oklahoma folks. One of my first discoveries four years ago was a GVT #535. This is another house I admired as we passed by in the big red truck while cruising Owen Park. Then one day we were called to the house and I got to see the inside! I saw it quite a few times in the months to follow. What a beauty. I wondered who lived in this house built circa 1920 and what did they do? I had no idea it was a kit home becuase like I said before I had never even heard of such a thing.
Can you believe this is a KIT house? I’ll tell you a little more about the Gordon Van Tine company and this particular model as I write this blog.
The Gordon Van Tine #535 in Park Hill Addition, Tulsa Ok
Owen Park area. *** See updates! The original owner was Caroll K Kautz and his wife Marie, they had one son. Carroll worked at Mid Continent Petroleum Company in 1918 but was living at a different address. Maybe his house was under construction? They had moved in this house by 1920 and they were both working at Carter Oil Company.
***New info update. According to the Tulsa Preservation Commission.org website they call the house above the GN Wright house. However, when I checked GN Wright out he lived at 514 N Union in 1920 and 416 N Tacoma in 1925. I don’t know where they get their information but mine comes from the directories and census reports.
****ANOTHER update! Curiousity got the best of me. Scratch everything. I went ahead and did a complete search on Gabriel Norman Wright and created a family tree for him. I was thinking that maybe the address changed over the years. Therefore, if this house at what is now 518 N. Tacoma was the GN Wright house then that address was 416 N. Tacoma. This house would have been built by 1917 becasue according to his U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 he was residing here as well as 1920. So, the house was built way before the 1925 year the Tulsa Preservation Commission gives.
Figuring out the Gordon Van Tine #535 was not easy. This house was not in any of the books I owned at the time. I found it at http://www.gordonvantine.com . By this time I was searching the internet for more information.
A couple of summers ago I was driving around Maple Ridge one afternoon and I’ll be darn, there was another GVT #535! In MAPLE RIDGE! A kit home amongst the mansions built by the oil tycoons.
I shouldn’t be surprised. The Gordon Van Tine #560 made its debut in 1916. It was featured on the front of the 1916 catalog as well as the inside. Evidently the President of Gordon Van Tine, Edward Roberts, built this model for his family in Davenport, Ia where Gordon Van Tine was headquartered. If the company president would build this house then why wouldn’t someone in Tulsa build one in the Maple Ridge area? Come to find out the original owner of this house was Robert Kellough who was an attorney in Tulsa. I can tell you all about his family because I researched them, that’s a blog in itself on another day. He and his wife Ethel, their son and daughter and maid lived here. It is my understanding that the house stayed in the family until about 1978.
That makes TWO Gordon Van Tine #535’s in Tulsa!
Now that you know a little about this model, #535 aka #560 I’ll refer to it as the Roberts because that is what we call it now.
How about this beautiful Roberts in the Maple Ridge area? WOW!
Here is my 1916 catalog cover and the inside page showing Edward Roberts house in Davenport, Ia.
How about that price? Crazy. Kit homes saved the buyer alot of money.
Would you like to see the other Gordon Van Tine Roberts I have found so far?
One of my master gardener classmates told me about a Sears house in Tahlequah so I investigated and discovered that the *Sears* house was actually a Gordon Van Tine Roberts! That happens a lot, people think all kit homes are from Sears.
Do you know where a Gordon Van Tine Roberts is located? This is what I look for; the front door flanked by two short windows and columns as well as brackets. I also notice the bay window on the second floor that is right above the porch overhang that protects the front entry. Now, remember window arrangement is important. The Roberts will usually have three windows on both sides of the house and two maybe three directly above those on the second floor. The Roberts may or may not have sleeping porches that have been enclosed. The #560 had a sleeping porch on the first floor only and the #535 had a sleeping porch on the second floor as well. The house layout is the same. Look for the chimney placement. The chimney should be just to the right or left of the center of the house and in the middle depth wise. That is the living room and the living room runs the depth of the house and is almost 1/3 the front of the house. There may even be two chimneys. If so the second will be directly across on the other almost 1/3 side.
I have seen them in every exterior you can imagine. I think wood siding and stucco were the most common. Do a google image search and see what you can find.
I am sure there are more in Oklahoma. Let me know if you find one. If I can find five within a forty-five mile radius of each other I bet there are more around the state!
I want to show you two more images.
One is from Art Work of Tulsa, Oklahoma, published in 1920 by the Gravure Illustration Company, Chicago. I came across this by accident! The other is the catalog image from my 1920 Gordon Van Tine catalog.
Now the catalog image, note the awnings. When I came across the 1920 photo I had goose bumps!
Sorry for such a long blog but I wanted to include all of my GVT Roberts in one blog so you could see their similarities.
Do you see why I call this house my destiny? LOL