The Aladdin Ready Cut Homes company was located in Bay City Michigan. They were the first mail order catalog kit home company starting in 1906. That is TWO years before Sears began offering houses! They were also the longest running closing their doors in 1983. They sold about 100,000 homes throughout the United States, Canada, England and Africa. Bay City was the leading supplier of pre-cut housing nationwide because of Aladdin and two other kit home companies Liberty-Lewis and Sterling.
I was giddy when I found this house last fall. It is an absolutely beautiful Brentwood and in wonderful condition considering it was built in late 1916 early 1917.
Compare this photo with the catalog image under it. I try to always shoot from the same angle as the catalog image.
Here are a few things I notice about this house: The clipped gables and all of the diamond muntin windows! All of the front windows are diamond muntin windows, every one. The Bristow house still has the original windows! FANTASTIC! I also notice that there is a balcony upstairs, that is the master bedroom. I notice the bay window in the front which is the living room and it has side windows. The living room runs the entire depth of the house, twenty-four feet, at the opposite end is the fireplace so you might see a chimney in that area. On one end of the house is a covered porch, it is off the living room. This is often enclosed. On the other end off of the dining room is a pretty pergola. Those are the main details that I see on this house.
For the past four years I have been finding my houses by driving the streets either physically or via the internet. Another way to find a house from Aladdin is using sales records, IF it still exists and you live close to Central Michigan University where much of the Aladdin records are now archived in the Clarke Historical Library. That is quite a drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Another kit home enthusiast makes the shorter journey from her Ohio home to The Clarke Historical Library to look through their archives. On her most recent trip she looked for sales to Oklahoma. I now have about 60 or so records for Aladdin kit homes shipped to OKLAHOMA! I want to thank Cindy Catanzaro for her help. Because of her help and sending me sales records I can show you a sales record for the Aladdin Brentwood in Bristow. Notice the order date and the ship date. Also, take a look at that price! This house was shipped from Bay City. There was a mill in Hattiesburg, Ms. which is where most of the homes from Oklahoma were probably shipped from.
You know what is next right? Just who built this house? Who was the original owner? Well, you can see it was ordered by Theon Levenin. Theon didn’t live in this house, unfortunately. As far as I can tell poor Theon and his wife Thelma lived in rental properties. Theon was the General Manager at Continental Refining Co. and must have ordered this fancy house for an employee. I wonder if it was the company president? Perhaps the folks at the Bristow Historical Society can find out.
This house was listed last year about this time. I remember having to crop out the for sale sign in my photos. You can see the listing here and the agent is Priscilla Peck http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/202-S-Maple-St-Bristow-OK-74010/21785839_zpid/ Please check out the listing because there are oodles of great interior photos. You will have to cut and paste that link because I am not smart enough to figure out how to create a hyper link here yet. Ha
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the Aladdin Brentwood I found in Bristow, Oklahoma on Route 66. If you know of a Brentwood leave me a comment. If you know of ANY kit house leave me a comment and I’ll check it out. I have a very large collection of vintage catalogs and a group of other enthusiasts I can discuss with.
When I look for mail order homes, kit homes, I stay close to the railroad tracks. These kits were delivered in boxcars to the closest train station. If you are familiar with Bristow then you know that this house is just a few blocks from the train depot. If you travel through on Route 66 take a few extra minutes and see this beautiful kit home at 202 S Maples.
If the owner asks why you are photographing their house, which is legal just stay off the property, tell them you are just admiring their Aladdin Brentwood. I’m not sure she didn’t think I was crazy when she approached me even though I handed her a copy from the catalog. She, evidently, like most folks, has never heard of a mail order kit home! Follow me and I will teach you all about mail order homes, I learned from the expert Rosemary Thornton.