I started searching for mail order kit homes in Tulsa four years ago. That has evolved to searching for mail order kit homes across the state of Oklahoma. After researching and studying each catalog company I had a theory that there were more Aladdin homes in Oklahoma than any other kit home or catalog home company period. One of the reasons is the proximity of Oklahoma to the Aladdin mill in Hattiesburg, Ms.
One problem in searching for Aladdin homes is that some are just down right plain and simple and it has been difficult for me to memorize some of the details! However, when another kit home enthusiast made a trip to the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University to search through the Aladdin sales archives for Ohio homes she also made copies of the Oklahoma sales orders I knew that my theory was correct. Thanks to Cindy Catanzaro I have 60+ sales orders for Aladdin Readi-Cut Homes that were shipped to various cities in Oklahoma between 1914 and 1919. I am sure there were more than that. That is just what managed to be archived. Knowing that there were 60+ shipped between 1914-1919 I suspect that Aladdin kit homes might just be more than all of the Sears, Wardway, Gordon Van Tine and others total that were shipped to Oklahoma.
I can tell you that finding a home using a sales order is quite complex but I have a sure-fire way that works. It’s a little time-consuming but it is interesting. The sales order has the buyer’s name and city where the kit was shipped as well as a date. You see, the materials were shipped in boxcars to the train station and not your house. You unloaded the boxcars yourself and transported everything to your property. I guess they didn’t have UPS or FedEx back in the early 1900’s.
Sales Order for Aladdin Rochester in Okemah, Oklahoma
As you can see the house was shipped to JA Collinge March 6, 1920. With that information I was able to create a family tree on ancestry.com for Mr. Collinge giving me a timeline and addresses. With an address I can find the house! In the meantime I can tell you all about his family. He was a livestock dealer. If you are interested in knowing more about him send me a message.
On that sales order you can see the price and any special instructions. For an Aladdin order this one is pretty simple. Most of the ones I have in my possesion have several special instructions. So, we see Mr Collinge ordered a Rochester in March and it shipped on the 26th.
Here is the Aladdin Rochester Mr. Collinge built at 502 N. 3rd Str in Okemah. Okemah, by the way, is home to folk musician Woody Guthrie who was born July 14, 1912.
Aladdin Rochester at 502 N. 3rd Str. in Okemah, Okla Built in late spring 1920
I want to thank Charlie Snider for getting photos for me! He did an awesome job. I asked for photos from all angles of the house and he did just that. Charlie plays in the Tulsa Community Band with me.
Aladdin Rochester at 502 N. 3rd Str in Okemah, Oklahoma
The Aladdin Rochester from the 1919 catalog
Oops! Looks like they left some windows out on this side as well as the fireplace/chimney. Masonry was not included in the kits. You purchased that locally so chimneys will vary in style, material, size, or may not exist at all. Evidently some changes were made as they built it. I see the front door is off and there is an additional window that is not shown in the catalog image HOWEVER it is shown in the floor plan as well as a vestibule. Vestibules were commonly omitted too. So, those changes are no biggie and that happens with windows and doors you just have to analyze the house using both the floor plan as well as the image when you are identifying these houses. I know this is a Rochester because I have the actual sales order. I also see other distinctive features that are not easily modified. Look at those unique rafter tails as well as that unique dormer. Even if I didn’t have the sales order and what few changes there are I would suspect this to be an Aladdin Rochester!
Let’s look at the other side and see how it compares.
Aladdin Rochester at 502 N 3rd in Okemah, Oklahoma
That side checks out! Other than some windows that have been obviously replaced just as most of the windows on this house, I say it does bear a strong resemblance to the Rochester. Good effort!
If you are from Okemah I have a favor to ask. Mr. Collinge also ordered another house at the same time which I have not found, yet. Here is the sales order for the Aladdin Edison he ordered.
Aladdin Edison shipped to Okemah, Oklahoma
And here is the Aladdin Edison from my 1919 catalog. Have you seen this house in Okemah, Oklahoma?
Aladdin Edison somewhere in Okemah, Oklahoma
I hope someone from Okemah contacts me with an address for the Edison and if you want to know about Mr Collinge send me a message or find his family tree I created on ancestry.com
This blog is dedicated to my “friend” in St Louis, Mo. She has just started learning to identify kit homes. Hang in there, you’ll catch on!