I’ve mentioned in previous posts that there were other companies that sold house kits through mail order catalogs. One of them was the Aladdin Co. of Bay City, Michigan. Some researchers of kit houses believe that Aladdin may actually have sold more houses than Sears, and that may be true, as Aladdin sold houses by mail until 1982.
Here’s a page from just inside the 1920 Aladdin Homes catalog. I don’t know what’s up with those little birds, but Sears used them in their catalogs as well.
Aladdin had several bungalow models that I dearly love, The Pomona being one of them. Here’s the catalog page showing the Pomona. You could purchase it with either a one story or a two story floor plan. I love the eave brackets on this model, and since they are unusual, can be used to help spot this Aladdin Home on a street survey.
And here’s Aladdin himself with his magic hammer, feeling proud after building a Pomona.
The friendly little village of Alpha (just outside Beavercreek) has a lovely Pomona model, that retains the original eave brackets. I love the brick porch pillars on this home, too. Imagine the time and care it took for the bricklayer to do those.
Another interesting, and popular, bungalow model from Aladdin is The Marsden.
Alpha has a Marsden as well, right next door to the Pomona shown above. At least I think it’s an Aladdin Marsden. The windows in the dormer are spaced out a bit, and the front porch has different details. Also the brackets don’t match the ones shown in the catalog illustration. These small differences make me wonder a bit, especially since there is an authenticated Aladdin Marsden up around the corner. Could the builder have reused the plans for the Marsden kit using local purchased materials, and made a few changes to the design? It’s certainly a possibility.
Below is the authenticated Aladdin Marsden, with the correctly spaced windows in the dormer and brackets that match the catalog.
I have a copy of the original sales record for the Marsden above. The Aladdin sales records are available for viewing by the public at the Clarke Historical Library in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and I have been there twice to research. Thanks to the Clarke for allowing these documents to be shared freely and encouraging patrons to take photos of the records.
I found some info on Jennie A Tobias, the buyer of the Marsden, through Ancestry.com. She lived her entire 94 years in the Alpha area on the family farm, except for the 19 years (1920-1939) it appears she resided in the Marsden, according to her obituary. The 1930 census lists her as living in Alpha on Main St., which I am assuming is now known as Alpha Rd.
Along with the three Aladdin Homes in Alpha, there are also two possible kits from Sears, Roebuck. One is just next door to the Marsden shown above. It’s a Sears Winthrop, but is not documented.
The other Sears, Roebuck House is a Starlight model, and it’s on Maple, just down the street a ways from the two Aladdin Homes.
Alpha is a quiet little piece of Greene Co., considering how close it is to the hustle, bustle of St. Rt. 35 and the major shopping area in Beavercreek. It has it’s own history to tell.
And historical homes.
And what is left of the Alpha Seed and Grain Co. The bike path next to the business was originally the rail line, and most likely had a siding where the Aladdin and Sears House kits were delivered, unloaded, and hauled the short distance to their home sites.
Take a ride through Alpha next time you are in that area. I did.