A week or so ago, fellow Sears House researcher Andrew Mutch located a kit house in New York State from the Gordon Van-Tine Co. through a Mechanic’s Lien notice in an on line archived newspaper. I, myself, have located quite a few Sears Roebuck homes from Mechanic’s Liens notices in the Cincinnati area, but never did a search for Gordon-Van Tine.
For those of you who don’t know, the Gordon-Van Tine Company sold house plans and building materials through mail order catalogs just like Sears, and was also the supplier of kit homes purchased from Montgomery Ward for a period of time. You can find the history and loads more information on Gordon-Van Tine at this website written by long time researcher and author, Dale Wolicki.
After Andrew shared his find with our small group of researchers, I decided to do a quick search of my own for Gordon-Van Tine houses in Ohio. Well…..it didn’t turn out to be such a quick search after all, because I got 250 hits in Newspapers.com. Further review showed the majority of the search matches were in Zanesville.
I then spent several evenings reviewing the newspaper articles, and I was, indeed, able to locate and document, several homes in Zanesville and the surrounding area.
Here’s why. In 1923, long time Zanesville businessman, Adolph Loeb, established The Pioneer Bungalow Company. Zanesville had a housing shortage at that time, and this appeared to be Mr. Loeb’s attempt to lessen the shortage, and of course, make a profit. Since Mr Loeb had no experience in the housing industry, he choose to associate himself with a company that did. Gordon-Van Tine.
Too funny about the dog houses. I didn’t know that. Truth be told, I can only identify a handful of Gordon-Van Tine models, as I haven’t studied them much. Fortunately for me, The Pioneer Bungalow Co., A. Loeb, Gen. Mgr., pointed me towards some of the houses they built on spec.
A did get a chuckle out of seeing that Gordon-Van Tine was referenced in this ad as G.V.T. I thought only current researchers were using those initials to identify GVT homes in our files and correspondence, but I guess that method goes back a long way.
So now, with this ad to get me started, I have model numbers (e.g. Home No. 516) and a street name. Between the 1920 catalog available from The Daily Bungalow and my Dover reprint of the 1923 catalog, I was able to find catalog images for all the models mentioned in the ad above. Off to Google Maps I go!
The No. 516 on Moxahala was the first one sold, according to this notice dated before the ad shown above.
Here’s some of the others from the ad above
Fortunately, a later Pioneer Bungalow ad enabled me to identify another GVT No. 513, which we can see from the same angle as it is shown in the catalog.
The No. 513 on Oakwood Ave even had it’s very own advertisement!
A later ad lead me to this little house.
So far, I have identified 14 Gordon-Van Tine kit homes in Zanesville and South Zanesville. 12 of them were from the ads I found, and the other 2 were ones I recognized, but weren’t listed in any of the ads.
Here are those two.
The Pioneer Bungalow Company ran a small classified ad mentioning their association with Gordon-Van Tine weekly in the Zanesville newspaper from 1923 to 1925, which is the reason I had those 250 hits I mentioned at the beginning. Pioneer continued in business until 1934, it appears, but later ads did not mention GVT.
I’m hoping there are more houses to find and hope to spend some time doing just that from my desk before making the trip to Zanesville to get real photos.
Thanks for following along.