Monday, June 11, 2012

That House by Lakeview Park Part 1

I think everyone in Lorain at one time or another has noticed this stately home at 1405 West Erie Avenue, across from and slightly to the east of Lakeview Park. It was featured on several 1924 Lorain Tornado postcards due to the damages it suffered.

The house today
I gave this house the "then and now" treatment on the blog back here in November 2010.

This week, I was pleased to see that some brand new and fascinating comments had been posted about this house.

Rachel Shoemaker made the discovery that the house was in fact an Aladdin kit home known as the "Villa." How did she do that? I emailed her to find out.

It turns out that Rachel is an expert on Sears and other kit houses, and she has a knack for making these kinds of discoveries. "I was nosing around Lorain, Ohio looking for Sears houses or any kit houses," she explained. "It's a hobby of mine."

A rendering of the Aladdin Villa as shown in the 1918 catalog
(Courtesy of Rachel Shoemaker)
As she lives out of state, Rachel uses Google maps to "tour" a neighborhood. What a great idea!

"I did some reading on Lorain and saw tornado stuff in various places and stumbled on your blog and I was just scrolling through the photos and saw that tornado damaged house and I knew it was an Aladdin Villa."

After leaving a comment, Rachel (who is a retired firefighter) contacted her friend, Rose Thornton. Rose is also an authority on Sears and other kit homes, and has even authored several books, including The Houses That Sears Built (2002), Finding the Houses That Sears Built (2204), Montgomery Wards Mail-Order Homes (2010) and her newest, The Sears Homes of Illinois (December 2010).

Line drawing of the Aladdin Villa house
(Courtesy Rose Thornton)
In her comments left on my blog about the house being an Aladdin Villa kit home, Rose noted, "That was one of their biggest and best homes, and I had no idea there was one in Lorain.

"This house was shipped in 12,000 pieces by train, and came with a 75-page instruction book that told the homemaker how all those pieces and parts went together!"

Rose even left a link that will show you the identical house – sitting in a Kansas cornfield!

I'm thrilled that Rachel and Rose were able to provide some fascinating history about a Lorain house that all of us have driven by hundreds of times through the years. My special thanks go out to both of them.

To visit Rachel's webpage on Facebook in which she highlights more of her discoveries, click here.

To visit Rose's website all about Sears homes, click here. And to buy inscribed versions of all her books, click here!

The house was even featured on the inside page of the 1918 catalog!
(Image courtesy of Rachel Shoemaker)
Tomorrow: a little more history of the house, culled from the City Directory


Unknown said...

Very interesting! I took a look at those web pages and I think there are a lot of those homes in Lorain...they sure look familiar.

Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio said...

Thank you for posting the photographs and the wonderful historical information about this mansion looking residence on West Erie in Lorain. I've always wondered what it looked like on the inside.