Back when I was looking for historic playing fields to feature in the Mississippi’s Historic Playing Fields post, I was scoping out the athletic fields in Tunica across School Street from the former High School. The athletic fields, including this baseball diamond, are estimated to have originated c.1933, at the same time as the school was built. The field is a contributing element to the Tunica Historic District.
It is a nice field but it’s hard to tell from the google street view what is historic fabric, and the National Register nomination doesn’t go into much detail. What did catch my eye was off in the distance; a two-story craftsman house.
Primarily it caught my eye because two-story houses aren’t as prevalent in Mississippi, and a nice looking Craftsman house would certainly be worth checking out. So I moved my little google man across the map to get a better view.
Here it is, a nice Craftsman bungalow with a one story addition. The building looked eerily familiar so I did a little bid of digging and found an answer. The structure is possibly an Aladdin Redi-Cut Home. The Aladdin company offered all the lumber you would need to build a house, pre-cut. The specific model being “The Marsden” which was offered beginning in 1913 until 1923, after then it was offered from 1931-1935 as “The Kenmoor.” If this is an Aladdin Home, I believe it to be a Marsden because the structure appears on the 1924 Sanborn fire insurance map. The Sanborn map also shows that the house sat directly across the street from the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad line, the method by which the disassembled house was delivered.
The house is described as having three bedrooms and a bath upstairs, with a living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs. With all these windows the interior was bright and airy. What more could one want? Whoever ordered this kit chose six over one windows with marginal glazing in the upper sash.
I am relatively new to identifying kit houses. What I have learned is that window placement is very important to identifying a kit house. If the windows are all not in the exact place as indicated in the catalog it is likely not a kit house. The three ganged windows on either side of the centered entry and the single light sash on either side of the dormer give the tips that the structure in Tunica might be a Marsden. Looking at the 2007 Google street view the porch had been enclosed so I owe my ability to identify this house to the person who opened up the porch of the house. Now that person has a wonderful porch!
If you want to see inside here is a link to a blog posted by another Marsden owner. Also important to identifying the house is the placement of the stairwell on the opposite side of the chimney and dining room bump out. Our Tunica Craftsman appears to match the Marsden, but its hard to ay for 100% with the one story addition obscuring the original fenestration.
The little Craftsman next door at 725 Main Street might be a kit home as well but I couldn’t ID any possible structure from the plans. It is listed for sale so you can take a peak inside that home.
So what do you think? Is the two-story house a Marsden? Do you have a possible Marsden in your neck of the woods?
Categories: Historic Preservation
That Tunica is a railroad town lends credence that it is a kit house.
Nice spot from across the fields! The one thing I see that doesn’t match up, though, is the angle of the front roof line. In the catalog, it has a distinct change in that angle right below that dormer, and on your possible, it doesn’t change. I wouldn’t rule it out completely, as I’ve seen all kinds of modifications made to Aladdin Homes on original sales records, and you never know what could have happened to the house in later years. Hope you find out more about it.
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Thank you! Good catch on that roof line. My speculation was that there has been plenty of opportunity to change that slope with the porch having been closed and later opened.
Any thoughts as to the house next door?
No way to tell on the house next door, due to the porch enclosure and side addition.
I thought it might be a Pomona as that is the only model I am familiar with that is a side gable with an offset projecting gable porch, but it appears too small and the window placement doesn’t match.