You might recall that The Aladdin Company had a mail order catalog that offered plans and all the lumber you would need to build a house, pre-cut. Thanks to the efforts of kit house researcher, Cindy Catanzaro, we have the information from a 1919 ledger for orders shipped from the Aladdin Company plant in Hattiesburg. I’ve gone through this ledger and listed below the houses that were shipped to locations within Mississippi. The majority of the house kits ordered were shipped to the Delta, possibly reflecting the fact that the area, once thick with hardwoods, was by then mostly cut over and entirely given over to farming. Some of the orders on the ledger appear to be duplicates, based on the “S-Number.” Senatobia appears to be the Mississippi town with the most orders filled from the Hattiesburg plant. The Winthrop appears to be the most prevalent model for fulfilled orders to Mississippi addresses.
|City||Model Name||Owners Name||S-Number|
|Belle Prairie||Pomona #1||Phillips, C.H.||S-16970|
|Clarksdale||Gable Barn||Clegg, Dr. Claude||S-16147|
|Clarksdale||Shadow Lawn||Bruce, C.P.||S-17318|
|Coldwater||Plaza Rev||Self W.J.||S-16742|
|Coleraine||Carolina||Davenport, J. E.||S-16349|
|Jackson||Shadow Lawn||King, Rev. Dr. H.M.||S-16094|
|Natchez||Winthrop||Natl Box Co.||S-16650|
|Natchez||Winthrop||Natl Box Co.||S-16651|
|Natchez||Buick||Natl Box Co.||S-16740|
|Rolling Fork||Edison||Russell, M.||S-16732|
|Sanatorium||Maples||Jones, Dr. May F.||S-16871|
|Senatobia||aloor?||Denkins, E.D.||S-15590 1/2 ?|
|Senatobia||Duplex||Thyatira Consolidated School||S-16248|
|Shelby||Shadow Lawn||Denton, H.E.||S-17824|
|Sledge||Plaza||Sledge & Gillis||S-16167|
|Sumner||Pomona||May, Jos. A.||S-14386|
|Tie Plant||Rodney #2||Campbell, W.A.||S-17672|
|Tupelo||Pasadina||Trice, Mrs L.W.||S-14688|
This list only contains Aladdin house kits that came from the Hattiesburg plant shipped within Mississippi in 1919. There are many more Aladdin houses throughout Mississippi. While the ledger has gone a long way in helping to identify Mississippi “born” Aladdin houses, unfortunately having the name of the person who ordered these pre-cut houses only helps a little bit due to the rural nature of some of the final destinations that have no city directories; plus, some of these houses appear to have been purchased for rental housing, making identification even harder. To see all the different kit houses being offered in 1919 by the Aladdin Company you can check out the Spring and Fall catalogs at the Clarke Historical Library in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan website. The library has the best collection of Aladdin Company sales catalogs available to the public.
The Aladdin plant in Hattiesburg operated for less than three years between 1919 and 1921. I haven’t found much to explain why the plant shut down, but the few articles I have located indicate there was labor unrest and racial tensions. This plant was located where the Vickers Estates subdivision is now located, bounded by W. 6th Street to the north, North Street to the east, W. 4th Street to the south, and Rawls Avenue to the west. The plant was shuttered until 1925 when the Gordon Van Tine (GVT) company purchased the plant in late 1925. GVT operated at the site only for a few years, and this might have only been a preemptive purchase to keep another ready-cut lumber concern from acquiring the mill, as GVT’s primary plant was on the south side of town located in the long block between W. Pine and Finlo Drive.
There were two model homes in Hattiesburg that were associated with the Aladdin Company plant but from my estimation based on the ledger they were not manufactured in Hattiesburg. Above, a “Winthrop” model on the left, and a “Plaza” model on the right are on Adeline Street. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the houses I’ve identified thanks to this ledger. A big thank you to Cindy Catanzaro and the Clarke Historical Library in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for making this post possible.
Categories: Architectural Research, Building Types, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation
This is so interesting! I love kit houses but have never thought about greater patterns or the research opportunities of things like a kit house company ledger.
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Mississippi is such a great place to study through import shipping manifests. Since so few manufactured goods were produced here and a whole lot had to be shipped in, you can really get a feel for what is going on and where. Perhaps with larger cities with a manufacturing base you might be able to look at imports of raw materials for a similar effect?
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great info, tom, and thanks for doing the legwork. there are a number of houses that resemble those in the aladdin catalogue in ‘the oaks’ neighborhood in hattiesburg; these two are a block and a half from the house in which i grew up- a ‘contemporary’ modified ranch of the early 1950s designed by my parents–me, the architectural historian!
You are welcome. There are quite a few Aladdin houses across the state.
I don’t doubt that there are plenty that pre and post date the Hattiesburg Aladdin plant.
Like Malvaney wrote; our southern parents & grandparents loved their ranch homes :-)