This post is part of a series to identify Aladdin Company kit houses that were manufactured locally and shipped to sites within Mississippi. Thanks to Cindy Catanzaro and the Clarke Historical Library in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan we’ve had an opportunity to see the ledger for the Aladdin Company mail order home plant that was located in Hattiesburg.
If you missed the post discussing the ledger you can check it out here before reading any further.
Aladdin likely shipped kit houses into Mississippi for nearly the entirety of their eighty-one year existence, but the Aladdin plant in Hattiesburg operated for less than three years, between 1919 and 1921. One of the ledger orders was for a Plaza model requested by a “Sledge & Gillis” to be shipped to Sledge, Quitman County, Mississippi. The Plaza model was offered approximately between 1913 to 1923 by Aladdin.
The Plaza model was described in the Spring 1919 Aladdin Company Catalog as follows:
The very essence of American architecture makes up its attractive lines. The West is portrayed in the beautiful California pergola porch, the East in the interior of the home. The sunny South finds credit in the spacious porch, while the North has loaned the shingled sidewalls representing northern homes in the early days of American history.
This building appears to have been ordered by a company. The town of Sledge was established in 1900 when a Y. & M. V. R. R. depot was established on property owned by W. D. Sledge. In the 1920 census, Sledge was not among the areas listed as a named incorporated place, but a Ruffin F. Sledge, a cotton planter, and a D.(David) Wiley Gillis, a merchant and planter, are both listed as owning their own homes free and clear in Beat 1 of Quitman County. Perhaps this is the duo that makes up the firm of Sledge and Gillis? In the 1930 census Messieurs Sledge and Gillis are now neighbors who own homes valued at $7,500 and $5,000 respectively. While the town of Sledge is identified as a named incorporated place on the 1930 census form, unfortunately the streets were not identified by census takers.
I am skeptical that the Plaza was built for either Mr. Sledge or Mr. Gillis, since the value of the house wouldn’t have reached $5,000, even by 1930. Aladdin sold the Plaza for a little under $2,000 in 1919, and it doesn’t seem likely that the carpenter costs would have added up to $3,000 more. So, I would wager that this Plaza was for an employee of the firm. The house does have a few interesting modifications from the stock Plaza plan. A curved bay has been added to the south elevation, and a small enclosed porch has been added to the rear elevation.
What do you think? Could this be the house identified in the ledger as having been shipped from the Aladdin plant in Hattiesburg to Sledge in Quitman County?