Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Lost Sears Houses of Hazel Park, Michigan

Hazel Park, Michigan is located in the southeast corner of Oakland County. Sharing a border with the City of Detroit, Hazel Park is one of a number of "streetcar" suburbs that developed in the early years of the 1900s along the interurban lines that radiated out from Detroit. During a 20 year period, the population of Detroit exploded, adding over 1.1 million residents between 1910 and 1930, as workers flocked to work in the burgeoning automobile industry. The population growth spilled past the existing city limits into areas beyond the city. These areas, which were made up primarily of working farms, became the target of developers who sought to build new housing to serve new families moving to Detroit to work and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and the noise and pollution of the factories. As you can see in this map of the area around Detroit in 1905, there was a lot of open land between Detroit and the small village of Royal Oak.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Neighborhood of Wardway Homes - Part 4

As I was researching the origin of the neighborhoods of Wardway homes in Pontiac, Michigan, I discovered a connection between those houses and the General Motor's subsidiary Modern Housing Corporation. As I noted in that previous post, starting in 1919, Modern Housing Corporation was responsible for two major developments that provided worker housing for GM employees in Pontiac and Flint.

In Pontiac, most of the potential Wardway models have been located in two subdivisions that were platted in 1927, a number of years after the original Modern Housing Corporation development was completed. However, there were several Wardway houses that were located on lots in the original plat for the Modern Housing Corporation development. Is it possible that the Modern Housing Corporation used Wardway kits to fill in vacant lots in the original development in addition to the Wardway homes found in the subdivisions platted in 1927?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

ID this house! Ashmore v. Avalon

Recently, I wrote a post about how a group of kit house researchers had tentatively identified a house as a Sears Ashmore in Highland Park, Michigan. When identifying homes, we try to match up as many of details as we can before deciding whether a house is a kit house or not. But when you don't have access to ways to authenticate a house like a mortgage record or stamped lumber, we have to make an educated guess based on the available information and admit up front that we're not 100% sure.

Sometimes, something like this happens...

Lewis Avalon

Image courtesy of Cindy Catanzaro

Cindy Catanzaro, who first spotted the possible Sears Ashmore shared this catalog image with us. Does it look familiar? If you saw images of the Sears Ashmore, you might think this too is an Ashmore. But from the caption, you can see that this isn't an Ashmore. It's an Avalon - a Lewis Avalon. But it's not just any Lewis Avalon, it's the exact same house we identified as the Ashmore!