Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kit Houses of Fenton, Michigan

Historic Railroad Depot in Fenton
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Wendy and I did a presentation on "Michigan Kit Homes" at the Jack R. Winegarden Library in Fenton. As part of that presentation, we featured four possible kit houses that we located in Fenton. As we stated in the presentation, we haven't yet authenticated any of the houses. But the four houses all look to be good examples of the models offered by several kit house manufacturers. Let's take a quick tour of the four houses that we found. All four houses are located in the same area of town - north of the railroad tracks and east of North Leroy Street.

Of the four houses we identified in Fenton, two of them, we believe, are from Sears. The first is possibly a Sears Berwyn or Mayfield. The Berwyn and Mayfield are the same house model. This model was offered as the Berwyn between 1929 - 1932 and as the Mayfield between 1933 through 1940. There are also look-a-like models offered by other kit house manufacturers so if this is a kit house, those are also a possibility.

Catalog image of the Sears Berwyn (1932)
Image courtesy of

501 North Oak - Fenton, Michigan - Possible Sears Berwyn/Mayfield
The next house was an easy identification. I would be shocked if this is anything but a Sears Mitchell. The Mitchell was a popular model for Sears that was offered from 1928 - 1940.

Catalog image of the Sears Mitchell (1929)
703 North Walnut - Fenton, Michigan - Sears Mitchell

703 North Walnut - Fenton, Michigan - Sears Mitchell

703 North Walnut - Fenton, Michigan - Sears Mitchell
The last view of the Mitchell provides some distinctive spotting features including the locations of the windows on the left side of the house and the short roof extension.

On the north end of the neighborhood on North LeRoy is this possible Aladdin Pomona. Despite the "modernization" in the form of vinyl siding covering all of the distinctive Pomona elements, it's a good match for the model. With this house, we'll do some research into the Aladdin sales records to see if we can find a sales record for this home.

Catalog image of Aladdin Pomona (1919)
Image courtesy of Clarke Historical Library
894 North Leroy - Fenton, Michigan - Aladdin Pomona
894 North Leroy - Fenton, Michigan - Aladdin Pomona
The last house we found in Fenton is noteworthy because it's a relatively rare Montgomery Ward (Wardway) house - the Rosehill. This model was only offered by Wardway for a couple of years - 1929 and 1930. In Michigan, we know of some in Pontiac and in Flint, both in areas that were developed under the auspices of new homes programs financed by General Motors. The element that caught my eye on the house in Fenton was the arched porch roof over the front entry.

Catalog image of Wardway Rosehill
Image courtesy of Antique Home Style
310 First Street - Fenton, MI - Wardway Rosehill

310 First Street - Fenton, MI - Wardway Rosehill
We hoped you enjoyed seeing these examples of possible kit homes in Fenton. Do you know of any others? If so, leave us a comment or drop us a line!

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