Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Databases of Houses

Image courtesy of
Clarke Historical Library
In a recent post, I shared some of the data that I was able to extract from the national database of Sears homes. That database is the most frequently mentioned in my posts. But it's not the only database being maintained by myself and my fellow kit house researchers. There's seven databases representing the major kit house companies that sold houses nationwide as well as one regional company that sold houses across the northeast United States. While none of these others have the number of homes that can be found in the Sears database, some of them have a significant number of homes. The homes that are included in the respective databases can assist homeowners, historians and researchers authenticate and identify kit houses in their communities.

The companies that have a database of homes that are actively maintained include:
  • Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan
  • Bennett Homes of North Tonawanda, New York
  • Gordon-Van Tine/Wardway (Montgomery Ward) of Davenport, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois
  • Harris Brothers
  • Lewis Homes/Lewis-Liberty of Bay City, Michigan
  • Sears Roebuck of Chicago, Illinois
  • Sterling (International Mill and Timber) of Bay City, Michigan
Approximate number of homes (as of this date):
  • Aladdin: 375+
  • Bennett: 40
  • Gordon-Van Tine/Wardway: 750+
  • Harris Brothers: 100+
  • Lewis: 175
  • Sears: 8700
  • Sterling: 20
Some of these lists include significant number of authenticated homes including the Aladdin, Bennett, GVT/Wardway, Lewis and Sears. The list of Lewis homes include over 50 authenticated homes in and around Washington DC thanks to the work of Catarina Bannier. If you have houses that you think belong on any of these lists, let us know!


  1. I was actually thinking about this after reading your last post - there are a couple of houses I drive by very regularly in the same neighborhood as our Aladdin Hamilton, and I always wonder if they are also kit homes or just look like it. Do you know if the Aladdin list is available to be searched? It's definitely possible these homes are already on it.

  2. It's not publicly accessible but if you want to share some addresses, I can look. The cool thing is that if the Aladdin houses are a possibility, we can contact the Clarke Historical Library to see if they have matching sales records.

    1. Will do! I do love that the Clarke has these records available - we were able to get digital images of the receipts for our home, which is so neat!

    2. We've met the guy who rescued those from an abandoned warehouse in Bay City. So glad that they found a home up at Central!