Saturday, January 21, 2023

Aladdin Pomona in Fenton, Michigan

Back in 2016, while doing research for a kit house presentation at the Jack R. Winegarden Library in Fenton, Michigan, I came across this house in Fenton at 894 North Leroy Street which looked to be an Aladdin "Pomona". I took some pictures of the house to include in the presentation and added it to our national list of Aladdin homes. At the time, I didn't have any reason to think that it wasn't a Pomona. But without any information to confirm that it was one, I couldn't authenticate it as the real deal. This is often the case with houses that we find "in the wild". But recently, I had the good fortune of being able to confirm its authenticity. Let's take a look! 

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working on authenticating some Aladdin houses that I had spotted in Columbia, South Carolina. To assist my efforts, the always helpful staff at the Clarke Historical Library had sent me some scanned pages from the Aladdin sales index that includes houses that were sold in 1920 to buyers with the last name of "H". After confirming the origin of the houses that I had found in Columbia (more soon about that in a future post), I took a look to see if there was any houses of interest on the pages that they had shared with me. 

One of the entries was for sales #17557 which was an Aladdin Pomona #1 sold to a F. A Hagedorn in Fenton, Michigan. I love tracking down Pomonas, especially ones in Michigan, so this piqued my interest.

Now I would like to say that I remembered that there was a Pomona in Fenton but my memory isn't that good! But after reviewing the Aladdin list, I was reminded that I had found the possible Pomona at 894 North Leroy Street so I set about to see if I could connect F. A. Hagedorn to that Pomona (or see if there was another Pomona in or around Fenton). 

I started my search at where a search on "F. A. Hagedorn" returned results for a Fred or Frederick Hagedorn in Fenton. In the 1920 Census, Hagedorn was listed as a renter (and his entry didn't include a street name). So that wasn't helpful. But I had better luck with the 1930 Census. There was Hagedorn listed with his wife Blanche and 3 children at 894 North Leroy Street! 

Hagedorn was listed as a homeowner and the house valuation of $7,500 for the Pomona seemed reasonable for a relatively new house of its size and quality. I think we found our match! 

Unlike the mortgages and deeds that we often use to authenticate houses from Sears and Wardway and others, Aladdin sales records aren't tied to a specific piece of property. So placing an owner at the address of an Aladdin model that matches the model listed with their name in the sales index is often as close as we can come to authenticating the house without being able to go inside the house and make a physical inspection. 

Based on the totality of the information we have, I'm confident that the Pomona at 894 North Leroy Street in Fenton, Michigan is the house that F. A. Hagedorn ordered from Aladdin in 1920. His Pomona won't win a contest for "the Pomona most true to its original look". But its Pomona lines are still obvious even 103 years later. Thank you for joining me and watch for more examples of Aladdin Homes coming soon! 

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