Like Sears Kit Homes, the Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan, designed and sold kit houses for thousands of Americans across the country. Their 1917 catalog showcased over 60 home designs, from a plain four-room cottage to an impressive four-bedroom Colonial Revival, ranging in price from $475 to $1,985. All the materials needed to build yourself a home were shipped to your address, and then it was up to you to do the rest.
This article is part of our Kit House Spotlight Tuesday series. (Home is not for sale.)
Originally established in 1906 as the North American Construction Company, Aladdin was the cutting edge idea of brothers William J. and Otto Sovereign. By the 1920s their ready-cit home kits were being produced at mills in Hattiesburg, MS; Portland, OR; Wilmington, NC; Vancouver and Toronto, but the company’s ads referred to Bay City as the “Aladdin Town.”
Per the National Register of Historic Places, in 1918, William H. Sharp, Jr., a sales manager for the Aladdin Company, publicly acknowledged his confidence in the company when in 1918 he built The Villa design in the Center Avenue Residential Neighborhood Historic District at 2130 Center Avenue in Bay City, Michigan, for his personal residence. He lived here with wife, Marjorie, before they relocated to Beverly Hills, California, sometime before 1929.
The Villa was characterized by a low-pitched hipped roof, arched windows and doors, and flat-roofed wings resembling an Italian country house. In 1917, the kit could be purchased for $3,420.
On passing through the front vestibule, one entered a grand hallway with a beautiful staircase at the rear. French doors led into the living room on the right and dining room to the left. French doors also led from the living room to the sun parlor, the room extending the entire width of the house. Both the living room and sun parlor featured fireplaces.
From the dining room, French doors led into the breakfast room with swinging doors into the pantry and the kitchen. A small porch completed the first floor.
Off a central hall on the second floor were four good-sized bedrooms with closets and a 8’x8′ bathroom. A third floor could be finished off for maid quarters.
2130 Center Ave, Bay City, Michigan Photo taken in 2019