Sunday, October 2, 2016

Aladdin Shadow Lawn in Bennington, Vermont

Authenticated Aladdin Shadow Lawn • 1919 • 209 Weeks Street, Bennington, Vermont
One of our favorite houses to run across, is the Aladdin Shadow Lawn.  This is another find from our Aladdin sales list (read about that, and the Aladdin Homes company, here).  When I located it, I couldn't believe in what beautiful condition it is. Can you believe that this house was built in 1919?
aladdin shadowlawn
And, here it is, in the 1922 catalog-- same colors, same stones!
Aladdin offered the Shadow Lawn from 1917-1922.  Before that, beginning, I believe, in the 1913 catalog, they offered a very similar model, called the Massachusetts. The exterior is very close, as is the first floor layout (though it had a large bump-out in the dining room, absent on the later Shadow Lawn ), but the second floor gets some changes made to the sizes and layout of the bedrooms. For one thing, the 1913-15 Massachusetts offered an oh-so-practical large Billiard Room on the second floor, larger than any of the three bedrooms, but this was done away with in the 1916 version of the Massachusetts, in favor of four similar-sized bedrooms. The two models were pretty similar in floor plan by the time that the Shadow Lawn was introduced in 1917. 

One Little Window, or Two?
Another obvious visual difference in the front, that we researchers look for, is the number of small windows on the front upper floor, just under the peak. The Shadow Lawn has just one.  Until now, we've always thought of the Massachusetts having two little windows there. And, in the catalog images for all years (1913-1916), you see two little windows on the house that is pictured in the catalog. But... NOT on the floor plan!  The floor plan for the 1913, 1914, and 1915 models shows NO little windows up in the center section of the floor plan.  So do the houses from those years have them, or not?

aladdin shadow lawn aladdin massachusetts upper windows
The little windows under the peak: this is what we first notice when trying to distinguish between the Massachusetts and the Shadow Lawn.  Why, then, do several years of the catalog not show them at all, in the floor plan?
Front Porch Roof
I've also noticed that the catalog images show the roof of the front porch ending at a different spot on the Shadow Lawn, than it does on the Massachusetts.  Take a look at this comparison, noting the areas that I've indicated in yellow.  The Shadow Lawn's porch roof looks to extend all the way to the right side of the first-floor right-side front window. On the Massachusetts, the porch roof support stops just before that window even starts (so, it stops at the left-side edge of that window), and then the porch roof itself extends just a bit more to the right.... but, nowhere near as far as it does on the Shadow Lawn. Let's take a look:
Aladdin Shadow Lawn vs Aladdin Massachusetts
Note the end-point of the porch roof on the two different models.
However... look at the real-life, authenticated Shadow Lawn in Bennington... the porch roof looks to actually end where it does on the Massachusetts! So... I'm wondering if the artist making the catalog image of the Shadow Lawn didn't just take the liberty of extending the porch roof, just so that there wouldn't be a big porch post obscuring the front window:

Back Windows: The Dining Room
Another window difference that we see in the floor plan, is in the dining room.  Yes, the Massachusetts, all years, has the dining room bump out, and the Shadow Lawn does not. But, the back windows of the dining room are also different, on the floor plan, along the years.  In the Massachusetts floor plan of 1913 and 1914, there are two windows, widely spaced apart. In 1915 and 1916, there are three windows there.  Once the model becomes the Shadow Lawn, there is only one, large, centered window in that spot.

aladdin shadow lawn precursor aladdin massachusetts
From my own 1914 Aladdin catalog.

aladdin shadow lawn pre-cursor floor plan
Aladdin Massachusetts floor plan in 1915, with notations for changes in 1913 and 1914.
The Massachusetts' floor plans, from my 1916 catalog.
Shadow Lawn:
The Shadow Lawn: Notice that the back window of the dining room is now just one, single window, compared to two, or three (depending on the model year) on the Massachusetts' floor plan.

And here are some closer views of the Shadow Lawn's floor plans:
aladdin shadow lawn floor plan 1919
From the 1919 Aladdin catalog on
aladdin shadow lawn 1919 3-d floor plan
Here is an image of the living room of the Shadow Lawn.

A Clone By C.L. Bowes
C. L. Bowes was a publisher of house plans (not kits, just blue prints) in the 1920s. The C. L. Bowes plans were usually made available through books offered at local lumber yards, who were constantly in competition with the kit-house, mail-order house companies, for business.  Many of the C. L. Bowes plans are almost exact replicas of already-existing mail-order kit models.  Bowes offered a "clone" (as we call them), to the Aladdin Shadow Lawn. Here it is in 1923.  Notice that the upper-floor windows on the front elevation are wider, and so have noticeably less space between them, and the little small single window between them. The windows are also triples, having three same-size windows together, whereas the Aladdin Massachusetts and Shadow Lawn have a triple there, with a larger center window.  The Bowes version, and the Shadow Lawn, are both 28' wide, whereas the Massachusetts is 30 feet wide.

Another difference on the Bowes "clone", is that the center front peak is higher up than it is on the Massachusetts and the Shadow Lawn.
c l bowes clone to aladdin shadow lawn
Note that the upper windows are wider than those on the Aladdin models, and therefore the space between them, and the little center window, is much less.  Also, the peak of that front gable is higher.  You can see that the brackets above the windows are much higher up than on the Aladdin models, where those brackets are touching the top of the windows.
For comparison:
See how those brackets are actually touching the tops of the big windows on the second floor, and the triple-windows themselves are not as wide as on the C.L. Bowes plan house.
Back To Bennington
Back to the beautiful Shadow Lawn in Bennington, Vermont.  It is really in a lovely setting, with mountains far off in the distance, behind the house.
Aladdin Shadow Lawn in Bennington, Vermont... lovely setting!
And, the house, from a different angle:
1919 shadowlawn by Aladdin

The man who ordered this beautiful home, was Earl Williams. Earl was the president of The Bennington Garage, where he sold very nice cars.

From the Bennington, Vermont city directory, 1928.
Throughout the 1920s, ads ran very frequently in the Bennington Banner newspaper, advertising the cars sold at Mr. Williams' place of business. This one appeared on March 23, 1922, page 6:

I've learned a good bit about the differences between the Aladdin Massachusetts and the Aladdin Shadow Lawn, thanks to researching for this blog post.  If you think you know of examples of either of these Aladdin models, or one of the "too tall" models, as we call the C. L. Bowes version, please leave a comment, or use the "Contact Me" spot on the side of the blog.

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1 comment:

  1. Nice comparison. Thanks. I checked out the two I had my eye on near me, and have decided they are "none of the above".


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