Sometimes with Bennett Better Built Homes testimonials, dumb luck is the only way you're gonna find a house. Armed with only a town name and the letter writer's initials, it's a gamble. Towns change names or are absorbed into surrounding towns, there is no match to the initials in the wild card search on Ancestry or Family Search, either in the specific town or county. I am frequently reduced to flying over the towns or more often virtually driving my Google car down streets in Google Street View. Occasionally, I'll go to Trulia or Zillow to find a likely starting point like I did with Dunkirk, NY. Once in a while, I'll find the actual house for sale. This is the happy accident that occurred when I found L. J. D.'s Franklin in Montour Falls, NY. Montour Falls is a small village in Schuyler County NY. which while technically part of Western New York, is actually considered the Finger Lakes. It gets its name from a waterfall at the end of Main St. There are practically no Google streetviews.
|Bennett Homes "Franklin" model as it appears in the 1920 catalog. Image courtesy of Archive.org|
|The Franklin as it appears in catalog No. 30 from 1925. Image courtesy Archive.org. The last time I can find the Franklin listed for sale.|
L. J. D.'s letter appeared in catalog 21 from 1922. He appears to be very happy with his Franklin that he built prior to June 1921.
No matter how hard I researched, I couldn't figure out L. J. D.'s name, I STILL don't know L. J. D.'s name, but I know his house! Here is the real estate listing from Zillow.
|L. J. D. testimonial Franklin 256 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY. Image courtesy of Zillow.|
You can see the brackets and the original screening, along with the stone foundation and half columns just like the catalog image along with some other details. You can't see the Mohawk front door but in other exterior shots below, you can see the triple-cut light windows that appear in the Ray H Bennett Millwork catalog.
|Front porch with double windows with triple cut lights as offered in a Ray H Bennett Millwork catalog. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|Bennett Bargain Book circa 1926. Window offerings. Image courtesty of Archive.org|
|Rear of 259 Owego St. Montour Falls, NY. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|Side of 259 Owego St. Montour Falls, NY. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|The kitchen no longer has it's built-in kitchen cupboard but here are some cabinet doors and interior door and a really cool drawing. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|Living room with a glimpse of the hardware on the front door. It looks like the regular style cylinder lock set that Bennett offered. Built-in bookcases are probably original, but there is no mention in the catalog description. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|Lock set from the Bennett Bargain Book, 1926. Image courtesy Archive.org|
|Shot of the dining room gives a good idea of the floor plan. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|Living room with stairs going up to the second floor. Stair case is the Right-hand style No. 4 with main newel post# 680. You can see the catalog photos here and here from Archive.com. Image courtesy Zillow.|
|Newel post at the top of the stairs. Image courtesy Zillow.|