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A Creo-Dipt Quickie

As I've already noted, in addition to catalog and plan-book houses, I "collect" Creo-Dipt model homes. Creo-Dipt was local to North Tonawanda, NY and manufactured and sold siding and shingles.

Best thing about Creo-Dipt is that their catalogs featuring model homes always has the owner, city and state, not to mention the architect most times. That is how I found out a lot of the information on the proto-type of my Radford American Builder house (which was also probably sided with Creo-Dipt cedar shingles originally).

I'm always finding print ads and postcards and various other ephemera on eBay and other sites and www.archive.org has a few full catalogs to peruse. My favorite is Creo-Dipt Stained Shingle Homes circa 1920.

One of the most enchanting houses is "The Music Box" of Professor H. G. Cox in Omaha, Nebraska. Not only is the house charming, it has a mini-me birdhouse out in front. It was used heavily in advertising campaigns. Here are just a few examples:

From the Creo-Dipt Stained Shingle Homes catalog, 1920. Courtesy archive.org.

Creo-Dipt flyer 1926. Courtesy archive.org
Magazine ad, 1926 courtesy eBay auction

Creo-Dipt advertising pack, 1920s. Courtesy eBay
 Notice that the bird house mysteriously moved locations in the artistic renderings.

Professor H. G. Cox is Henry Givin Cox, music professor and violinist. Born in 1880 in Iowa, he and his wife, Queene, are listed in the 1930 census as living at 5665 Marcy Street in Omaha, NE. His occupation is listed as "teacher school of music".


He was not living there in 1920 and in 1940 he seemed to be widowed and living in a residential hotel. Here is a little newspaper clipping from The Sunday State Journal in 1919:

The Sunday State Journal April 20, 1919 Omaha, NE.


Here is a snap from the 1930 census placing him at 5665 Marcy St. 


1930 census for Omaha, NE. Prof. Cox is listed at 5665 Marcy St.

And here is 5665 Marcy Street as it appears in a recent Google Streetview. The charming bird house is no more. 
Screen grab of Professor Cox's charming Music Box which no longer has its bird house out front. Courtesy google streetview. 

This house was also in line drawing form in a local Tonawanda News newspaper blurb on Creo-Dipt.

Brick Bennett in the Village of LaSalle

A few years ago in one of the Sears groups, researcher Lara Solonickne of Sears Homes of Chicagoland mentioned two unauthenticated Sears homes in Niagara Falls, NY. The houses are located in the LaSalle section of the City of Niagara Falls (I see another Lay of the Land coming on about the different areas of Niagara Falls, NY).

Over the years I have Google driven down that block and the surrounding blocks to see what else might pop up. Well, a few months ago, armed with many more years of knowledge, I virtually drove up and down from 56th St and Buffalo Ave along the Niagara River to about 86th St when Buffalo Ave runs into the LaSalle Parkway. I kept to the south side of the parkway.


Part of the LaSalle section of the City of Niagara Falls. Courtesy of Google Map.

Those streets ended up being chock-a-block with kit houses – some Sears, an Aladdin, and many, many Ray H Bennett models. 

I decided that for my birthday if the weather was nice I was going to drive to Niagara Falls and photograph all of the houses I mapped out. I was off on a Monday, the weather was glorious and my husband and I got in the car and drove up to NF. We started on 84th Street because it was closest and there was a brick Lynnhaven type (or should I say Sears Belmont-type since the Belmont was the brick version of the Lynnhaven. Check out Sears House Seeker's excellent post on the Belmont).

The Lynnhaven is one of those pesky models because it seemed that every kit house and plan house catalog offered a version and except for glaring differences it can be hard to tell whose is what.  Since the front window configuration was different from the Sears Lynnhaven. I thought it was most likely a brick Sheffield, Bennett Better Built Homes version of the Lynnhaven.

Comparison between the Sears Lynnhaven, left, and Bennett Sheffield, right. Note the window configuration.

We drove down the block, parked, and I snapped a few photos.

207 84th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Photo by Sarah Mullane 2018.
207 84th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Photo by Sarah Mullane 2018.

207 84th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Photo by Sarah Mullane 2018.

207 84th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Photo by Sarah Mullane 2018.
207 84th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Photo by Sarah Mullane 2018.
207 84th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Photo by Sarah Mullane 2018.

Catalog page courtesy Archive.org

When I saw the house in real life, I had my doubts. Even though the windows seem to match the catalog photo and the blueprint, the peak of the entryway seemed too high compared to the  catalog photo. Is this one of the myriad of Lynnhaven clones and not a Bennett Better Built Home (in brick FACE no less)? I shared my findings and misgivings with my group and the consensus was, yes, it looks like it is a brick Sheffield. So I left it at that. Probable, but unauthenticated.

Then while researching some more, I ran across this advertisement in the June 21, 1929 issue of The Niagara Falls Gazette:

June 21, 1929 Niagara Falls Gazette.

And then it gets BETTER! The June 29th edition of the Niagara Falls Gazette had this photo and look whose name is there!

June 29, 1929 Niagara Falls, Gazette.

It looks like it took a while to sell as the offer was reduced drastically as can be seen in this September 21, 1929 ad.


This is the first of many to come about the Village of LaSalle in the City of Niagara Falls, NY. 

Stapf Affection: Early Sears in Dunkirk, NY (Dunkirk, part 2)

John A. Stapf, jeweler and real estate guru of Dunkirk, NY, is a new favorite of mine. Born in Pittsburgh, he moved to Dunkirk circa 1878 where he switched from the manufacture of jewelry to the retail jewelry business. He was also into real estate and was crucial to the development of Dunkirk, NY. He became the president of the Dunkirk, NY Real Estate Board in 1893 and according to an article in the July 19, 1920 issue of the Dunkirk Evening Observer, by the year 1920 he had built 54 houses. Some of those 54 houses were built in the Brooks Park subdivision he started developing in 1910. All of the houses below can be dated to 1913 or before. 

Advertisement in the September 6, 1910 issue of the Dunkirk Evening Observer. Thank You to Judith Chabot at Sears House Seeker for finding the name of the sub-division and providing the ad. 

Ad for Brooks Park with prices per lot and map of the Sub-division. James Ave (named after Harry James, Dunkirk mayor from 1910 to 1911) was later renamed Roosevelt Ave. It remains as such to this day. Thank you again to Judith for this ad.

Google screen shot of the short length of Taft Place, Dunkirk, NY as it looks in recent years. I mapped out the addresses and models of the models that are mentioned in Houses By Mail as being located in Dunkirk. 

I discovered that the locations listed came directly from the catalog copy. So Judith over at Sears House Seeker sent me the Dunkirk pages from the 1914 catalog. So, without further ado, here are the Sears houses of Brooks Park. (All catalog pages reproduced here are courtesy of Judith Chabot)

Sanborn Map, 1919 showing Taft Place and Woodrow Avenue. House nos. 1 and 2.

Sanborn Map. 1919 showing the other end of Taft Place at McKinley Ave. House Nos. 17, 19, 20, 22, and 24.  

Cover of the 1914 Sears, Roebuck Modern Homes catalog courtesy Judith Chabot, Sears House Seeker


Catalog page for the #225 with floor plan. 

Detail of the 225

Built at Dunkirk, NY

#225 at 1 Taft Place and Woodrow Ave. Image courtesy of Google Streetview. 

#225 at 1 Taft Place — side view from Woodrow Ave. Image courtesy of Google Streetview. 
#225 at 24 Taft Place and McKinley Ave. Image courtesy of Google Streetview. 
Rear/side view of the #225 at 24 Taft Place and McKinley Ave. Image courtesy of Google Streetview.
Catalog page for the #164 with floor plan.


Detail of the 164.
Built at Dunkirk, NY.


#164 at 2 Taft Place and Woodrow Ave. Image courtesy of Google Streetview. 
Catalog page for the #124 with floor plan.
Detail of the 124.
Built at Dunkirk, NY.

#124 at 22 Taft Place near McKinley Ave. Image courtesy Google Streetview.
#124 at 20 Taft Place near McKinley Ave. Image courtesy Google Streetview.

#124 at 20 Taft Place near McKinley Ave. Image courtesy Google Streetview.

Catalog page for the #264 / Sherburne with floor plan.
Built at Dunkirk, NY/

Detail of the 264 / Sherburne.

Detail of the 264 / Sherburne in color.

#264 / Sherburne at 22 Taft Pl next door to the 124 and 225 near McKinley. 

Blurb for the 264 / Sherburne at 22 Taft Place in the Dunkirk Evening Observer.
Not mentioned in either the 1914 Sears catalog nor House By Mail, we have another Sears house built by John A. Stapf as part of his Brooks Park sub-division. It is an Avondale with an enclosed porch located at 17 Taft Pl, two doors from McKinley.

Avondale at 17 Taft Place near McKinley.

Reminder shot of the screen grab of Taft Place from Google maps. 

This lovely Avondale was bought by William F Bechtold for his bride in 1913. The following snippets are from the Dunkirk Evening Observer.





And here is a notice in the papers of the real estate transaction between William Bechtold and John A Stapf.


According to the 1920 Census, the Bechtolds were no longer living on Taft Place, but here are snippets of two pages from the census showing us who occupied the houses.




Last but not least on Taft Place, there is #19 on the corner of Taft and McKinley next to the Avondale. Acute observers have noticed that the house closely resembles the Sears 113.
#113 from the 1914 Sears catalog. 

#19 Taft Place. Courtesy Google Streetview.
#19 Taft Place. Courtesy Google Streetview.


#19 Taft Pl. View from McKinley. Courtey Google Streetview.
#19 Taft Pl. View from McKinley. Courtey Google Streetview.

To close the chapter on Mr. John A Stapf, an article appeared in the July 19, 1920 issue of the Dunkirk Evening Observer announcing an additional 25 houses to be built. In an accompanying photo, they show his 54th house built on McKinley Ave. The house, on the extreme left, is not a Sears house, but if you look very carefully at the blur at the extreme right of the photo, tilt your head sideways and squint, you can make out the rear of the #225 at 24 Taft Pl at the corner of McKinley.

July 19, 1920 Dunkirk Evening Observer.
#225 at 24 Taft Pl at the extreme right, rear view. 

This might be the end of John A Stapf, but not Dunkirk, NY.