“Odds and sods” is my new favorite phrase. It’s the British equivalent of “odds and ends,” but somehow I find it so much more enjoyable to say. It seemed an appropriate title for this post, which is a bit of a catch-all of brief updates and a few quick announcements.
First, I wanted to write more about something I touched on in a post from early November. I noted that there is another house west of the village that is very similar to our 1917 bungalow on South Main Street, built by Fergus and Julia Camp. In trying to determine if there was a connection between the two properties, and whether they were both kit houses, I spent a lot of time this winter looking at catalogs from early twentieth-century mail-order house companies. Sears, Roebuck is the best known, but other such businesses included Aladdin, Wardway (the Montgomery Ward kit house division), Harris Brothers, and Gordon-Van Tine. You can find contemporary reprints of some of the more famous catalogs available for purchase or though library collections; digitized editions are harder to find, with the notable exception of the Aladdin Company. Nearly fifty years’ worth of its catalogs have been scanned and are freely available through the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.
I then reached out to three separate experts on kit houses in this region of the country. All three independently asserted that they did not believe the houses in question to be built from kits. And though certain isolated architectural elements of the bungalows are similar to items that could be purchased through house catalogs, I was told that was likely because these companies were intentionally modeling their products after the most popular and fashionable home-building trends of the era.
In the hopes of learning something more concrete about the bungalow west of Wellington, I manually went through more than two years of The Wellington Enterprise looking for any mention of its construction, or a connection between Fergus Camp and Winfield McConnell. I found only this: “Winfield McConnell is building a new bungalow on his farm northwest of town” (10-20-1925, pg. 5). I discovered nothing further on the status of the construction, nor any announcement of the house being finished. And that is where the matter rests, at least for now.
On to a few quick project updates and announcements: the Wellington Genealogy Group has recently completed the digitization of the Wellington Council Journals and Ordinance Records dating from incorporation of the village in 1855 through 1925. This was a significant undertaking that captured more than 3,300 oversized ledger pages of text. We are currently determining the best method for making all the information publicly available.
I am very close to completing an issue-by-issue inventory of every extant edition of The Wellington Enterprise published in the nineteenth century. I have been recording information on the publishers, subscription prices, printing locations, and title and formatting changes over time. It has been fascinating and I will be providing a copy of the final product to the Herrick Memorial Library should anyone be interested in working with it. The library has asked me to help them inventory and prepare a preservation plan for some historic, non-circulating materials within their collections later this spring. The Spirit of ’76 Museum has asked me to assist them in the spring as well, with an inventory and preservation project to rehouse their nineteenth-century newspaper collection.
Finally, I want to make everyone aware of two special upcoming exhibits. Members of the Wellington Genealogy Group are finalizing displays in honor of both Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March) that will be shown at the Herrick Memorial Library. We will also be showcasing some of the content on the group’s Facebook page, so if you enjoy reading this blog and you enjoy Wellington history, please consider “liking” that group. This year, for the first time, I have selected special topics for the blog to coincide with the upcoming history months. I think it is fair to say that I have never done as much research for a single post as I have for my next one. I am very excited to share it with all of you and hope to have it up by early February. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please click the “Leave a reply” option under any post title.