Talk:Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

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Good article Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site has been listed as one of the Geography and places good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
November 15, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
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Good Article review[edit]

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:

A very well written article. Good citations, and a sufficient number of images, all of which are relevant. I would have prefered larger paragraphs, but in this case it is purely a matter of taste. Passed.

Thanks for taking the time to look at this article! Not having seen it in a few days and looking at it with fresh eyes, I have to agree with you on the short paragraphs. I'll see what I can do about it when next I work on it. Thanks again! --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:45, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Sears[edit]

Excellent article , one of the best written and referenced I've read on Wikipedia.I especially appreciated the last section on replicas , because ironically it was finding "The Magnolia" on www.searsarchives.com that ultimately led me here.

I would like to add that Sears didn't just sell the the blueprints , but all the basic materials needed to build a house as a package. In the case of "The Magnolia", ( the house modeled on Longfellow's ) Sears sold the house for $5,140 in 1918. Anyone could build one If they happened to be a Doctor , Lawyer or prosperous merchant etc., as the price for this house was several times the average price of a Sears house. According to the Sears Archive , in the 1915-1920 era Sears houses ranged in price from $191 for a bare bones one bedroom without bath , all the way up to the deluxe Magnolia , with most models in the $1000-$3000 range. ```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonel469 (talkcontribs) 19:49, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Upon reflection and with a little more reading since my previous posting, I think the section on replicas needs to be rewritten, or at least rearranged. The Wikipedia main article " Longfellow House " states that the 2/3 replica pictured was built in 1907, and says nothing about it being a Sears house. The section here implies that it was a Sears house. Searsarchives.com lists "The Magnolia", the house they offered inspired by the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow house, as being sold after 1918. While the Sears listings may not list all models for all years , it seems clear that they didn't begin selling houses ( or house plans ) until 1908. So the Minneapolis Longfellow house can't be a Sears house, unless Sears was selling plans for the house in 1907 or before , and that seems unlikely since Searsarchives.com indicates that they only sold building materials prior to 1908. Also the Sears archives gives no information about the Magnolia's scale realitive to the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow house.

The only reference for this section is for Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life by Charles C. Calhoun , without page number(s). Since I don't have access to this book , I don't know what Mr. Calhoun had to say about Sears house replicas in general or this house specifically. This reference comes after the second sentence so I assume it supports either one or both of the previous sentences.

Perhaps the author of this section didn't intend for the Minneapolis house to be considered a Sears house. In that case I think the section should begin with the information about the Minneapolis house , then a second paragraph with the sentence about being photographed and information about the Sears houses , hopefully with some more of the details I addressed in my previous posting on this topic.

Also the last sentence is vague. If it is to be retained there should be some examples given.```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonel469 (talkcontribs) 07:46, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

The Calhoun reference does, in fact, have a page number: 245, to be exact. I'm not sure why you can't see it. The source supports only what the preceding sentences say; nothing to do with the Minneapolis house - which remains entirely unsourced and subject to complete removal. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:05, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
One other reply for your comment: That last sentence should probably stay vague. Adding one or two examples invites three or four more examples, which in turn inspires people to add examples which aren't entirely relevant... a process known as list cruft. Ultimately, specifically examples aren't more relevant than just noting that some exist. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:06, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Thank You,I'm relative new to Wikipedia as I'm sure You can tell.Sorry about not seeing the page number for the Calhoun reference,it just didn't register with me for some reason.Maybe because I was "Morningdreary" after being online most of the night.

I still have some issues with what is stated about the Sears houses.First,the home Sears offered is a replica of the poets home in the sense that it is a imitation,with some substantial changes to the front of the house and of course a different floorplan.The Poets home having been remodeled several times during it's long history to suit the wants and needs of it's various owners.Sears on the otherhand selling to a consumer market made a more mainsteam plan.Sears 1918 ad calls it "a close resemblance".So the Sears home does fit the definition of replica,but to say Sears "sold scaled down blueprints of the home" to me is just not accurate.I think something like "In the early twentieth century Sears Roebuck and Company sold a model through thier Modern Homes catalog inspired by the Cambridge house" or something to that effect would be much closer to the truth.I still disagree with the "anyone could build thier own version of Longfellow's home" bit.Yes someone could order the Sears blueprints and build a house anyway they wanted, but isn't that true for any home built from any blueprints ? From the three or four websites I've seen that specifically deal with Sears homes, Sears would basically give away the blueprints ( $1.00 for plans of any home in the 1916 catalog )clearly with the intention of selling the home builder the materials.In the case of the "Magnolia" the minimum cost for the basic materials was $5140.00 in 1918.According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis,what is a dollar worth caculator,someone would need $74,785 to equal the 1918 price of that house in todays dollars.Hardly within the budget of average home buyers then,when compared the the cost of the other homes Sears offered.The catalog price did not include land,labor,masonary,plumbing and lighting fixtures,furnace etc.Even if someone ordered just the blueprints and obtained the land and materials on thier own it still would have cost a considerable sum to build one of these houses.On searshomes.org they show a magnolia and give the square footage as 2940.( My house is 2600 sq.feet and it seems pretty darn big to me).Anyone could get the plans and build one of these houses if they had the cash or credit,but the average person in that era didn't.The Magnolia was a top of the line house in Sears catalog for the upscale home buyer.

Although the part about the Minneapolis house is unreferenced here, it is linked to the main article about the house which does have references.It should stay since there is the photo of the house and is probably the best example of a Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow replica available.Could one or two of the references from the Longfellow house main article be given here also ? I still think the minneapolis house should be the lead for the replica section for the reasons stated above, then the information about Sears for clarity.As presented now the reader goes from the information about the Sears house to the next sentence "One such 2/3 scale replica of the house,".It is very easy to think that the Minneapolis house is a Sears house the way it is written especially with the 2/3 scale reference in that sentence and the "scaled down blueprints" reference in the Sears sentence.

As for the final sentence,I'm looking at this section as a reader not as a writer (which should be painfully clear I'm not) and when I first read this line two things popped into my simple mind 1:how many? and 2:where? I think that sentence puts the reader in the position of wanting more information from a section already slim on details. The reader only has the information and link for the Longfellow house,and the part about the Sears house.Without other examples of houses that were in fact inspired by the Cambridge house to add more to the section,I don't see any reason to have the last sentence.It's vague and doesn't add anything to the section except to tell the reader that the author is aware of other examples of replicas of the Longfellow house, but didn't feel like letting you know anything about them.It's a throw-off line.If You want the section to be limited to just these two examples then fine, leave it at that.Saying that "Ultimately specifically examples aren't more revelant than just noting that some exist." doesn't work for me personally in a section where only one certain example is given relative to the topic, and another example kinda sorta maybe is depending on how a person views the information availabe from other sources about that example.As far as someone adding non relevant examples if more examples were given,couldn't they do that now ? Seems to me that the sentence as it is invites that kind of response much more than adding a example or two.I think it would be a better section of the article if there were more than the two examples given.But then again after all this I'm wondering why this section is even in the article.There's no replicas section in the article on Mt.Vernon,even though it has been replicated many times by home builders,for one example. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonel469 (talkcontribs)

Your comment was very, very long (especially because it only focuses on one or two sentences of text in the article) so I haven't read the whole thing yet. Most of your detailed info on Sears is not particularly relevant here, especially because you do not provide a published source. If you're suggesting the last line ("other houses exist") is weasel-like, I can understand that. If there were, say, three or four, we should probably list them. But that's not the case. From my personal research, I have found over 20 replicas in New England alone. I'm not a reliable source, however, so I can't add that information. Nor would I - how relevant is it to list 20 privately-owned homes that are not, unto themselves, important? A list like that is guilty of cruft. The one that is included is only there because it is notable enough to have its own Wiki article (which is probably the only reason the section was added to begin with). If there was a good, reliable, published source that said "exactly 74 replicas exist" then we can add that. Until someone puts in the work to count definitively how many there are, we'll have to be vague. If you're saying the whole section should be removed (with the exception of info already sourced), I'd support that before adding more examples. If you write more economically, I'd be able to give a better answer. Anyone else can chime in here as well. --Midnightdreary (talk) 15:11, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes it would be nice if others chimed in,but it seems it's just us.I think the change in placement regarding other houses makes sense with the Minneapolis example following.I thought your answer was fine given that my writing is not economical.

The Longfellow house ia a good example of a true replica of the Cambridge house and there are refs in the Wiki article relevant to what is included in this section.When I mentioned the 2/3 scale I didn't mean for that to be deleted since there is a ref for that in the Wiki article.

My rambling on the Sears house was about challenging the way that part of the section is worded.It comes down to how one defines replica.If one takes a strict definition,i.e Oxford American Dictionary,then the Sears house is NOT a replica.If one takes a more liberal definition,i.e. Wiki article:replica,then it is.The source for what I said about the Magnolia,blueprints and prices came from the most original source possible,the Sears Modern Home catalogs published in 1916 and 1918 via searsarchives.com and searshomes.org.If either the websites or the catalogs themseves do not qualify as a relible source for Wikipedia,o.k. But then what does ? Just about anything published regarding Sears houses at some point would go back to Sears and the catalogs as a source because thats where the houses came from.I didn't reference specific statements because my purpose wasn't to include all this stuff in the section but to give my reasons why I believe what is in the section is not accurate.

Why is the Calhoun reference valid ? Whatever he had to say on the topic seems to be one page of the book he wrote about Longfellow.I googled him and all that came up was that book,apparently he hasn't written a book about Sears houses.What were his references ?

I agree with you about the cruft,info about a bunch of houses here wouldn't be desireable either. Finally,I wouldn't say what someone else has written is "weasel-like".That has a really negative connotation to me and I'm not yet Wiki-fied enough to use the term.At the time I didn't see a place for the sentence.Where it is now works great.Jonel469 (talk) 20:21, 6 October 2010 (UTC)