January 25, 2022

The "Starlight Cottage" of Geneva

721 Illinois, Geneva. Photo from Realtor site.

The Sears Starlight from 1927. The clipped gable dormer is one of its distinguishing features.

The Starlight was one of the most popular models sold by Sears Roebuck. It was sold from 1911-1932!

The Starlight has three full-size porch pillars and one half-pillar.

The Starlight had five rooms and plenty of windows. The living room, dining room and kitchen were stacked on one side of the house. The other side of the house had the two bedrooms separated by a small hallway.

This Starlight Cottage was actually built in 1926.  Photo from Realtor site.

All interior walls have been removed. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

As in the original floor plan, the stove is next to the now-exposed interior chimney. Photo from Realtor site.

The front bedroom. Photo from Realtor site.

The rear bedroom with the double windows. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

There is an addition on the back of the house for a master bedroom and bath. Photo from Realtor site.

The new master bath. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

This Sears Starlight was built in the fall of 1926. The purchaser was a wealthy real estate developer in the Geneva/St. Charles area named Emery T. Moore, and he received financing from Sears Roebuck. He also built a Sears house next door. The former owners report Sears shipping labels on the lumber in the Starlight.


December 14, 2021

The Top Three Articles of 2021

Once again the holiday season is approaching and with it, the end of another year. It's time to reveal our top three most popular articles of 2021 and what you, the readers, enjoyed most. 

1    Does a Letter "S" on a Chimney Mean a House is from Sears Roebuck? -- According to the internet, if a house has a metal "S" on the chimney, it means that it was purchased from Sears. Is that true?

2    Old Tyme Sears Modern Homes Advertising, 1930's and 1940's -- Let's examine how Sears Roebuck marketed its houses in the 1930's and 1940's.

3    Old Tyme Sears Modern Homes Advertising, pre-1920 -- Clearly this series was popular! There was a third part to the series that you can read here.

We invite you to join us in 2022 and see even more Sears homes in Chicagoland. Happy Holidays!

A Sears Crescent in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Witt.

For the Sears house connection to "A Christmas Story", click here!

November 30, 2021

A Meaningful Discovery in Wood Dale

Until recently, Wood Dale had a grand total of zero Sears houses.

Researcher Chuck Holtzen and myself uncovered a couple mortgages in Wood Dale where customers in the 1920's and 1930's got their financing from Sears Roebuck. However, we were unable to find those houses--they were in rural areas and most likely were farmhouses that are now gone. Nevertheless, I was confident that there must be some hiding in the village. 

Finally, a Sears house popped up in the real estate listings, and it is a standout.

449 N. Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale. Photo from Realtor site.

Sears Montrose. 

The house in Wood Dale is a Sears Montrose--the only one in the state of Illinois. Sears only sold the Montrose from 1926-1928.

The floor plan was reversed--Sears would make that modification for no charge.

The house is a great match to the Montrose, and the only thing missing is the tiny closet window next to the front door.

Google Streetview shows us the sun room. A bay window was added to one of the bedrooms.

The Montrose floor plan  shows an interior fireplace, three windows in the rear of the living room, and a bumpout to accommodate the staircase.

There are the triple windows and the staircase. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

The sun room is a place to lounge. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.

There's the new bay window we saw above the sun room. Photo from Realtor site.

The bathroom door has the original Chicago door hardware from Sears. Photo from Realtor site.

The Chicago inside door set reminds me of a clown face. The screws are two eyes, the knob is the big nose, and the lock is the mouth!

The original owners were William K. and Elsa Smith. William, a Danish immigrant, worked as a carpenter and likely built the house. William served as a Wood Dale village commissioner in the early 1930's.

William, Elsa, and their three kids. Public photo from Ancestry.

Another photo from Ancestry shows William, the girls, and his wife's family in front of the Montrose. Wait--what's that behind Grandma's head?

It's the missing closet window! It was likely removed when the aluminum siding was installed.

By 1940, the Smiths had moved to Lake Zurich.