April 18, 2017

Another of the "Rare 10"--the Sears Lynn

The 10 new models introduced in the 1939 Sears Modern Homes catalog are difficult to identify, due to their nondescript styling. Some of these "Rare 10" models have never been seen before--one of these is the Sears Lynn.

The Sears Lynn from the 1939 Modern Homes catalog. Scan from The Arts & Crafts Society.


"More than often simplicity means good taste." Sears used this phrase to describe the Sears Lynn. This simplicity is what makes the house so tough to identify out in the wild. 

The Minimal Traditional housing style gained traction in the 1930's and stayed popular until the early 1950's. There are entire neighborhoods filled with houses that resemble the Sears Lynn.

Sears Homes of Chicagoland reader Jill Grusak contacted me about her authenticated Sears Lynn in Highland, Indiana. Authentication is the only way to ensure that a Minimal Traditional house is actually from Sears.


8935 Richard, Highland, IN. Photo from Realtor site.



This Lynn has been through a lot of changes over the years--at one time it was even a two-flat. The front door was moved at build time to the side (so the window added to the front is now in the vestibule). According to Jill, "Our porch was enclosed and the attic is finished with a dormer up front. We also have an enclosed outside staircase from when this was a two flat." 

April 4, 2017

The Real Deal: An Authenticated Sears Yates in Kankakee

The Sears Yates was sold from 1939-1942.  To date, only eight have been identified. One of them is in the Chicagoland area--Kankakee to be precise.

The Yates in Kankakee is authenticated, that is, proven to be from Sears Roebuck. The owner has the original blueprints, and those blueprints can provide much information about the history of the house.

675 S McKinley Ave., Kankakee. Photo from Realtor site.

Sears Yates.

Blueprints for the Yates in Kankakee. Front elevation, right side elevation, and the flower box detail. Photo courtesy of Joseph Cash.

March 21, 2017

Buying a Sears House in 1935

In the summer of 1935, Albert and Lila Schmidt were a young married couple in their 20's. Their son, Duane, had just turned one. The Schmidts were renting an apartment in DeKalb, but wanted a house of their own in which to raise their boy. Albert had a stable job as a driver of an oil truck and they felt the time was right to make the leap into home ownership.

Early in the summer, the Schmidts were visited by Ellwood H. May, the district manager of the Sears Modern Homes Division in Rockford. DeKalb was in May's sales territory, and he was there often meeting with prospective customers and knocking on doors.

After meeting with May, the Schmidts studied the Sears Modern Homes catalog to learn more about the available models and the process of working with Sears to build a new house.

The 1935 Modern Homes catalog that the Schmidts read through. Scan courtesy of Antique Home.

March 7, 2017

Sears No. 124 in Crystal Lake

40 Pomeroy, Crystal Lake.

Sears model No. 124.

Closer view that shows the decorative stone veneer on the foundation. The foundation is actually concrete block. Sears specified that you could use any material for the foundations.

This house in Crystal Lake is a Sears Roebuck model No 124. In the early days Sears didn't have names for its houses--just model numbers. 

The local historic society has plaqued this No. 124, and previous owners found a shipping label from Sears that authenticates the house. 
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