May 11, 2021

The Sears Elsmore: the Best House on the Street

730 S. Washington, Park Ridge. Photo from Realtor site.


The Sears Elsmore, as pictured on the front of the 1914 Modern Homes catalog. "Each time it is built its proud owner acclaims -- 'It's the best house on my street!' "
 


An older photo of the Elsmore in Park Ridge. There are triple windows in the living room, which is a variance from the standard floor plan. The house is also missing the two windows adjacent to the front door. This photo clearly shows the original porch railings. 


This house has some telltale signs that Sears house hunters should be looking for.

First, it has the distinctive pillars that are typically found with Sears homes.



Second, it has stick-design eaves brackets. This bracket style is commonly found on Sears houses.



Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.



Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.



Photo from Realtor site.




Photo from Realtor site.





April 27, 2021

An Oldie in Grayslake

57 Railroad Ave., Grayslake. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Modern Home No. 103, later known as the Lucerne.


The porch has been enclosed and the front door is now on the side.


There is a one-story addition off the back, and the upstairs layout remains unchanged from the original plan. Photo from Realtor site.


Chicago architect Alfred L. Flegel designed the Sears No. 103.


The floor plan shifted with the addition. Photo from Realtor site.


The second story has two decent sized bedrooms and a full  bath.


The enclosed porch. Photo from Realtor site.


The see-through fireplace is new, and the reception hall has been merged with the living room. The staircase is also new. Photo from Realtor site.


The dining room leads to the new kitchen as part of the addition. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


The Sears No. 103 is right in downtown Grayslake. Sears Roebuck began selling homes in 1908, and this home was built between 1908-early 1910. 

In 1910, Grayslake (then called Grays Lake) had a population of 603, but was growing. Gus Schultz, wife Lena, and four kids moved out from Chicago and built the Sears house. Gus owned a barber shop in town.


A 1914 ad advertises Grays Lake as a vacation spot. As a local businessman, Gus is listed as a town booster. The "condensery", the milk plant shown  in the photo, was built in 1912 on the same street as the Schultz house.


Today the 80-foot smoke stack from the factory still remains and has been incorporated into a park. Some people call it: "Grayslake's Hollywood Sign".


Lena died in 1921, and Gus sold the house in 1922 to the Kreuzer family.



April 13, 2021

The Sears Sherburne, an "Architectural Triumph"

4560 Wolf Road, Western Springs. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Sherburne (a.k.a. the No. 187) from the 1913 Modern Homes catalog. The Sherburne as delivered had wood shingle exterior with sections of Stonekote (cement plaster). The foundation and chimney were intended to be cobblestone, but I have only seen Sherburnes with brick.
 


An older view of the house that shows the bumpout for the interior staircase. It also shows the upper-story windows without awnings. Photo from Western Springs by Betsy Green.


The other side of the house that shows the bumpout for the dining room with its distinctive window configuration. Photo from Realtor site.


 Photo from Realtor site.


 Photo from Realtor site.


The same window was shown in the Sears general merchandise catalog.

 

That is a replacement railing. The original Sears woodwork was very elaborate. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


This was originally the dining room; it now serves as a sitting room. Photo from Realtor site.



 
Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


The same bedroom as shown in 1913.


Due to a lack of documentation in Cook County, I do not have much information on the Sherburne in Western Springs. It must have been built before 1924 because that was when Sears discontinued the Sherburne.  In 1920, Wolf Road in Western Springs was just an unpaved dirt street named “East Boulevard.”