January 16, 2017

Sears Houses in Cary

Cary has two authenticated Sears houses side-by-side on East Main Street. They also have three authenticated Sears houses where we know the addresses, but they remain unidentified nonetheless. Maybe you can solve this mystery.

The Main Street Sears Houses
Let's see the two Sears houses on Main Street first.

138 E. Main St., Cary.

Sears Concord.

First up is a Sears Concord. I realize the house doesn't precisely match the catalog illustration, but Sears often customized the split level homes of the early 1930's--adding and removing dormers, making the houses extra wide, adding bay windows, moving the fireplaces.

Mayme and Leonard Parker received the mortgage from Sears Roebuck in December 1932. They paid $10,000 for the house. Leonard was a factory manager. They moved out around 1942.

January 3, 2017

Introducing the Sears Malden

Sears first sold the Sears Malden in 1939. It is one of the "Rare 10"--the 10 new models presented in the 1939 Modern Homes catalog that are seldom seen today. Only a handful of these houses have been located nationwide.

Reader Michael Montana contacted me on the Sears Homes of Chicagoland Facebook page. He said he owned a Sears Malden in Rockford. This was a big announcement, since no Sears Maldens had been identified before!

1720 Old Wood Road, Rockford. Photo courtesy of Michael Montana.

The Sears Malden from the 1940 Modern Homes catalog. A perfect match down to the front door trim. Scan from Sears Archives.

December 13, 2016

The Top 5 Articles of 2016

Once again the holiday season is approaching and with it, the end of another year. It's time to reveal our top 5 most popular articles of 2016 and what you, the readers, enjoyed most.

Five Most Viewed Articles

1    The Sears Homes of Lombard -- This article blew up my website. People in Lombard sure are proud of their historic kit homes!

2    When is a Sears House Not a Sears House? -- "Franken-houses" are kit house models from one company that were built by another. This article included a house in Lombard so that may explain the popularity!

3    The Sears Westly--a Home Built Everywhere -- The Sears Westly is a house found all over the Chicago suburbs. It looks like a dollhouse to me. Is there one in your neighborhood?

4    The Prettiest Sears Lynnhaven -- Barrington has many lovely kit houses but I really like this one (and apparently the readers do too). Check back here in 2017 for more Barrington homes!

5   The Spanish Craze That Swept the Country -- "Over the whole country Spanish architecture has cast its spell." During the 1920's, the popularity of Spanish Revival architecture peaked, and the kit house manufacturers embraced the trend.

We invite you to join us in 2017 and see even more Sears homes in Chicagoland. Happy Holidays!

A Sears Vallonia in full winter regalia. Photo from Pinterest.

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

December 1, 2016

We've Come a Long Way, Baby

In a post from the beginning of the decade, author Rosemary Thornton (in a now-defunct blog) compiled a list of the Sears models that had never been seen anywhere before.

Six years later, many of those previously unseen models have been located. This vast progress in finding Sears homes can be attributed to one simple thing: Collaboration.

In the last few years, researchers nationwide have begun working together to share information, search mortgage records, and wade through hundreds of old news articles and classified ads. When Rosemary compiled her list years ago, some of those rare models had already been identified by other researchers, but she was not privy to that knowledge. Thankfully, the days of researchers working independently and in isolation are over.

Let's take a look at a couple of the previously unseen models in the Chicago area that have recently been added to the National Database of Sears Homes.  In the last year, we added over 4,000 homes to the database--maybe some are in your town!

Sears Auburn. 84 S. Caroline, Crystal Lake. Authenticated with a mortgage record.  The Auburn was sold for only one year, which is why none have been located to date except this one.
Sears Auburn.
Sears Oxford. 217 North Ave., Highwood. Authenticated with a mortgage record.  The Oxford was sold only during the Great Depression, which is why none have been located to date except this one.
Sears Oxford. Scan courtesy of Antique Home.

More New Discoveries (too many to list in entirety)
Sears Birmingham (two found by Andrew Mutch, mining mortgage records)
Sears Cambridge (three found by Andrew Mutch)
Sears Gateshead (two found by Andrew Mutch)
Sears Marquette (first one found in Wisconsin)
Sears Rockhurst (several in Ohio found by Cindy Catanzaro)

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