July 28, 2015

A Custom Sears House in Glencoe

If none of the homes in the Sears Modern Homes catalog caught your eye, you could have Sears design you a custom model.

In 1931 a building permit was filed with the Village of Glencoe for a custom-designed Sears house on Monroe Street.

510 Monroe Street, Glencoe.

The building permit from April 1931. Scan courtesy of the Village of Glencoe (Nathan J. Parch).

The building permit states that the architect was Norman N. Kandl (on the second page of the permit, it states that Kandl worked for Sears Roebuck). The general contractor was Sears Roebuck & Co.

July 21, 2015

Kit House Serendipity

A few weeks ago, I was driving around with researchers Andrew and Wendy Mutch to show them kit houses on the northwest side of Chicago.

We drove down Ibsen Street to see this plan book house from Home Builders Catalog.

7312 W. Ibsen St., Chicago.

The Danbury from Home Builders Catalog.

The dormer upstairs was enlarged from that shown in the catalog illustration. Because the original owners merely purchased the blueprints from Home Builders Catalog and not a whole kit, alterations to the original design were easy to make.

The house was built in 1928 or 1929. The original owners were Merton O. Jones, his wife, Ethel, and their baby. Merton worked at the Federal Reserve Bank. The house cost about $12,500 to build. By 1935 they were renting elsewhere in the Edison Park neighborhood.

Now for the serendipitous part of the story. We continued to drive down Ibsen and stumbled across this pretty Gordon-Van Tine Patrician model in brick veneer that I never noticed before.

7211 W. Ibsen St., Chicago.

The Gordon-Van Tine Patrician in brick veneer, from the 1931 catalog.


The door is rectangular but the arch is still there!

Gordon-Van Tine and Montgomery Ward sold the same house models. The Patrician was also sold by Wards and called the Newport.

The Montgomery Ward Newport.

This Patrician/Newport was built around 1930-1931. The original owners were Ward W. Rowe and his new bride, Dorothy. He worked in sales for the Messenger Paper Company. The house cost roughly $12,000 to build. (Ward hailed from Davenport, Iowa where Gordon-Van Tine was headquartered, so I suspect this house is a Patrician.) The Rowes listed the house for sale in fall of 1940.

July 14, 2015

Sears Newark in Gurnee

801 Rogers Road, Gurnee. Photo courtesy of Realtor site.

Sears Newark.

The Sears Newark was an English Colonial. The Newark in Gurnee has a reversed floor plan. Additionally, the house has lost many of the original details such as the ornamentation (trophies!) above the front door, the original shutters, and the diamond muntin window on the second floor.

Photo courtesy of the Lake County Assessor.

Sears featured the Newark in only three catalogs: 1929, 1930 and 1933. I couldn't find the house on the 1930 census, so we can go with the year the county says the house was built--1932.

The exterior dimensions match those of the Sears Newark.

The original plans called for a telephone nook next to the stairs. The original owners wisely used the space for a closet. That's an original Sears door with La Tosca hardware. Photo courtesy of Realtor site.

July 7, 2015

A Perfect Sears Belmont in Alaska

 541 Pine St. Ketchikan, AK. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sears Belmont.

The Sears Modern Homes catalogs refer to sales across the United States and the Territory of Alaska. Here's a perfect example of a Sears Belmont in Ketchikan, Alaska. I believe this is the only Sears house ever identified in Alaska!

The Walker-Broderick House, as it is known, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  According to local lore, the house was built between 1916 and 1920 for pharmacist Norman R. "Doc" Walker (which corresponds to the years in which Sears sold the Belmont).
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