October 6, 2015

One More Kit House to Add to Aurora's List

Aurora has loads of kit houses, many of them authenticated through mortgage records. To date, I haven't featured any homes from Aurora on this website, because I don't see the point in writing about kit houses that are already well known and documented

Today I'm going to show a kit house in Aurora that I haven't seen mentioned before. I noticed it in a real estate listing.

842 Spruce, Aurora. Photo courtesy of Steve Solonickne.

Gordon-Van Tine Oriole from the 1931 catalog. Scan courtesy of Daily Bungalow.

The Gordon-Van Tine Oriole looks much like the Montgomery Ward Kenwood, which Gordon-Van Tine also produced. There are exterior differences that lead me to believe this house in Aurora is an Oriole, such as the detail on the front vestibule and window arrangement.

September 29, 2015

Possibly the Only Sears Norwood in Illinois

The Sears Norwood was only 16' wide and designed for narrow city lots. The only Norwoods that have ever been located are in Cincinnati... and this one in Oak Park.

1034 S. Elmwood, Oak Park.

Sears Norwood.

This Sears Norwood in Oak Park was built in 1922.  The house is a genuine Sears kit; the building permit has the architect recorded as "Sears, Roebuck & Company". Although the house now has vinyl siding and replacement windows, the original gable ornament remains.

September 22, 2015

The Sears Whitehall--Not Your Everyday Kit House

The Whitehall is an American Foursquare that was sold by Sears for over a decade. Sadly, there are only a few Whitehalls left in the Chicago area.  

Lake Forest
Researcher Cindy Catanzaro recently was in the Chicago area, and we did a super-fast tour of Lake Forest, on a hunt for Sears houses. Our big discovery was a Sears Whitehall.

1203 Griffith Road, Lake Forest.

Sears Whitehall from the 1922 Modern Homes catalog.

September 15, 2015

A Triple Threat in Downers Grove

Gilbert Avenue in Downers Grove runs next to the train tracks. There are three good examples of kit house models on Gilbert Avenue--one a popular modest bungalow, one a California-style bungalow, and one a stately Colonial.

The Popular Modest Bungalow 

1244 Gilbert Ave., Downers Grove. Photo courtesy of Sue Smith.

Sears Starlight.

The Sears Starlight is our first stop on Gilbert Avenue. The Starlight was arguably the most popular model Sears ever offered--it was sold for 21 consecutive years.

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