July 2, 2018

A Brand New Sears Lorain in Oregon

I am often asked whether anyone is building Sears houses today. The answer is yes! Developers often use the old Sears models as inspiration for new construction. 

I recently came across another example in Oregon--a Sears Lorain built in 2007.

540 NW Forest St., Hillsboro, OR. Photo from Realtor site. 

Sears Lorain from the 1930 Modern Homes catalog.


The Sears Lorain is a Colonial that is easily recognizable with its arched dormer and arched portico. 


In the 1930 Modern Homes catalog, the writers introduced the Lorain with an incomprehensible run-on sentence. If anyone can explain what this means in English, please leave a comment.




Ad for the Sears Lorain in the Sears 1930 merchandise catalog. $35 per month! I suspect the new Lorain in Oregon was slightly more expensive.



The new house does not follow the Lorain's floor plan. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


There's the arched window in the dormer. The light fixture mimics the ones produced in the 1930's. Photo from Realtor site.


The builder added some olde tyme design elements to the bathroom. Photo from Realtor site.








June 19, 2018

An Actual Sears Roebuck House in Morton Grove

There has been one key lesson I have learned since I started researching Sears houses. Local lore is almost always wrong. When the neighbors report that a house is from Sears, it almost invariably is not. There are several reasons why people get confused, and unfortunately, once misinformation about a house has been put out there, it's impossible to correct.

Many residents of Morton Grove believe that some houses on Callie Avenue are from Sears Roebuck. None of them match Sears models, but the story is that they have been "modified".

Ironically, if people looked a couple blocks away, they would see an actual Sears house--right off Dempster Street.

8737 Narragansett Ave., Morton Grove. Sorry, I couldn't navigate around that sign.


Sears Garfield from the 1929 Modern Homes catalog.


The Sears Garfield in Morton Grove has had its porch enclosed and an addition put on the back, but it is still a close match to the catalog illustration.

The Garfield is a two-flat. Sears offered a few multi-family houses for people who wanted rental income. There were two private entrances--one door on the right side of the house (the door you can see in the photo), and another door is likely hiding behind the enclosed porch.



The entrance to the first floor unit is in the middle of the building, and the entrance to the second floor unit is on the right side.




This was originally the door to the upstairs unit. 


The second floor unit. Both the upstairs and downstairs units had five rooms. There was also a rear staircase that led to both kitchens.




The Sears Garfield was almost certainly named after Garfield Boulevard or Garfield Park. (Sears named the vast majority of their models after things in Chicago.) It is an uncommon model. Only three have been found in Illinois--this one in Morton Grove, one in Elgin, and one in Barrington.

The original owners were Anton and Elizabeth Schottluetner. They were immigrants from Grabow, Germany, who moved into the Garfield between 1926 and 1928. Anton was an automobile mechanic.







June 11, 2018

A Restored Sears Elsmore in Joliet

According to the National Database of Sears Homes, Joliet has 62 Sears houses--an impressive total! One of the nicest Sears houses in Joliet is an authenticated Elsmore model on Midland Avenue.

318 S. Midland Ave., Joliet. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Elsmore.


The window layout differs slightly from the floor plan. Photo from Realtor site.


The Elsmore had evenly spaced front windows as delivered. The Elsmore in Joliet has a double window to the right of the front door.


Let's go in! Photo from Realtor site.


The front door leads directly into the living room. Wood ceilings are not original. Photo from Realtor site.


The Elsmore originally had bookcases flanking the fireplace. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


A breakfast room was added off the kitchen. Photo from Realtor site.


The front bedroom is now an office. Photo from Realtor site.


The back bedroom. Photo from Realtor site.


The attic has been converted into a master suite. Photo from Realtor site.


Master bath. Photo from Realtor site.




The county says that the Elsmore was built in 1924, but the current owner was told it was built in 1926. Sears sold the house in both years.

The owner found shipping labels from Sears on the woodwork in the house.

For photos before and after the renovations, please check out Lou Lou's Attic.








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