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.” 

March 30, 2021

A Sears Auburn with Magical Soil

84 S. Caroline, Crystal Lake.  Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Auburn (a.k.a. No. 3199) from the 1925 Modern Homes catalog.

The Sears Auburn is a rare model because it was sold one year only--1925. This one in Crystal Lake has had the front sunroom moved to the side of the house. 

A better look at the sunroom, which is adjacent to the dining room on the Crystal Lake house. This was likely a modification done by Sears originally. The exposed rafter tails are still visible, even though a bedroom was added on top of the sunroom in subsequent years.  Photo from Realtor site.

A cased opening from the living room led to the sunroom. In the Crystal Lake house, a cased opening leads to the sunroom from the dining room. The double windows that were originally in the dining room have been used in the living room. This was not a substantive change.

Sears called the area on top of the sunroom a "deck". How were people supposed to get out there with no door? Jump out the bedroom window? 

The house features an original front door from Sears, original trim around the windows, and original mantel.  Photo from Realtor site.

This living room is about 18 feet wide--the entire width of the house. A swinging door leads from the dining room to the kitchen.  Photo from Realtor site.

There's the sunroom off to the side. Looks like previous owners converted a closet to a half bath.  Photo from Realtor site.

 Photo from Realtor site.

 Photo from Realtor site.

This is the upstairs master bedroom over the sunroom.  Photo from Realtor site.

The original bedroom has been turned into a sitting area in the master suite. Photo from Realtor site.

Another bedroom, with original Sears doors and door hardware. The Auburn has three bedrooms total. Photo from Realtor site.

The Sears Auburn in Crystal Lake is authenticated. Herman J. Dornbrush took out a mortgage from Sears in July 1925. The house was constructed that fall, and Herman sold it to George and Christiana Wagner in December 1925.

The Wagners had moved from Chicago to Crystal Lake. George was the proprietor of the Wagner Dairy in Crystal Lake.

George also enjoyed gardening as a hobby. He grew flowers and vegetables in his yard, among other things.

Article from 1928.

Article from 1930.

Perhaps peanuts and cotton can still grow in the magical soil in George's garden? 

George died in 1935.

March 16, 2021

A Sears House Tycoon in Aurora

In 1928, George E. Barnes bought not one, but two Sears houses to build on either side of his existing house in Aurora.  

One house, a Sears Fullerton, was built as a rental. The other, a Sears Crescent, was built for George's daughter and her new husband.

A Sears Fullerton at 807 W. New York St., Aurora. Photo from Realtor site.

Sears Fullerton.

Photo from Realtor site.

The Sears Fullerton cost $6,000 in 1928.  The Fullerton is known for its tapered brick piers supporting the porch and the dwarf columns. There are wood shingles on the attic dormer and exposed rafters in the roof eaves.

Photo from Realtor site.

The living room. Photo from Realtor site.

Closer look at the telephone stand and coat closet. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Original tub from Sears. Photo from Realtor site.

George also purchased a Sears Crescent. (George had a good job as a butter maker/foreman at the Aurora Dairy Company.) He gave the house to his daughter Ola and her husband Donald Reed.

The three houses share a backyard. New York St. used to be known as Walnut St.

Ola's house at 108 N. Lancaster Ave., Aurora. Capture from Google Streetview.

Sears Crescent.

The Crescent in Aurora is a perfect match to the catalog illustration almost 100 years after it was built. It has the original pediment and columns. Original multi-pane wood windows and sidelights around the front door remain. If you look closely, you can see the original medallion above the front door.

Previous owners found stamped lumber in the basement and “Sears” stamps under the plaster.