August 4, 2020

A Gracious Sears Verona in Winnetka

Sears Verona in Winnetka @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
860 Summit St., Winnetka.


Sears Verona from the 1921 Modern Homes catalog @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Sears Verona from the 1921 Modern Homes catalog.


Sears Verona in Winnetka @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland


  

The Sears Verona is a Modern Dutch Revival that Sears sold from 1918 to 1928. The early Veronas had a bay window on the second floor. About 1924, Sears changed the exterior to have a single window in lieu of the bay window. That detail can give you an indication when the house was built.

This Verona in Winnetka is an early one, and the building permit for the house was issued in 1921.


As reported in American Contractor, April 1921. Sears & Roebuck is listed as the architect, enabling us to authenticate the Verona.  $7,500 was higher than the typical cost for new construction at the time.



Jacob Sterling Halstead and his wife Marcella moved into the Sears Verona in 1921.

Jacob was one of the first aviators for the U.S. Navy (his official designation was "Naval Aviator [No.] 160"). He served as an officer during WWI and was discharged in 1918. 

Jacob married Marcella that year and started Harvard Law School. In 1920 he took a job as an attorney in Chicago and the couple settled in Winnetka.

The Halsteads lived in the Verona until about 1925. They moved to Manhattan, and Jacob worked as a corporate lawyer until his retirement in 1960.



Sears Verona interiors @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Verona in Winnetka has not been for sale in decades. This is what the living room looked like originally.








July 21, 2020

In Villa Park, a Sears Brookwood?

435 N. Yale, Villa Park. Photo from Realtor site.


The Brookwood from Sears Roebuck.


This house in Villa Park certainly looks like a Sears Brookwood. The floor plan perfectly matches that of the Brookwood. The owner believes the house was purchased from Sears Roebuck. So what's the problem?

This "Sears Brookwood" was sold by Montgomery Ward.


Wards mimicked many of the Brookwood's details, from the projected entrance to the flat-top dormer. There's a family room addition on the back that is not visible from the street. Photo from Realtor site.



You won't find this house in any Wardway Homes catalog.  Montgomery Ward custom designed a lookalike to the Sears house for its customer, Leo J. Dingman.

Bottom line: Montgomery Ward wanted to sell as many homes as they could. Even if the home wasn't one of theirs.

This was not the only instance when a kit house company built another company's model. Both Sears and Wards built each other's houses.


Living room and front vestibule. Photo from Realtor site.


The staircase for the Brookwood is in the back of the house. Photo from Realtor site.



Dining room. Photo from Realtor site.

 
Photo from Realtor site.


The Brookwood had three bedrooms. This is the one above the front door. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


The built-in linen closet. Photo from Realtor site.





July 7, 2020

The Disappearing Sears Dundees

The Sears Dundee was a small, affordable bungalow that was sold 1920-1930. As was the Sears approach, the architects tried to add style with an ornamental porch, decorative railings, and brick porch piers. The charming little trellis on the side was also included.

Sears Dundee from the 1928 Modern Homes catalog @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Sears Dundee from the 1928 Modern Homes catalog. In the early years, the Dundee did not have a bathroom, but by 1928 it was included as more square footage was added to the house.


Floor plan of the Sears Dundee @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The later floor plan with the bathroom.


We don't have many Dundees in the Chicago area, and there are not many to be found nationwide either. Clearly the house was a strong seller since Sears offered it for 10 years. I suspect that the little bungalows are disappearing over time and are being replaced by larger homes.

Sears Dundee in Aurora @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
807 Iowa Ave., Aurora. This Dundee was built in the summer of 1926 and was financed by Sears Roebuck. The house still has the non-functional third brick pier. Another feature that indicates a Dundee is the horizontal attic windows on the sides of the house. Photo from Realtor site.


Property
Rear view of the Dundee. If the house has not been added onto, this is another unique identifier. Photo from Realtor site.




Sears Dundee in Oak Forest @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
5109 W. 155th St., Oak Forest. This Dundee still has the ornamental porch.



Sears Dundee in Elgin @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
631 Keep, Elgin. This Dundee was built in 1927 and was financed by Sears Roebuck. Photo from Realtor site.



631 Keep Ave, ELGIN, IL 60120
Photo from Realtor site.





Sears Dundee in Glenview @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
657 Harmony Lane, Glenview.  Ouch!  Photo from Realtor site.




Sears Dundee in Glenview @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Google Streetview shows the Dundee in Glenview a few years ago when it had the original scalloping detail on the porch.