September 15, 2020

It was a Perfectly Good Entrance

Montgomery Ward Maywood @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
1404 N. River Rd., McHenry.



Montgomery Ward Maywood @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Montgomery Ward Maywood.


I have to admit, I have never seen a house with an entry gable that has had its front door removed. It looks like someone photoshopped it out. They even removed the window adjacent to the door. 


Montgomery Ward Maywood @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
There's the new front door, which puts visitors directly into the living room. Capture from Google Streetview.


Homeowners move front doors for a variety of reasons, but I don't understand the benefit to moving this particular door. The only reason I can come up with is that the owners wanted easier access to the driveway, and so the side door now leads directly into the living room. That still does not explain why they didn't they leave the original front door intact.



Montgomery Ward Maywood @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Floor plan of the Maywood.


Montgomery Ward Maywood @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Interior illustrations of the Maywood. The drawing on the far right shows where the front door is on the McHenry house.



This Maywood is authenticated. Montgomery Ward gave a mortgage to Everett Hunter, Sr. in October 1930.  Hunter owned the Hunterville Park subdivision in which the house was built. Hunterville Park had the last riverfront properties still available on the Fox River in 1930.

Hunter also was the owner of the Everett Hunter Boat Company, a manufacturer. The company offered boat excursions in the summer to see the blooming lotus beds that blanketed Grass Lake. Thousands of tourists would come to see them. 



The Gladene, one of the Hunter Boat Company's excursion boats.



The lotus beds on Grass Lake. These plants were almost completely gone by the 1940's due to boaters on the lake. Today the lotus flowers are coming back thanks to preservation efforts.


September 1, 2020

Melrose Places

Let me introduce you to the Sears Melrose. Sears Roebuck sold it from 1929-1931, and yet there are only two known to be in the Chicago area.


Sears Melrose @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Sears Melrose. Price (if financed through Sears Roebuck) $30 to $40 per month. Sounds good to me!


It's a Colonial bungalow, with a formal pediment around the front door. There is a lunette window above. As was typical for Sears, they took a basic bungalow and added elements that made the house very attractive to buyers.


Sears Melrose @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Unusual for a Sears design, the kitchen is towards the front of the house (as are the basement stairs!). It makes me crazy when bedrooms are in the front of the house facing the street. With the Melrose, the bedrooms are facing the backyard. I haven't uncovered any information that indicates who the architect was.



So... where are the houses in the Chicago area? There's one in the south suburbs and one in the north suburbs.

Calumet City

Sears Melrose @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
1437 Kenilworth Ave Calumet City, located by Andrew Mutch. Capture from Google Streetview.

 
Sears Melrose @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland


This Melrose in Calumet City has had some minor changes, but the basement door adjacent to the front door is the dead giveaway.

Libertyville

Sears Melrose @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
220 Appley, Libertyville. This Melrose has been reversed. Photo from Realtor site.


The windows for the two rear bedrooms. Photo from Realtor site.




The living room, with the front vestibule on the left side. Photo from Realtor site.




Photo from Realtor site.




Swinging door from the dining room to the kitchen. Photo from Realtor site.




The kitchen. That tiny window faces the front of the house. Photo from Realtor site.




Photo from Realtor site.




Photo from Realtor site.




Photo from Realtor site.



This Melrose is authenticated. In April 1931, Henry M. Mesenbrink got a mortgage from Sears Roebuck for $3,700.  Henry worked for the Foulds Milling Co in Libertyville, which made macaroni, spaghetti and noodles.


The Foulds plant. Photo from the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.



August 18, 2020

A Sears Ardara in Bloomingdale

How many Sears houses are in Bloomingdale?

We have located several through historic records, but all have been demolished. There is a Sears Starlight still standing on Bloomingdale Road.

I believe this might be a second Sears house in town--a Sears Ardara.

Sears Ardara @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
128 1st St., Bloomingdale. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Ardara @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Sears Ardara. The house is unmistakable with the arched portico with Doric columns and matching trellises. It gets much harder to identify when those features are removed.


Sears Ardara @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The side of the main house looks like a match. The dining room windows were replaced with a bay window. There is a large addition in the rear, and the second story is now finished living space. The six-room Colonial Bungalow is now a four-bedroom house with 2,600 square feet. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Ardara @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Ardara floor plan. The house in Bloomingdale is reversed.



Sears Ardara @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The interior view of the Ardara, from the 1923 Modern Homes catalog. The attached garage was offered standard with the house beginning in 1919, when there were only 7.5 million cars registered in the U.S.



Photo from Realtor site.


That nook is the music room, according to the floor plan.  Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.




Photo from Realtor site.



The bay window was a triple window originally. Those two doorways lead to a kitchen and a hallway, just as on the original floor plan. Photo from Realtor site.



The basement steps were moved in the remodel. Photo from Realtor site.



The kitchen was enlarged. Photo from Realtor site.


New family room. Photo from Realtor site.


One of the upstairs bedrooms in the finished attic. Photo from Realtor site.


Full finished basement too.  Photo from Realtor site.


The Ardara in Bloomingdale first shows up in the tax records in 1924. So it was likely built that year, possibly 1923. The original owners were Logan and Selda Reynolds.