January 13, 2012

What's a Sears Home Anyway? (in a nutshell)

From 1915 to 1942, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 65,000 ready-to-build kit homes through mail order. Sears sold 370 different house designs through their Modern Homes catalogs--some of which could be purchased for as low as $15 per month. This price included the plans and most materials including the pre-cut wood, paint, shingles, and nails.

Sears typically sent all the components to the customer by train, which is why Sears homes were usually built near railroad tracks since the buyers had to unload the materials and transport them to the home site. Some buyers built the homes by themselves, and others paid contractors to do it.

Sears kit homes can be found all over the United States.  No one knows exactly where all the 65,000 Sears homes were built since Sears destroyed their sales records. Most are still undiscovered. The largest known group of Sears homes in Illinois is in Elgin (more than 200).

There is a veritable treasure trove of Sears homes waiting to be discovered. 

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