February 6, 2012

A Tragically Disfigured Montgomery Ward Mail-Order Home

I was reading a book on the history of Arlington Heights called "Chronicle of a Prairie Town" which was commissioned by the local historical society. In it, I was surprised to see the address of a confirmed Montgomery Ward catalog home in the village that had been "extensively remodeled". I had recently driven down that particular block because there is a Sears home on it as well as a catalog home from Gordon-Van Tine. How could I have missed this house?

So I did a drive-by and this is what I saw.

I will withhold the address but will say that the home is in south Arlington Heights.

The house was built around 1930 and at some point it underwent an insensitive remodeling. I cannot even speculate what Wardway model it might have been originally since the house has been completely disfigured.

I can't understand how someone could take a cute kit home and turn it into this. However, this example shows how important it is that people are made aware of kit homes in our area and how special they are. These homes should be treasured and preserved.

What is interesting is that the front door might give a clue to the house's origin as a Wardway home. Often the Wardway models had "mock" arched doors. That is, the door was rectangular but had a wooden semicircle placed above it to give the appearance of an arched door. You can see this setup with the house's current door.

Here is a comparison of the mock arched door on a Wardway house and the house in Arlington Heights. They certainly look similar.

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