September 22, 2012

Sears Crescent in Des Plaines

I spotted this Sears Crescent just south of downtown Des Plaines and, as it turns out, it is an authenticated Sears home from 1928.

1670 Whitcomb, Des Plaines. Photo from Realtor site.

The sidelights and front windows have been replaced, but the original medallion is still in its spot above the front door. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

The kitchen has been extended and new family room added. Photo from Realtor site.

The front bedroom. Photo from Realtor site.

The rear bedroom. Photo from Realtor site.

A master suite has been added on the second floor, which originally was unfinished. Photo from Realtor site.

A sensitive, huge rear addition that cannot be seen from the street. Photo from Realtor site.

I believe the original owners were Gilbert W. Friese and his wife Louisa. They were newlyweds when they moved into the house. Gilbert was a building contractor.

I exchanged emails with Diane Anderson who owned the house through most of the 1980's. She wrote:
"When we bought it the front of the house had the original windows and sidelights (they have been replaced in your photo), woodwork, glass doorknobs and hardware.  It was truly a gem and we always loved showing people the numbered rafters and joists in the basement.  It has an 9' English basement and not many old homes can boast that.
"We were told it was floated up the Des Plaines River by barge and then transported 2 blocks to the property. It was built in either 1928 or 1929. We took many steps to return the home to its original beauty including spending two years burning every inch of paint of the entire house and repainting it (white).  We also stripped the oak floors.  We found out later that the floors in the kitchen were not oak but maple.  I wonder if that was usual?  [Solid maple floors in the kitchen were very common in Sears houses. Ed.]  Before we moved we added a master suite to the unfinished second floor.
"When we first moved in the heat was provided by an old converted coal burning monster that was made of cast iron.  It had big round ducts running out of it and up to each room.  it was referred to as an octopus style.  The brand was Hercules. Shortly after [moving in] we started getting headaches and found out Old Hercules had several cracks which were leaking carbon monoxide.  We had it torn out and replaced it with a new furnace and modern ductwork."

The Hercules "octopus" furnace, from the 1930 catalog.

In the early 1980's, there were no reference books about Sears kit homes. Diane's father happened to work for Sears corporate and was able to use their archives to identify the house as a Crescent.

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