There is a Sears Americus currently for sale in Lafayette, Indiana, that comes with the original blueprints, materials lists, and correspondence from Sears. Thanks to homeowner Ryan Russell and his girlfriend Gene Ann Fausett, I am able to share this rare documentation with you!
Let's start with the house itself. (All photos courtesy of Ryan Russell.)
|A twilight shot of 23 N 19th St, Lafayette, Indiana.|
|The Sears Americus.|
The house in Lafayette has a reversed floor plan from the catalog image. Typically, Sears would not charge extra to provide reversed plans.
Previous owners installed the aluminium siding and removed the decorative rafter tails.
|The original Sears porch supports are intact. A previous owner had installed a wrought iron railing. Ryan and Gene Ann recreated the decorative wood railing from blueprints they found.|
|When Gene Ann was stripping old paint from the porch supports, she found that they were stamped with an alphanumeric code by Sears.|
|The front door. |
|The living room. That's the coat closet to the left of the staircase.|
|More marked lumber under the basement stairs.|
Ryan and Gene Ann have two sets of blueprints. Since the floor plan was reversed, the Sears Modern Homes Department sent both a standard set and a reversed set.
|Shot of the blueprints. You'll notice that someone drew X's through the flower boxes!|
|Who was D.M. who drew the Americus plans in 1920? I suspect it might be David Mahaffey, a Chicago architect.|
Harvey purchased the house in February 1922 and he married wife Freda in May of that year.
|Page two of the letter. Sears warns not to cut any material marked as "Ready Cut"!|
|Cover of the bill of materials.|
|The summary of the materials and the total price: $2359.50.|
|A more comprehensive list. Note that the lumber wasn't ready cut. Maybe Harvey did this to keep the costs down. Note the flower boxes crossed out on this sheet. Harvey was anti-flower.|
After 30 years of marriage, Harvey died in 1952. Freda continued to live in the house until 1955. Ryan is only the third owner of the Americus, and he's been there since 2003.
All the paperwork and blueprints have been stored away while the house is being shown to buyers.
The house is under contract.