May 10, 2016

Sears Homes Really ARE Indestructible

Ask any home inspector and they will rave about the quality of the houses from Sears Roebuck. I have heard the word "indestructible" used more than once.

Now, thanks to a Sears house in Deerfield, we can prove that supposition.

814 N. Spruce, Deerfield. Photo from Realtor site.

Sears Colchester.
The house in Deerfield is not a Sears Colchester, but it was purchased from Sears and is definitely based on that model.  Both houses are the same English Tudor style, and they both share the same front entrance, fireplace chimney, and the projecting gable of the dining room.

But the house in Deerfield is super-sized.  On the left extension, it  has an eyebrow window, which I've only seen on one other Sears house.

Rather than the stucco, stone, and red brick facade of the Colchester, the house in Deerfield has yellow brick and limestone.

Another angle from the Lake County Assessor. A cute house on a huge lot.

The original owners were Charles C. and Laura Kapschull. They took out a mortgage from Sears for $7050 in October 1932 for this customized model. Charles was a general contractor with the firm Kapschull-Davis Co., Inc.

On May 8, 1937, in the early morning hours, a dynamite bomb exploded on the front porch of the Kapschull house. According to the Chicago Tribune, the explosion threw Charles and Laura and their children out of their beds and showered them with falling plaster. The explosion was heard all over the North Shore.

No one was injured, thanks to the sturdy Sears house .The explosion wrecked the front porch, demolished the front of the house, shattered 20 windows, and loosened plaster and the foundation. The repairs were estimated to be a whopping $3,000-$5,000. Other homes on the block were damaged as well.

When the sheriffs arrived at the house, Charles was outside "raging, a gun in each hand", according to the Trib.

Laura told the sheriff that the culprit was likely Jake Eissler, a former employee of Kapschull-Davis and an expert dynamiter. Kapschull's firm was building a state road by Eissler's house, and Eissler threatened Kapschull and told him that he would never complete the road.

Eissler confessed to the bombing, and said that he set six sticks of dynamite on the front porch. He was sentenced from 1-20 years in the Joliet Penitentiary.

The End
Despite the fact that six sticks of dynamite couldn't bring it down, this custom Sears home was not truly indestructible. It was demolished in 2014, putting and end to this story. The Kapschull's house will be replaced by new construction.


SearsHouseSeeker said...

I like it in yellow brick and limestone. What a shame it was demolished, and what a story!
I have two eyebrow windows on a customized Sears house in the St. Louis area. Blog post to come soon :)

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

It was the "eyebrow upgrade".

Unknown said...

That was my fathers house. He was one of the children sleeping in the home. So crazy! I wonder where I can find the original article ?

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Hi, Jennifer! The article I screenshotted from the Trib is here, but there were a few others written about the event as well.

Unknown said...

We looked at this house but ended up buying another. It needed a lot of work but I wished I had bought it because I wouldn't have torn it down.

Amanda said...

Curious to know if the S-shaped design on the chimney is an indication it is a Sears home.

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Hi Amanda! The S has nothing to do with Sears.

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