May 2, 2017

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

730 E. Downer, Aurora.

Sears Modern Home No. 126.

This poor, neglected Sears No. 126 is located in Aurora and was built in 1908-1909.

It still has the original windows that Sears described as "Queen Anne style" and possibly the original front door as well. Can you imagine how charming it would look fixed up with all the garbage removed? Let me help you picture it...

Another Sears No. 126 at 745 Atalanta, Webster Groves, MO. To date, there have been 11 Sears No. 126 houses located nationwide. Photo from Realtor site.

Sears sold the No. 126 from 1908-1914. It has an interesting layout for such a compact house.

A spacious reception hall leads into a 27' living room. Sears said that the large room was meant to serve as a combination living room/dining room, although it was not marked as such on the floor plan. The bathroom is located between the two bedrooms. Each bedroom has a corner closet to make the sides of the rooms symmetrical. The kitchen is decent sized for the time at 11' x 13'6".

In the Modern Homes catalogs, Sears listed the cities in which the No. 126 was built. Aurora was one of those cities listed, and this was likely the actual house.

The original owners were Michael P. and Lena Schiltz.  Michael was a sheet metal worker (a.k.a. a "tinner"). The Schiltz's lived in the house until 1913 when they sold to Henry and Mary Dissell.


Sharid57 said...

Have always been curious about the purpose for the "trapdoor" in the kitchen floor! This isn't the only really old Sears kit home that I have seen one in, I think, anyway, that has one, but their purpose was never explained. Mostly it was just "passed off" as if its purpose was obvious, and didn't require any explanation or recognition. Well, I was born in 1957, not 1857, so it might be nice just to know, if for no other reason!

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

I've seen these in old houses too. I just assumed they were basement entries. Maybe a root cellar? Maybe a hidden stop on the Underground Railroad? ;)

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