February 20, 2018

A Sears Somers the Way It Was Intended to Look

The Sears Somers was a basic bungalow. It wasn't a huge seller for Sears, but it sold well enough so that the company kept it in the catalogs from 1926-1931.

Although basic, the Somers has a few unique features that help to definitively identify it.

Sears Somers.

1. There is stickwork in both gables.

2. There is a bay window on the chimney side with a subtle angle. The windows fill the entire width of the bay. (Sears occasionally sold a rectangular bay window with the Somers, but this was uncommon.)

3. The front door is on the side opposite the bay window, and there are three windows in the front.

4. The pillars in front have a rectangular inset.

Unfortunately for us, many Somers have lost all these identifying elements over time.

2909 Sewell, Rockford. This is an authenticated Sears Somers, financed by Sears in 1927. No pillars, no stickwork. Because of the enclosed porch, you can't really see if the front door was originally in that position or what the front window configuration was. Screen capture from Google Streetview.

A blurry view of the bay window, opposite the side with the front door. This is the only original identifying feature to survive. Screen capture from Google Streetview.

It is refreshing when we see a Sears Somers that hasn't had its porch enclosed, been vinyl-ed over, or lost its original charm.

203 Raymond, Barrington. We see the original stickwork. Photo from Realtor site.

Original pillars with the inset.

An unobstructed view of the bay window. We see the door on the opposite side of the bay and the three front windows. Check, check, check. Photo from Realtor site.

This Somers has all the original elements, which helps us make a positive identification. We also know that the original owners, Joseph and Wilma Keller, took out a mortgage from Sears Roebuck in 1927 for $4850 to build this Somers. That gives us our absolute proof that the house is from Sears.

Joseph was a yard foreman for the railroad. The Kellers' daughter, Lorraine, was born in 1926 and they must have felt it was finally time to become homeowners.

The triple window in the front of the house and original stained glass windows on the side. Photo from Realtor site.

There's the bay window! Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

There are many original elements still in the house, such as the doors and door hardware. Photo from Realtor site.

Joseph died in 1973, and Wilma lived in the house until her death in 1996.

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