August 28, 2018

A Sears Bellewood in St. Charles... or Not?

1210 S. 4th St. Charles. Photo from Realtor site.

This house in St. Charles is an English cottage--a style that was very popular in the early 1930's. The official list of Sears houses in St. Charles has this residence listed as a Sears Bellewood. But is it one?

The extra width on the right side of the door is because the house in St. Charles has a closet there. Was this a customization to the Bellewood plans? It might have been. Sears did not have a problem modifying the standard plans to accommodate minor changes such as this. That is a replacement front door.

Sears sold the Bellewood for only a short time--1930 to 1932. The county has a 1938 build date attributed to this house. County dates are often incorrect, so there's not much we can take away from that.

Sears house aficionado Mark Wissing has been inside the purported Bellewood and says there is no evidence to support that it is, in fact, a Sears Bellewood. He has searched the house for marked lumber and could not find any.

I believe the original owners were George and Helen Irk. George worked as a truck driver. The Irks lived in the house until at least 1950.

Bellewood or not, the house is so cute inside.

The plaster arch leads to the vestibule. Per the standard Sears house plans, there is not a fireplace in this location. It may have been added after the initial construction. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

The stairs are where a closet once was. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

A back bedroom is now a TV/gaming room. Photo from Realtor site.

So where does that leave us? The best possible way to authenticate whether a house is from Sears is to head to the county and pull the land records. If the Irks financed through Sears Roebuck, there will be a paper trail to support that. According to Mark, the current homeowner will be conducting that research soon.

TO be continued....


Architectural Observer said...

While the house is undeniably charming, my gut feeling is that this house is not a Sears product... there are just too many inconsistencies which differ from the Sears floor plan for the Bellewood. While these differences could be chalked up to a customized plan, there seem to be too many of them.

The Sears plan shows a chimney in addition to a closet in the location of the new staircase; if this were an actual Bellewood someone would have had to remove the chimney prior to building the stairs. There are also differences in window sizes and locations - in addition to the discrepancies which you note.

I'm going to guess that this house was built from a plan book design which was very similar to the Bellewood. I'm looking forward to the homeowner's findings!

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

I agree with you!

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