February 19, 2019

The One and Only Sears Letona in Illinois

Sears Roebuck sold the Letona (a.k.a. No. 192) from 1911 to 1918. Early model Sears houses are uncommon, but the Letona is exceedingly rare. There are four known to exist in the United States, and only one in Illinois--Aurora, to be specific.

604 Concord, Aurora. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Letona.


The Letona had a decent-sized living room and an open staircase. The pantry was a luxe feature not normally seen in houses of this price range. There were two bedrooms upstairs, each with what appears to be a walk-in closet.



In 1914, Charles H. and Leuanna Stiles paid $1200 for the Letona. Charles was a bricklayer. They lived in the house until 1923.


Former owners report the existence of stamped lumber in the house.


The Letona was built in other cities, but are the houses still standing? The ones in Aurora (obviously!) and Gibsonburg, OH have been located.




The architect of the Letona was likely William Arthur Bennett. He is known to have designed other Sears models of the period. A house very similar to the Letona was shown in the October 1915 issue of The National Builder. (Thanks to Judith Chabot for the information!)

 






2 comments:

Architectural Observer said...

The floor plan seems to be a good utilization of space. I like the fact that the stairwell appears to be wider at the top and open (a little bit) to the living room below. Often enclosed stairs are too narrow at the top. The flattened Gothic arches and beefy corner columns of the porch seen in the catalog illustration are a large part of the appeal of the exterior; the house loses something without them. Fun find!

Seth Hoffman said...

That is a compact little home, and even expends space on the open stair with 2-step landing at the bottom. The space consumed by the landing does create a little nook between it and the front wall that could be used as an informal foyer area, with room for a coat rack, shoe shelf, or bench. I suppose it allows the spirit of a more formal entry without the space required for one.

Full disclosure, however, I am biased towards an entry with a bit of separation from the living space. When the front door dumps you directly into the middle of the living room, there's no space for coats and shoes, etc, which inevitably end up in an awkward pile, or in storage furniture that detracts from the tidiness of the living space.

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