July 9, 2019

The Sears Alden--an Omnipresent Garrison Colonial

The Garrison Colonial was a wildly popular style in the United States from about 1925 to 1955. You will recognize this house--it's omnipresent.

A Garrison Colonial in Riverside (not a Sears house though).

There a couple distinguishing characteristics of the Garrison design. It has a cantilevered second floor, and this overhang creates additional living space on the upper floors. There are decorative wooden pendants beneath the overhang, often in teardrop shapes. The upper level is often wood siding and the lower level is often brick or stone.

Sears sold several Garrison style colonials in the 1930's. Unfortunately, the simpler Sears designs are impossible to identify by appearance only since they look like so many other non-Sears houses.

Take the Sears Alden, sold from 1933 to 1935. 

The Sears Alden has all the classic features of a Garrison Colonial. It included stone on the front of the lower level with brick on the remaining three sides. Many people believe they own Aldens, but they need solid authentication to prove they are from Sears Roebuck.


Researchers have identified three Aldens to date--two of which are in the Chicago area. 
All three Aldens have been authenticated. 

Let's take a look at our Aldens.

Glen Ellyn

212 N. Park Boulevard, Glen Ellyn.  Obviously the dormers and the porch overhang are not original. Blurry photo from Realtor site.


Researcher Chuck Holtzen uncovered the Sears mortgage issued to Lawrence F. Triggs in July 1932.  Lawrence took out a loan for $9,000 to build the Alden. (You'll notice the price in the catalog for the Alden was $2,418. This gives you an idea of the true price to build a fully outfitted Sears house.)

Lawrence was a copywriter for an ad agency. By 1940, he and his family had moved to Westchester  NY.


Those are the original pendants.

Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Many Sears houses in the 1930's had that door. Photo from Realtor site.


2108 Harrison, Evanston.

Researcher Rebecca Hunter authenticated this Sears Alden. The house was built in 1932 for A.P. Bradley, and the cost was $10,000 (about what the Alden in Glen Ellyn cost all inclusive). 

The builders of this Alden were the Blume Bros--contractors from Des Plaines who built dozens of Sears houses around the area. I suspect that Sears listed the Blume Bros as one of their recommended contractors.


Architectural Observer said...

The Colonial Revival was still in full swing when the Alden was offered by Sears... the fashionable exterior no doubt made it a good seller even during the Depression years. It is interesting that the houses in both Evanston and Riverside have first-story windows which are smaller than the many-paned windows shown on the house in the catalog (and which appear on the house in Glen Ellyn).

Also, it's fun to learn what the approximate cost of labor and finishes was for a kit house of the era.
Fun post, thanks!

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Well, the house in Riverside is not Sears just to clarify.

Those windows on the Evanston house always bothered me too. Rebecca Hunter says it's authenticated... somehow. The Blume Bros as builders does lend it some credibility.

mike000mike said...

Wishing i could identify our harris bros house built in 1927, not finding it. I would like to send a pict for anyone to assist

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Hi, Mike! You can email me at lara@sears-homes.com

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