October 15, 2019

An "Unusual Spanish Type Home" from Montgomery Ward

Around 1929, Montgomery Ward began offering custom home design services.

If you could not find a standardized kit design that you liked, you could bring your house ideas to the Wards staff architects and they could create the blueprints for a custom design. Wards would provide all the materials needed to build the house.

There is a Montgomery Ward custom house in Winfield that was built in 1930.  It's unconventional and clearly influenced by the Spanish Revival craze of that time.  

27W320 Roosevelt Road, Winfield. The tower over the entrance mimics a bell tower. Many Spanish style houses have flat roofs (typically tile). Photo from Realtor site.

Stucco exterior--another Spanish feature. Photo from Realtor site.

A wrought iron light fixture inexplicably mounted on a corner. I have no idea what that tree branch thing is hanging off the second story. 


Hidden by bushes on the side of the house is a slightly recessed arched window.   Photo from Realtor site.

There's the arched window in the living room.  Photo from Realtor site.

The house was constructed with a fireplace. I assume this is the original?  Photo from Realtor site.

Dining room.  Photo from Realtor site.

 Photo from Realtor site.

A library with knotty pine walls. Pine-walled rooms were in vogue in the 1930's.  Photo from Realtor site.

I assume this is a first floor hallway.  Photo from Realtor site.

A pine kids bed?  Photo from Realtor site.

The house was built with two bathrooms, four bedrooms, library, breakfast nook, and a two-car garage.

The original owner was Ralph G. Phillips. Ralph was the owner of the Action Film Company, based in Chicago. It appears that the house in Winfield was intended to be an investment for Ralph and not a residence. 

Ralph never paid taxes on the property and apparently stopped making mortgage payments to Montgomery Ward by 1933.  

In early 1934, Ralph rented the house to George Chapellier for $45 per month. George had worked as an art dealer in London, moved to California and declared bankruptcy. Somehow he ended up in Winfield. 

In November 1934, George decided to move to New York and get back into the art business.

George  had quite a moving sale.

George went on to own the Chapellier Galleries on Park Avenue and would be considered the most prominent art dealer in the world.

Meanwhile, back in Winfield, Montgomery Ward took over ownership of the house. They put the house up for sale in 1936.

J. Harold Slingerland purchased the house in September of that year. Slingerland worked for Wards in their advertising department.

The house recently came up for sale in 2018. It was purchased by a house flipping company.

The saga of the unusual home from Montgomery Ward will be continued...


Here is the outcome.

The house was sold in November 2022. Photo from Realtor site.

The beautiful arched window is gone. Photo from Realtor house.

You can see the remodeled house in its full glory here.

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