March 17, 2020

Girl Power! A Sears No. 180 in Batavia

Really old (1908-1913) Sears houses are rare finds in Chicago and its suburbs. 

Part of the reason is that Sears simply did not sell as many kit houses in that time period, as the Modern Homes business was still getting off the ground. I think another reason is that houses built from 1908-1913 in the older suburbs tended to be located in areas that were part of of suburban downtown redevelopment efforts and were consequently razed.

There's an oldie in Batavia--a Sears No. 180, built in 1912.

331 Blaine, Batavia. Capture from Google Streetview.


The Sears No. 180 is a clipped gable house. The entrance faces the street, unlike some clipped gable houses. The No. 180 was called the Flossmoor in later years.

The layout is that of a traditional foursquare, except for the pantry off the back. It also serves as a hallway to the dining room.

Julia E. Markuson purchased the lot for the house in 1910, and constructed the No. 180 in 1912. As a 24-year-old single woman, she was somehow able to get financing from a local bank. Julia worked as a stenographer at the courthouse.

Julia lived with her parents and unmarried siblings in the new house for decades. Julia died in 1959, and ownership of the house transferred to her younger sister, Grace. Grace was the Kane County Recorder for many years and worked as an administrative officer for the National Bank Examiners in Chicago. 

Grace on the left, mother Augusta in the center, and Julia on the right. This photo was taken in the 1950's. Photo publicly available on

Grace lived in the house until 1993. She died that year.

In 1996, the house was listed for sale as a "gut rehab". Uh oh. The house hasn't come up for sale since 2000 so we do not have any interior photos.


Anonymous said...

Love it when you include people pictures! Makes the stories personal. Thanks!

Architectural Observer said...

Let's hope that the buyer saw more value in the original interior than the listing agent did! The porch shown in the catalog cut has a strong Prairie vibe to it... the balusters extend all the way to the ground and form a grille below the porch. It was a much stronger design than the way it appears today. The kitchen seems a bit difficult to access, but otherwise this looks like a very livable design.

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