April 14, 2020

A Timeless Sears Vallonia in Des Plaines

1275 S. River Road, Des Plaines.

Sears Vallonia from the 1921 Modern Homes catalog.

On the other side, you can see the dining room bumpout with the two spaced windows.

There's no doubt that this bungalow is a Sears Vallonia. It retains the original porch pillars, tapered brick piers, and exposed rafter tails.

The county says the house was built in 1924. The exterior of the Vallonia changed that year, so this date seems realistic.

The original owners of the house were Elmer and Evelyn Blume.

Elmer and his brother, Oscar, were local contractors who would quickly build Sears homes for their clients. Throughout the 1920's, the Sears Modern Homes catalogs featured letters by Elmer M. Blume about how easy it was to assemble pre-cut homes. Elmer and his brother, Oscar, built dozens of Sears homes in Des Plaines, as well as in Libertyville, Park Ridge, and other suburbs.

Elmer Blume's testimonial  from the 1925 Modern Homes catalog.

In 1917, Elmer was working as a clerk for Sears Roebuck before he changed careers to become a carpenter. That must have been where he heard about the sales of the Sears Modern Homes.

The Blumes were in the house until at least 1946. That was the year Evelyn died of a stroke. Elmer later remarried and moved to Wisconsin.


Architectural Observer said...

What a fascinating bit of history! The only thing better than having a Sears kit house is having one that was built, owned and occupied by a guy who built Sears kit houses! The Vallonia has such interesting porch supports -- I'm glad that those weren't lost in the modifications made to 1924 models and those thereafter.

Leslie Goddard said...

It’s amazing to see a house with so few changes. I know our lifestyles have changed a lot since the 1920s, but it’s still hard not to wish more homes retained their original look and features like this one

Unknown said...

I have lived in the house pictured above house since 1994. A few weeks ago, a gentleman stopped by and told us about how his grandfather had built it! He walked through it with us and shared memories from his childhood. It was cool to learn all about it and the original floorplan.

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

That is a great story!

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