August 4, 2020

A Gracious Sears Verona in Winnetka

Sears Verona in Winnetka @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
860 Summit St., Winnetka.

Sears Verona from the 1921 Modern Homes catalog @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Sears Verona from the 1921 Modern Homes catalog.

Sears Verona in Winnetka @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland


The Sears Verona is a Modern Dutch Revival that Sears sold from 1918 to 1928. The early Veronas had a bay window on the second floor. About 1924, Sears changed the exterior to have a single window in lieu of the bay window. That detail can give you an indication when the house was built.

This Verona in Winnetka is an early one, and the building permit for the house was issued in 1921.

As reported in American Contractor, April 1921. Sears & Roebuck is listed as the architect, enabling us to authenticate the Verona.  $7,500 was higher than the typical cost for new construction at the time.

Jacob Sterling Halstead and his wife Marcella moved into the Sears Verona in 1921.

Jacob was one of the first aviators for the U.S. Navy (his official designation was "Naval Aviator [No.] 160"). He served as an officer during WWI and was discharged in 1918. 

Jacob married Marcella that year and started Harvard Law School. In 1920 he took a job as an attorney in Chicago and the couple settled in Winnetka.

The Halsteads lived in the Verona until about 1925. They moved to Manhattan, and Jacob worked as a corporate lawyer until his retirement in 1960.

Sears Verona interiors @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Verona in Winnetka has not been for sale in decades. This is what the living room looked like originally.


Architectural Observer said...

Without the second floor bay window the Verona would be much harder to identify. That window -- and the front shed dormer which was originally shingled just like the main roof -- really helped to distinguish the Verona from other similar Dutch Colonials.

The living room appears to have had some very nice elaborations on the walls and ceiling. What might explain the vast difference in the price of this house as shown in the catalog ($3,146) and the recorded cost ($7,500)?

Kit House Hunters said...

The price in the catalog reflected the cost of the building materials to construct the house. Items like the electrical, heating and plumbing systems were add-ons above the base price of the house. The new homeowner was also responsible for the labor and materials to construct the foundation (and Sears houses were generally designed with a complete basement of 7’ in height). The rule of thumb for Sears houses is the actual cost to construct the house was 2 to 3 times the list price in the catalog. You can see that reflected in this house.

Architectural Observer said...

Thanks for the explanation! Makes perfect sense... I wasn't thinking about labor, etc. The Sears rule of thumb can be applied to all purchases made today: everything costs 2 to 3 times what it used to!

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