November 30, 2021

A Meaningful Discovery in Wood Dale

Until recently, Wood Dale had a grand total of zero Sears houses.

Researcher Chuck Holtzen and myself uncovered a couple mortgages in Wood Dale where customers in the 1920's and 1930's got their financing from Sears Roebuck. However, we were unable to find those houses--they were in rural areas and most likely were farmhouses that are now gone. Nevertheless, I was confident that there must be some hiding in the village. 

Finally, a Sears house popped up in the real estate listings, and it is a standout.

449 N. Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale. Photo from Realtor site.

Sears Montrose. 

The house in Wood Dale is a Sears Montrose--the only one in the state of Illinois. Sears only sold the Montrose from 1926-1928.

The floor plan was reversed--Sears would make that modification for no charge.

The house is a great match to the Montrose, and the only thing missing is the tiny closet window next to the front door.

Google Streetview shows us the sun room. A bay window was added to one of the bedrooms.

The Montrose floor plan  shows an interior fireplace, three windows in the rear of the living room, and a bumpout to accommodate the staircase.

There are the triple windows and the staircase. Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

The sun room is a place to lounge. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.

There's the new bay window we saw above the sun room. Photo from Realtor site.

The bathroom door has the original Chicago door hardware from Sears. Photo from Realtor site.

The Chicago inside door set reminds me of a clown face. The screws are two eyes, the knob is the big nose, and the lock is the mouth!

The original owners were William K. and Elsa Smith. William, a Danish immigrant, worked as a carpenter and likely built the house. William served as a Wood Dale village commissioner in the early 1930's.

William, Elsa, and their three kids. Public photo from Ancestry.

Another photo from Ancestry shows William, the girls, and his wife's family in front of the Montrose. Wait--what's that behind Grandma's head?

It's the missing closet window! It was likely removed when the aluminum siding was installed.

By 1940, the Smiths had moved to Lake Zurich.

1 comment:

Architectural Observer said...

The sunroom is a really nice feature in the Montrose; without it the house would seem much smaller. This same basic floor plan (w/o sunroom) was used by many builders -- frequently showing up with Tudor Revival detailing beneath a hipped roof. I prefer the original wide exterior siding and would guess that the small window may yet survive under the new vinyl cladding.

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