September 27, 2022

Was the Real Estate Listing Possibly Right?

I get many emails from readers who send me real estate listings in which the realtors identify houses as being from Sears Roebuck.

Invariably, most of these descriptions are incorrect and the houses are not Sears kit houses at all. (Why are so many people wrong about their "Sears" houses?) Therefore, I usually just glance over the listings because it's not worth the time investment.

And then a listing came up for a house in Glencoe that made me pause.

345 Jefferson, Glencoe. Photo from Realtor site.


This house has clearly been expanded multiple times. Photo from Realtor site.


The listing read: "Built in 1913 as a Sears home, there is so much character throughout including the additions that were made over the years." I took a closer look. 

This looks like the original structure to me. The window on the far left seems off from the others. The large addition on the left also does not appear to be original. The railings are replacement. The columns appear to be old, possibly original. The windows are new.

Does this farmhouse, purportedly from 1913, loosely match any of the farmhouses Sears sold in that time? Yes.

The Sears No. 159, from the 1913 Modern Homes catalog.

Could it be a Sears No. 159? 

First off, for this to be a No. 159, the roof must have been raised at some point. Based on the huge amount of additions and changes done to the house, this is certainly in the realm of possibility.

The left front window could have been brought forward as part of an addition for a new dining room. The addition off the left side could have been an extension of the original structure. The porch could have been rebuilt as well.

Were the original columns from Sears used in the porch redesign?  The Sears catalog said that the "large front porch" featured "Colonial columns". Photo from Realtor site.


These Colonial porch columns sure look like a match, from the 1912 Sears Building Materials catalog. And check out those prices!

Let's examine the floor plans for the No. 159 and the Glencoe house. 

Here is the No. 159. Note the staircase with a landing that is adjacent to the front door. The Glencoe house still has the parlor and dining room intact, although they have been combined into one den.


The dining room of the Glencoe house is new, and you can see that the wall is flush with the front door now. The kitchen is in the same general area, and a living room was added next to the kitchen. That constitutes the large addition on the left of the house.

We have the front door adjacent to the landing of the staircase. The new hallway leads to the dining room. Photo from Realtor site.

This is the combined parlor and bedroom to make the den. The kitchen is on the left and a family room addition is in the back of the house. Photo from Realtor site.

The new dining room with a window facing the front porch. Photo from Realtor site.

The No. 159 has three bedrooms and a bath in front of the stairs. The front bedroom has a closet at the front of the house.

Today, the front bedroom closet faces the front of the house. 

Here's that narrow bathroom on the second floor. The door looks original. Photo from Realtor site.

Although the owners believe the house was built in 1913, it was not in the 1914 Glencoe city directory. The original owners were Henry J. and Clara Egan. They were married in May 1915, and I suspect the house was built that spring or summer. The 1917 directory shows the Egans in the house.

Sears sold the No. 159 from 1909 to 1917, so a 1915 build date would be in that range.

By 1920, the Egans moved elsewhere in Glencoe and sold to the Pieroni family.

1 comment:

Architectural Observer said...

This sure looks like a (remodeled/expanded) Rossville to me! The catalog illustration shows a slightly projecting shingled gable end supported by small brackets; its subsequent removal nicely explains what appears to be unusually deep eaves above the gable. I'd be very surprised if this house did not begin as a Sears product... nice detective work!

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