August 29, 2023

A Sears Summer House in Wauconda

156 Slocum Lake Road, Wauconda. Photo from Realtor site.

The Sears Oak Park. The house in Wauconda has a single bay window in the kitchen rather than double windows, but is otherwise a close match to the illustration.

Sears sold the Oak Park model from 1926 to 1933. Many Dutch Colonials were built in the 1920's, and many of them resemble the Oak Park. One way to distinguish the Sears house from the others is the entrance.

"See the beautiful colonial entrance with its sidelights and fan over the door, hood and columns, and the brick porch!" exclaimed the Modern Homes catalog.

The same Colonial entrance, as illustrated in the 1929 Sears building materials catalog.

The Oak Park had two floor plans from which customers could choose. The house in Wauconda follows this one.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Back in the day, none of the houses on Slocum Lake Road were numbered, even as recently as in the 1950 census. Luckily, local newspapers provided valuable information (but in reverse chronological order).

I searched "Slocum Lake Road" and found this snippet from August 1928. What drew my attention is the mention of a "beautiful home" on the street.  Let's check out this family in more detail. 

A few weeks earlier in early August 1928, this piece ran in the local paper. Mr. Yaxley died, and the writer opined: "It is hoped the family will remain here in their beautiful new home." New home? The Sears Oak Park was sold beginning in 1926. I think we might be onto something...

In August 1927, there is a mention of L.C. Yaxley buying lots in Wauconda (this would be Mrs. Leona C. Yaxley). Those lots correspond to the property on Slocum Lake Road. The Yaxleys are the original owners of the Oak Park.

The house was likely built in fall 1927 and the Yaxleys moved in around April 1928. The Yaxleys kept their full-time residence on Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, but also used the Wauconda lake house.

Mr. Ernest Yaxley was an  electrical and mechanical engineer, as well as an inventor. He founded the Yaxley Manufacturing Company in 1916, and was active in the management of the company until he passed away in 1928. The Yaxley Manufacturing Company developed equipment for electrical communication, including telephones and radio.


Anonymous said...

The Oak Park is a sharp-looking Dutch Colonial! The entry, with its slender proportions, is elegant. The compact floor plan dictated an off-centered entry and it looks great here. The historic image, when compared with the current exterior photo, shows just how important the original windows and shutters were to the intended character of the house... much charm was lost with their removal.

Thanks for the great detective work regarding the history of the house. Such information adds a lot to the experience of living in an old house and I hope the new owners will be aware of it. I wonder if the Yaxley's Jackson Blvd. house still stands? I'm picturing a hulking brick townhouse dripping with Victorian-era excess; the Slocum Lake Road house must have been quite a contrast from their home in Chicago.

Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Their house was just a rental--but a large rental. Three tenants in the whole building.

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