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The Amazing Collection of Sears Homes in the Midwest

Sears Homes were kit homes that were sold right out of the pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog in the early 1900s. More than 370 designs of kit homes were offered - everything ranging from Arts and Crafts bungalows to foursquares to Colonial Revivals. These homes came in 30,000-piece kits and were shipped to all 48 states. Sears promised that a man of average abilities could have these homes assembled in about 90 days.

Today, the only way to find these kit homes is literally one by one. And that’s what I do. When I decided that Sears Homes would be my career, I endeavored to memorize each of those 370 designs of Sears Homes. Now I can drive the streets of small town America and find the Sears Homes - one by one.

Not surprisingly, the Midwest has an amazing collection of Sears Homes in particular and kit homes in general. Below are a few pictures of the kit homes I’ve found during my travels in the Midwest.

In addition to Sears, there were other companies that sold kit homes, including Aladdin, Gordon Van Tine, Montgomery Ward, Harris Brothers and more.

To read about the Sears Homes in Carlinville, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

If you’ve enjoyed the link, please give me a tweet, or share on Facebook!  :)

The Sears Ivanhoe was one of thir most magnificent homes.

The Sears Ivanhoe was one of their most magnificent homes.

And here it is, in Elmhurst, Illinois

And here it is, in Elmhurst, Illinois

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The Bandon was not a popular house for Sears.

The Bandon was not a popular house for Sears.

The only Bandon Ive ever seen was in Pulaski, Illinois (near Cairo, at the southern most end of Illinois).

The only "Bandon" I've ever seen was in Pulaski, Illinois (near Cairo, at the southern most end of Illinois). This Bandon is a perfect match to the catalog picture.

The Sears Sherburne was not a very popular house, but it was a beauty!

The Sears Sherburne was not a very popular house, but it was a beauty!

Close-up of the catalog image

Close-up of the catalog image

Sears Sherburne in Peoria, IL

Sears Sherburne in Decatur, IL

Sears Willard, as seen in a 1928 promotional ad

Sears Willard, as seen in a 1928 promotional ad

Sears Willard in Peoria, Illinois

Sears Willard in Peoria, Illinois

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A pre-WW1 Sears Home: Modern Home #264P202

A pre-WW1 Sears Home: Modern Home #264P202

The Sears #264P202 in the flesh. This house is in Okawville, IL

The Sears #264P202 in the flesh. This house is in Okawville, IL

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From the Sears Modern Homes catalog, heres the Sears Glendale

From the Sears Modern Homes catalog, here's the Sears Glendale

Sears Glendale in Cairo, Illinois

Sears Glendale in Cairo, Illinois

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Sears Gladstone from the Modern Homes catalog

Sears Gladstone from the Modern Homes catalog

A Sears Gladstone in Carbondale, Illinois

A Sears Gladstone in Carbondale, Illinois

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Sears Fullerton

Sears Fullerton

This Fullerton is in Aurora, Illinois

This Fullerton is in Aurora, Illinois

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The Alhambra was a very popular model for Sears

The Alhambra was a very popular model for Sears

An Alhambra in Casey, Illinois

An Alhambra in Casey, Illinois

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The Sears Argyle was also a very popular house for Sears

The Sears Argyle was also a very popular house for Sears

Heres a Sears Argyle in New Baden, Illinois.

Here's a Sears Argyle in New Baden, Illinois.

Below is a perfect little Crescent in Bloomington, Illinois. Every detail is perfect!

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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6 Tweets

  1. August 14th, 2010 at 06:07 | #1

    RT @rosethornil The Amazing Collection of Sears Homes in the Midwest http://bit.ly/b3HGCY #architecture #history

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. August 15th, 2010 at 11:06 | #2

    Wow!Those were the day’s RT @rosethornil The Amazing Collection of Sears Homes in the Midwest http://bit.ly/b3HGCY #architecture #history

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. August 15th, 2010 at 11:20 | #3

    RT @PeckDrywall @rosethornil The Amazing Collection of Sears Homes in the Midwest http://bit.ly/b3HGCY #architecture #history

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  4. August 15th, 2010 at 11:20 | #4

    RT @PeckDrywall @rosethornil The Amazing Collection of Sears Homes in the Midwest http://bit.ly/b3HGCY #architecture #history

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. August 15th, 2010 at 13:15 | #5

    RT @studioloraine @PeckDrywall @rosethornil The Amazing Collection of Sears Homes in the Midwest http://bit.ly/b3HGCY #architecture #history

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  6. Kate Jordan
    August 27th, 2010 at 08:57 | #6

    Hi,

    The photo of first house on your list, the Sears Sherburne, is not in Peoria. It’s our house on Cobb Aveunue in Decatur, IL. It is fun to see the elevation & floorplan drawings, which are remarkably like our house. The upstairs layout is exactly the same. The downstairs has a tiny bathroom where the pantry was & the refrigerator blocks where the hallway enters the kitchen. When we bought the house 3 1/2 years ago, we thought it was too old to be a Sears home, but now we think it just may be one. We were told that it was built in 1908, which I was reading was the very beginning of Sears Homes? But we think it may be a bit newer than that. How can we tell for sure if it is a Sears home?

    Kate Jordan

  7. Jan H.
    September 21st, 2010 at 22:42 | #7

    @Kate Jordan
    Kate,

    If you read one of Rose’s books she tells you in detail ways you can help identify if your home truly is a Sears kit home. Amazon also has some wonderful books on Sears homes that you can order. I must tell you that if that is your home in the picture, it probably is without a doubt a Sears kit home. Please investigate this further and confirm what you already suspect about your house. To me these homes are national treasures that need to be preserved. Good luck with your search!

  8. January 15th, 2011 at 13:09 | #8

    @Kate Jordan
    Thanks for your note!

    I’ve made the corrections to the caption. And Jan H. is right. Your house is most certainly a Sears Home. :)

    Rose Thornton,
    author, The Houses That Sears Built

  9. Keith Brandau
    January 27th, 2011 at 13:17 | #9

    There is an AMAZING number of Sears homes in Champaign, IL. My first home, and my current home, are both Fullertons, although they are mirror imaged.

    Champaign is south of Chicago right on the railroad line, so it’s likely that it was an easy place to ship these beauties. I can walk through my neighborhood and lose count of the number and different styles of Sears homes.

    If you haven’t been here to look, it would be a worthwhile trip for you.

  10. January 27th, 2011 at 13:47 | #10

    Hi Keith,

    My newest book “The Sears Homes of Illinois” features SEVERAL Sears Homes in Champaign, including the Sears Fullerton. Maybe your house is in my book? :)
    Rose

  11. February 21st, 2011 at 21:36 | #11

    This is a terrific read. I am a charlotte nc remodeling contractor and really fell in love with the Sears bungalows as a kid. My company Room 2 Roof loves the challenge of an old foursquare or craftsman bungalow remodel. Its too bad so many of these homes are in Bad neighborhoods. On the bright-side Charlotte north Carolina is really coming up as a city and little by little I see these neighborhoods being revitalized and I always try to advertise in those areas to pick up more of these beautiful works of art to remodel them properly and return them to the period from whence they came.

  12. Margaret Thurston
    February 24th, 2011 at 16:50 | #12

    My grandparents, Lafayette and Eva LuElla Carpenter, built a Sears house in Crouse, NC (between Lincolnton and Cherryville) in early 1900s.

  13. Henry Baxley
    September 28th, 2011 at 17:00 | #13

    I think my Sears home is a”Excelsior”. Have you heard of that? It is a rambler , 4 bedrooms, 2 bath, large living room, large dining room and an eat in kitchen. It has 3 fireplaces. It was built in Hume, Virginia in 1938.

  14. sarah
    January 31st, 2013 at 01:35 | #14

    Hi, we found the Avondale in Greeley Colorado. It has been abandoned, and is in bad shape. Would like to get some information on how to save it,any ideas?

  15. Martia Graham
    February 14th, 2013 at 02:11 | #15

    I was told that my mother-in-laws home that she grew up in was a Sears home. It is one story 3 bedrooms 1 bath front living room, kitchen and back porch. It has a circular porch that runs half way around the house.

    I understood that it was supposed to have been in the back of the house and they didn’t like that so they put it on the front of it.

    This house is north of Rigby, which is north of Idaho Falls, Idaho.

    It has the old dark brown molding around the top of the ceiling and wooden floors. It is a grand old house and was built around 1910 or so.

    Martia Graham

  16. Brian Barton
    November 10th, 2013 at 22:19 | #16

    I live in a Sears kit home in Missouri. It’s a “Castleton” (model 227).

  17. Laura (So Ca)
    November 14th, 2013 at 18:56 | #17

    Brian,

    Sears archives is a website you need to know about.
    http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/enthusiasts.jsp

    You may want to register there. And congrats!

  1. August 14th, 2010 at 09:05 | #1

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