Home > Uncategorized > An Entire Neighborhood of Sears Homes Near Philadelphia!

An Entire Neighborhood of Sears Homes Near Philadelphia!

UPDATED!  Thanks to a reader, I’ve found that this blog has some errors. I’ve since re-written it and corrected it. Please read the updated version (with better pictures) HERE.

Less than 30 miles from our nation’s first capital (Philadelphia) there’s an entire neighborhood of Sears Homes. Yes, an entire neighborhood of Sears Homes in Chester, PA. Recently, I was looking through a 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog when I found this promotion in its front pages. (See photos below.)

This is quite remarkable, for there are not that many known “Sears House Communities” and finding these homes today could be a real tourism bonanza. In short, this is a real find, but where is it? And does it still exist?

The houses were built by a company known as “Sun Ship Company.”

It’s possible that this entire neighborhood was demolished and no longer exists, but if it does, I sure would like to find it. If you know the area or even a few addresses, please contact me by leaving a comment below. And if you’d like to read more about how to identify Sears Homes, please click here.

UPDATED!  Thanks to a reader, I’ve found that this blog has some errors. I’ve since re-written it and corrected it. Please read the updated version (with better pictures) HERE.

Sears Homes in Chester, PA

Sears Homes in Chester, PA

Featured in the above photos are several sytles of Sear Homes, including the Sears Gladstone

Featured in the above photos are several sytles of Sear Homes, including the Sears Gladstone

The Sears Whitehall was another house featured in Chester, PA.

The Sears Whitehall was another house featured in Chester, PA.

If you look at the vintage photo (above), youll see a little Carlin tucked in among the foursquares.

If you look at the vintage photo (above), you'll see a little Carlin tucked in among the foursquares.

Again, if you know where these homes are, please leave a comment below, or you can write me directly at thorntonrose@hotmail.com. Please put “Chester PA” in the subject line.

  1. Jeff
    February 22nd, 2012 at 14:51 | #1

    The photo of the Sears Modern Homes in “sold to the Sun Shipbuilding Company at Chester, Pennsylvania” is something of a mystery. Compare the Chester photo to the picture labeled “Street view of Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s houses at Carlinville, Ill.” that appears second from the bottom of the page:

    http://www.searshomes.org/index.php/tag/the-sears-homes-in-standard-addition/

    There are cropped a bit differently, but clearly this is the same photo. Sears wasn’t always accurate in their captions, using a photo of the homes in Wood River to depict the homes in Schoper, for example, which begs the question:

    Is this Chester or Carlinville?

    Initially I assumed it was Carlinville if only because a number of photos of the Standard Addition in Carlinville survive from this period. Now I’m not so sure. While the homes in Carlinville have had any number of additions over the years, the roofs provide a good tool for identifying the house plans from images on Google Earth or Zillow, and while I’m hardly an expert I can’t find this pattern of plans in the Standard Addition in Carlinville. In addition, I don’t believe the Roanoke was among the plans built in Carlinville (although it was built in Wood River).

    http://www.searshomes.org/index.php/2011/01/24/eight-little-models-in-carlinvilles-standard-addition/

    Yet, both the first house on the right and the fourth house on the left sure look like Roanoke houses to me. So, how can this be Carlinville?

    I think it’s possible this in indeed the homes in Chester.

    But there’s another interesting thing about this picture.

    Look again at the photo labeled “Sears, Roebuck and Co. houses at Schopper [sic], Ill. Sold to the Standard Oil Company” which is almost certainly actually the houses on 9th Street in Wood River:

    http://www.searshomes.org/index.php/2011/05/23/carlinville-and-schoper-illinois/

    Now compare the houses on 9th Street in Wood River to the houses on the left side of the street in the Chester photo. Notice that after the Whitehall the next six houses on 9th Street – two Gladstone Foursquares followed by what looks like a Carlin, a Roanoke and two more Foursquares – matches the sequence of plans in Chester exactly. Now, the Chester photo certainly isn’t Wood River because the homes on 9th Street were all built on the west side of the street, but it’s interesting that the plans were repeated in the same pattern.
    Sun Shipbuilding Company may well have been familiar with the Standard Oil houses in Illinois. Sun Ship was controlled by the Pew family who also controlled Sun Oil. Not surprisingly, Sun Shipbuilding constructed a lot of tank ships, both for Sun Oil and the Standard Oil Company.

    It appears that Sun Shipbuilding started developing two neighborhoods for its employees beginning around 1918, Sun Hill and Sun Village. These neighborhoods were located northwest of the shipyards between Melrose Street/Elsinore Avenue and the Ridley River. It appears that 9th Street marked the border of Sun Village, and 17th Street the border of Sun Hill.

    There has been considerable redevelopment in the area since 1921. The Delaware Expressway (I-95) was built about 1959 – 1962, dividing Sun Hill from Sun Village, and the shipyard itself is now a casino and race track. If this is a photo of Chester, I fear the houses are long gone.

  2. Jeff
    February 22nd, 2012 at 14:53 | #2

    Ugh, I should have said the houses in Wood River were on the east side of the street, not west.

  3. Cyndi Charney
    September 5th, 2013 at 08:00 | #3

    Rosemary - I think we found your Chester, Penna. Sears Homes community.

    Send me an e-mail and if you would like to provide a phone number, I will call you to discuss. Otherwise, we can exchange info via e-mail, if you prefer.

    BTW- this is “oldhouseluvr” from The Old House Web message boards.

  4. September 5th, 2013 at 11:54 | #4

    Hey Cyndi,

    I’ve sent you an email. Please let me know what you’ve found!!!

    Rose

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Additional comments powered by BackType