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North Carolina’s Prettiest House: The Sears Magnolia

Thanks to a FOSH (Friend of Sears Homes), I found the 5th known Sears Magnolia in the country. In March 2010, “Joy” sent me a link last week to a news story on a Sears Home in Benson, NC (just outside of Raleigh).  When I clicked on the link, I had no idea the show would be featuring a Sears Magnolia - the Creme de la creme of Sears Homes!

As soon as possible, I left my house in Norfolk, Virginia to make the drive to Benson. Soon, I was parked in front of the Sears Magnolia, staring at her with majestic glee.

The happy owners of the Magnolia allowed me to tour the inside of the house, where I found proof that it was indeed a Sears Magnolia (as if there were any doubt). Click on this link to read more about that.

This was the second Magnolia that I’ve been inside. The first was in Canton, Ohio. In 2002, PBS’s History Detectives did a segment on Sears Homes, and invited me to be part of the program.  After hours of filming, I took a nap inside the house, and that was one of the happiest naps of my life!

There are also Sears Magnolias in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.

Below is the Sears Magnolia in North Carolina.

To read more about the Sears Homes in Raleigh, click here.

maggy_benson_nc

Original catalog image from 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog

Original catalog image from 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog

Right after WW1 (The Great War) ended, prices went sky high. Sears couldnt keep up with the volatility in the cost of building materials, so they started inserting price sheets into their catalog. This shows the profound reduction in cost, in the late 1920s.

Right after WW1 ended, (also known as "The Great War"), prices went sky high. Sears couldn't keep up with the volatility in the cost of building materials, so they started inserting price sheets into their catalog. This shows the profound reduction in cost, in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog. Post-war hyperinflation is not uncommon.

  1. Ted Johnson
    January 19th, 2011 at 00:48 | #1

    I just discovered your site after reading an article on Sears Modern Homes on Wikipedia. The first article I saw was this one about your finding the 5th Magnolia model in the US. Well, I may be able to tell you where to find the 6th!

    Whenever we passed by, my grandmother pointed to a large house at the end of Durston Avenue where it intersects with James Street in Syracuse NY. She told me that it had been built by an ancestor of mine….she never specified who… and that it was a kit home that was ordered from Sears.

    I was always intrigued, but never investigated. It looks from the pictures here that it is a Sears Magnolia.

    Unfortunately, I no longer live in the area, but you can see a blurry picture of it in Google Street View.

    As I’ve said, I’m a novice. I hope I’m not leading anyone on a wild goose chase, but I think I’m not. I’d love to hear if anyone has any further information about the house. I’ll check back here to see if anyone leaves further comments!

    Thanks,
    Ted

  2. January 19th, 2011 at 06:31 | #2

    @Ted Johnson

    Well Ted, you were right.

    It does indeed appear to be a Sears Magnolia.

    Since starting this website last year, I’m getting 2-3 emails PER WEEK from people who are quite convinced that they have seen a Sears Magnolia. And they are *all* wrong.

    But YOU were right.

    I’m putting up a blog later tonight about this SEVENTH Magnolia. This really is a big deal, but there were thought to be only six magnolias in the country. And that was – obviously – just bad information. So if there are seven Magnolias in the country, maybe there are 70! J

    Thanks so much for your note.

    Rose

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