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All Things Alhambra, part II

The Spanish-flavored Sears Alhambra was a big hit for Sears and was probably one of their top ten favorite kit homes. It was practical, spacious, thoughtfully designed and had plenty of windows. The only downside of the Alhambra was the dormer windows. The spot just behind the dormers was often the source of troublesome and persistent leaks. As you’ll see in a few extreme cases, some people “solved” the problem by removing the dormer window!

Others simply installed a cricket.

No doubt, the Alhambra was a pretty house with a distinctive Spanish flair and with a splash of mission style. If you take away the fancy accoutrements, you’ll see it’s little more than a classic American foursquare.

Enjoy the photos!  (Read All Things Alhambra, Part I here.)

Sears Alhambra as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Sears Alhambra as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Sears Alhambra in Roanoke, Virginia

Sears Alhambra in Roanoke, Virginia

Sears Alhambra in Portsmouth, Virginia (Cradock area)

Sears Alhambra in Portsmouth, Virginia (Cradock area)

Vintage photo of a Sears Alhambra in the St. Louis area. Later on in life, the dormer was amputated due to leak issues. The parapet around the front porch was also lost during surgery. Very sad.

Vintage photo of a Sears Alhambra in the St. Louis area. Later on in life, the dormer was amputated due to leak issues. The parapet around the front porch was also lost during surgery. Very sad.

This Alhambra is in Casey, Illinois.

This Alhambra is in Casey, Illinois. It was blinded in a hunting accident.

Gorgeous brick Alhambra in Atlanta, Georgia

Gorgeous brick Alhambra in Atlanta, Georgia

The Alhambras kitchen, as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

The Alhambra's kitchen, as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

And my #1 favorite is this Sears Alhambra in Gaffney, South Carolina. Yes, its Lavender.

And my #1 favorite is this Sears Alhambra in Gaffney, South Carolina. Yes, it's Lavender.

To read more about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below, or you can write her at thorntonrose@hotmail.com.  Please put, “I read your book and it was WONDERFUL” in the subject line to insure that your email is read.

No kidding.

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  1. Samuel Dyer
    September 16th, 2012 at 12:25 | #1

    I heard you speak in DC and have four of your books. When you were bemoaning the removal of Alhambra dormers I mentioned to you that I believed they were probably removed for leakage reasons.

    We have one of the three Alhambras in the Washington, DC metro area — 3939 Legation St. NW. I will send you a picture.

    Recently we were heading through Lexington, VA and discovered by chance the Alhambra that you have posted. The owner was very friendly — typical Alhambra owner? — and gave us a tour.

    In the Dover reissue of the Sears 1926 catalog, there is a photograph of an Alhambra with it’s address — 5925 Nina Ave, Norwood Park [Chicago], Il. If you go to Google Street, you can see that it is still there.

    I hope all is well with you and thanks for collecting this information and posting it.

    Sam Dyer

  2. Erica Shuman
    November 10th, 2012 at 12:32 | #2

    I own an Alhambra in Annapolis MD. We renovated and expanded the interior in 2000.

    I worked long and hard to not compromise the integrity of the house from the outside….Most of the money we spent was to match and restore the woodwork and molding in the interior of the house.

    I am so happy with the results and so happy that I did not succumb to the many builders who told me it would be less money if I knocked it down and started over.

    I have been looking for an original picture of the garage for a long time and have finally found one here on this site…so that I can restore the doors of the garage to the original style. Thank you

  3. Laurie Henry
    August 7th, 2013 at 22:49 | #3

    I just paid off my Alhambra and so am beginning to do some work on it. (Roof leak in the area above what seems to have been the icebox, up the stairs off the kitchen.)

    I am in Cincinnati and know of two others here. Thank you!

  4. Cindy Catanzaro
    August 9th, 2013 at 09:55 | #4

    @Laurie Henry Hi Laurie, there are eight known Alhambras in the Cincinnati area, but two of them are missing the Spanish style details.

    If you would like to know where the others are, feel free to contact me at cyn.catanzaro@gmail.com

  5. Adam Norris
    January 21st, 2014 at 10:11 | #5

    Hello, I was doing some research on a late 20s foursquare I am in the process of purchasing, and I stumbled across this site and found my house!

    It’s the one in the Cradock neighborhood of Portsmouth, VA.

    In your article, you mentioned that the owner let you look at the original blueprints of the house. To my knowledge, they are lost now, would you have gotten a copy of them?

    I am trying to restore her to original condition!

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