In 1919, Sears opened their first “Modern Homes Sales Center” in Akron, Ohio. These were storefronts where you could personally inspect the millwork and lumber that would go into your Sears Home. You could examine the different types of bookcase collonades or pick out your favorite fireplace mantel or choose a delightful sleeping porch!

Typically, Sears put sales offices in cities which had experienced strong sales, and once those sales offices opened, sales of kit homes increased even more. If your city had a Sears Modern Homes sales center, chances are good that you have a plethora of Sears Homes there!

In 1930, there were 48 Sears Modern Homes sales offices in the country. One year later, they were down to 27 offices and by 1933, they had only13 sales offices and two of those were actually the Sears mills in Norwood, Ohio and Newark, New Jersey.

By 1939, there were 19 sales offices for the Modern Homes department, all of which were located “east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio.” These “stores” probably occupied a small office next door to a Sears storefront or may have been a small space within the main store and their closing in 1940 may have gone largely unnoticed. It’s also likely that these old Modern Homes departments were transmogrified into hardware sections or building materials departments. 

I’ve visited a handful of the cities on this list (see below) and have consistently found an abundance of Sears Homes there.

So, is your city on this list?  🙂  Scroll on down to see vintage photos!

Connecticut

New Haven

Illinois

Aurora

Calumet City

Chicago

Elgin

Joliet

Peoria

Rockford

Waukegan

Indiana

Fort Wayne

Gary

Hammond

Indianapolis

South Bend

Maryland

Baltimore

Massachusetts

Boston

Michigan

Ann Arbor

Detroit

Flint

Jackson

Kalamazoo

Pontiac

Port Huron

Saginaw

Missouri

Kansas City

St. Louis

New Jersey

Camden

Elizabeth

Hackensack

Long Branch

Newark

Paterson

Plainfield

New York

Albany

Buffalo

Long Island

Mt. Vernon

New Rochelle

New York

Peeksville

Rochester

Schenectady

Syracuse

White Plains

Ohio

Akron

Cincinnati

Cleveland

Columbus

Dayton

Lorain

Mansfield

Marion

Norwood

Portsmouth

Toledo

Youngstown

Warren

Zanesville

Pennsylvania

Greensburg

New Castle

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

Rochester

Scranton

Washington DC

(Three locations)

West Virginia

Wheeling

Wisconsin

Milwaukee

Back page of 1930 Sears Modern Homes catalog, showing cities with Modern Homes Sales Office.

Back page of 1930 Sears Modern Homes catalog, showing cities with Modern Homes Sales Office.

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Close-up of advertisement on back page of 1930 catalog.

house

This is a typical "Sears Modern Homes" sales office. I'd love to know where this building was located. I suspect Ohio, but that's just a guess.

Close-up of sign

Close-up of sign

Inside

And inside the office you might find three men with straw hats, sitting under a pergola and reading the newspaper while "working." This is from a late 1910s Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Or

Or maybe this scary-looking guy from the 1933 Sears Modern Homes catalog. He's got the whole Wexford, in his hands, he's got the whole Wexford, in his hands... This picture is a little disturbing, isn't it?

close up of lists with addresses

Close up of lists (from back page of 1930 catalog) with addresses of those Sears Modern Homes sales offices.

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And the next...

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And the last.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s house, click here.

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