When I retrieved old photos from a dead laptop, I wasn’t surprised to find that I had more than 35,000 photos on the hard drive. The great majority of those photos were Sears kit homes. Of those 35,000 photos, I have one photo of a Sears Homart Prefab Home.

One.

From 1948-1951, Sears sold prefabricated houses known as Homart Homes. These small houses were shipped by truck (not train) and arrived in sections measuring 4′ by 8′ to 8′ by 8′. Fasteners were included with these diminutive homes, and the houses were bolted together at the site. They were very modest homes with very simple lines and shallow roofs. Most were 600-850 square feet.

Sears Modern Homes – the kit homes that were sold from 1908-1940 – were not prefab houses. Prefabricated houses are – as the word suggests – prefabricated. In other words, they’re pre-built at a central plant, broken down into sections, and then transported to the building site, where they’re re-assembled, quickly and efficiently.

Sears Modern Homes were were true kits, containing 12,000 pieces of house. Each kit came with a 75-page instruction book. They were made with superior quality building materials (#1 southern yellow pine framing members and cypress for everything exterior).

From 1908-1940, about 70,000 Sears Modern Homes were built. Based on some educated guessing from reading old catalogs, fewer than 3,000 Homart Homes were built.

And now I need a little help from my friends. The 1949 Homart Homes catalog lists several addresses where Homart Homes were built. I’d love to have photos of these houses to publish at this site. If you’re so inclined, please get me a photo and send to me? Doing so will launch a veritable wave of good housing karma in your direction. 🙂  The Homart Homes (for which I have specific addresses) are in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin. Click here to see the specific address of Homart Homes.

Sears also had a line of hardware and home merchandise (electric fans, water heaters, tools) which bore the name “Homart.” And where did they get that name? In the first decades of the 1900s, Sears headquarters was located in Chicago, at the corner of Homan and Arthington Street. Homart is a combination of those two street names.

To see pictures of Sears Modern Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

Homart Homes were very modest prefab homes offered after WW2. Today, its nearly impossible to find these houses, because they were so plain and in subsequent years, most have been covered with substitute sidings.

Homart Homes were very modest prefab homes offered after WW2. Today, it's nearly impossible to find these houses, because they were so plain and in subsequent years, most have been covered with substitute sidings.

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In the catalog shown above, there were several addresses of known Homart Homes in Illinois. This house (in Monmouth, IL) was listed in the catalog as a Homart Home. Thanks to Carol Parrish for sending in this photo!

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For the most part, these were very modest homes.

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Look at the size of the rooms in this first house!

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This was their most spacious Homart Home, but you can see from the photo below, this is also a pretty modest house. One of the bedrooms is 7 feet by 9 feet. As long as Junior never outgrows his crib, this should work just fine.

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This was the largest Homart Home offered in the 1950 catalog, and it's not very big at all.

Homart

Close-up shows that these Homarts were well-constructed homes.

Homart Homes arrived in sections, which were bolted together.

Homart Homes arrived in sections, which were bolted together.

Homart

The houses were not wholly prefabricated and pre-built. A significant bit of onsite building was required.

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Roof trusses were pre-built in Homart Homes, and walls arrived in sections. Lap siding covered the sectioned walls, hiding the home's prefab origins.

These porches could be a clue in identifying Homart Homes. Every Homart Home offered in the 1950 catalog had this unique configuration on the front stoop.

These porches could be a clue in identifying Homart Homes. Every Homart Home offered in the 1950 catalog had this unique configuration on the front stoop.

A variation of that unique woodwork around the stoop.

A variation of that unique woodwork around the stoop.

An old Sears Homart (prefab house) sits on the edges of the city, not far from the Sears Mill in Cairo, IL

An old Sears Homart (prefab house) sits on the edges of the city, not far from the Sears Mill in Cairo, IL. Homart Homes were post-WW2 Sears Homes that were shipped out in sections, which were then bolted together at the building site. These were radically different from "Sears Modern Homes" which were pre-cut kit homes. And usually, they just don't "age" as well as the sturdier "Modern Homes" (Honor Bilt homes).

To learn more about kit homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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