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Next Stop, Waynesboro?

My talk in Staunton was well-organized (thanks to Historic Staunton Foundation) and well attended (standing room only!) and it was a lot of fun!

And what an unexpected delight to discover such a variety of kit homes in nearby Staunton! (Click here to read more about what we found!)

On my way to Staunton last week, I took a quickie ride through Waynesboro and found a handful of kit homes.  Some day soon, I’d love to come back and do a more thorough survey and give a talk.

For those newbies here, what is a Sears kit home?

In the early 1900s, Sears sold entire kit homes through their mail-order catalog. These 12,ooo-piece kits came with a 75-page instruction book that promised “a man of average abilities” could have the house assembled in 90 days!  From 1908-1940, Sears sold about 70,000 of these kits, and finding them is just like looking for hidden treasure.

OOOH, there are MORE Sears Homes in Waynesboro! Click here to see the rest of the photos!

To read about the kit homes I found in Charlottesville, click here.

To see what I found in Waynesboro, scroll on down!

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The 1920s were the hey-day for the Sears Modern Homes program. At its peak, the Sears Modern Homes catalog had almost 150 pages, with 100 models offered. Shown here is the cover of the 1930 catalog, with a Sears Lewiston on the front cover.

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If you buy a Sears Modern Home, even your little dog will be happy!

If you buy a Sears Modern Home, even your little dog will be happy!

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The Lewiston was a hugely popular house for Sears.

The Lewiston was a hugely popular house for Sears.

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Its missing the happy dog and the little girl, but its definitely a Sears Lewiston, and its in Waynesboro.

It's missing the happy dog and the little girl, but it's definitely a Sears Lewiston, and it's in Waynesboro. Unfortunately, the original windows were replaced and the vinyl siding has obliterated some of the unique detail. However, it's still identifiable as a Sears Lewiston.

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And you can tell its a Sears Home because it has an S on the chimney.

And you can tell it's a Sears Home because it has an "S" on the chimney. Ah not really. That's a tired old myth that's been lurking around on the internet since Al Gore first invented it. Oh wait, that's another old story. In fact, that "S" on the chimney has nothing to do with Sears. It's just a stylistic detail often found on Neo-Tudors. And I don't think Al Gore had much to do with inventing the internet, either. :)

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But it does look

The Lewiston was remodeled, but it looks like the front door was spared! :)

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The Sears Lynnhaven was a very popular house (1938 catalog).

The Sears Lynnhaven was a very popular house (1938 catalog).

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And it was also a very pretty house.

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The owners obviously love this house, but I wonder if they know that it *might* be a Sears kit house?

The owners obviously love this house, but I wonder if they know that it *might* be a Sears kit house?

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And I found a Del Rey in Waynesboro, too, and this Del Rey is in beautifully original condition!

The Dely Rey I found in Waynesboro, is in beautifully original condition (1919 catalog).

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Check out the floorplan for the Del Rey.

Check out the floorplan for the Del Rey.

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Notice the little railings in front of the casement windows? In all my travels, I have never seen a Del Rey that actually had these little railings in place. Until Waynesboro...

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Be still my quivering heart!

Be still my quivering heart! It's a picture perfect Del Rey!

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And it even has the little bump out (as seen above in the floorplan) for the kitchen area.

And it even has the little bump out (as seen above in the floorplan) for the kitchen area.

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And original windows!

And not only does it have its original windows, but its original wooden storm windows!

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Love those little railings!

Do these folks know that they have a Sears House? About 90% of the time, the people living in these historically significant homes did not realize what they had, until they were contacted by me (or someone *like* me!).

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Next on the list is the Sears Westwood.

Next on the list is the Sears Collingwood (1930 catalog).

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The Westwood is another kit home that I had never seen before in the flesh until I went to Waynesboro.

The Collingwood is another kit home that I had never seen before "in the flesh" until I went to Waynesboro. Notice the unusual bay window in the dining room with its hipped roof.

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Wow, what a match! Unfortunately, I didn't have my chain saw with me, so the view was blocked by a Japanese Maple. I also forgot to bring along a tow truck to get that Ford Explorer out of the way. Seriously, the house was blocked by a myriad of obstacles. And the windows have been replaced - sadly.

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The dormer is also a spot-on match. And apparently, it gets REALLY hot upstairs. Ive never seen dueling air conditioners before.

Apparently, it gets REALLY hot upstairs. I've never seen dueling air conditioners before. That aside, the details on this attic dormer are also just right.

To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here.

To inquire as to Rose’s availability, please leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed the blog, please send the link to a friend!

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  1. Doug Bowles
    May 7th, 2013 at 17:06 | #1

    I’m from Salem/Roanoke, VA and there are lots of little kit homes still there as well.

    When home last I was heartened to see so many with their original windows intact. While I do understand homeowners wanting to save money on paint costs, I sure wish that vinyl siding was never invented.

  2. May 7th, 2013 at 17:38 | #2

    Hey Doug,

    1) Have you seen the documentary “Blue Vinyl”? I highly recommend it, but it is a bit depressing.

    2) Did you know I did a blog on the kit homes of Vinton and Salem and Roanoke? Roanoke has an abundance!

  3. Rod
    May 9th, 2013 at 21:08 | #3

    Thanks for coming to Waynesboro. We would love to have you back. There are a lot of Sears homes in this area. Complete neighborhoods.

  4. Linda
    May 10th, 2013 at 20:31 | #4

    @Rod
    Rod,

    Which neighborhoods? I live in Staunton and would love to know where to look to share pictures with Rosemary for her blog.

  5. May 11th, 2013 at 07:47 | #5

    @Rod
    Hi Rod,

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

    Please give me the addresses or streets (or even neighborhood) for this purported collection of Sears Homes. I went through several streets in Waynesboro and didn’t see more than a handful of Sears Homes. While I did find a few kit homes, I never did see any “groupings” of kit homes.

    Fortunately, Waynesboro is mostly mapped (with google), so if you give me some streets, I can “google drive” and find these houses.

    Hope to hear back from you soon!

    Rose

  6. David Tichenor
    May 20th, 2013 at 16:29 | #6

    Regarding the Sears Del Ray at 392 Maple Avenue (in Waynesboro):

    For much of its life it was the home of Miss Ebba Nore, a piano teacher (a native of Norway).

    Originally, there were glass doors between the living room and the dining room. The foundation is poured concrete.

    As built, the closet which protrudes into the bathroom is next to the short hall, which just wastes bathroom space.

    And there was an exterior door is where the plan shows a china cupboard. Definitely, a big improvement. Small steps used to lead to the grassy backyard with a small pond.

    A sunken patio would have been better than the present deck. And yes, the owner is proud that it’s a sears home.

    Thanks for the legible plan of the del ray model.

  7. Jane
    July 21st, 2013 at 13:11 | #7

    Lovely website!

    Just a little myth debunking regarding Al Gore: http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

  8. July 22nd, 2013 at 02:34 | #8

    Hi Jane,

    Actually, I was kidding about that. :)

  9. Mark
    December 12th, 2016 at 01:30 | #9

    Came across your website and felt compelled to share the fact that I have lived in a GVT Bristol home since 1998. It still has its original art deco light fixtures in the Living Room and the Bathroom. Last summer, my very first girlfriend from high school sent me the link to Mr. Wolicki’s website. Lo and behold, a photo of my house was displayed.

    Currently, I’m in the middle of a serious restoration project. I’d love to find a copy of the blueprints. If anybody reading this has any ideas about where I might locate them, please let me know. Of particular importance to me at the moment is determining the radius of the “turrent” which supports the Cupola. Nice website!

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