Home > Uncategorized > Sears Catalog House or Something Like It (Hopewell, VA)

Sears Catalog House or Something Like It (Hopewell, VA)

Last week, Hopewell was in the local news again, touting their Sears Homes. I’m not going to post a link to the article that appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch, because it was rife with errors.

I’m somewhat incredulous that a paper as prestigious as the Richmond Times Dispatch didn’t do some fact-checking before publishing this story.

The recording and publishing of history is such a sacred trust, and writers have a solemn charge to get the facts right, before sending this information into perpetuity.

And there’s this: I’ve been sought out and interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, BBC Radio, All Things Considered (PBS)  and more. I’ve been featured on PBS History Detectives, CBS Sunday Morning News, A&E’s Biography, and MSNBC.

It’s disheartening to know that a newspaper so close to home ran this article without seeking me out for a quote, or even asking me to help with the fact checking (which I would have gladly done).

Hopewell and I have a history.

When I visited Hopewell in 2003 (to give a talk), I was shown a small brochure touting 44 Sears Homes in Crescent Hills.

As mentioned in several other blogs (click here), Hopewell is mighty mixed up about what is, and what is not a kit house.

Of those 44 purported “Sears Homes” in Crescent Hills, only eight are the real deal, and frankly, it may not be eight. Some of those eight could well be plan book homes.

On that “list of 44,” this house (see below) was featured.

To read more about Hopewell, click here.

Many thanks to Rachel Shoemaker who successfully identified this house!

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Nice House

The brochure promoting the Hopewell Sears Homes stated that this was a Sears "Newbury." Ooh, nice try and thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

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Ruh

The Hopewell brochure states that it looks JUST LIKE a Newbury, except for the "sloping roof, full width dormer, extra windows and round columns." Good grief, if that's our criteria I could say that my dog Teddy looks like just like a Sears Magnolia.

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House

Except for the absence of a hip roof, full width windows, round columns and cypress wood, these two dwelling places are stunningly similar. You'll note that the subject on the right also does not have ears or fur, but both of these items could have easily been removed during an earlier remodeling.

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Newbury

Sears Newbury, from the 1936 catalog.

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compare

Wow, look at this! The house on the left is in Illinois and it actually LOOKS like a Newbury!

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compare

Ruh Roh. These don't look anything alike!

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Monticello

Thanks to Rachel Shoemaker, we now know that this house in Hopewell came from "Standard Homes Plans" (1923, 1928 and 1929). You may notice that THIS looks a lot like the house in Hopewell!

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Montie

In fact, "The Monticello" is on the cover of the catalog! What a beauty!

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Wow

And lookie here. It is a very fine match!

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Big and fancy

Did anyone from Hopewell ever go into this house and compare the interior layout? If so, I hope the homeowner gave their seeing-eye dog a tasty biscuit. The floor plan for the Monticello is radically different from the Sears Newbury (shown directly below). And the Monticello is 50% bigger. These details matter.

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What

The Newbury is a modest, simple house (1936 Sears Modern Homes catalog).

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If you dont love this house, theres something wrong with you!

According to the text in the ad, if you don't love the Monticello, there's something seriously wrong with you!

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It’d really be swell if Hopewell would invite me back to do a thorough and proper survey. I would be more than happy to get the facts right and help them create a new brochure.

In fact, I really wish they’d give it a go. It’s time to make this right.

To learn more about Hopewell, click here.

Want to learn how to identify kit homes? Click here.

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  1. July 26th, 2014 at 12:12 | #1

    Having been a music major, and teaching music for many years, music has always been a BIG part of my life.

    Everything makes me think of a song. Hopewell, this is the song that first came to mind several years ago when I identified some of your Sears houses as pattern book homes.

    Everyone sing along!

    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn’t belong,
    Can you tell which thing is not like the others
    By the time I finish my song?

    Not only does the exterior (of the house above) not match the Newbury but the interior can’t possible be the same as the Newbury!

    I guess they didn’t even consider the floor plans matching in any of these misidentified homes?

    The Hopewell folks might try that Highlights exercise for more practice “Double Check, aka Spot the Differences.”

  2. July 26th, 2014 at 14:59 | #2

    @Rachel Shoemaker
    Rachel, you know I *loved* your idea to do a theme on the Hopewell Houses titled, “One of these things is not like the other…”

    I am just flabbergasted that The Hopewell Charade goes on.

    Just flabbergasted.

    I should do my next blog on all the plan book houses you’ve identified in Crescent Hills!

  3. Jan
    July 27th, 2014 at 00:26 | #3

    First I burst into laughter at the comparison of adorable Teddy to a Sears Magnolia and then when I reach the comments and see Rachel’s song idea - which I found equally funny.

    I totally understand what you are saying and wish Hopewell would correct this misleading information.

  4. July 29th, 2014 at 13:35 | #4

    This house has been on the market recently and if you hurry you can still see the photos here:

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/106-Crescent-Ave-Hopewell-VA-23860/79131317_zpid/

    If you take a look at the photo of the stairs you will see a window at the landing. The pattern home has that.

    The Sears Newbury does not.

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