Home > Uncategorized > Rosemary is Coming to Edwardsville, Illinois!

Rosemary is Coming to Edwardsville, Illinois!

On November 13th, I’ll be in Edwardsville, giving a talk on their kit homes!

It’ll be a fun time, and there will be many surprises, too!

After my talk when folks tell me their stories, my #2 favorite comment is, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven past that house not realizing that it was something special! You really opened my eyes to our town’s history!”  (My #1 favorite comment is, “You’re the funniest lecturer I’ve ever heard. You missed your calling as a comedian!”)

To see a preview of Thursday’s talk, scroll on down.

Details: Rose will be at the Wildey Theater (252 North Main Street) on Thursday, November 13th at 7:00. Admission is free, but come early for a good seat! For more information, contact event organizer Cindy Reinhardt at 618-656-1294.

What is a Sears House? In the early 1900s, Sears sold kit homes through their mail-order catalogs. The 12,000-piece kits came with everything you’d need to build your home, including a 75-page instruction book! Sears promised that a “man of average abilities” could have the house ready for occupancy in less than 90 days. After Sears closed their Modern Homes Department in 1940, the sales records were lost, and the only way to find these homes today is literally one-by-one.

Are you on Facebook? Please share the link and spread the happy news!  :)

To learn more about identifying these kit homes, click here.

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GVT 612

In addition to Sears, there were five national companies selling kit homes through mail order. Gordon Van Tine was one of the larger companies. Shown above is the Gordon Van Tine #612. It's a beautiful home and very spacious too. People tend to think of "kit homes" as simple little boxy affairs, but that's not accurate.

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house

Here's the Gordon Van Tine #612 in Edwardsville. What a beauty!

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house house 1916

Here's the Sears Hazleton, as seen in the 1916 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

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hazleton

And a perfect example of The Hazleton in Edwardsville. Just perfect.

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1919

The Sears Maytown was a popular house (1919 catalog).

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house house

I'm told that originally, this was a Frat House for SIUE. It seems to have survived. Years ago, I talked to the homeowner and told them what they had but they didn't seem too thrilled. That was at least 10 years ago.

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1919

One of my favorites: The Sears Hollywood (1919).

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house

For years and years, I've sturggled to figure out if this is a Sears Hollywood. Still haven't decided. There's a funny story that goes with this house. I'll share it Thursday night. ;)

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Whitehall

The Sears Whitehall was one of Sears' most popular models (1919).

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house

Another perfect example in Edwardsville. This photo was taken in March 2010.

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Edwards

The Sears Crescent was another popular model (1921).

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Is this a Sears Crescent on West Park? Id love to have an opportunity to go inside and figure it out!

Is this a Sears Crescent on West Park? I'd love to get inside and figure it out!

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1919 Rose

Montgomery Ward was one of the national companies that - like Sears - sold kit homes through mail-order catalogs. Some of their houses were quite simple, such as the Wardway "Roseland" (1919 catalog).

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Thanks

Rachel Shoemaker spotted this little Roseland in Edwardsville! And its distinctive front porch is still intact! Do these folks know they have a kit home? Probably not!

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Just in case you wanted a cute graphic...

Just in case you wanted a cute graphic...

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For more information, contact event organizer Cindy Reinhardt at 618-656-1294.
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  1. Dale Wolicki
    November 5th, 2014 at 22:35 | #1

    Just remember Rose, I’m the one that told you long ago people don’t come to lectures to learn - they come to be entertained!

    And if any of your funny stories involve me I’ll expect a royalty check!

  2. Amanda
    November 12th, 2014 at 20:14 | #2

    Rosemary, I really hope you can stop by my house in Edwardsville. I spoke with Cindy today, and she has my contact information.

  3. John Simms
    November 14th, 2014 at 08:51 | #3

    Great talk last night in Edwardsville. Thanks for sharing your wealth of information and sense of humor.

    Best regards,
    John Simms
    Edwardsville, IL

    PS I have an aunt in Olney, IL that used to live in one of the steel homes that you spoke about.

  4. Susan Hume
    November 14th, 2014 at 12:39 | #4

    Rosemary, we thoroughly enjoyed your talk last night. I spoke to you about how I use your research in my urban geography course.

    I wondered later if you have a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) database of the homes you have documented.

    This would enable you to not only maintain a spreadsheet of details on each house, but also be able to show this information on maps and search by different criteria, such as style.

    Hypermedia links could also be created to connect photos of each house to the spreadsheet and maps.

    We have the software and expertise in the geography department to do this and we could probably find a way to do it for free. Please contact me if you would like to talk about this further.

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