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The Little GVT Tower House Mystery: Solved!

Updated: Look what else we found in Herndon, VA!

Yesterday, I wrote a blog, asking who’d sent me a photo of a purported Sears House.

Weeks (or months) after I’d told the sender that it wasn’t a Sears House, I discovered that it was a kit house, from Gordon Van Tine!

Gordon Van Tine (based in Davenport, Iowa) was a competitor of Sears, and also sold entire kit homes through a mail-order catalog. The house was shipped by boxcar (with 12,000 pieces of house), and each kit came with a 75-page instruction book.

Last night, Tina replied to my inquiry and said it was she who’d sent me the original image, and that the house (in Herndon, VA) had been listed for sale as a Sears Maytown (oopsie).

She also provided a link, showing some interior photos of The Little Tower House.

I’ve reposted a handful the photos below (without a smidge of permission), but the direct link shows 24 beautiful pictures.

Now I’m wondering, what else is there in Herndon, VA? That’s one Virginia city I’ve never set foot in!

Many thanks to Tina for solving the mystery!

Updated to add: Herndon isn’t that far from Norfolk!  It’d be fun to visit Herndon and do a proper survey of all their kit homes!

To read the prior blog (with floorplan), click here.

Realtors seem to have a real problem with the Sears Maytown. Here’s one really wild example.

To see a real Sears Maytown, click here.

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Hernond

Again with the "Sears Maytown." Sheesh. It is a kit home, but it's NOT from Sears.

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Little Tower House in Herndon, VA.

Little Tower House in Herndon, VA.

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Tower House

Another view. BTW, that half acre of land really sweetens the deal!

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house

The stained glass windows are a lovely addition to the 2nd floor "Tower Room."

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I love that Tower Room!

I love that Tower Room! You can see a bit of the ceiling in this photo, too!

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What a pretty house!

This is the first floor view of the Tower Room. What a pretty house!

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I think Im in love.

I think I'm in love. Looks like an original light fixture to the left.

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Nicely done.

Wow. Who WOULDN'T love a space like this!

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And the back yard is just dreamy.

And the back yard is just dreamy.

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But repeat after me...this is NOT a Sears Maytown!

But repeat after me...this is NOT a Sears Maytown!

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It is a Gordon Van Tine

It is a Gordon Van Tine #143, as seen in the 1913 catalog.

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And what a fine little Tower House it is!

And what a fine little Tower House it is!

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To read the prior blog (with floorplan of The Tower House), click here.

To see a real Sears Maytown, click here.

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  1. December 15th, 2014 at 11:51 | #1

    Well, here again, that is a rare house. It was offered by Gordon Van Tine from 1912-1916. Those early year catalogs of Gordon Van Tine are not readily accessible by everybody.

    I suspect they *knew* it was a kit home and assumed Sears and the Maytown, although it doesn’t even closely resemble a Maytown :)

    The one in Oklahoma took me a couple of days to locate, several hours of scouring maps. I’m not kidding!

    The second owners who bought it from the original buyer contacted me when the blog made the rounds and got back to them.

    They were happy to solve the mystery!

    They knew it was a kit home because they bought it from the original buyer. They assumed years later that it was from Sears but they couldn’t find a model that resembled it.

    That mystery is solved and now everyone knows “the rest of the story”. Hopefully the new owner of this Little Tower House will see this blog!

    A great place to learn how to identify kit homes or get help identifying a house is in the Sears Group on facebook.

  2. Sherry Boberman
    January 14th, 2015 at 07:41 | #2

    @Rachel Shoemaker
    Dear Rachel, my daughter is the new owner. Thanks so much for all the info.

    I am going to be there in a week and can’t wait! She was thrilled to know the truth.

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