Archive

Archive for January, 2015

Strathmore + Willard = Strathard?

January 30th, 2015 Sears Homes 2 comments

The Strathmore has always been one of my favorite models of Sears Homes. Then again, Im a real sap for Tudoresque designs, and these Sears Tudors are utterly adorable.

The Strathmore has always been one of my favorite models of Sears Homes. Then again, I'm a real sap for Tudoresque designs, and these Sears Tudors are utterly adorable (1936 catalog). Seems like a very practical house, too.

*

The Willard is another Sears neo-tudor thats also a darling little house.

The Willard is another Sears neo-tudor that's also a darling little house.

*

It must have been a big seller for Sears, too. Ive found Willards throughout the country, including unusual spots like Norfolk, Virginia and Tallahassee, Alabama!

It must have been a big seller for Sears, too. I've found Willards throughout the country, including unusual spots like Norfolk, Virginia and Tallahassee, Alabama! And the Willard was featured in this advertisement, promoting the low cost of owning a Sears House.

*

Apparently, sometime ago in Norwood Ohio, someone couldnt decide between the Willard and the Strathmore.

Apparently, sometime ago in Norwood Ohio, someone couldn't decide between the Willard and the Strathmore.

*

So they built this.

So they built this. It's a Sears Willard, with the Strathmore foyer. Pretty cute, isn't it?

*

Nice match!

Nice match - at least on the front porch!

*

If you know the precise address of this house, please send it along. It’s in Norwood, Ohio and the street number is 2215 (visible in the photos above). All I need now is the street’s name!

Update! Dale Haynes (from our Sears House Facebook group) discovered the street address! This house is on Glenside in Norwood, Ohio! Yay for Dale!!!  :)

Want to learn more about why Norwood is so important to the story of Sears Homes? Click here.

*       *        *

Teddy The Dog Needs Advice

January 27th, 2015 Sears Homes 11 comments

Frequent visitors to this page will know that Teddy the Dog is a prominent and important part of my life. Yesterday, we returned from another visit to the vet and learned that Teddy is (again) suffering from some type of allergic dermatitis. This time, it’s in her ears.

More medication has been prescribed, but I’m starting to think this is food related. For the last three years, she’s been on Purina One Dog Food. I was suitably impressed that “chicken” was its first ingredient, but I’ve since learned that meat as a first ingredient is not really enough to assure that it’s a quality product.

In fact, this website states that Purina One is a sub-standard product.

I’m posting this here to ask if anyone can recommend a kibble that is ideal for dogs with a tendency toward allergy-based dermatitis.

Teddy and I thank you!

To read more about Teddy, click here.

Interested in reading about identifying kit homes? Click here.

*

Doesnt *every* dog have a monogrammed bed from Orvis? :)

Doesn't *every* dog have a monogrammed bed from Orvis? :)

*

Teddy has a friend spend the night.

Teddy has a friend ("Roxey") spend the night.

*

Teddy was a beautiful baby.

Teddy, at eight weeks. She's being held by my beautiful daughter, Corey.

*

The dog days of Teddy.

The dog days of Teddy.

*

Teddy and I used to drive out to the old TCC campus (Suffolk) and take a long walk along the edge of the Nansemond River. This is also the site of Pig Point, where unused shells from Penniman were stored.

Teddy and I used to drive out to the old TCC campus (Suffolk) and take a long walk along the edge of the Nansemond River. This is also the site of Pig Point, where unused shells from Penniman were stored.

*

This was actually a picture of my freshly painted sunporch, but the worlds most persistent photo bomber appeared.

This was actually intended to be picture of my freshly painted sunporch, but the world's most persistent photo bomber appeared. Apparently, she spotted a squirrel in her back yard.

*

During our last episode with dermatitis, I made up this goofy little sweater for Teddy, to keep her from gnawing on the hot spot on her front leg.

During our last episode with dermatitis, I sewed up this goofy little sweater for Teddy, to keep her from gnawing on the "hot spot" on her front leg. It worked well, and it was so darn cute.

*

Teddy has always been game for every adventure.

Teddy has always been game for every adventure, even a walk in one of our rare snow storms.

*

And shes the consummate house-hunting companion, always on the lookout for kit homes!

And she's the consummate house-hunting companion, always on the lookout for kit homes!

*

Thanks for any advice! Please leave a comment below!

*      *       *

The Meadow-Moor: Supersedes The Commonplace!

January 25th, 2015 Sears Homes 6 comments

What a month! Two weeks ago, an elderly friend took a bad fall and I’ve been spending a little time helping her “get back on her feet” - literally and figuratively! Between that, and trying to write a book about Penniman (which is 100 years old in 2015), it’s been a very busy time.

Last year, my buddy Dale Wolicki sent me these wonderful photos of a rare Sterling “Meadow-Moor” that he discovered in Rocky River, Ohio. I’ve never seen a Meadow-Moor and according to Dale, this is the first one he’s seen, too!

Thanks to Dale for sharing his photos!

Enjoy the pictures, and please leave a comment below.

To visit one of Dale’s websites, click here.

To learn more about Sterling Homes, click here.

*

The Lewis Meadow-Moor (1914 catalog).

The Sterling Meadow-Moor (1914 catalog).

*

Spacious, too!

Spacious, too! Love the "cupboard buffet" and Solarium.

*

More

Back in the day, the 2nd floor bathroom (usually the only bath) ended up on the front.

*

Hus

I'd spend my whole life on that sunporch.

*

hoouse

Still has its thatch-effect roof, too! What a cream puff of a kit house! Photo is copyright 2014 Dale Wolicki and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

To visit one of Dale’s websites, click here.

*

Lost in New Orleans, Part II

January 9th, 2015 Sears Homes No comments

Despite much good help from many good people in New Orleans, the missing Sears House (Model 264P165) remains coquettishly elusive.

Perhaps I should put her image on the back of a milk carton with the words, “Have you seen me?”

However, while checking out a potential sighting, I spotted a Harris Brothers “1512″ in the 1400-block of Adams Street.

Harris Brothers, like Sears, also sold kit homes though a mail-order catalog. Harris Brothers was one of six national companies selling kit homes in the early 1900s. Based in Chicago, they were originally known as Chicago House-wrecking Company. (One hundred years ago, “wrecking” was a term that meant disassembling a house so that it could be rebuilt at a new site.)

The HB 1512 I spotted in New Orleans looks like a real beauty, too.

Do the owners know that they have a kit house? Based on my research, more than 90% of the people living in these historically significant homes don’t realize what they have.

To read Lost in New Orleans, Part I, click here.

Want to learn how to identify kit homes, based on lumber markings? Lookie here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below.

*

Whilst poking around for the Lost Sears House, I found this kit home from Harris Brothers!

Whilst poking around for the Lost Sears House, I found this kit home from Harris Brothers!

*

This is from the tax assessors office. Lots of trees there.

This photo is from the tax assessor's office. Lots of trees there.

*

This image is from Google Maps. Can no one take a picture of this house when its note Summer? LOL.

This image is from Google Maps. Can no one take a picture of this house when it's not Spring or Summer? However, that is a lovely Tulip Tree in the foreground.

*

Reminds me of my favorite photo that a reader sent in, asking me to identify their kit home.

Reminds me of my favorite photo that a reader sent in, asking me if I could help with an identification. I wrote back and said, "Yes, I think it's a Silver Maple."

*

Back to our house...This is a lovely home and in good condition. According to the assessors floorplan, its also the right size for a HB 1512.

Back to our house...This is a lovely home and in good condition. The colors are unusual for an early 20th Century bungalow, but I like it. According to the assessor's floorplan, it's the right size for a HB 1512.

*

And heres the 1512, as seen in the 1923 catalog.

And here's the 1512, as seen in the 1923 catalog.

*

Nice little layout, too.

Nice little layout, too.

*

House

With two bedrooms upstairs!

*

Meanwhile...

Meanwhile...Still looking for this.

*

Somewhere in New Orleans, this house is giggling...

Somewhere in New Orleans, this house is giggling and fluttering its window shades...

*

To read Lost in New Orleans, Part I, click here.

Want to learn how to identify kit homes, based on lumber markings? Lookie here.

*     *      *

Lost in New Orleans!

January 7th, 2015 Sears Homes 4 comments

What are the odds that this rare and wonderful old Sears House is  still alive and well in New Orleans?

I don’t know enough about NOLA to even venture a guess.

Last night, I went to a favorite site (Realtor.com) and looked up “houses for sale” (single family and 50+ years old) and that brought up only a handful of listings. Apparently, there’s been a huge amount of redevelopment in New Orleans.

A reporter from this area has asked me to find some Sears Homes in New Orleans. I’d love to start with this one.

Any ideas?

If you’re here for the first time, you may be wondering, what is a Sears House? In the early 1900s, Sears sold entire kit homes through their mail order catalogs. The 12,000-piece kit came with a 75-page instruction book that promised the homeowner, “You can not make a mistake.” Typically, it took the average neophyte builder 3-6 months to complete assembly of his home.

Want to see the fanciest kit home that Sears offered? Click here.

Do  you know where this house is? Please leave a comment below.

And please share this link with your New Orleanian friends on social media!

Oooh, part II is here!

*

feffe

This house was built in New Orleans. Is it still alive?

*

House

Modern Home 264P165 is a model I've never seen in real life, and yet, we know there were at least three built (and perhaps many more). This image was in the 1914 catalog, and yet it does not appear in 1912 or 1916, so it was short-lived. Where's the house in New Orleans?

*

feffe

Fortunately, the floor plan is odd enough that it should be fairly easy to identify.

*

fefe

"Particularly planned for southern states..."

*

fefe

And this explains why!

*

To read about a beautiful Sears House in Texas (which is a beautiful story), click here.

Do  you know where this house is? Please leave a comment below.

And please share this link with your New Orleanian friends on social media!

*       *      *

“The Charm of the True Colonial is Perennial”

January 5th, 2015 Sears Homes 1 comment

Throughout my time on this earth, I’ve always had a soft spot for a center-hallway Colonial. Perhaps this is because I lived in one from July 1959 (birth of a seven-pound old house zealot) to April 1978 (zealot leaves to get married).

In 2007 when I got married again (and for the last time, I might add), I moved into another center-hallway Colonial, reminiscent of my childhood home. Not only did it remind me of the family home in Waterview (Portsmouth, VA), but it looked like a good place to drop both anchor and money.

Gordon Van Tine offered a Colonial, known as “Modern Home #601″ and later named “The Shoreham.”

Even today, sitting in my perfect Mid-Century Modern brick ranch, I still swoon when I gaze upon the pictures of these early 20th Century Colonials. The copy writers for GVT were right: Its charm is perennial.

To read more about Gordon Van Tine, click here.

Interested in reading about the plan-book houses of Waterview? Click here.

Hey - are you familiar with Bluefield, WV? If so, I’m missing a couple houses there. Please leave a comment below if you know the area?

*

house

GVT Home #601, as seen in the 1926 catalog.

*

Okay, I know youre just here for the pictures, but take a moment and actually *read* this text. Its a great read!!

I know you're just here for the pictures, but take a moment and actually *read* this text. It's worth it. The Colonial has survived "The horrors of the Mansard era and the Victorian period..."

*

houe

In 1929, it became known as The Shoreham (as in, are you shore this is ham?). The dormers went bye-bye, too.

*

Floorplan

Busy little floorplan. I love the coat closet's placement.

*

Floopr

My oh my, but there's a lot going on in the kitchen.

*

fefe

GVT #601 (1926 catalog).

*

Bluefield WV

My friend Ersela and I discovered this house in Bluefield, WV. It's a real dandy, isn't it?

*

515 Nanse

My childhood home at 515 Nansemond Street, as photographed by my father on moving day, April 1957.

*

Gosnold Avenue

Our beautiful former home on Gosnold Avenue in Colonial Place. I had made a plan with my friend David Strickland to custom-build cut-out functional shutters for the home's front. I was going to paint them black, but life took a few turns and we ended up selling the home and moving to another part of Norfolk. I've always thought this house was one of the prettiest homes in Colonial Place (Norfolk).

*

The house

The GVT #601 (the Colonial shown at the top of the page) sat next door to a GVT #603 (this house). I'm sorry to say I don't know which street it was on, but I'd love to find out - and maybe even get a photo. These houses were close to the river (parallel to the river) and on a main drag. Do you know where they are? :/

*

To read more about Gordon Van Tine, click here.

Interested in reading about the plan-book houses of Waterview? Click here.

*      *       *

Customized Wardway Homes: Kinda, Sorta, Maybe

January 3rd, 2015 Sears Homes 5 comments

Here’s the kind of “research” that makes me 1/3rd sad, 1/4th disappointed and 29/50ths disheartened.

There’s a fellow in Wisconsin who recently discovered that he has a Wardway Home, and has written a blog about it.

Cool. Mega kudos to him for writing a blog about his Wardway Home.

But…

He tried (in vain) to identify it. Finding nothing close, he decided that it was a “customized Maywood.”

Ruh Roh.

He then adds, “The wall boards are stamped with ‘Montgomery Ward & Co., Davenport, Ia. to R. L. Sizer, Wisconsin.’”

I suspect that he meant to say that the studs (vertical wall members) are marked, because I’ve never ever heard of wallboards being stamped with shipping information. Ever.

Typically, shipping information is found on shipping labels (see image below), which are then affixed to millwork (moldings and trim).

Next comment:  “It was obvious that Mr. Sizer was cost-conscious from the first time we entered this house. Touring the basement, it was pointed out that the floor boards had been used for framing the foundation.”

Say what?

I’ve seen floor joists (2×8) used as temporary forms when pouring cement for basement walls, which leaves a trademark white/gray stain on the lumber, but I’ve never ever seen anyone use 3/4″ tongue-and-groove white-oak floorboards for “framing a foundation.”

A minor point, but using framing members as temporary forms was commonplace, and not a cost-cutting measure.

He also writes: “Kit houses or as Ward called them, ‘ready-cut houses,’ were not uncommon. According to the book, ‘Houses By Mail,’ over 100,000 were built in the United States between 1908 and 1940, the majority from Sears.”

Mixing apples and oranges makes a delightful fruit salad, but in historic architecture, it’s confusing.

Sears sold about 70,000 kit homes. Dale Patrick Wolicki (an architectural historian and co-author of Montgomery Ward’s Mail-Order Homes), estimates that about 25,000 Wardway homes were sold.

Lastly, the homeowner claims that while the Wardway designs shown in the catalog are not a good match, he did find one home that “does bear a resemblance,” the Wardway Maywood.

Hmmm… Given this his home is a one-story house, and the Maywood is two-story, that’s a real mystery.

Based on other comments within the blog, I’m confident he’s got a Wardway home, but I wish he’d done a little more research. Written historical records need to be inexorably, meticulously and assiduously accurate.

In my opinion, of course. ;)

To contact Rose, leave a comment below.

To learn more about identifying marks on lumber, click here.

Interested in learning more about wallboard in early 20th Century Sears Homes? Lookie here.

*

Shipping labels are often found on the backside of millwork.

Shipping labels are often found on the backside of millwork. I've never seen one on wallboard.

*

Wardway 1931

Here's a Wardway "Maywood" as seen in the 1931 catalog.

*

Heres a customized Maywood in Battlecreek, MI.

Here's a "customized" Maywood in Battlecreek, MI.

*

Dale Wolicki found the actual house featured in the Wardway brochure (shown above).

Dale Wolicki found the actual house ("customized Maywood") featured in the Wardway brochure (shown above). Photo is copyright 2012 Dale Patrick Wolicki and may not be used or reprinted with written permission.

*

Ward

Wardway offered "architectural services" for folks who wanted a unique design. The center image shows a customized Maywood in the Chicago area. Note that it looks like a Maywood with a garage added to the side.

*

The author

The author says that this home (the Wardway Maywood) does "bear a resemblance" to his customized Wardway, "especially in the floor plan." Unless he's got a bedroom set up in the closet (which does have a nice shelf), I'm baffled on this one. Shown above is the first-floor plan for the Wardway Maywood.

*

The

Here's the subject house, the "customized Wardway Maywood." The small inset is the 1931 Maywood.

*

Frankly, I think it looks more like a customized Brentwood.

Frankly, I think it looks more like this kit home: The "Brentwood."

*

Or the Carmen.

Or maybe the "Carmen."

*

Or maybe its a Magnolia, customized.

Or maybe it's a Magnolia, customized.

*

To learn more about identifying marks on lumber, click here.

Interested in learning more about wallboard in early 20th Century Sears Homes? Lookie here.

*      *      *