Home > Uncategorized > The Vernon is a Home with Marked Personality!

The Vernon is a Home with Marked Personality!

At first, I thought about titling this blog, “With a little help from my friends,” because - like so much of this research - I wouldn’t have much to write about if it wasn’t for fellow kit-house lovers who are always on the look-out for fresh discoveries.

Becky Gottschall has been finding all manner of wonderful houses in and around Pottstown, Pennsylvania. In my own opinion, the crème de la crème of these discoveries is the Sterling “Vernon” - right in the heart of Pottstown.

The other helper is Rachel Shoemaker, who provided the original catalog images shown below.

Many thanks to both Becky and Rachel for their help!

To read about a less-fortunate house in Pennsylvania, click here.

Did you know there’s a Sears Magnolia in Pennsylvania?

~

Sterling Homes, based in Bay City, Michigan, sold kit homes through a mail-order catalog, just like Sears.

Sterling Homes, based in Bay City, Michigan, sold kit homes through a mail-order catalog, just like Sears. The "Vernon" was featured on the cover of the 1928 catalog.

*

ff

Nice looking houses, too (rear cover, 1928).

*

The Vernon was Sterlings Magnolia: Their biggest and best house.

Personality! So saith the advertising copy in this 1917 catalog. The "Vernon" was Sterling's Magnolia: Their biggest and best house, and it had shutters "savoring of New England." Love the writing!

*

And it was a fine and spacious home.

And it was a fine and spacious home. The kitchen stuck out in the rear for several reasons. Primarily, it provided ventilation on three sides of the room and helped separate this room from the rest of the house. The kitchen was not only hot (due to behemoth stoves and ranges), but it was also considered a hazard to happy living, due to bad smells (ice box, soot and grease), cooking odors, and the heat. Oh my, the heat!

*

The maid

In older homes (pre-1920), you'll often find that the space over the kitchen was a "storage room" or "trunk room," because this space was considered unsuitable for living space. In later years, it was often the maid's room. Guess she was made of stouter stuff than to worry over bad smells, coal soot and high heat. The master bedroom (like the living room directly below) has a fireplace. Pretty sweet!

*

Even if you opted for all the extras, the Vernon would only cost a smidge more than $4,000. Pretty sweet deal - even in 1917.

Even if you opted for all the extras, the Vernon would only cost a smidge more than $4,000. Pretty sweet deal - even in 1917. It really was a grand home (1917 catalog).

*

All of which explains why it was featured on the cover of Sterlings catalogs (1928 catalog shown above).

All of which explains why it was featured on the cover of Sterling's catalogs (1928 catalog shown above).

*

And the one in Pottsdown, Pennsylvania is unusually stunning!

And the one in Pottstown, Pennsylvania is unusually stunning! Photo is copyright 2015 Becky Gottschall and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. Thus saith the law. And the lions. Even if one is tilted just a bit. They are stoned, after all.

*

Its a gorgeous house.

It's a gorgeous house, and in excellent condition. You can see the wonderful detail on the rafter tails in this photo. Photo is copyright 2015 Becky Gottschall and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Another beautiful view from another beautiful angle.

Another beautiful view from another angle. I'm not sure, but that appears to be a slate roof (at least on the side of those dormers). Photo is copyright 2015 Becky Gottschall and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Wow

What a house. Do you have one in your neighborhood? (1928 catalog).

*

Many thanks again to Becky Gotschall for providing an abundance of clear, beautiful photos.

Many thanks again to Becky Gotschall for providing an abundance of clear, beautiful photos.

*

To read about a less-fortunate house in Pennsylvania, click here.

Did you know there’s a Sears Magnolia in Pennsylvania?

To read about another Sterling Vernon in New York, click here.

~

  1. Becky Gottschall
    August 29th, 2015 at 07:37 | #1

    Great post, Rosemary! The house is truly gorgeous.

    You deserve the credit for the find though, since you noticed it after I had posted some other local Sears homes. I don’t know enough about Sterling to identify them at this point.

    I will have to check out that Magnolia in PA, the one in South Bend was too sad when I saw it.

    It has been a pleasure to work together with you on this.

    I’ve learned much from your postings and you do so much to educate others which will hopefully help save these homes over time! Thank you, we appreciate your work!

  2. Natalie
    August 29th, 2015 at 09:01 | #2

    Spectacular! Interesting history too.

  3. Lara
    August 29th, 2015 at 09:08 | #3

    Gorgeous house and it looks familiar to me!

  4. milton
    August 29th, 2015 at 09:22 | #4

    Wow! Nice house. The lions are my favorite part.

  5. August 29th, 2015 at 13:17 | #5

    GREAT blog post! Quite an impressive house.

    Are those statues bulldogs? You know how I love bulldogs! ;)

    That black and white image, the arts and crafts version at the bottom, is THE Sterling Vernon in Bay City Michigan. It’s still there! It was built in 1914 for Clarence Ambrose the vice president of International Mill and Timber. It’s in Dale Wolicki’s book The Historic Architecture of Bay City, Michigan. It’s a great book that should be in every researcher’s library :)

  6. August 29th, 2015 at 15:47 | #6

    Rachel, shortly after I first “met” you online, I used the word indefatigable to describe your research efforts. As I think about that now, I realize that “bulldog” has a very similar connotation!

    BTW, about that question you asked earlier: “Mon mari l’avocat d’accord avec vous.”

  7. Stacey
    August 29th, 2015 at 16:02 | #7

    Absolutely stunning! I love the fireplace in the master - along with the closet.

    En suites in the 1920’s must have been very very rare.

    I also love the opportunity to see the interior shots of the homes and the way they were decorated. Keep ‘em coming “Sears lady!”

  8. Stacey
    August 29th, 2015 at 16:08 | #8

    I also just realized that the second floor main bath has a clothing chute!

    AWESOME!!!

    I notice it on the first floor too and wonder if it’s possible one of the options was to install a dumbwater in that place?

    This home is incredible. I wish I had it!

  9. bfish
    August 29th, 2015 at 16:38 | #9

    It’s a beautiful house and great to see that so many original exterior features remain.

    Thank you Becky (and Rosemary) for sharing it with us!

    And, it’s good to get everyone talking about Sterling kits because I am still wondering if my home is a Sterling Lawnsette (top house on the 1928 rear cover of Sterling catalog you’ve included here) or some pattern book variation.

    So far I’ve not seen anything else even remotely close to my floor plan, while the Lawnsette is almost an exact match.

  10. Laura (So Ca)
    September 2nd, 2015 at 10:13 | #10

    Great house. It could be a scaled down Beverly Hills home. It has that majestic and stately look to it.

    Did kit homes have different options for elevations, or was that the homeowner’s vision?

    Your work, Rachel’s, Dale’s (and others) is the start of a register of kit homes. Will our government fund it? (Hey, much more important than most of their waste.) Should we start a petition?

    All my Shopping Ctr Mgmt and Marketing curriculum is being wasted. I’m in.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Additional comments powered by BackType