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February 3rd, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments


To order Penniman: Virginia’s Own Ghost City, click here.




The Houses That Sears Built


by Rosemary Thornton









Finding The Houses That Sears Built

Limited Quantities! - Order NOW!

Now selling for more than $200 at some online sites, this price of $44.95 is a limited time offer, sold from the author’s own stock. Each book is personally autographed.

$44.95 (plus $5.00 S&H)

This book is a field guide to Sears’ 60 Most Popular designs.



California’s Kit Homes

A Reprint of the 1925 Pacific Ready Cut Homes Catalog

OUT OF PRINT! While supplies last! $36.95  (plus $5 s/h).

This is an invaluable resource for anyone yearning to know more about the kit homes of the West Coast, and includes a 12-page introduction (Thornton and Wolicki) with detailed information on the history of Pacific  Ready Cut Homes. Your knowledge of America’s kit homes is not complete until you own this book!




Montgomery Ward’s Mail-Order Homes

NOW OUT OF PRINT! While supplies last! $35.95  (plus $5 s/h).

When these are sold out, that’s the end! This 347-page tome features hundreds of archival images, contrasted side-by-side with extant examples of Wardway Homes throughout the country. Do you know someone who loves old houses? This is the book for them!

  1. Gemma
    August 31st, 2017 at 15:39 | #1

    I’ve tried to get the Wardway book, but PayPal insists I donate to hurricane relief.

    Are you completely out of the Wardway book, hence the reason for the diversion?

  2. August 31st, 2017 at 20:11 | #2


    I have lots and lots of Wardway books. I don’t know what to think about your issues with Paypal.

    That’s very disconcerting.

    And disheartening.

  3. Gemma
    September 2nd, 2017 at 15:32 | #3

    I also ordered the California Kit homes book, but never received an email acknowledgement. Did you receive it?

  4. September 2nd, 2017 at 21:50 | #4


    Your book went out in yesterday’s mail. You should have it soon!

  5. Myra or Ron Chapoton
    September 22nd, 2017 at 13:22 | #5

    Rose, I received my book “Finding the House that Sears Built,” along with this book was a new copy of “The Houses that Sears Built”. What should I do with the unordered book?

    Please let me hear from you.

  6. November 10th, 2017 at 16:38 | #6

    Hi Rose - Rumor has it that this home is a Wardway Home. Any insights?

  7. November 10th, 2017 at 16:41 | #7

    Hi Rose - I just bought this house and the local rumor is that this home is a 1920s Montgomery Ward home.

    Have been reviewing books without success, but thought maybe I’m missing a connection?

    Any ideas for me? I’d buy more books, historic plans and design ideas if I could just figure out what it is.

  8. November 13th, 2017 at 12:58 | #8

    It’s JH Daverman & Son, No 58
    Here’s another one for comparison.

  9. Gemma
    November 15th, 2017 at 12:07 | #9

    @Rachel J Shoemaker

    I’ve never heard of JH Daverman & Son. Would it be possible for either you or our dear Rosie to develop a blog entry listing the kit home manufacturers? A plan book list wouldn’t hurt, either.

  10. Donna
    November 26th, 2017 at 16:13 | #10

    I am trying to order your Wardway book, and the PayPal link seems to be broken. I successfully placed an order for ‘The Houses That Sears Built’ and another order for ‘Finding the Houses That Sears Built’. Please advise!

  11. November 26th, 2017 at 23:32 | #11

    Hello, I would like to speak to Rosemary Thornton… about the history on Sears…

    Please e mail.



  12. Evie
    February 3rd, 2018 at 18:46 | #12

    Hello, Do any of your books include catalog images of the Elmwood?

  13. ML Moore
    March 9th, 2018 at 01:50 | #13

    Hi Rosemary,

    I know of a Sears 190 it is the one with the polygon bay on the first floor and second floors.

    You say you have only ever seen one before, well I think you should come to Ohio and see this one.

    I might even be able to arrange a visit to see it up close and inside.

    There are quite a number of ‘kit homes’ in and around the area.

    I hope you are finding your way on a brighter path - my thoughts and prayers are with you and Teddy.

  14. Kendra
    June 24th, 2018 at 08:40 | #14

    My father’s home was built by Jim Walter Homes, Inc.

    If you are interested in a picture, let me know. It needs updating, so you have to excuse the view.

  15. mary ann a campbell
    June 24th, 2018 at 22:06 | #15

    Hi Rosemary, I love your website. I have just ordered two of your books but am not sure PayPal did it correctly.

    I ordered Finding…. and California’s Kit Houses. If it comes in as two orders, it should be a single order.

    Many thanks!
    Mary Ann

  16. June 25th, 2018 at 13:57 | #16

    Hi Mary Ann!

    I got it, and will send out the books today! :D

  17. August 25th, 2018 at 12:15 | #17

    Hi, the plant in the photo from Kinston near all the Aladdin homes originally was the power plant for Kinston, not a mill but Glen Raven Cotton Mill was near by. My father in law worked and retired there with the city.

  18. Amber Christian
    September 12th, 2018 at 12:40 | #18

    I am working now to get a picture of a home in my home town that I am almost positive MUST be a Magnolia. Will submit it when I get my hands on one.

  19. September 12th, 2018 at 14:10 | #19

    Dear Ms. Thornton:

    I listened to the episode of “99% Invisible” in which you discussed your long interest in Sears kit houses and your many books.

    I’m writing as an acquisition editor at the University of Georgia Press to ask if you are working on any new book-length works which might be a good match for my Press.

    Likewise, if you have out-of-print books which you think might have a continued audience, I’d enjoy discussing publishing possibilities with you. Many thanks for considering my request.

    Patrick Allen
    Acquisitions Editor
    The University of Georgia Press

  20. James Allan Brady
    September 18th, 2018 at 12:15 | #20

    I would like to order all 4 homes books, but was wondering if there was a link where I could pay for all 4 together and combine shipping costs as well?

  21. October 4th, 2018 at 23:26 | #21

    I spent 3 hours reading your blog posts about Sears Homes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge about those homes. May God bless you and grant your wish of healing. I also dealt with almost similar trauma. I found healing thru forgiving myself.

  22. Dee Jordan
    December 31st, 2018 at 19:45 | #22

    Your book came today, and you were so kind to include Finding the Houses that Sears Built and also to sign both.

    My husband and I both worked at Sears in college, we met there in the 80s (and he stayed past college as a manager), so the company means a lot to us.

    My brother, who does carpentry, told us about the kit homes years ago, and we always wonder if there are any on Staten Island where we grew up.

    Both books will bring hours of pleasure to all of us. Thank you for all the research and for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

  23. Mark Gallagher
    January 2nd, 2019 at 15:26 | #23

    Rosemary, I live in Colonial Place in the Home you believe is an Aladdin Sheffield, I actually think it is a Harris brothers L-1520 from the 1918 Catalog.

    I will be at the CPRV meeting next week, I’m looking forward to meeting you and wondered if you will have any of your books available?

  24. Mark Gallagher
    January 2nd, 2019 at 15:29 | #24

    Rosemary, I look forward to seeing you at the CPRV meeting next week, will you have any books available?

    I live in the home you believe to be an Aladdin Sheffield, I actually think it is a Harris Brothers L-1520 from 1918. Happy to discuss.

    Cheers, Mark

  25. Adrienne
    January 26th, 2019 at 12:52 | #25

    Pay Pal seems to want payment after each book purchase.

    Will you combine shipping costs and refund the difference?

  26. Thomas Jacobs
    February 3rd, 2019 at 10:56 | #26

    Please Sign My books ~ Thanks!

  27. Jessica
    February 24th, 2019 at 01:07 | #27

    Hi Rose, I’ve just spent the past few hours reading through years of thoughtful posts.

    I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this page (I ended up here through a post about the ice box door in your old house) and thank you for sharing your stories with the world!

    I’m saddened that I only just found found page, as I would have loved to have been able to purchase a copy of The Homes That Sears Built.

    Is there any chance you have an extra copy on hand? If not, I will try my luck on ebay.

    I hope you enjoy your new adventure in the mid-west, and I look forward to reading along as your journey unfolds!

  28. Lucy Cornett
    March 16th, 2019 at 11:29 | #28

    Hi Rose! I would like to buy your book that includes photos of the Aladdin and Sears houses in Danville, Virginia where I lived over 50 years!

    Our first house was a 5 room Aladdin at 300 Virginia Avenue. If I recall correctly, you called it a Hampshire!

    Please let me know if you have one available and the price! I live now in a retirement community in NC.

    Warm wishes,

    Lucy Cornett

  29. Lucy Cornett
    March 18th, 2019 at 10:27 | #29

    Which of your books contains the photos of the Sears and Aladdin houses in Danville, Virginia? This is the one I would like to buy! Lucy Cornett

  30. Kevin
    March 19th, 2019 at 17:01 | #30

    Have you done any research on the Sears Farm buildings and Barns? I just discovered them, and didn’t realize they were a thing.

  31. don Luis Guerra
    April 8th, 2019 at 14:12 | #31

    Hi Rosemary,

    Safe travels. I just came across your blog and your work.

    We live in California and suspect our Mediterranean Revival home might be a “kit home.”

    I am in construction. I hope your travels west bring you out this way.

    In the meantime, I am looking forward to receiving your “California Kit Homes” and checking it out. Who knows I might find our home plans in it!!?

    I am glad “heaven” sent you back to finish your work. In Christ, Lucky and Cindy

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