Readers’ Comments


  1. April
    December 13th, 2013 at 14:04 | #1

    I’ve seen West Virginia referenced on your site a few times but I have yet to find any posts on Charleston, WV (unless i missed something).

    If you get a chance to visit, you will be in kit home heaven. I would venture that 70% (no joke) of the homes in Charleston, the sub-community of Kanawha City and neighboring city South Charleston are all kit homes.

    Charleston is a home of old homes (not many new builds in the last 40-50 years). for example, the 4-5 blocks on either side of the state capitol building are nested with large four squares (on avg. 3k-4,500sqft).

    Kit homes can be seen on main streets, in the hills, as businesses (common along the river/Kanawha Boulevard in downtown Charleston), and everywhere in between.

    If you find the time, do a Google street view or Realtor search on Charleston, WV or just stop by!

  2. April
    December 13th, 2013 at 14:30 | #2

    I just found your post on the ‘Plethora’ of Sears homes in Charleston! I’m so glad you made it here.

    Next time, head across the river to Kanawha City. Totally saturated with kit homes.

    I live in an ‘modernized’ kit home (I’m still having trouble determining the exact model but i think I’ve narrowed it down to a Gordon Van Tine). In fact, I’m 99% sure ALL the homes on my block and the two behind me are kit homes!

    @April

  3. Dale Wolicki
  4. Ryan
    December 16th, 2013 at 10:14 | #5

    @Dale Wolicki
    Dale, that certainly is my floorplan and the cedar shakes make sense after I removed some siding.

    Thank you very much for your prompt assistance.

    I absolutely love the character of the house, and am glad to see so many enthusiasts of kit homes online.

    Thanks again.

  5. Jen Dowling
    December 16th, 2013 at 12:14 | #6

    My Great Aunt’s (and prior to that my Great Grandmother’s) home is a Sears Kit home.

    I know this because it was built by my Great Grandmother and her husband. It is currently bank owned and for sale.

    Almost nothing has been done to it since it was built, so it has all of the tell-tale details. Here’s the MLS listing. http://www.cbpref.com/property/details/3093457/MLS-6291364/47-Manor-Ave-Claymont-DE-19703.aspx?IsBranded=1&AgentID=13604

    I wish there were better photos, maybe I’ll contact the realtor to see if they can get better photos posted.

  6. Sharon Dowling
    December 16th, 2013 at 22:30 | #7

    Actually, the Claymont, Delaware house mentioned by my daughter, Jen, was built in the 20s.

    It is the Woodland model and the right hand side of the front porch was closed off to make a small beauty shop for my grandmother in the 40s.

    My grandparents did not build the house as they bought it in 1943.

    It has most of the original moldings and woodwork inside and out. Even the front wood and glass door is original and possibly even the original doorbell.

    Hope someone will take the home under their wing and see the craftmanship in it.

  7. Carey
    December 31st, 2013 at 02:45 | #8

    A friend of mine has a home that looks very much like a Sears Vallonia.

    It would be great if you could email me and I can send a picture.

    Thanks.

  8. Karen
    January 3rd, 2014 at 10:31 | #9

    I have a Sears Home (the Villanova). I want to put a fireplace in the living room and I wanted to know if anyone has pics so I can make it look authentic.

  9. Denise Visconte
    January 3rd, 2014 at 19:09 | #10

    I suspect that I am living in a Sears Argyle in Ord, Nebraska.

    The house was built in 1925. It has a slightly different internal construction to the plan you have posted on your website for the 1921 Argyle.

    Is there any way you could find out and send to me the internal plan for the 1925 Argyle which hopefully would confirm it.

    The overstair closet is on a different wall in the back bedroom, the steps to the basement are between the kitchen and the back bedroom, there is no fireplace in the living room, and no bay window in the dining room (the window is flat to the wall), also the front of the house is flat, the bedroom and the living room front walls are together.

    Other than that the room internal plan is the same.

    I am thinking that the basement construction was somehow done wrong so that the house had to be flattened at the front.

    We have the porch in the right place and the two hipped roof at the front as on the pictures otherwise. Any help you can give in identifying this house as a modified Argyle would be greately appreciated.

  10. January 4th, 2014 at 21:10 | #11

    @Denise Visconte

    Denise, there is a very rare model in Ord. There is a #178 at 105 S 21st St.

    The #178 was first offered in 1911 and discontinued by 1915/16. It closely resembles the #124 which was first offered in Spring 1909 and was a very popular model.

    I am not aware of any #178s. I’m sure they are out there but when I found the one in Ord I was so excited! Any chance you could share photos of it?

  11. Laura Hemphill
    January 14th, 2014 at 02:57 | #12

    Do you know of any modern day companies that provide Sears like home kits anymore?

    I’ve been looking for ages, going down all the prefabricated housing route and kit options and beyond!

    The closest I could find to the style I’m after is a company in South Carolina called “House in a Box” and their closest supplier outlet is in California.

    The cost of shipping takes away any money saved by using their lumber supply partner. I need to find something closer. I need Sears housing to be an option again!

    I live close to Seattle Washington. Thanks for any info you can provide!

  12. Kodie Carr
    January 15th, 2014 at 18:35 | #13

    Recently bought Grandma’s house to renovate for the college son.

    We have been told the house was built in 1937.

    We’re planning on rewiring, plumbing and drywalling. In this process we are doing a few small floorplan changes.

    As in the closet in one bedroom is going to be closed and made into one double closet in the bedroom.

    Today we discovered on one of the closet door jambs, it was stamped in three places” “Gordon-Van Tine Co., Davenport, IA”; “11740- US Government Atten. Crait Pettit, Site Foreman, Resettlement, A”; and “Work Proj. 004-02053 Bentonsport, IA.”

    The next task at hand is figuring out what model of house this is.

    I’ve searched and searched and not found a single one like it.

    If I am contacted, I can forward a pic of it today in what we are certain is as originally built. Thanks!!

  13. Diane Myer
    January 25th, 2014 at 15:03 | #14

    I am in the process of purchasing a 1914 craftsman home in Sumner WA.

    How would I find out if this was a mail order home?

    In my research the home resembles “The Classic” style D by Sterling or Aladdin.

    One of the intriguing features of the home is that every closet has a window. There is a large window on the right side facing the house that you would think is a bedroom but it is a closet window.

    The house has been used as a duplex in the past so I’m unsure of what it looked like in its original state. I would appreciate any help I can get.

    Thank you

    Diane

  14. January 28th, 2014 at 08:47 | #15

    I am the Program Director of Clifton Forge Main Street in Virginia.

    Last year 75% of our residential area gained historic district status thanks to the hard work of one professional individual. She also awakened the “Sears Home” bug in my Economic Developement Committee and in me personally.

    We are building on her work to develop a Sears Home driving tour of Clifton Forge. I’ve hit a stone wall.

    I have the dates homes were built. And I have the three catalogues of Sears Homes. And I have the photos of these homes. And remembering its almost February.

    How do I narrow down the number of “possibles” to a managable number. Which comes first - the chicken or the egg? Any help would be so appriciated. There are about 5 of us working on this. With limited funds so far. And thanks for just listening

  15. Peter Gay
    February 13th, 2014 at 20:54 | #16

    From 1976 to 2004, we lived at 72 Taft St, Cranston, RI 02905. Our neighbor, Mrs. Dittmar, told us that her husband had built many of the homes on the west end of Taft Street.

    He built one each summer, hiring a high school student to help. Mrs. D said that the materials were delivered by rail to the Cranston siding, then transported by wagon to the building site. The lots were 60′ wide and 90 feet deep.

    We had been renting in Providence, but were looking to move because our older daughter had reached school age, and her assigned elementary school in Providence had the lowest reading scores of any school in the city. My wife worked part time at Sears, and a workmate told her about the house across the street. The residents had lived there since the 1930s.

    Because of age and illness, nothing had been done to maintain the structure, and little had been done to update the interior. Located 2 blocks south of Roger Williams Park and even closer to the elementary school. At $18,000, the price was right, and the free standing 2 car garage and extra 1/2 lot sealed the deal.

    It was a few years before we discovered that our home was a Sears “Honor Bilt” Fullerton. Our younger brother-in-law had been browsing through books at a DC bookstore. Recognizing our home, he sent us the Dover reprint of the 1926 Sears Modern Home Catalog.

    Unfortunately, by the time we knew what we had bought, we had changed several of the original features. The brick steps were replaced by cast concrete.

    The brick pillar supports were reduced in height and capped with bluestone slabs. The entire porch was rebuilt, and the balusters replaced by clapboards when the crumbling cedar shingles were removed and replaced with gray vinyl siding.

    Both large windows on the right (west) side of the house were deleted. The upstairs one was lost to a bathroom remodel, and the kitchen one because we wanted a range hood that vented to the outside. A large Anderson bow window went over the kitchen sink, and compensated for the natural light lost to relocating the stove.

    The house got modern wiring and plumbing, and the original cast boiler, fired by gas instead of the original coal was replaced by a modern gas furnace.

    The original radiators were retained except in the bathroom. It took several years to find a radiator low enough to place beneath the large south window. Its flat top didn’t quite match the other radiators in the house, but it heated the large room much better.

    The original owners were smokers. The walls and ceilings were yellowed with nicotine. We stripped out the wallpaper and washed and painted the ceilings. All the original mouldings, baseboards and trim pieces were stripped and repainted. The French doots separating the living room from the entry hall were cleaned.

    In 2003, a complete interior redecoration was done. The floors were sanded and refinished, and new ceilings installed. Wallpaper was replaced by paint, and new south windows installed in the dining room. The east side of the dining room has a bay window, which was done when the house was built. In 2004 we sold the house for $249,000, and moved to FL.

    The house was dated when I was braking up the cracked set tubs in the basement. On the underside of the tub was the date “Sept, 1926″ in black paint. I left the bottom in the house.

    According to our former neighbors, the house has been vacant for some time. We sold it to a woman who was a military nurse. Whether she will return, or has abandoned it we do not know.

    A sad end to a lovely home we enjoyed for 30 years. It put both our daughters through college, too!

  16. Jon
    February 22nd, 2014 at 12:19 | #17

    Dear Rose,

    I think there is more than one of these Magnolia’s in Conway, Arkansas, in the historical downtown area.

    And yes, it’s very close to the active railroad service which would have accommodated delivery within a few blocks.

  17. February 24th, 2014 at 23:23 | #18

    After getting married last summer my husband and I were blessed to buy a Sears kit home called The Maywood in Raleigh NC. Photo link here: http://instagram.com/p/eNwdnAE0LV/

  18. Robin Hurowitz
    February 26th, 2014 at 16:45 | #19

    I loved the NPR segment as my grandpa built a Sears home in Woodcliff Lake NJ.

    I have many fond memories of that house. They retired to FL and sold it around 1977-78.

    Looking at the site, I think their house is the Parkside.

    My mom thinks house next door and police station
    Are also Sears kit homes. My great uncle still lives next door.

    I didn’t want to post an address to public site when house is not in the family. If you email me I’ll tell you where it is. A photo of the front is on Zillow but not on the market.

  19. February 26th, 2014 at 23:53 | #20

    We are pretty sure that we have nailed ours down as a Gordon Van Tine #577.

    I wish that I could find some interior photos. I want to bring the house back to near original condition.

    I also have no idea what the outside colors would have been. A previous owner did all kinds of crazy renovation and I have a lot of work ahead of me.

    I am in Wapello, IA. Here is a photo, note that the enclosure of the porch was done by the previous owners. We removed the screens and rebuilt the railings:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/609-Franklin-St_Wapello_IA_52653_M75193-22009

  20. March 5th, 2014 at 22:03 | #21

    My charming Sears kit home is on the market and I’m looking for the right buyer: http://1856sycamoreroad.bairdwarner.com/

  21. March 5th, 2014 at 22:05 | #22

    My charming Sears kit home is on the market, circa 1931: http://1856sycamoreroad.bairdwarner.com/

    Homewood is a fabulous community and my “Home Sweet Homewood” street has a total of four Sears kit homes.

    rcjones@homesweethomewood.com if you’re interested.

  22. crystal
    March 16th, 2014 at 15:28 | #23

    I have recently read your book Sears Homes of Illinois and was curious if you had stopped and browsed through Quincy, IL in your travels through this state?

    If you did, were there any Sears homes found? Just curious as we have many old neighborhoods and many homes around here resemble much on your book.

  23. Karen
    March 21st, 2014 at 08:38 | #24

    We have a Sears Home. I live in Connecticut and was wondering if Rose has ever come out to document this area.

  24. March 21st, 2014 at 09:57 | #25

    Not yet! Never been there.

    Send me some photos?

  25. Karen
    March 21st, 2014 at 10:25 | #26

    I am not on Facebook how else can I send photos?

  26. Jen
    March 23rd, 2014 at 10:13 | #27

    Pretty sure we bought a Sears Wilmore home in Connecticut. The dimensions are right, down to the built in medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

    Prior owners did finish the attic which has the built in staircase.

    Garage was also built in under the house but the main portions of the house are true to the original.

    I can send pics, let me know how!

  27. Marianne Ryan Huber
    April 22nd, 2014 at 04:08 | #28

    I’m sorry to see you did not print the AVONDALE house that was sitting atop a building in the Illinois State Fairgrounds in the early 30″s. I do not know the date they moved the house “down”.

    But I lived in the house (on the Fairgrounds) from 1931 (when I was 5 years old) until around 1942 (when I was a sophomore in High School). I do not know the exact dates.

    Neither my mother or Father are living of course, I am now 87.

    Unfortunately I do not have any photographs, but my father was Assistant General Manager of the ILLINOIS state Fair during all those years. His Name was William P.Ryan Jr.

    I lived most of my childhood on the Fairgrounds.

  28. KMS
    April 23rd, 2014 at 18:10 | #29

    Hi, my grandmother lived in a Sears kit home in Auburn Alabama which was built by her father.

    I think it was built around 1920. The picture you have titled “Auburn-Halifax Model Kit Home” looks uncannily like I remember it - but I was very young when I was there.

    Is that picture of a house in Auburn, or the Auburn style of house (it didn’t look like the picture of the Auburn style home)?

  29. Rusty Yerxa
    April 23rd, 2014 at 19:06 | #30

    Hi

    I just found this site and wondered if it would be possible to get a model ID on the Sears home that I grew up in in Carmel, NY. perhaps by somehow submitting a photo.

    It was built (ordered?) by my great-grandfather in about the early 1920s, and it was common knowledge among our large extended family when I was growing up in the 1950s that it was a “Sears and Roebuck” house.

    I have painstakingly searched through an online catalogue of Craftsman houses, and the closest I can find is the Elsmore, but the big difference is that the porch roof is hipped, matching the main roof.

    There are other smaller differences, like a bay window on the side with the chimney, but a picture would be worth a thousand of my words. Is there any way I can post one?

    Thanks!

  30. Kristina
    April 23rd, 2014 at 22:39 | #31

    We are trying to locate a floor plan for the Marion model with the rear dormer which would make the back bedroom approximately 11′ by 16″ and enlarge the bathroom.

    Does anyone in the group have a floor plan with that modification to the basic plan?

    Thanks!

  31. April 24th, 2014 at 18:07 | #32

    Rusty,

    You can send photos to me at Rosemary.ringer@gmail.com.

    You can also join our Facebook Group, “Sears Homes” and post photos there!

  32. Rita Krason
    May 6th, 2014 at 11:15 | #33

    Oh my gosh what a wonderful little trip down memory lane.

    I recognized immediately the “Lackey” home just outside of Pulaski, Illinois as I grew up there.

    I’ve never seen an older hope so well cared for by the Lackey family and that wonderful barn as well.

    Thanks again for the memory trip.

  33. HollyDolly
    June 4th, 2014 at 12:16 | #34

    Hi Rosemary, I have a copy of the book of Pacific Ready cut homes that was published by you and Dale Wolicki. I really hadn’t read the introduction before.

    When I read it,i noticed some of the companies they claimed bought their homes and building. One of then was listed in the company’s statement, as the San Antonia Portland Cement Company.

    Actually, the name was San Antonio Portland Cement. They are still around under the name of Alamo Cement.

    The company built a community for their workers called Cementville. It was in the area around Broadway St. on the northeast side of town.

    The area is now known as the Alamo Quarry Market Place and the Lincoln Heights Plaza.

    The Quarry market Place has the old towers there as well as a small train engine used in the cement factory. Inside of the Regal Quarry Marketplace Cinema, is a huge,and I mean huge engine, that was too big to move.
    I think there is one building left the old Cementville days, a little ways up from there.

    I can recall years ago seeing the enterance to Cementville.

    It was in the paper years ago back in the late 1980s or early 1990s when there was going to be developement on the site and they had an article in the San Antonio Express News about the little community.

    Most of the workers were hispanics with their families,though there were others. The Missionary Servants of St.Anthony a small catholic order of sisters were founded to minister to those people as well as other poor. The sisters still exist,but it was never a large community.

    The website,texasescapes.com has information on the town,and maybe a photo or two.

    Either the workers homes were moved,or were torn down.

  34. June 4th, 2014 at 18:49 | #35

    Guys I need some help, we bought a home down in Cape Charles VA last November (kit 1910 we were told) I need some help finding out some details and would love to use the original renderings as we remodel it, I just can’t find hide or hair of the type. Can someone help please?

  35. Atis Sondhinand
    June 6th, 2014 at 08:17 | #36

    @Robin Hurowitz
    Robin,

    I just bought a home in Woodcliff Lake which I believe is a 1932 Honor Bilt Fairy. It’s on Glen. Am I in the right vicinity?

  36. Jeff Fowler
    June 6th, 2014 at 17:16 | #37

    Rosemary-

    I too am a big fan of kit houses of all kinds. I have a collection of old reproduction plan books -including yours. I also love cars, BTW, and enjoyed your recent trip thru old car ads. Hilarious commentary!

    I live in Homewood, Alabama. It is now it’s own city but was once a street car suburb of Birmingham.

    We have many great examples of 1920’s/30’s homes. I have identified two in the neighborhood that I found in my plan books. One is a 1919 Aladdin Magnolia - I think!

    Would it be possible to send you my photos and see what you think? If so, to what email address?

    Don’t see many examples on your blog from the south, so I’d like to see if these make the grade. Thanks!

  37. Marian Weaver
    June 11th, 2014 at 16:39 | #38

    Hi and thanks for having this website!

    I’ve referenced it several times in the ten months I’ve owned my Arlington in Baltimore, Maryland.

    I’m trying very hard to keep as many things as possible original, but find it so hard to locate people that know how to work on houses of this age. Original windows, wooden storms, siding, etc…

    A quick question - Do you know if the Arlington originally had screened attic windows?

    Currently the attic is sealed completely, and I know that the slate roof breathes, but man oh man does it get humid in the house during the summer!

    I’m considering having central air put in, but before I do I was hoping t get some relief in the way of replacing the glass attic windows with gable vents that I found tossed aside…..any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    -Marian

    Google Street View: 4000 White Ave 21206

    https://www.google.com/maps/@39.34589,-76.545755,3a,75y,64.2h,102.35t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1svt1jYmNBkG5DsFObGdXtbA!2e0!6m1!1e1

  38. Todd
    July 25th, 2014 at 15:15 | #39

    Hi. Not sure if you’ve seen this one yet.

    But if not, I came across a sears home from 1920 in Grass Valley Oregon. 102 Railroad St.

    It’s up for sale right now. You can see photos on realtor.com

  39. Cindy
    July 28th, 2014 at 22:15 | #40

    My daughter and son-in-law recently purchased a Verona #13201 (1923) in a suburb of Cleveland OH.

    I just found the shipping label on the back of a door trim today!

    It has a lot of the original features including the breakfast nook with table and benches.

    It was not updated much over the years. The outside looks identical to the Sears picture.

    They are in the process of remodeling, I will try to guide them to keep most of the charm on the inside of this home.

  40. Crystal Regan
    August 17th, 2014 at 08:49 | #41

    Thank you so much for having this website. This is a true passion of mine.

    My husband and I bought a small farmhouse last year. We think it may be an Aladdin Sunshine but it seems the floor plan is opposite.

    We are having difficulty finding any Sunshines that have survived to compare it to. Any ideas how we can be for sure?

    This house went through an extensive remodel in the 60s and then seems to have been neglected so original trim is gone. Thanks so much.

  41. Colbee
    August 17th, 2014 at 18:14 | #42

    My husband and I have live in the Old Hickory Community for a couple of years now.

    The history behind these homes is incredible. I would like to put up the original floor plans from the our home framed up as art, and possibly more to compliment it.

    However, it is a special six-room bungalow called the “Old Hickory” model and I have not been able to find the plans.

    If you have plans of the house or know where I may get a copy of the catalog, I would greatly appreciate it.

  42. Mark
    August 18th, 2014 at 03:11 | #43

    Hi Colbee,

    What block do you live on?

  43. August 19th, 2014 at 11:16 | #44

    Hi Rose,

    I am the home and garden editor for The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans.

    I’ve read your blog with interest, and was curious about Sears Kit homes in Louisiana.

    Do you know of any that still exist. I’d love to do a story, featuring your book and talking about the Sears Kit homes here.

    Susan Langenhennig

  44. randy.kistler
    August 21st, 2014 at 15:04 | #45

    I own a Colchester….or I’ve seen it called Lewiston. But its in really good shape.

    I’d love to submit a picture to Rose, but I can’t seem to find her email address.

    Any help?

  45. Andrew Mutch
    August 22nd, 2014 at 15:18 | #46

    Randy - If you are on Facebook, you can join the “Sears Homes” group and post your photos there.

    The Colchester was the brick version of the Lewiston. Otherwise, they’re the same model.

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