Readers’ Comments

580 Comments

  1. Dave Gust

    Rosemary — here’s a lovely, pristine example of a Sears home (Ivanhoe or Magnolia, perhaps?) in Bexley, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. Built in 1915. There is another one (definitely a Magnolia) two doors down, and both were built for the parsonage of the Bexley United Methodist Church. I’d love to know exactly what model this is — can’t seem to find the exact elevation that matches in anything I’ve found on the web. I’ll be picking your book up ASAP on amazon! 😉 See this link: http://www.2503EBroad.info . Thanks!

  2. megan

    Hi Rosemary,

    I am just about to purchase an Osborn model in Villa Park, IL–it has been kept in very good original condition, and I am excited to work on it, but I am nervous about the kitchen. The kitchen is in bad need of repair to make it functional but i want to update while maintaining the original character. Any interior image suggestions?? Or places to begin looking? I have been searching the web, but I mostly only find the simple exterior image. I would love to see what others have done to maintain while update a bit.

    Thanks so much! Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Megan 🙂

  3. crawford westbrook

    To inform you that there are at least 3 Sears houses in the Hartford area. One is on Old Main Srtreet in South Windsor, Ct, and two are opposite eachother on Silver Lane in East Hartford, Ct. . If you are interested, I can send you addresses, owners, and addresses.
    Please advise

  4. Mike Gerst

    Just discovered that our home is a sears home, and I am looking for more information.

    Ours is the ‘Honor-Bilt Elmhurst No. 3300’

    If anyone has more information on this model, besides the catalog page, I would greatly appreciate it if you would drop me a line at ‘searshome (at) gerst (dot) org’.

  5. Sears Homes

    Hey Mike, where are you? What city? I’m in Norfolk.

  6. Janet L. Roby

    I am pretty sure my house is a Sears Dover. I would like more information on it of any kind. I moved in here three years ago last May and didn’t know until this summer that there is a possibility of this being a Sears house. I also found the identical house under antique home called the Mansfield. I haven’t been able to find any more material on that so hope someone can help me.

  7. Bill Radvansky

    I am the owner of what has to be the absolute smallest kit home in the country. It is located in Western Pennsylvania. It has a kitchen which is 7 X 10, a “living room” which is 6 X 13, a bedroom that is 9 X 13, and a bathroom that has a floor space of 4 X 6. There is no basement and no second floor. The outside measurement of the Aluminum sided home is approx. 13 X 21! Not sure if it is a Sear’s home like an elderly neighbor told me 35 years ago. I would love to send pictures to someone who knows about these gems. Email me at Bill9189@hotmail.com. Thanks!

  8. Alicea Irwin

    Hi Rosemary,

    We live in a sears kit home in Lancaster, Ohio. I was looking for more information on these houses and found your website. We are getting ready to do some renovations and I thought it would be nice to look up some back ground on the house. I am not sure if you travel around looking for areas with these houses or not. If you do…then there are many in the area. I know that most of the houses on our street are (approximately 1960s). I see houses scattered all through Lancaster that look to also be kit houses. Just a reference….Thank you for the information you provided me with.

  9. Nikki

    Rosemary,

    I was just watching a show on pbs about the bungalows of far rock away in queens and kit homes were mentioned. There used to be 4000 bungalows in queens and many of them kit homes. I plan to go out there to check it out. Also I have been finding quite a few kit homes in Westchester county the bronx. There is a perfectly preserved Osborn on city island in the Bronx and a beautiful Alhambra over looking the Hudson river in yonkers http://www.thirteen.org/archive/historyanddocumentary/the-bungalows-of-rockaway/1537/

    Best nikki in NYC

  10. jonel469

    I’m just curious about the Magnolia prices in the ads reproduced here from Sears Modern Homes catalogs. In two ads captioned as 1921 the price shown is $6488 (Sweet Home Alabama !), (Another Sears Magnolia-in Alabama !). Another ad captioned 1922 the price shown is $5849 (The Magnificent Magnolia in North Carolina !). The homes index on Searsarchives.com just gives the price range for the Magnolia for 1918 and 1921 as $5140-$5972 for both years,with no listing for 1922. I know that the final price from Sears depended on what extras were ordered on and above the basic kit, but in all the ads I’ve seen reproduced on that site the price in the ad was for the basic kit sans extras.So why is the ad here for 1922 $639 less than 1921 ? Seems like if anything the price would have gone up not down. When I enlarged the ads I didn’t see anything in the copy to explain the difference.Just wondering 🙂

  11. Carla in State College, PA

    Hi – I live in the College Heights Historic District in State College, PA. There are a number of Sears homes in our neighborhood. I am trying to determine if our home is one, or not. There is a second home in our neighborhood that is identical to ours (both interior and exterior). It is a colonial revival duplex (upstairs/downstairs with the downstairs entrance at the front and the upstairs on the side). The floor plans of the two floors are identical – large living room, two bedrooms, small dining room and kitchen, with a single full bath. Do you know if Sears had any kit homes that were duplexes? Thanks!
    Cheers,Carla

  12. Sears Homes

    Following WW1 (The War to End All Wars, as it was then known), we went through a period of hyperinflation. The cost of building materials soared to the stratosphere and eventually came back down. In late 1919, The Sears Magnolia hit a high of $9,990. Yep, $10,000 for the Magnolia. By early 1920, the price had started to come back down a bit and by 1921, Sears had started using “price sheets” in their catalogs because prices were bouncing up and down so much, the printers couldn’t keep up!

    So you’ll see the Magnolia ranging in price from $4,800 to $9,990 – during the years it was offered – from 1918-1922.

  13. Colleen Greene

    I lived in a Sears home in Lynbrook, NY. It was a TINY 4 bedroom. How did I know it was a Sears home? There were no light switches in the house when we bought it (1987) and I wanted to put a light switch where there was molding by a closet in one of the bedrooms. When my husband took the molding off to see if we could install a switch there, low and behold, a sticker indicating it was a Sears kit home! I just watched the PBS show last night on Sears, Roebuck and a segment came on about the kit homes and this piqued my interest.

  14. shaun

    I recently watched a video on line titled restoring Lorain, and in the video they said that there were only three left,.. the lorain model. I live in Michigan and own a Lorain and was wondering if my may be one of the three?

  15. Joseph Benedetto

    Wow! This is a great collection of kit homes … although I think there is a typo~

    >Aladdin kit home: The Maplewood

    ~because if you look at the catalog picture you have there, it lists this home as a “Maplehaven”, not a “Maplewood”.

    The Maplewood home I’m familiar with is the Sears Honor-Bilt No. 3302, which is very similar visually to the Sears Dover and uses the same oddly-shaped front gable projection and attached fireplace chimney, but with a standard gable roofline. My friend Bill just bought one recently in Pittsburgh, and we had a great time finding kit-marked beams in the attic.

  16. Bill Marrero

    Hi:
    I purchased the Cornell p3226 in 1991 and through renovations and updating confirmed it is a Sears Honor Built from shipping lables on wood to the model number and shipping info on 2×4’s. We’ve replace the Good Wall Sheet Plaster with updated sheetrock to update services and add insulation. Our home is located in Huntington LI, NY and has been updated with all modern amenities but still maintains all of its orginal charm. At just over 1200 sq feet plus front porch it is a cozy home with some of the best karma of any home I have ever lived in. If anyone has more info on the Cornell please let me know.

  17. Iñaki Vazquez

    Hey Rose! I know that you are an authority on prefab homes in the early 20th century. This is probably not a Sears home, but it is an american house built in a very remote place in the mountains around Mexico City. My great grand father pulled this of because he had control of a coal railroad track that went through the hills between mines and industrial towns miles away. The house was built around 1917 and all I know is that the model was picked out of a catalog, maybe a couple of years older, then ordered and delivered by train to the site. Have you seen any similar home in your experience? Thanks a lot for your time. Love your site!
    Iñaki Vazquez
    Folder with pics:
    http://rcpt.yousendit.com/1014017641/5c5ba67b4544a80c0d7d4b0ca564b5d7

  18. Agnes Huels

    How interesting! I believe that the home I am leasing for my darling Tea Room in O’Fallon, Mo. is a sears home as well. From past history I beieve it was built in 1941.
    It is still in fair condition and everyone in O’Fallon, loves it!
    Please contact me if you would like to come look at it.
    The name of the business is Aggie’s Closet and Tea Room. I believe that there is a photo of it on my website, which I have included.
    Warm regards,
    Agnes (Aggie)

  19. Megan Walker

    Hi Rosemary,

    I am doing a project on these houses and what has happened to them for a photojournalism class. I was wondering if you knew anyone I could contact who built their Sears Roebuck house and still lives in it.
    Thanks so much,
    Megan

  20. Susan

    Hi. We live in northwest Washington, D.C., where there are many Sears homes.

    After we moved into our house in 1973, a neighbor told us it was a Sears house. We had no idea what that was and didn’t really believe it until we started some renovations and found 2 X 6 boards in the attic with Sears labels on them. Turns out we’re in a Martha Washington, which was an HonorBilt home first offered in 1920. Our house was built in 1926.

    We know of two other Martha’s in our area. If you’d ever like photos, let us know …

  21. Steve

    My parents house — which is about a 20 minute drive north of downtown Chicago — is Sears home — the Crescent — which was built in 1926. The house is currently up for sale, if you know of anyone interested, contact me at NUALUM2@AOL.com. The house’s status “landmark eligible” is pending and will know the outcome of the village’s decision this Monday night, Feb. 14.

    Steve

  22. Nancy Brogdon Welch

    I was told some years ago that the home of my grandparents was probably a
    Sears Roebuck house. Have you heard of a Magnolia in Sumter county in the Brogdon community? The home of my Grandfather was built in 1911, and has been remodeled by the current owners. I do not know them, but would try to contact them if you have questions.

    Nancy

  23. Luis Martinez

    Wow… how things change…. I work for Sears for the last 11 years. Im so proud of what Sears use to be… I still remember the Sears Catalog, when i was child… but thos house look awesome… anyone have indoors pictures?
    Thanks….

  24. Debbie

    My husband and I went to one of your lectures last year. Then I checked out your blog. Recently, I went to my local library book sale and found some old “Historic Illinois” magazines. One that I bought has a nice article on Geo. F. Barber & Co., a mail order architectural business. Have you heard of this company? The article contains photos and a list of IL towns where these houses can or could be found. It was published in 1998.

  25. Nancy Brogdon Welch

    <a href=”# ROSE–I FORGOT TO STATE THAT THE MAGNOLIA IS IN SC. YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT AT: http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov

    NANCY

  26. Sears Homes

    Hey Nancy, do you have a better link – or a more direct link?

  27. Nancy Brogdon Welch

    Any luck? I can retrace my steps if that’d help. Hope to hear from you again.

  28. John S.

    Hi Rose,
    Looks like I have found out my house here Wenham Ma. is in fact a circa 1915 Harris Bros. model number 152 -D. As it is a prairie style house and not a traditional New England style home (Midwestern Prairie style for sure) I suspected it was in fact a kit or mail order home. After much searching on Google images I stumbled on your pic of the cover of the Harris Brothers 1915 (Harris Homes) plan book and low and behold it is our house on there!

    If you have a copy of this catalog I would love JPEGs of the plans/plates for 152- D or the catalog! That would help to be able to absolutely verify the house via the floor plans and external dimensions.

    I have also found anther image of the exact house under the heading “Prairie Style Foursquare” on the Evansville Wisconsin historic website.
    If you would like a picture of my house for your archives please let me know.

    My house appears to have a modified when built to alter the ceiling heights as compared to the catalog and vintage pics on your website, but otherwise is completely identical and would explain why I have a 5 ft doorway on a landing leading out of our kitchen (if you saw this it you REALLY would wonder why anyone would do such a thing) and would explain the taller second floor and weird stairway/landing/doorway arragment – my research shows Harris may have supplied pre-cut stairway risers and treads ect and that would explain a lot on why the house was built the way it was in order to accommodate the taller second floor.

    Please let me know if you have any additional pictures, ect of a Harris 152-D, and please feel free to contact me regarding my house if you would like!
    Best Regards,
    John S.

  29. Sue

    Good Morning!

    My husband will be putting his Sears House on the market in the next month or two. It is a
    Walton built in 1926. It is in Elgin, IL. Is there a place to register Sears homes for sale so that interested parties will know?

    Thanks!

  30. Joyce M. Veazey

    I grew up in a Sears home at 5003 Martha Peoria Illinois. My parents had the house built
    around 1940. It was finished in December 1941 and we moved in. The house is still there as of last year or so. It is in a neighborhood near where Knoxville meets West Glen.

  31. Donna Bakke

    Hey Joyce- I just google mapped your house and I believe its a Sears Lewiston.

  32. Sears Homes

    And I’d say Donna is (as usual) 100% correct! 🙂

  33. Shirley Buttke

    My comment is this: I am from Fingal, North Dakota. My house was built in 1905. My
    neighbor’s house is exactly the same. She has a Sears Catalog from back then and says
    that our houses are in this catalog. I can not even find a catalog that old. She has this
    catalog in her attic. My house is a three story, used to have an L shaped porch with pillars,
    has rock foundation, had stained glass in bay windows, etched glass door to the porch,
    pocket doors. If you can give me any information so I can find a picture of my house, I would appreciate it. Also if you want to find sears houses, go to Valley City, ND. I know there are a few there!

    Rose’s reply: This description doesn’t help much. Please send me a photo of the house and I can help you with identification. Send it to thorntonrose@hotmail.com. Please put, “I love you book more than words can say” in the subject line. No kidding.

  34. Diane

    Hi, Rose. I’m on the verge of purchasing a Sears, Carlin, home built in NJ in 1934 which is totally un-improved and has no real renovations. It is a real gem! I will endeavor to renovate the house in it’s original form and am now obtaining contractor estimates to do the basics. I would like to ensure it is well insulated but wonder what type of insulation was included or recommended in this house and what type you recommend to meet or exceed modern standards.

  35. Pam Gardner

    Rosemary, I read the article in our local paper (end of Feb) about Sears homes in Raleigh NC. My great grandfather built the Natoma model #c2034 in 1922. I have a picture of it if you would like. We always knew it was a sears home because my grandmother talked about her daddy ordering a house from the catalog. apparently everyone thought he was crazy! The home is located in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Thank you.

    Rose’s Reply: I would *LOVE* to see a picture! Please send it to thorntonrose@hotmail.com, and please give me the address? Thanks!

  36. Marie Abraham

    I have a Sears Crecent in Michigan.

    My house is very much preserved in its original condition, except for the kitchen.

    Do you have any recommendations for renovating the kitchen while honoring the original design?

    Any photo reference of other similar projects? And or suppliers suppliers?

  37. Marie Abraham

    I couldn’t figure out how to fix my typo in my question but I hope you understand that I meant “preserved” and not percieved.

    Can you let me know how to correct a posted question or comment.

  38. Marie Abraham

    Marie Abraham :
    I have a sears Crecent. I live in Michigan. My house very much preserved in it’s original state. Except for the kitchen. I see that others have asked this question. Do you have any recommendations on renovating the kitchen while honoring the original architecture? Any photo reference of other similar projects? And or suppliers suppliers?

  39. Bennett Emory

    Thank You! I was fascinated to learn more of the history of the homes in my neighborhood. On your next trip to Raleigh will you consider a lecture and tour maybe? I would love it!

  40. Raisa Berriz

    I’ve mailed you a few pictures of a house in Chapel Hill NC, that is strikingly similar to the Arlington model by Sears, on steroids. I found your blog while researching on this house. Do you think it may be a kit home, or an Arlington enlarged? I would have uploaded the pics on here but have no idea how!

  41. Barb Albrecht

    We purchased our Aladdin Sears house 15 years ago. When putting on a new roof we found papers that confirmed it was an Aladdin house. It is a single story house with a basement built in about 1938. I would like to find out more about it.

  42. Susan

    Hi Rosemary–If you have an opportunity to look at the April 22, 2011 issue of “The Week” magazine, their real estate section features “Original Sears catalog homes” which are on the market. It’s two pages, color pix, featuring about 7 homes.

  43. Sears Homes

    What is “The Week”? I’d love to see it. Is it a regional magazine or a national?

  44. Patti

    Have you ever seen the kit house at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California? It is pictured on their website. http://library.nixonfoundation.org/

    I don’t know what company provided the kit, I asked if it was Sears when I was there. The tour guide didn’t know. Inside it seems very compact. The stairs were so narrow and steep, they wouldn’t let the public climb them. I live in the area and could get more pictures if you would like.

    When I first came to this area in the early 80’s, the house sat back from the road on a deep, narrow lot. There was a small sign out front that said “Richard Nixon Birthplace”. Later, when the library was built, the house was moved, and totally refurbished. It is now in really beautiful condition.

  45. Sears Homes

    @Patti
    Years ago, I corresponded extensively with the folks who manage that museum and I was able to determine that Nixon’s homes is NOT a Sears Home. After looking at all the photos and accompanying text, I think we decided it *MIGHT* be a kit home from Pacific Ready Cut Homes (based in Los Angeles), but that’s nothing more than an educated guess.

    Very few Sears Homes landed in California. Logistically speaking, it’s far more likely to have come from Pacific Ready Cut, but I was unable to find a perfect match for that house in my many catalogs.

  46. Liz Ecelbarger

    As our company, Houseinabox.com, has just launched it’s website I am fascinated to read here about Sear’s original kit homes.

    I learned from my 86 year old mother last night that the home I lived in as a child in Chevy Chase, MD was a Sear’s home. I can’t wait to read your book.

  47. Eric

    Needing a little help! I love the fact that blogs like this are available for my strange questions. First, I must admit I have stumbled on something I never knew was out there, Sears kit homes. I’m a Realtor in Kentucky and was informed the house I was about to list was kit home from Sears in 1940 +/-

    My question is the seller mentioned the drywall may contain Asbestos. Is this possible? The home is in terrible condition and the drywall is unlike anything I have seen.

    Any insight would be appreciated.

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