Readers’ Comments

  1. December 21st, 2015 at 15:06 | #1


    Thanks so much for the update. How sad that one of my favorite finds in all of Illinois is now deceased. At least we have a photo of the little Crescent on that main drag in Godfrey.


  2. PJ
    December 22nd, 2015 at 12:53 | #2

    You’ve got a blog post stating there are only eight Magnolias known to exist.

    I’ve seen a few in NJ, but can’t remember the locations of all.

    One is being used by a Florist in NJ, and the house is nicely preserved. I’ve been in there a few times and wouldn’t be surprised if the floors are still original. Here’s their site:

  3. Brie
    December 29th, 2015 at 14:37 | #3

    I am absolutely in love with your work and I was hoping you could tell me more about what you do.

  4. December 29th, 2015 at 17:29 | #4

    Brie, to learn more about what I do, you can read the 947 blogs here. :)

  5. Suzan McCarthy
    December 30th, 2015 at 17:41 | #5

    I just bought a 3 bedroom Lustron home in June to replace my 130 year old home that burned.

    It is growing on me and is a big adjustment to what I had to leave after 30 years.

    Although it is a big adjustment, I am starting to love my little house.

    I always have marched to a different beat. My new home just keeps me doing that.

    The sad thing is that there are so few left. Definitely built to last a very long time.

    The roofer told me that the roof will last at least another 65 years. Good thing because it would cost more than I paid for the house to replace it.

  6. Betty Chumley
    January 26th, 2016 at 05:02 | #6

    Saw this Crescent in West Dundee and thought of you! Nice original light fixtures and kitchen cabinets.

  7. Jim Pinfold
    January 29th, 2016 at 07:26 | #7

    Saying goodbye to a largely original Sears home in Maine. I thought this might amuse you.

    I have been back and forth with a potential real estate agent in Portland about how to sell my “Vallonia” with original flooring, original doors, etc.

    He thinks the idea of marketing it as a 1920s kit house only appeals to, how did he put it, “a rather circumscribed audience.”

    I wondered what your devoted readers think?

  8. Mary E DevineMeyer
    February 12th, 2016 at 17:59 | #8

    We have Sears home Model 172 Hazelton purchased in 1914.

    We have tried to keep everything as it was, but have been considering some remodeling. We were wondering if there are any guidelines we might follow so that we do not destroy the integrity of the house.

  9. Arlene Baker
    February 19th, 2016 at 14:09 | #9

    Can’t figure out how to email Rose Thornton.

    This is my husband’s house, which he said he was told back in 1987 when he purchased, that it was a Sears Kit home.

    The kitchen sink is original, and it has an R imprinted on the underside. I believe it is the Plymouth model.

    Looks like it might have been a 1935 home, but according to what he was told, it was built in 1937, so the original folks probably didn’t finish it until then. It still has all the original windows and screens, and a very old attic door/steps.

    I believe all the baseboards and doors and molding are also original.

    We removed the front deadbolt, and it said Sears on it but alas did not save it. I can send photos of details if you are interested. The pictures of the home on zillow are linked for you. Just read your book and found it awesome!

  10. Kassia Sorrell
    February 19th, 2016 at 19:20 | #10

    We recently purchased a Sears mail order home near Holden, MO.

    I am told one of the past owners has the original catalog page, bill of sale and blueprints!

    I have not been able to contact them though. I do know if was built in 1911 and arrived by train in Strasburg, MO. It is a 4 square home.

    Has built in window seat and beautiful wood on stairs. Very similar to the Chelsea but some remodel has been done and new windows and siding so hard to tell for sure.

    If anyone knows which house it is I would be very thankful for the information!

  11. Leah Brack
    March 1st, 2016 at 11:10 | #11

    In reference to the unidentified Jim Walters Home model built in 1974 in Virginia: The home looks just like my Jim Walters home that was built in 1984.

    The only difference is the windows are different, but in same place, and the front porch is enclosed with a ramp. “The Salem” was three bedroom, 48′ by 24′ plus the front porch (which is 8′ by 16′).

    I had the shell built and my father and I finished the inside of the home. At 19 years of age, I became a homeowner, because of the great deals Jim Walters offered at that time.

    I never had a complaint on the workmanship in my home. I actually had my home put on stilts, as I live in South Florida. It was the first time that the Salem model ended up on pilings.

    Today the home is still in great shape, however after 32 years, it’s in need of a new roof.

    Jim Walters, Sr. died in 2000, which was probably the demise of his beloved company.

    The only complaints I ever heard of concerning JIm Walter Homes was when the consumer purchased the 90% finished home. I’ve read that there were major problems with the dry wall that was installed.

    I love my Jim Walters home and look forward to my children and grandchildren enjoying the home. I do however want to build an addition to the home.

    Thank you for your article. I enjoyed it.

  12. susanne
    March 4th, 2016 at 16:45 | #12

    Dear Rose, on a recent eBay auction of a “Sears Homes Supplement” that included the Glen Falls. I also saw a brick two-story house with dormers that I’ve never seen before.

    It was called “The Elmwood” and had a price of $3,362. Judging from the other houses shown I would guess the Supplement must have been published around 1926.

    Do you know anything about this beautiful Elmwood?

    Kind regards.

  13. Kristen
    March 5th, 2016 at 08:51 | #13

    @steve ludeke
    Hello, Steve! We own an Ardara in Massachusetts!

    I’d love to see your pictures and I can share mine!

  14. Pamela Jean
    March 14th, 2016 at 17:54 | #14

    Recently my best friend and I purchased a Sears Built Home. I have been fascinated to discover these articles and blogs.

    My son and I spent at least an hour up in the attic digging around and searching for clues on beams and we found a couple things written in grease pencil.

    The numbers 2033 came up twice. Could this possibly be an Almo that you have not yet found?

    I will be glad to share the photos with the writing on them and photos we have of the house. I am going to try to start a blog myself for the future plans of this special place.

    We want to set up a local retail collective style shop and a small cafe.

    Thanks for any help you can give.
    God’s blessings

  15. March 15th, 2016 at 15:18 | #15

    Hi “Susanne”!
    In late 1925 early 1926 Sears published supplements to catalogs, evidently. I’ve seen a few for other merchandise as well.
    A few years ago I bought a 1926 Sears Modern Homes catalog and inserted in it was what I thought was an insert/pamphlet or for an after published addition. Maybe. I didn’t think much about it for very long.

    I’ve seen Sears do this before with another year but they were stapled in the back, 1928, I thought it odd because the pages were misnumbered. I guess it was to save money? I don’t know LOL

    I collect their catalogs, of all types, when I can at a reasonable price.

    What was in my 1926 catalog began with page 2, and it was missing a page, 7/8. It wasn’t until this auction that I figured it out. Maybe.

    I have two 1926 Sears Modern Homes catalogs, no Maywood in either and it’s not in the Dover 1926 reprint either. My guess is I have two early 1926 publications and that was what Dover used as well. Page 7 in that “insert” which turns out be a supplement was a mystery, page 8 was obvious. The last page, or back page, is page 16 a house called the Prescott.

    In 1927, at least the 1927 catalog I have, there is no Elmwood. I’ve not seen any 1927 catalogs out there so I can only assume the Elmwood didn’t make it to 1927. But, the Maywood is there and many of those supplement house images are different in all of my 1926 and 1927!

    My 1926 catalogs have the same prices.

    It’s a mystery indeed. And I’ve spent a few hours since that auction hit trying to figure it out.

    I’m too busy with other blogs to publish to write a special blog about it.

    Based on what I can tell, the Sears Elmwood was only offered in 1926 in that little supplement or in a later 1926 edition.

    THIS is why I buy multiple catalogs of the same year! Some don’t understand that. ;)

  16. susanne
    March 24th, 2016 at 16:02 | #16

    Dear Rachel, thank you for the information. Also for your Elmwood picture on flickr.

    I also noticed your contributions to - thank you very much for that.

    So I guess there is no actually built Elmwood known.

  17. Ken Goldberg
    March 31st, 2016 at 16:01 | #17

    I’m trying to get information on a house in Catonsville, MD which is obviously based on Gordon-Van Tine plans 535, 535b, 536, 560, Glencoe, or Roberts - sort of combination.

    I haven’t gotten anywhere on the Baltimore County end, so far.

    Is anyone aware of a resource that offers lists of Gordon-Van Tine, sales, sightings, etc. - some indication what homes are verified or nearly verified as being actual Gordon-Van Tine kit homes (our Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission callss these “Type A” - where most of the materials were actually shipped to the sight, rather than just the plans used.

    Does anyone have an idea if the lumber was always supposed to have G-VT markings and what may they be like? Someone said three sets of digits - i.e. 34-53-72 or something like that. Anything else?

    Does anyone know of verified G-VT houses that does not have such marks on the lumber? Any other G-VT signatures, besides, of course, original contracts or architectural elements that look like those int he catalogs? Thanks!

  18. David Gilliam
    April 3rd, 2016 at 00:42 | #18

    I’m curious if you’ve come across research on Sears churches and/or other “mail order” sellers. I do know that Sears sold mail order church kits in the early 20th Century. I’d love to find more information on them - especially the various kits sold.

  19. April 7th, 2016 at 16:45 | #19

    Hello, Ms. Thornton.

    I am the writer working on an article about a Sears home here, and would very much like to interview you ASAP for the article. Please contact me via the email address provided. Thanks!

  20. Kevin LaCour
    April 8th, 2016 at 11:52 | #20


    I found your website via searches for more information on my childhood home. I can verify it was a Sears home, as I saw the house plans with the Sear Roebuck stamp on them.

    The house still exists, 22 Pine Ave, Floral Park, NY. It is, by my best guess, an Albion, from the 1925/26 catalog. The house was built in 1926, so the dates line up. The front porch is missing, but my father told me it was torn off due to rot/insect damage before we move in (1956). Also, at some point in its life, it was converted to a 2 family home. A bathroom was added on the back of the first floor, between the dining room and kitchen, and a kitchen was added upstairs, I believe in the back right bedroom. It was converted back to a single family home, again before we moved in. Every other aspect of the floor plan matches up to the Albion.

    I would have to say, there are quite a few Sears homes in and around the 11001 zip code area. Floral Park was incorporated near the turn of the 20th century, and was home to another mail order business, John Lewis-Childs flower seeds by mail. Being it was, at the time, the worlds largest mail order business, we had a rail depot and a post office. All the streets in town are named after flowers or trees. As I look thru your books, “Sears Homes of Illinois” and “The Houses That Sears Built” as well as “Houses By Mail” (by Stevenson and Jandl) which is where I found my home, I see a lot of homes I recognize. I’m hoping to enlist some childhood friends to join in the search, and verify if they lived in, still own or know of other Sears homes in the town.

    Thank you very much for the work you’ve done and shared!


    Kevin LaCour

  21. Cathy Pereira
    April 13th, 2016 at 16:52 | #21

    My father passed away in October of 2014. He left behind his residence in Oregon.

    I have been trying to determine if his home is a kit home, and if so what kind. I have purchased two of your books, “The Houses that Sears Built”, and “Small Houses of the 1920’s” (Which I thoroughly enjoyed and found very informative!).

    The County records list the house as a manufactured home in built in 1925. The Sear’s House that it resembles most is the “Hamilton”. It also has a “matching” garage, which I have learned were also offered as an option with many plans.

    I have done a significant amount of research, but still am not able to positively identify what type of manufactured home it is. I am fairly convinced that it is, in fact, a kit home, but as to what type or model I am puzzled. I have looked for stamped numbers on the boards, but haven’t located any.

    My guess if that because Douglas Firs were often used as the lumber of choice because of their quality, and because they are readily available in Oregon, the builder may have purchased his or her materials at a nearby lumber yard.

    The house, in fact, is located in Douglas County. It is in need of a significant amount of TLC and is located on a river with acreage. I would love to restore it but not sure if it is feasible. One reason being the distance, as I live in California.

    I would love to do some of the work myself, but I work and have limited time to stay there. I have some resources but I am trying to determine whether or not to sell it or restore it. I think that anyone who purchases it will probably knock it down and build a custom home.

    It has so much potential that I hate to see that happen.

    I have visions of what could be done with it as well as utilizing the location to benefit the community.

    As it stands the local high school down the street has a 4H program and we have an agreement that they can keep their sheep on a portion of the property. The sheep graze and it helps me to keep the property “maintained”.

    It’s so fun to see the baby lambs with their mamas in the spring. It’s basically a win/win situation. The house is located in a very small community that has been dear to me since I was a child.

    We would travel there to visit my grandmother almost every summer. It’s been a heart wrenching decision which unfortunately needs to be decided in the near future. “Practically” speaking, it is basically a no brainer, but my heart is having a difficult time letting go. Any advise you or your readers might have would be greatly appreciated.

  22. jim pfeifer
    April 16th, 2016 at 23:55 | #22

    Researching the childhood home of Geb Wesley Clard, once Supreme Cimmander of NATO and U S Presidential candidate. I read that it might be a Sears home.

    I am getting nowhere researching it. Could someone out there help me if I provide a photo?

  23. Karyn Tapley
    May 1st, 2016 at 22:27 | #23

    We own a home in Everett, WA that looks suspiciously like a Sears Crescent, but with subtle (and some not so subtle) changes. Deed says it is a 1924.

    We haven’t found any marked timbers in the basement, but we haven’t really pulled anything apart to look for some of the other signs. We are currently working out of state, but when we return in the fall, we plan on doing some upgrades and remodeling, so we’ll get a better look.

    This is a link to an old trulia listing, but the house looks essentially the same, externally, besides some minor paint & landscaping changes to give it a little more curb appeal.

    The front windows were replaced at some point (now triple storm windows, front and back, due to being directly on the Puget Sound).

    The old owners also added a kitchen addition to the side, that you can see in the picture. The interior layout is quite a bit different than the standard plans, but if you simply add one wall (to make a foyer), the layout is pretty much the same. Someone also added an upstairs dormer (bathroom) / finished the attic at some point to give another two bedrooms.

    I’d love to know what people think, or if they know of any other kit manufacturers I could research to figure out our little mystery house!

  24. Nikki Brauer
    May 11th, 2016 at 11:29 | #24


    I have a Columbine Sears home in MD.I will be moving soon and wanted to know best way to list home for sale to hopefully get a buyer that loves and appreciates this kind of home!

  25. mark cruciani
    May 12th, 2016 at 15:11 | #25

    My brother and I have to sell our childhood home in Scranton, PA.

    This Sears home is The Carlin, hopefully there is a buyer looking for this kind of home in our area. Besides telling the realtor the history and showing the stamped lumber any other suggestions on how to bring out the legacy of a Sears home?

  26. May 14th, 2016 at 17:36 | #26

    Hi Rose, We purchased a B&B llama farm last year. Yes, you read that correctly :)
    The original house (to the right of the stone work) is supposed to be a Sears catalog house from 1908. The stonework and garage were an addition in 1985. If you go to the “Willowicke Inn” facebook page, you can also see a few interior shots of the rooms. What do you think? If you help us identify it, you can come and stay for a weekend for free.
    Mike & Sooney Carroll

  27. David Vercoe
    May 15th, 2016 at 13:25 | #27

    I live in Conshohocke, PA. I do believe that there are some of the sears kit homes left in Plymouth Meeting, PA. I live in one here in the Conshohocken section of Whitemarsh Township and there is at least 1 more a couple of doors down from me. We do not know what model it is but we do know that our house is a sears kit house. please feel free to email me and I can send you the information that we have on the house and maybe you can help us uncover what model our house is.

  28. Becky Gottschall
    May 22nd, 2016 at 23:04 | #28

    There are so many in this area. I was checking google maps of Abington and Willow Grove today, and found a Crescent, 2 Vallonias, and an Americus. @David Vercoe

  29. Colleen
    May 27th, 2016 at 19:39 | #29

    Anyone know of any Craftsman homes in White Plains New York?

  30. Laura M Endy
    May 29th, 2016 at 16:59 | #30

    Hello! I was wondering if you could possibly help me.

    We lived in a house from 1983 to 2006 that we were told was a Sears house.

    Well since we have no way of going back into that house to check, is it possible for you to know, just by looking at a photo if it was a Sears house or not?

  31. Bura J Dominy
    June 1st, 2016 at 23:34 | #31

    I am a widow living in SW Florida. I would like to know if you have any information about a builder that has built a “replica” of Sears Kit Homes??

    I am very interested in building a modernized version of one of the plans from the 1926 Catalog.

    I will check back for any advise or information.

    Thank you

  32. June 2nd, 2016 at 12:23 | #32

    Hi Bura,

    I’m a widow living in Norfolk. I’m sorry I have no information to help you with. I’m very sorry.

  33. Kim
    June 2nd, 2016 at 14:12 | #33

    I think I’ve found a match for Sears #303, and would love to post a photo for verification.

    Where can I post photos or email them to?

    Also - we live in a “Sears Home” as all the town historians call it - but I have done a bit of research and cannot figure out which model it is. There have been some modifications to the porch… Which is part of my trouble. Would love to post pics of my home as well for help from readers.

  34. Marcy
    June 6th, 2016 at 14:45 | #34

    FYI, we stayed at a B&B called Wilson Ranch outside of Fossil, Oregon. At breakfast it was mentioned that the house was built from the Sears Catalog. ‘All the Best, Marcy

  35. Ellen Maliff
    June 18th, 2016 at 20:44 | #35

    We have lived in our home in Oak Park, IL for 7 years. When we moved in, we were told by a neighbor that ours was one of 3 on the block that was a Sears home, though not kit homes, they were pre-built by Sears in an effort to boost sales. Here’s a link to the article I found: Ours is the Webster. Do you have any other resources or information about these homes? Thanks!

  36. Lisa C
    June 27th, 2016 at 18:29 | #36

    I bought a Sears home. I have the blueprint but I cannot find it in any of the catalogs. I believe the Bethlehem Steel built it for millworkers along with 60 other homes in the Mountain view section of Hellertown PA. Do you know anything about these homes?

    Lisa C

  37. Laura
    July 21st, 2016 at 23:58 | #37

    Is there any way I could get a picture or an address for the #163 in Taylorville IL?

  38. Elizabeth Wallace
    August 3rd, 2016 at 12:55 | #38

    I’m betting that half the town of Crisfield, MD is kit homes. I own a foursquare and there are 78 of them within town limits, and even more bungalows.

  39. bruce gray
    August 16th, 2016 at 12:39 | #39

    This is such an interesting read. I am a realtor in Norfolk, Va and have a house at 1506 Royale Park in Lafayette Residence Park. My house was built in 1924. I would love to find out if my house is a kit home and if so who the manufacturer was. I know in the past I’ve had sold kit homes and didn’t know it. One listing I was sure was a kit home was what turns out to be an “Ethel” I sold on Ethel avenue in Riverview years back. Can you tell me the best way to determine whether my house or other homes I may list or sell is a kit home. Thanks so much, Bruce Gray Long and Foster Realtors.

  40. bruce gray
    August 16th, 2016 at 12:47 | #40

    @bruce gray I suppose the markings on the beams underneath wouls be the be way. Correct?

  41. Jim Niehoff
    September 6th, 2016 at 15:42 | #41

    I grew up in a Sears Fullerton house in Baldwin, New York at 849 Pilgrim Avenue. I understand that the house was built in 1930. The floor plan is a perfect match with the advertised plan, except that the fireplace was moved to the left side of the living room. Also, an extra ground floor bathroom was added off the kitchen at the rear of the house.

  42. Steve and sunny king
    September 10th, 2016 at 16:15 | #42

    We have a Sears home (Osborn) located at 1112 st. Tell City Indiana. Thought you might be interested. It’s in real good shape.

  43. Britt Harmon
    October 25th, 2016 at 20:23 | #43

    Hi, I live in the Avoca in West Point. The Whitehall you could not find is on the corner of Lee and 5th Street. If you are ever back in West Point Virginia please stop by.

  44. BB Hess
    November 3rd, 2016 at 16:08 | #44

    Hi! I live in the Saratoga in Chelsea, Oklahoma.
    We love this home! It is so well made. We are considering buying. Tell me what is the best option, update and modernize, or remain original? It’s roomy, I don’t want to lose the charm and appeal of its originality. Please advise.

  45. November 4th, 2016 at 10:57 | #45

    @BB Hess
    Remain as original, well what original is left in the house. The Saratoga in Chelsea was untouched by time until it was sold by the original family some years ago. After it was sold the bathrooms and kitchen were ripped out and “updated”. It was a shame. It wasn’t appreciated by the next owner. I wish I had known and I would have purchased it! The home was one of a few Sears or kit homes in original condition that had been so meticulously cared for through the years.
    People who want new homes, updated homes, etc. should buy newer homes. Leave the old charm and original homes for those who appreciate them. Once they are gone there will be no more.

  46. T.R. Moore
    November 9th, 2016 at 09:27 | #46

    I’ve got a picture of our Sears home under construction in the early 1920’s. Haven’t been able to find anything close to this model on-line or in catalogs. The backsides of the molding have S&R stickers on them so I’m sure it’s a Sears home. Is there a place I can post the picture or email it to you?

  47. November 10th, 2016 at 12:48 | #47

    @T.R. Moore

    You can post them in the Sears Homes Group on facebook and I will take a look and help you out. Rose is taking some time off but her group is active.

  48. ClairBear226
    December 15th, 2016 at 11:46 | #48

    Rose, I’m hoping you can help me. My family owns a Sears Kit Home near Pittsburgh, Pa. My grandfather, an immigrant from Holland, built it in the 30’s, and we believe it to be a Sears Strathmore. When my grandparents died (the last in 1997), the house sat vacant. It sits there still, well away from a road and hard to access, as the driveway is now quite overgrown. It was always such a pretty little house, and I love it, but in the state it’s in, I don’t know that it could be salvaged. Can you tell me how I can go about finding out the best thing to do with it? Is the salvage from it worth anything, should it be torn down, and how would we go about doing that. We will most likely lose it, and if that’s what needs to be done, then we’d like to see salvageable pieces at least put to good use. I have a million questions, and would very much enjoy the chance to pick your brain.

    I’m enjoying your site immensely. I grew up the next town north of Elgin, Illinois, and live only a half hour from there now. I also lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, which has a lot of kit houses also. I’ve always loved them - they hold a special place in my heart.

  49. SallyV
    December 23rd, 2016 at 06:20 | #49

    I rent a sear kit home built in 1908 in central California. I will be moving soon and they plan to tear the house down. Is there anything of value or use to other kit homeowners out there. If so I can facilitate it.

  50. Nadine Huffman
    January 8th, 2017 at 10:07 | #50

    Might I gently suggest that what you need is a book designer, as opposed to a graphic designer. Not all graphic designers know how to make a book “pop,” and give it visual continuity.

    When I published my book, “A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas,” we used Chad DeBoard, who at that time worked for Orange Frazer Press.

    His work on a book about the Dayton (Ohio) Airshow was beautiful. He did a great job on our book and was easy to work with. I believe he’s now in Nashville TN if you’d like to contact him. ❤

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