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Posts Tagged ‘aladdin kit homes’

It’s Official: I’m Now a Ham (Part IV)

October 18th, 2012 Sears Homes 6 comments

About five weeks ago, I passed my “General” (Ham Radio) test which gave me operating privileges on the HF (High Frequency) bands.

VHF and UHF frequencies are principally line of sight, but on HF, short radio waves can skip thousands of miles, reflecting (and bouncing) between the mirror-like ionosphere and the earth’s surface. Radios producing as little as five watts (which is very, very low power) take advantage of this “propagation” (as it’s called) and can send signals from Norfolk to England, Australia (and more!).

Pretty exciting!

A few days after obtaining my General license, I purchased an HF radio (Yaesu 450D), and then last week, my Comet CHA-250BX antenna arrived.

And now, both antenna and radio are together.

Getting the antenna installed was a bit challenging - physically. It required snaking wires through the walls and climbing on the roof (over and over and over) and crawling around in the attic, out toward the eaves where there is very little headroom and no flooring. It was a real adventure!

According to the manufacturer, the 23-foot-tall Comet CHA-250BX needs to be at least 20′ off the ground. After much consideration, we decided to mount it on the chimney of our brick ranch.

To accomplish this, we had to buy a chimney mount.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s, most of the houses in our neighborhood had an antenna on the roof. With the advent of cable TV and satellite, it’s getting harder and harder to find the necessary hardware for mounting antennas outside.

Thanks to Amazon.com, I was able to find a chimney mount that was designed for extra chubby chimneys, like ours.

Scroll on down to see photos of the installation process.

To read more about my experiences with Ham Radio, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of this series.

Updated! I’m now an “Extra”!

To learn about the Sears Homes in Norfolk, click here.

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worst part was

The worst part of this project was the kneecap pain. I had to crawl out to the attic's hinterlands to drop the RG-8X down the wall (between the studs) with the hope that it would (eventually) end up near my sun porch. While standing upright in my spacious sunporch, "deciding" on the perfect spot for this coax, I neglected to factor in the low clearance between the roof and floor joists out at the edges of our attic.

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ouch

Saturday morning, I spent about 20 minutes with my knees precariously balanced on these joists, drilling holes in these plates, looking for the "sweet spot" where I could drop the coax cable down into the den/sunporch. Years ago, I purchased a set of fiberglass rods that are used for pulling wire through wall cavities. They worked like a charm.

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The sunporch was originally a screened-porch, so we had to penetrate a brick (exterior) wall to get the coax out there.

The sunporch was originally a screened-in porch, so I had to penetrate a brick (exterior) wall to get the coax out there. While hubby was away at work, I put a "smallish" hole through the 5/16" thick paneling in the den, and also through the exterior sheathing. I tried drilling through the brick with a $25 masonry bit but that went nowhere fast. That 1960s brick is tough stuff. My friend David Strickland came by and used his hammer-drill to get through the brick. He drilled from the sunporch side toward the den, because (as he explained) the hammer drill had a tendency to "explode" the back side of the brick. He was right.

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Fme

The hammer drill did create a messy exit wound on the back of the brick. I placed a small piece of plywood across the backside of the brick wall, so that the nylon washer and metal nut would have a good tight fit. The "through-the-wall" fitting is an 8-inch bulkhead connector, with a 90-degree elbow attached.

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other side

The other side came out real pretty.

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A three gang

A three-gang, no-device blank wall plate provided a nice and tidy cover-up on the den side of this wall. Plus, the connection points for the coax are still easily accessible. My husband suggested that I take a black magic marker and write "Ham Radio Antenna Access" on the plate. I was headed for the markers when he said, "No, don't do that. I'm only kidding."

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When the antenna arrived, Teddy the Wonder Dog had to give an inspection of the unit. The Comet CHA205BX did pass the sniff test.

When the antenna arrived, Teddy the Wonder Dog had to inspect the unit. The Comet CHA-205BX successfully passed "the sniff test."

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Mike Neal (President of RASON) and Jim Silverstorf (Treasurer of RASON) came by to help with the assembly of the new antenna.

Mike Neal and Jim Silverstorf (both members of RASON) came by to help with the assembly of the Comet CHA-250BX antenna. Jim brought an SWR meter to check the performance of the new antenna. By the way, I highly recommend that everyone in Hampton Roads join RASON (Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk). It's not the biggest group in the area, but the people are first-class and they are VERY kind to 53-year-old women who ask the really tough questions like, "Where's the volume button on this thing?"

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After

After it was assembled, we had to stand it up and give it a test run. Teddy is on guard, waiting for the radio waves that'll soon come charging into *her* yard.

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Maybe

Yes, that's a bungie cord and nylon ties holding it secure against the deck railing. Mike said that all we needed now was an old couch and a cooler of beer to complete the ambiance.

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The instructions that came with the chimney mounting kit were as clear as mud. We were not sure what they were trying to tell us.

The instructions that came with the chimney mounting kit were as clear as mud. We were not sure what they were trying to tell us. A few more words would have been helpful.

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Ultimately, we figured it out. Took some time though.

Ultimately, we figured it out. Took some time though.

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Roofie

We placed a brick at the bottom of the steel mast, because the chimney mounts aren't really intended to support weight, as much as prevent lateral movement of the mast. And the brick also protects the 17-year-old roofing shingles from additional damage. Unfortunately, I seem to have grabbed the most crooked brick in America.

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mast

Another view from the top. When it was time to heft that antenna up to the roof, another member of RASON (Milton Crum) graciously came by and offered to help. While Wayne and I had expended some mental energy in figuring out how to get this 23' whip antenna up to the roof, Milton had a better way. While I was verbally reviewing the different ways of getting the antenna to the roof, Milt took hold of the antenna and just walked right up the ladder with it. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of this part of our adventure.

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gloves

The antenna mount is a "Channel Master CM 9067," which cost about $30 (from Amazon). It took eight days to arrive, which seemed like a long time, but it does seem to be well made. The bands are 3/4" wide stainless steel and 18' long. The brackets seem sturdy and strong, and provide a 4" offset (which we needed, due to the flare in the brick courses).

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Getting from the roof to the attic took a little thought. I didnt want 50 feet of coax cable draped across my roof, and I also didnt want it coming over my new aluminum gutters.

Getting from the roof to the attic took a little thought. I didn't want 30+ feet of coax cable draped across my roof, and I also didn't want it cascading down over my new aluminum gutters. I also wasn't too fond of the idea of cutting holes in my soffit or facia. This pipe vent served as an ideal solution. It's 1-1/2" PVC pipe with a traditional pipe collar (where it enters the roof). To prevent rain intrusion, I put a 90-degree elbow on the top.

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Inside

Inside the 1-1/2" PVC pipe is a small stub of 3/4" pipe, with 1/2" round weather stripping wrapped around it. I visited four hardware stores, looking for a 1-1/2" to 3/4" reducer, but couldn't find such a thing, so this was the next best choice. Ultimately, I'll put a little more of that 1/2" round weather stripping in the 3/4" pipe to close up the hole.

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My Ham Radio friends tel me this iis the first time theyve seen such a conduit as this, but it realy worked out well.

My Ham Radio friends tel me this is the first time they've seen such a "conduit" as this, but it really worked out well. We spaced it out about two feet from the chimney so we'd stay far from the chimney flashing. From the ground, it looks like just another bathroom vent.

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The ground wire (10 gage stranded) is connected to

The ground wire (10 gage stranded) is connected to the fiberglass mast (at the roof's edge) and continues down the mast to connect to a grounding rod below. The fiberglass mast supports my Diamond X-200A (dual band) antenna.

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Back in the attic

Back in the attic, the PVC pipe provides a nice clean conduit for my RG-8X coax.

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end

And here's the other end of that coax, poking out through the brick wall. The whole affair (and a lot of wires) are well hidden by this antique oak table.

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Annd I bet Im the only Ham Radio operator in Tidewater with Hello Kitty decor!

And I bet I'm the only Ham Radio operator in Tidewater with a pink radio room with Hello Kitty decor!

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What radio room is complete without Hello Kitty lights?

What radio room is complete without Hello Kitty lights?

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The antenna

The Comet CHA-250BX is on the left, standing at about 45 feet at the tippy top.

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front

From the front of the house, it's really not *that* noticeable.

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What a thing of beauty!

What a thing of beauty!

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To learn about RASON, click here.

To learn how to identify Sears Homes, click here.

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The Aladdin Colonial: Many Admirers!

October 16th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Years ago, someone told me about a “big fancy Sears House” in Suffolk, Virginia. After visiting the house, I could only conclude that it was not a Sears House, but what was it? I sent a photo to my dear friend Dale Wolicki and he replied quickly, “It’s an Aladdin Colonial!

Dale knows more about Aladdin than anyone else in the world!

The Aladdin Colonial was touted as being a house “with many admirers” (see photo below). And I count myself as one of those many admirers!

To learn more about Aladdin, click here.

To read more about Dale, click here.

The Aladdin Colonial, in the 1920 catalog.

The Aladdin Colonial, in the 1920 catalog.

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house

The first floor featured a living room that was 15 by 30 feet. And in the back, there was room for a small library! Notice the butler's pantry. This was a fine home.

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It was a big spacious house, with several distinctive features.

It was a big spacious house, with four spacious bedrooms and two baths upstairs.

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Beautiful, too.

Beautiful, too.

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Heres the big fancy Sears House in Suffolk. In fact, its an Aladdin kit home - the Colonial.

Here's the "big fancy Sears House" in Suffolk. In fact, it's an Aladdin kit home - the Colonial.

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This Colonial is in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

This "Colonial" is in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

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This Colonial was photographed by a Sears House afficianado, but sadly, I cant find her name amongst my many emails. Nonetheless, its a beautiful house.

This Colonial was photographed by a Sears House aficionado, but sadly, I can't find her name amongst my many emails. It's a beautiful house and a wonderful photo, and it's on the corner of Capital Blvd and Scott Street, in a city not too far from Cairo, IL but that's all I remember.

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The 1920 catalog showed this interior shot of the Colonial living room.

The 1920 catalog showed this "interior" shot of the Colonial living room.

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Aladdin actually started offering kit homes in 1906, two years before Sears Roebuck. And Aladdin persisted until 1981, a full 41 years beyond Sears.

Aladdin actually started offering kit homes in 1906, two years before Sears Roebuck. And Aladdin persisted until 1981, a full 41 years beyond Sears. This is my favorite Aladdin advertisement. I just love this image (1914 catalog).

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Sears Homes had a letter and three-digit number on their framing members, but Aladdin kit homes had words (as is shown here).

Sears Homes had a letter and three-digit number on their framing members, but Aladdin kit homes had words (as is shown here). This rafter is in a house in Roanoke Rapids, NC which has an abundance of Aladdin kit homes.

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To learn about the Aladdin kit homes in Roanoke Rapids, click here.

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Where Art Thou, Hamilton? (Part II)

September 20th, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

The Sears Hamilton is one of those Sears kit homes that I have never seen. And yet, while looking through the catalogs I came across this note listing a specific address for a Sears Hamilton.

Who can take a picture for me?  :)

house

Mr. Thornill built a Sears Hamilton in the 1910s.

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The Hamilton, as seen in 1916.

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houseiei

The Hamilton looked a little different in the 1908 catalog.

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Floorplan for the Hamilton.

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Surely this house can't be hard to find in Mingo, Junction!

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To learn more about the Sears Hamilton, click here.

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Where Art Thou Hamilton?

September 16th, 2012 Sears Homes 6 comments

When Dale and I visited Bedford, Virginia in 2008, we drove around for some time, striving to find the Sears Hamilton that (according to the Sears catalog) had been built there in the mid-1910s.

Dale drove slowly and methodically throughout the county (and the city) while I scoured the landscape for any foursquares with a hipped roof.

We found many kit homes along the way, but we never found our Hamilton.

On my various hard drives, I have about 35,000 photos and yet I don’t have any photos of a real live Sears Hamilton.

If anyone has a photo to share, I’d be very grateful to receive it.

As a side note, The Hamilton was also the name Sears gave to a modest bungalow with clipped gables (circa 1930s). The Hamilton I’m looking for is a large foursquare.

Sears Hamilton, as seen in the 1916 catalog.

Sears Hamilton, as seen in the 1916 catalog.

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By 1916, this had already become a popular house! But where are they now?

By 1916, this had already become a popular house! But where are they now?

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Nice floorplan, too.

Nice floorplan, too.

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The house has

The house has several distinctive features. Note the inset back porch which extends the full length of the long kitchen. Also noticed the 4/1 windows on the front. The one side (right side above) extends significant further than the left side.

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porch

Close-up on that back porch.

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The Hamilton was also offered as a wee tiny kit house for model railroads.

In the 1980s, the Sears Hamilton was also offered by "Spectrum" as a wee tiny kit house for HO model railroads. And this one has only 172 pieces! Notice that it's a little different from the house above? That's because they modeled it after the 1908 design. In 2001, I purchased and built this small model house. It took some time, but it was worth the effort because finally, I'd have my very own "Sears kit House." Sadly, it was lost in "The Great Divide" (divorce).

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1908

Here's the Hamilton as seen in the 1908 catalog. It's a perfect match to the model above and slightly different from the 1916 version. The dormers in the 1908 house are shed dormers, and in 1916, they were hipped. The front center window (second floor) has diamond muntins in 1908.

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So where are our Hamiltons? I don’t know, but I’d love to find out, and I’d love to have a photo!

To read more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read about the Sears Homes in Roanoke, click here.

To read the most recent blog, click here.

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“One of These Things is Not Like the Other…” (Part III)

September 1st, 2012 Sears Homes 2 comments

As the song goes, “One of these things doesn’t belong.”

In Hopewell, they’re really struggling with this concept as it applies to Sears Homes.

Here we go.

Learning how to distinguish subtle differences in physical objects can be tough.

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Lets try it with houses now.

Let's try it with houses now.

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One of the houses above is different from the others.

If you guessed the brick house wth the metal casement windows, you’re right!

In 2003, Hopewell was promoting a brochure (showcasing a driving tour of alleged kit homes in Crescent Hills neighborhood) that identified this brick house as a Sears Dover.

Whoopsie! That’s not a Sears Dover!

The other three houses (that look just alike) are the Sears Dover.

More recently, Hopewell has modified this statement and now claims that this brick house is a Sears Maplewood.

Let’s see how that works.

Ruh-roh!

Ruh-roh! One of these homes just doesn't belong! Which one is it? If you guessed the brick house, you're right! The other three homes are the Sears Maplewood.

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Heres the lovely brick NON-SEARS HOUSE in Hopewell.

Here's a better view of the lovely NON-SEARS HOUSE in Hopewell.

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And heres a Sears Maplewood (1930).

And here's a Sears Maplewood (1930).

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Do these houses look anything alike to you?

Well, they both have windows! And a roof! And  a door!

But that’s about it.

You know

I don't know who's promoting this false info on these non-Sears Homes in Hopewell, but perhaps they need to give a little thought to this "not like the others" concept. I highly recommend these Sesame Street videos for people who think that the house in Hopewell looks like a Sears Dover or Sears Maplewood.

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To learn more about how to distinguish differences in certain objects, click here.

Thanks to Rebecca Hunter for the use of her photograph above (the blue Maplewood). You can visit Rebecca’s website here.

I’ve written a great deal about Hopewell.

Read Part I here.

Part II is here.

And if you want to read about the eight real Sears Homes in Crescent Hills, click here.

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“One of These Things is Not Like The Other…” (Part II)

August 30th, 2012 Sears Homes 5 comments

As mentioned in a prior blog, Sesame Street children are familiar with a toe-tapping ditty that helps them learn how to observe what makes things similar and dissimilar.

Those same life lessons are of inestimable value in identifying and authenticating Sears Homes.

In Hopewell, Virginia, they have eight beautiful Sears Homes in Crescent Hills. Unfortunately, in Hopewell, Virginia, they’re claiming to have a lot more than eight Sears Homes in Crescent Hills.

Hey boys and girls, can you figure out which of these is different from the others?

Hey boys and girls, can you figure out which of these is different from the others?

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This example (with houses) is even easier than the example above!

This example (with houses) is even easier than the example above!

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Now there are folks in Hopewell claiming that all three of those houses (with the dormers, and the two windows flanking the front door and the symmetrical front gable and the three windows in the living room) are Sears Rochelles.

Sadly, they’re wrong.

Will the real Sears Rochelle please stand up?

The

It's been remodeled quite a bit, but this is the real Sears Rochelle (in Lombard, Illinois). You may notice that it's very different from the three Hopewell houses shown above. For one thing, it has no dormer. For another, it's got an asymmetrical front gable (around the door). The houses in Hopewell have symmetrical gables. This is a pretty substantial detail. (Photo is copyright 2012 Rebecca Hunter and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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The Rochelle shown above (in Lombard) is the only Rochelle I’ve ever seen.  This Rochelle was photographed by Dr. Rebecca Hunter (Elgin, IL). You can visit her website here.

So, what is it they have in Hopewell?

I’ve no clue, but I do know, it is NOT a Sears Rochelle!

Sears Roechelle as seen in the 1930 catalog.

Sears Rochelle as seen in the 1930 catalog.

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You may notice, the house above (catalog image) bears no resemblance to the Hopewell houses.

To read more about the many differences between these Hopewell homes and the real deal, click here.

To learn more about Dr. Hunter, click here.

To learn more about Hopewell, click here or here.

Interested in Aladdin kit homes? Hopewell has several. Click here to read about them.

“One of These Things is Not Like The Other…”

August 29th, 2012 Sears Homes 7 comments

My friend Rachel reminded me of this fun little ditty from Sesame Street, and suggested that perhaps a few of the 7.5 million people who *think* they have a Sears kit home should watch this video to learn a little more about the skills of observation.

You might want to click this link (Sesame Street video) while you scroll down to see the photos, because the music is so darn toe-tapping happy.

Take a look at this photo.

Houses

You may notice that one of these things is not like the others.

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Now let’s try it with houses.

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which

One of these houses is not like the others.

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Did you figure out which one is not “like the others”?

Actually, I’m just funnin’ with you. It’s not hard to figure this one out.

The three wooden-frame houses with the big two-story columns and the hipped roof and the gabled dormer and the oversized front porch deck and the six windows across the second-floor front and the big picture windows on the first floor front and the two exterior doors stacked over each other are the Sears Magnolia.

The brick house with the one-story columns and the gabled roof (no dormer) and the small front porch deck and the three windows across the second floor front and the four double-hung windows on the first floor front and the one exterior front door is a nice house (but not a Sears House) in Hopewell, Virginia.

When I first visited Hopewell in 2003, I was told that this was a “Modified Magnolia.” More recently, I was told that someone had “identified” this house as a Sears Lexington.

The kind owners gave me a thorough tour of the home’s interior. Having inspected this house from top to bottom (literally), I’m wholly confident that this is not a Sears House of any kind.

In Crescent Hills (a subdivision of Hopewell), you’ll find eight Sears Homes. Eight. Total.

And please note, this house (the brick house above) is not one of them.

I was crestfallen to hear that Old House Journal recently did a feature story on the Sears Homes in Hopewell. I haven’t had the heart to read it. I can only hope and pray that they focused on those eight Sears Homes in Crescent Hills, and not the make-believe Magnolia shown above.

To see more examples of the Sears Homes in Hopewell, click here.

To read more about the misidentified homes in Hopewell, click here (Part One), here (Part Two) and here (Part Three). (There are a lot of them!)

To read about the Aladdin Kit Homes in Hopewell, click here.

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The Sears Silverdale in Headache, Illinois

August 27th, 2012 Sears Homes 5 comments

Well, that’s what my husband calls it. In fact, it’s Hettick, Illinois, a small town in central Illinois, about 60 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri.

When I told Hubby about the find, the West Virginia filters on his hearing translated Hettick into “Headache.”

The Silverdale is an interesting house, because it looks like every early 20th Century farmhouse on every rural route in the Midwest. In my travels, I’ve probably seen dozens of them, but discounted most of them, because it’s so hard to positively identify them.

Do you have a Silverdale in your town? Please send me a photo!

Edited to add: A reader noticed that this house in Hettick, IL is actually a better match to the GVT version (#167)! I hope to add more-better photos in a couple days!

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The Silverdale as seen in the 1921 catalog.

The Silverdale as seen in the 1921 catalog.

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1916 catalog

The Silverdale also appeared in the 1916 catalog.

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The Headache House (well, Hettick, actually).

The Headache House (well, Hettick, actually).

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Another view

Another view of the Silverdale in Hettick.

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Floorplan 1921

Floorplan for the first floor.

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Second floor silverdale

Second floor of the Silverdale. Note, there's no livable space over the kitchen. Back in the day, the room over the kitchen was considered uninhabitable, due to heat and smells that wafted from the kitchen below.

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house hosue testimonial

There are more than a few Silverdales around.

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house house house

Mr. Egan and Wife seemed to be pretty happy with their Silverdale.

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Typical

Typical hinge found in Sears kit home. This was found in the Silverdale in Hettick.

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Silverdale

An old glass window (with diamond muntins) has survived the remodelings.

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To read about the Sears Homes in Carlinville, click here.

To learn more about why I was in Hettick, click here.

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In Memoriam: BGSU Popular Culture House

August 13th, 2012 Sears Homes 16 comments

The Sears Lewiston/Wardway kit home at Bowling Green State University was destroyed last Friday - and in quite a rush.

This demolition went forward, in spite of an impressive groundswell of support, imploring BGSU president Mazey to delay the demolition for a few days. An online petition (asking Mazey to spare the house) quickly garnered 2,000+ signatures.

Others wrote and called the president’s office, begging them to have the house moved rather than destroyed. The cost to move the structure would have been about $18,000 (not a lot more than the cost of demolition).

All to no avail.

The college administration is probably hoping that all the upset over this old house will die down and be forgotten.

Please, don’t prove them right. Don’t let this singular act of wanton destruction and callous disregard for America’s history be forgotten.

Please think about the Popular Culture program at BGSU, which was housed in this old kit home. Many current and former students left comments at this blog and at the Facebook page, sharing happy memories of their time in this historically significant house.

Please think about Virgil Taylor, who spent countless hours poring over old mail-order catalogs, choosing just the house he wanted. Don’t forget Virgil’s dad (Jasper), who gave him the lot so that Virgil could build his fine Wardway Home.

Don’t forget about those two men, toiling side by side to unload the boxcar that arrived at the Bowling Green Train Station in November 1931. The house in that boxcar, a custom order from Montgomery Ward, contained 750 pounds of nails, 10 pounds of wood putty, 27 gallons of paint and varnish, 840 square yards of plaster lath, and more. In all, Virgil’s kit home came in a boxcar with more than 12,000 pieces of building materials.

Don’t forget how Virgil and Jasper lugged all those building materials out of the boxcar and into a wagon, and then onto the building site.

Working with a 75-page instruction book, Virgil and his father (and probably other family and friends) worked long hours, assembling their 12,000-piece kit home.

They started work on the house in early November and by late February (1932), they were mostly done. I’m sure a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” went into that house.

And last week, it took one big bulldozer less than a couple hours to reduce Virgil’s home to 1,500 tons of debris, soon to be buried and forever preserved at the local landfill. (By the way, that estimate of 1,500 tons is the approximate weight of the original structure, exclusive of all additions.)

To read earlier blogs on this topic (and learn more about Virgil’s house, click on the links below.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

The Sorry Ending

Above all, please don’t forget about the little house that Virgil built.

As of Friday, this was the condition of Virgil Taylors beloved home.

As of Friday, this was the condition of Virgil Taylor's beloved home. As my friend used to say, it takes someone special to build something special. Any jackass can tear down a barn. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Virgils house a few days before President Mazey had her way with it.

Virgil's house a few days before BGSU administrators had their way with it. Notice the clean, straight angles on the roof. The house is still square and true, and it's truly reprehensible that the college decided to demolish, rather than relocate the house. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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It was a fine-looking house. And now its just a memory.

It was a fine-looking house. And now it's just a memory. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Original hardware (from Montgomery Ward) was still in evidence throughout the house.

Original hardware (from Montgomery Ward) was still in evidence throughout the house. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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A page from the 1931 catalog shows the door for the Wardway Tudor Homes.

A page from the 1931 catalog shows the door for the Wardway Tudor Homes.

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There was other Wardway hardware throughout the house.

There was other Wardway hardware throughout the house. (Photo is copyright 2012 Ray I. Shuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Despite some serious searching, Ive not been able to find a corresponding fireplace design in either the Sears or Wardway catalogs.  Virgil would have hired a local brick mason to do the fireplace mantel and exterior veneer, and perhaps the local mason had his own ideas about what pattern to use on the fireplace. The pattern used here is a match to the pattern on the brick exterior.

Despite some serious searching, I've not been able to find a corresponding fireplace design in either the Sears or Wardway catalogs. Virgil would have hired a local brick mason to do the fireplace mantel and exterior veneer, and perhaps the local mason had his own ideas about what pattern to use on the fireplace. The pattern used here is also seen on the home's brick exterior. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Brick

See the brick pattern over the window? This was found on the lintels (over the window) and also in the front gable, and the fireplace. (Photo is copyright 2012 Michael Wiatrowski and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Another view of the homes interior.

Another view of the home's interior. Note the build-in china hutch. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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In Virgils home, this would have been the dining room.

In Virgil's home, this would have been the dining room. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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An old light fixture in the hallway.

An old light fixture in the hallway. (Photo is copyright 2012 Marsha Olivarez and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Virgils house arrived from the train station in a boxcar. These early 20th Century boxcars were massive and were loaded to the ceiling with buillinger materials.

Virgil's house arrived at the train station in a boxcar. These early 20th Century boxcars were massive and were loaded to the ceiling with building materials.

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mortgage

When Virgil bought his house, he also obtained a 15-year mortgage from Montgomery Ward. Sadly, he lost his house when Montgomery Ward foreclosed on him (and his wife) in 1936.

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A page from the 1931 Wardway catalog, from which Virgil ordered some of his hardware and plumbing fixtures.

A page from the 1931 Wardway catalog, from which Virgil ordered some of his hardware and plumbing fixtures. At the center of the page is the traditional Wardway fireplace.

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Virgils house in 1932, soon after completion.

Virgil's house in 1932, soon after completion.

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Virgils house, shown next to the catalog image for the Sears Lewiston. I find it fascinating that Virgil took his photo from the same exact angle as the picture shown in the Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Virgil's house, shown next to the catalog image for the Sears Lewiston. I find it fascinating that Virgil took his photo from the same exact angle as the picture shown in the Sears Modern Homes catalog.

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Lumber from Virgils house. Photo is

Lumber from Virgil's house. It reads, "29722 (probably a model number), V. H. Taylor, Bowling Green Ohio, 128 No Church Street. (Photo is copyright 2012 Ray I. Shuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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To learn about the other kit homes in Bowling Green, click here.

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Do You Have 60 Seconds to Save a Sears House? (Part IV)

August 7th, 2012 Sears Homes 6 comments

I’m saddened to report that the demolition of the Pop Culture House at Bowling Green State University is apparently going forward.

Yesterday (August 6th) contractors were seen at the site, removing a few windows and some artifacts in preparation of the building’s demolition.

This, despite a truly valiant effort on the part of BGSU staff and faculty and friends to save this house.

This, despite the presentation of a petition with more than 2,100 signatures to BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey.

The “powers that be” at BGSU apparently prefer that students learn about their history via pricey textbooks and pretty pictures, rather than “hands on.” Given a chance to preserve a piece of true Americana, the college has opted to destroy this “one-of-a-kind” kit house and send hundreds of thousands of pounds of debris to the landfill. (To read about what makes the Pop Culture house truly unique, click here.)

In “The Slate Roof Bible,” author Joseph Jenkins reports that 28% of the volume of debris at landfills is construction and demolition debris.

I’m of the opinion that BGSU should immediately suspend any and all classes related to environmental sciences. They’ve just sent a message - to their community and their students and their staff - declaring boldly that recycling is a dandy plan, but only when it’s really convenient and super easy.

How many pounds of recycled materials does BGSU collect each year and turn over to a recycling center? How many years of recycling bottles and cans will it take to offset the 300,000+ pounds of house they’re sending to the landfills today?

If a person paid attention to behaviors (which are better indices than fancy words), the take-away message from BGSU is, “Recycling is a dandy plan, but only when it’s really convenient and super easy.”

To say that I’m sickened and disgusted by this whole affair would be a gross understatement.

Given the tremendous urgency with which this building has been rushed to demolition, you’d think that the Pop Culture House harbored smallpox, diphtheria, spanish flu, anthrax, polio and the bubonic plague.

It does not.

The biggest sin committed by the Pop Culture House is that it stood in the way of a proposed college expansion. The house had the misfortune of being built on a piece of land that would one day be owned by a college that lacks vision, and also lacks respect for this uniquely American piece of cultural and architectural history.

At the very least, the house should have been moved to another site.

Preliminary estimates placed the cost of moving the house at about $18,000. The cost to demolish the structure is probably not far from the cost to move it.

At the very, very least, the lumber in the house should be salvaged. The quality of building materials (lumber) used in this 1931-built home are the likes of which we will never again see in this country. To read more about that, click here.

Yesterday (August 6th) contractors were seen at the site, removing a few windows and some artifacts in preparation of the building’s demolition.

It’s a sad day for BGSU.

Very sad indeed.

To read more about this house that will soon be nothing but an empty lot, click on the links below.

Part I.

Part II.

Part III.

How to Move a House.

To read an excellent blog that talks more about the ecological importance of preserving this house, click here.

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The Pop Culture House (photographed August 2, 2012).

The Pop Culture House (photographed August 2, 2012). This house was ordered from Montgomery Ward, but was based on a kit home design offered only by Sears Roebuck. The Sears House was the Lewiston.

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The Sears Lewiston, as seen in the 1929 Sears catalog.

The Sears Lewiston, as seen in the 1929 Sears catalog.

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As of yesterday, workers had begun removing the windows in preparation for demolition. Why the rush? Who knows.

As of yesterday, workers had begun removing the windows in preparation for demolition. Why the rush? Who knows. What I do know is it is very sad and a great loss for the community. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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The picture of the home's side shows the windows being removed. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Soon all these building materials will be a massive pile of rubble at a landfill somewhere in Ohio. Sickening.

Soon all these building materials will be a massive pile of rubble at a landfill somewhere in Ohio. Sickening. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Those asbestos flakes must be pretty smart if they know that they have to stay behind the red tape.

That asbestos must be one smart mineral if it knows that it has to stay behind the red tape. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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A picture of the house in happier days. The house was ordered from Montgomery Wards in late 1931. The photo above is early 1932, soon after the home was completed. It was shipped by train and arrived in a boxcar with 12,000 pieces of house. Virgil Taylor was the homes buyer, builder and first owner.

A picture of the house in happier days. The house was ordered from Montgomery Wards in late 1931. The photo above is early 1932, soon after the home was completed. It was shipped by train and arrived in a boxcar with 12,000 pieces of house. Virgil Taylor was the home's buyer, builder and first owner.

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A page from the 1931 Montgomery Ward catalog.

A page from the 1931 Montgomery Ward catalog.

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Virgils Wardway home had the Rexford door hardware.

Virgil's Wardway home had the Rexford door hardware. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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The front door on his neo-tudor was also a classic Wardway design.

The front door on his neo-tudor was also a classic Wardway design.

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A view of Virgils very own front door - from Wards.

A view of Virgil's very own front door - from Wards. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Lumber from inside the house shows it was indeed from Montgomery Ward.

Lumber from inside the house shows it was indeed from Montgomery Ward. This reads, "From Montgomery Ward & Co., Davenport, IA." Orders for Montgomery Ward's homes were fulfilled by Gordon Van Tine in Davenport, Iowa. Photo is copyright 2012 Raymond I. Schuck and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.

Moving a house is better than demolition. This Sears Lynnhaven was moved in the 1980s and is still standing in its new location, home to a very happy family.  (Muncie, IN)

Moving a house is better than demolition. This Sears Lynnhaven was moved in the 1980s and is still standing in its new location, home to a very happy family. (Muncie, IN)

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To read about the other kit homes in Bowling Green, Ohio (safely out of the reach of BGSU), click here.

To contact BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey, send her an email:  mmazey@bgsu.edu

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