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Posts Tagged ‘kit homes and bungalows’

Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Sears Homes…

April 19th, 2015 Sears Homes 4 comments

Especially in ads that appear on Craigs’ List.

Recently, someone in our Facebook Group (”Sears Homes”) pointed out that there was a Sears House listed for rent on Craigs’ List. In that this is not my first rodeo, I was dubious at best. I looked up the ad. I must admit, at first glance (without wearing eyeglasses), it did kinda sorta look a bit like a Sears Norwood. Kinda. Sorta. Problem was, it was too wide for the insufferably narrow Norwood, which is a mere 16′ wide.

I went to the assessor’s website and found the property card, which showed that the home for rent was 20′ wide, not 16′.

That’s enough to be a deal killer. In addition, these little front-gabled cottages were so common in early 20th Century America that you really have to be extra careful!

In 2004, I traveled to a city in middle Virginia to do a thorough survey of kit homes. I was introduced to a homeowner who’d paid a premium price for her bungalow because it had been promoted as a “Sears Kit Home.” I was put in the unfortunate position of  having to explain to her that it was not a kit home of any kind. She became very upset, and asked me if I was certain. Having spent 45 minutes examining the house from rooftop to basement, I told her I was quite sure. She said the Realtor and the lender’s appraiser had added some value because of the home’s “historical significance.”

I didn’t know what to tell her. It was a rough visit all the way around.

I wish Realtors would do a little tiny bit of research before blithely deciding that something is a Sears House. They claim to be “real estate professionals” and speaking as a former Realtor, they can and should do better than that.

To see the non-Sears-House ad, click here.

To read more about the Sears Mills in Norwood, Ohio and Cairo, Illinois, click here.

Want to learn a few tips about identifying Sears Homes? Click here.

Craigs

To add insult to injury, this house is advertised as "1908 Sears Home." The tax records show it was built in 1910. The Morely was first offered in 1918. The fact that this house is on the "Porter History Walk" makes it even more disturbing. Yikes. Has "research" become a dirty word?

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1690

The Norwood, from the 1919 Sears Modern Home catalog.

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1918

The Morley (1918 catalog) was very similar to the Norwood, but was 10 feet longer.

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1918

Side-by-side comparisons of the two floor plans highlight their differences.

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assessor

The city assessor's website shows the house in Porter is 20 feet wide. Sorry, but it's not a Sears House. I'm sure someone will leave a comment and say, "Maybe it's another model," and let me reassure you, this is not a Sears kit home.

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Heres a real life Morley in Norwood, Ohio.

Here's a real life Morley in Norwood, Ohio. Oh wait, it's not a Morley. Cindy Catanzaro looked up the assessor records and found it's a match for the Norwood, NOT the Morley. Oopsie.

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And a close-up of the address!

And a close-up of the address! Turns out, it's on Carthage Avenue.

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house

Close-up of the Sears Norwood. Notice that it has two windows flanking the front door.

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House

Here's a Norwood in Norwood, Ohio! How appropriate! You can see where the missing eave brackets once rested. Perhaps best of all, it looks like the house still has some of its orginal downspouts.

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literature

This is not a Sears House.

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Thanks to Mark Hardin for creating this meme. :)

Thanks to Rachel Shoemaker for creating this meme. :)

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To see the non-Sears-House ad, click here.

Want to learn a few tips about identifying Sears Homes? Click here.

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The Concord: A Modern Residence at a Low Cost

May 22nd, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Sears offered two models called “The Concord.” The “old” Concord appeared in Sears first “Modern Homes Catalog” (in 1908), and remained in the catalog until at least 1918. In 1918, Sears Modern Homes were - for the first time - identified primarily by name, instead of number.

After all, would you rather have a Sears Modern Home #2049 or a Sears Magnolia? Same house, different words.  :)

The “new” Concord was a post 1930s house, and you can read about it here.

Judging from the testimonials, the (old) Concord was a fairly popular house, and yet in my travels, I’ve only seen one. There are a lot of “look-alikes” to the Sears Concord, but most of them have a side-gabled roof, whereas the Sears Concord has a hipped roof.

To see Rose’s latest book on Sears Homes, click here.

To read about a family that dearly loves (and appreciates) their Sears Concord, click here.

The Concord appeared in the very first Sears Modern Home catalog (1908).

The Concord appeared in the very first Sears Modern Home catalog (1908).

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By 1916, the house had become a real favorite, and of the 20 testimonials that appeared on the back page of the 1916 catalog, three of them were written by people whod purchased the Sears Concord.

By 1916, the house had become a real favorite, and of the 20 testimonials that appeared on the back page of the 1916 catalog, three of them were written by people who'd purchased the Sears Concord. This Concord was built by George E. Twiggar of Ossining, NY.

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Heres the text that accompanied the image (above).

Here's the text that accompanied the image (above). Note, there's also built at Havre de Grace, MD by Mr. J. H. Howlett.

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this is 19

This Concord (also known as C114) was built in Roselle Park, NJ.

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Number 19

It's a shame they didn't include a name here.

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Either these were very fast-growing trees, or he didnt send his snapshot to Sears until years after the house was finished.

Either these were very fast-growing trees, or he didn't send his snapshot to Sears until years after the house was finished. It's in Norwalk, Ohio.

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House

"The nicest house in town!"

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Carrollton

This Concord is looking a little rough. It's in Carrollton, IL.

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Dale in Monongahela, PA

Concord (sans porch) in Monongahela, PA. Photo is copyright 2010 Dale Patrick Wolicki and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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But wait, theres more!

But wait, there's more! According to the 1916 Sears catalog, the Concord was also built in these cities. As mentioned above, this was apparently a popular house.

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Houses

And Mr. Morton built a Sears Concord in Bristol, Virginia, which is about seven hours from my home in Norfolk. Still, I'll have to go check it out some time.

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To read about the other Concord, click right here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read the next blog, click here.

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Customized Kit Homes: A Puzzle!

March 29th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

About 30% of kit homes were customized when built. That’s almost one out of three, and that’s one of the things that makes identification of these homes so difficult. And that doesn’t count modifications and remodeling!  Today, some of these kit homes - first built in the early years of the 20th Century - are almost 100 years old. Lots of things can change in 100 years, especially when it comes to old houses.

Below is a picture of a house in Dublin, Virginia (Pulaski County) taken by Mike and Bev Pinkerman. As a kindness to me, he went through town snapping photos of several old bungalows, and this is one of the photos that he took. And Bev has been faithfully sending the photos to me via email!

At first glance, I thought, “Well, it kinda looks like an Aladdin Detroit.”

Like Sears, Aladdin was another kit home company that sold entire kit homes from their mail-order catalog. The 12,000-piece kits were then shipped by boxcar. The homes came with a 75-page instruction book, detailed blueprints and a promise that a “man of average abilities” could have the house ready for the wife and kids in 90 days.

Looking at the Pinkerman’s photo, I started thinking, “This is a Detroit, but one that’s been modified.”

If you look at the catalog image, you’ll see a small shed dormer. If you look at the Dublin house, you’ll see it has an enlarged shed dormer, but what’s really interesting is that those unusually shaped windows - in the center - are a spot-on match to the Detroit’s dormer windows. And while the center window is a perfect match, the extra windows (on either side) are more traditional double-hung windows!

An interesting find, to say the least! And yes, I think it is an Aladdin Detroit, with extra space on the second floor!

Click here to learn more about identifying kit homes!

Click here to buy Rose’s book!

Aladdin Detroit from the 1919 catalog

Aladdin Detroit from the 1919 catalog

Aladdin Detroit in Dublin

Aladdin Detroit in Dublin, Virginia. Photo is courtesy of Mike and Bev Pinkerman.

Floorplan

Adding width to that shed dormer on the second floor would have the effect of giving more square footage to the second floor bedrooms and also adding one window to each of those bedrooms.

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Close-up on the windows

Close-up on the windows shows that it is the same casement windows as used in the Aladdin Detroit.

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Close-up

Close-up of the catalog image of the Aladdin Detroit.

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Comparison the two houses

Comparison of the two houses

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House

The Aladdin Detroit

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A perfect Aladdin Detroit in Chesapeake

A perfect Aladdin Detroit in Chesapeake, Virginia. This one has an addition on the rear of the house. Notice how the foundation changes at the same point where the roofline changes.

To read the next article, click here:

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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