The very first Sears “Modern Homes” catalog (1908) offered a kit schoolhouse. One year later (1909), the schoolhouse had already disappeared and was never offered again.
For reasons I can not fathom, they named this first (and only) schoolhouse, “Schoolhouse Number 5008.” (What happened to Schoolhouses #1 - #5007?)
I’ve searched long and hard hoping to find a real-life example of Schoolhouse Number 5008 but heretofore, I’ve come up empty.
Were any of these $11,500, 11,000-square-feet schoolhouses ever built? I’d love to know.
Do you have one in your community?
To read more about Sears schoolhouse catalogs, click here.
The very first Sears Modern Homes catalog was issued in 1908, and within its pages, Schoolhouse Number 5008 was offered for $11,500. That's about one dollar per square foot.
This floorplan is amazing. Brings back memories of the school I attended in the 1960s.
Check out the library. It's a mere seven feet wide and 18' long. In the late 1800s, many American children learned to read at home using only the Holy Bible and the Sears Roebuck catalog (as those were the only two books in the house). Perhaps in 1908, a library with a single bookcase up against one 18' wall was considered plenty. Today, this really seems like a very tiny room for a "library."
My favorite part is the "Future toilets." I can just hear a kid saying, "I have to go to the bathroom," and some curmudgeonly old teacher screeching back, "In the future, Sonny!"
The only administrative offices were the Superintendent's Office which was 24' by 12'.
Pretty distinctive structure.
In 2003, I gave a lecture in some Midwestern town and a woman said, "I've seen that schoolhouse! I have SEEN THAT Schoolhouse!" After I'd extracted an address from her, I wrote it down and the next day, I made the two-hour trek to see it. When I arrived at the school building she'd referenced, I found a one-story structure with a gabled roof and no dormers. Oh yeah, a "perfect" match. This building has so many unique features, but some people have trouble seeing them.
Details matter. These dormers are quite distinctive.
And the entrance also has several unique features!
In 1909, Sears issued their first specialty catalog, devoted to school supplies. Shown here is a school catalog from the early 1920s.
Have you seen Schoolhouse #5008? Please leave a comment below. Or better yet, send me a photo!
To read more about Sears and their Schoolhouse catalogs, click here.
To read another really fun blog, click here.
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