When Sam Evans met the woman of his dreams, he waited three years to pop the question. Her response was swift and sure.
“Sam,” Ollie Mae replied, “I’m only 12!”
When Sam told me this story more than 70 years later, he added, “I just didn’t want wait ’til the last minute!”
Sam and Ollie Mae grew up together in Ocean View, a delightful little piece of Norfolk that sits on the Chesapeake Bay.
When I moved back to this area in 2007, I was happily surprised to find an abundance of kit homes in Ocean View. Below are some of the architectural treasures I’ve found in Ocean View. To learn more about the kit homes here in Norfolk, click here.
To buy Rose’s book, click here.
This Arts & Crafts bungalow is the Sears Ashmore and it's one of my favorite houses. It's a real beauty of a house, and I've seen about five in my many travels, so it's pretty rare.
And here's that "Aristrocrat of Bungalows" on a side street just off of Granby in Ocean View.
Sears Walton as seen in the 1921 Modern Homes catalog
- Sears Walton in Ocean View!
Argyle. It's not just for socks.
Are these owners proud of their Sears Argyle? I'd say yes. :)
This is a Sears Alhambra as seen in the 1921 catalog.
And this is a Sears Alhambra, sans Spanish-flavored extras!
The Vallonia was a very popular model. This Craftsman style bungalow had an expandable attic and was perfect for a growing family!
This Vallonia has been converted into a duplex, but it's still in good condition.
Note the detail on the porch columns. About two dozen Sears Homes had this unusual arrangement on the porch columns.
Close-up of the column on the Ocean View house
There are two of the Harris Brothers kit homes in Ocean View. Very distinctive-looking house. Harris Brothers was a small company based in Chicago, IL.
It was known as Harris Brothers Home #1000, and was a popular design for this kit home company, but there are not many Harris Brother homes in Virginia. Notice the curved front porch (now closed in). Even original flower-box brackets are still in place.
This is a kit home from Gordon Van Tine, a competitor of Sears in the kit home business.
Here's a Gordon Van Tine "Roberts" and in perfect condition!
The Westly was another very popular house for Sears.
Like the other Craftsman-style bungalow in Ocean View, this Sears Westly has also been turned into a duplex.
From the 1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Barrington in Ocean View!
This was not a kit home, but a house design from a "plan book." Prospective homeowners would browse the pages of a catalog and find a home that they liked, and after sending in their dollars, they'd receive a full set of blueprints and a full inventory of what was needed to build their dream home. Building supplies were purchased locally.
The Carrville (Homebuilder's Catalog)
Sears Brookwood, from the 1933 catalog.
The Brookwood was a smaller version of the Barrington. It was four feet shorter and two feet narrower.
And what became of Sam and Ollie Mae?
A few years later, Ollie Mae accepted Sam’s proposal and they were married. When Ollie Mae passed on in 2002, they’d been married for more than six decades, and together for seven decades. I first met Sam in 1974 when I became a student at a vocational school in Portsmouth. Sam taught Automotive Technology at Norcom.
Sam’s now retired, and lives with his bride in Portsmouth. (They were recently married.) And not only is Sam one of the most interesting people I have ever met, he’s also my role model. This World War 2 veteran is healthy and strong and spends hours each day working in his yard and digging holes and planting things and mowing the grass and tending to his beautifully manicured one-acre estate.
And it was Sam that told me that he suspected Ocean View had a few kit homes.
Sam grew up working with his father at the family business in Ocean View, "Evan's Garage." This weather vane is last remnant of the Evan's Garage (founded in 1918).
Some of the natural beauty that's in abundance in Ocean View.
The nice sandy beaches of Ocean View.
To learn more about Sears Homes in Norfolk, click here.
To read about Rose the Ham, click here.
To buy Rose’s book, click here.
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