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Posts Tagged ‘pacific ready cut’

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

January 30th, 2013 Sears Homes 1 comment

Since August 2010, I’ve written almost 700 blogs. That’s a lot of blogs. Each blog has three or more photos. That’s thousands of photos.

Some of these blogs took several hours to compose, and then get bumped off the page within a week of their creation.

So I’m posting a few of my favorite blogs below. If you’ve enjoyed this site, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

The Sears Corona has always been one of my favorite houses (1921).

The Sears Corona has always been one of my favorite houses (1921).

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Sears Corona in Gillespie, Illinois.

A perfect Sears Corona in Gillespie, Illinois.

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Last year, I wrote a blog about the San Jose. I’ve never seen one, but this was Rebecca’s find. Awesome house. Click here.

This blog was devoted to Alhambras, and had pictures of my favorite Alhambras of all time.

The Magnolia is my favorite house, and this blog has photos of all six Magnolias that are in existence today.

In this blog (also picture heavy) I provided lots of info on how to identify a Magnolia.

And this features a story from a 92-year-old man that built a Magnolia in the 1920s.

This blog was created from photos sent in by Pat, an Ohio resident. LOTS of Sears Homes in Ohio!

West Virginia is one of my favorite places in all the world, and Lewisburg is loaded with Sears Homes. Click here to see many fun photos.

And if you have about 10 hours to spare, click here to read the story of my Aunt Addie’s apparent murder. Let me warn you, her story is addictive! You can’t read just one link!!

Click here to read about her exhumation, and let me tell, that’s quite a story too!

Really awesome photos of Carlinville, IL (which has 150 Sears Homes) can be seen here.

This is one of the MOST popular blogs at this site. It’s picture-heavy tour of my old house in Colonial Place. We sold it a couple years ago, and yet this blog is a perennial favorite.

Another perennial favorite is the story of how we redid our bathroom in the old house. Came out beautiful, but what a project!

Here’s a detailed blog on one of Sears most popular homes: The Vallonia.

This was another fascinating historical research project: Penniman - Virginia’s Ghost Town. Wow, what a story that turned out to be!

Those are just a few of my favorites.  If you want to read more, look to the right of the page and you’ll see this (shown below). Click on any one of those months to navigate through the older blogs.

Call

Click on this column (to the right) and you'll find the rest of those 680 blogs!

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Thanks for reading the blog, and please leave a comment below!

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Will The Real Sears “Del Rey” Please Stand Up?

October 11th, 2012 Sears Homes 3 comments

The Sears Del Ray was patterned after a popular design that popped up in several places in the late 1910s/early 1920s.

One hundred years later, it’s hard to figure out who deserves credit for designing this attractive bungalow.

The Sears Del Rey, as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog. From what I can glean, it first appeared in 1920 or 1919.

The Sears Del Rey, as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog. From what I can glean, it first appeared in their catalog in 1920 or 1919.

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If I were a better woman, Id say that it started here.

In February 1922, this design won The "Blue Ribbon Award" in the popular building magazine, "American Carpenter and Builder."

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The accompanying article in American Carpenter and Builder states, “I am a student at Sanford University, and I erected and completed this charming little residence with the assistance of one carpenter during my summer vacation. It was sold as soon as finished. I will build more during the coming year.”

In other words, in the early 1920s, a California college student spent his summer vacation building the Del Rey’s clone in the San Jose area.  (Reminds me of a song!  “Do you know the ‘Rey in San Jose?“)

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Oopsie. Heres another one. This is Pacific Ready Cut Homes Moderl #385. Gosh, it looks just like a Del Rey too!

Oopsie. Here's another one. This is Pacific Ready Cut Homes Model #385. Gosh, it looks just like a Del Rey too! (1919 Pacific Ready Cut Homes.)

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Personally, I find breathing houses worrisome.

Personally, I find "breathing houses" worrisome.

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And heres a real San Jose in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo is copyright 2012 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

And here's a Del Rey in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Maybe. Or maybe it's the 1922 "Blue Ribbon Winner." Or maybe it's Pacific Ready Cut! Photo is copyright 2012 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Ah, but here we have a bona fide Sears Del Rey, authenticated by Rebecca Hunter. This darling house is in Elgin, Illinois.

Ah, but here we have a bona fide Sears Del Rey, authenticated by Rebecca Hunter. This darling house is in Elgin, Illinois. The photo was snapped in 2002 (at Halloween)!

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Floorplan for the Del Rey shows a sleeping porch that is usually converted into another bedroom (1921 catalog).

Floorplan for the Del Rey shows a screened porch (right rear) that is usually converted into another bedroom (1921 catalog).

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Heres

In the 1924, Mr. Gray built this Del Ray in Ohio (from a testimonial published in the 1924 Sears Modern Homes catalog). Sure would be fun to find out if this REAL Del Rey is still standing.

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According to the 1924 catalog, this Del Ray was built in Ohio.

Accompanying text gives the name and city. Is it still there?

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Heres a Del Rey in Wheaton, IL.

Here's a Del Rey in Wheaton, IL.

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This one is in Rocky Mount, NC.

This one is in Rocky Mount, NC.

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Dale and I found this little house in Fullerton, California (oops, I THINK it was Fullerton). Most likely, this is the Pacific Ready Cut Home Model #385.

Dale and I found this little house in Fullerton, California (oops, I THINK it was Fullerton). Most likely, this is the Pacific Ready Cut Home Model #385 with a modified shed roof over the porch.

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read the next blog, click here.

To learn more about Pacific Homes, click here.

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Old Hickory, Tennessee and Norfolk, Virginia (Update 2)

January 2nd, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Since I moved to Norfolk in September 2006, the 16 identical bungalows on Ethel Avenue have been whispering my name, and imploring me to come close, and learn more about their unique origins. Problem was, I could never quite make out what they were saying.

For years, I pored through my vintage catalogs from Sears, Aladdin, Gordon Van Tine, Lewis Manufacturing, Sterling Homes and even Pacific Ready Cut Homes, hoping to identify them as kit homes from a mail-order company.

I never could find a design that was anything close.

Someone in town said the houses were built at the 300th anniversary fair at Jamestown (1904) and moved from that site to their resting place in Riverview (Norfolk). That didn’t ring true, because these little bungalows were more typical of the 1910s. And somewhere, we heard that there had been a DuPont factory in Penniman, Virginia (about 30 minutes from Norfolk), and that the houses might have come from the factory at Penniman.

And then I started doing research on Hopewell, Virginia and learned that it had also been the site of a DuPont munitions factory. So I drove around Hopewell, trying to find our “Ethels” (as they came to be known).

There have been many interesting discoveries along the way. To read a full history of our* project, click here.

Pictures are a lot better than words, so here are a few pictures (below).

And if anyone knows where I  might find more of these “Dupont Designs” in Norfolk, please leave a comment below!

To read the first blog on this topic, click here.

To read a about Aunt Addie,  click here.

*David Spriggs and Mark Hardin have done most of the research on this subject. On this project, I’ve been the blog writer and photo taker!  :)

H

On the left is a vintage picture of a Dupont Design (The Haskell) that was built in Old Hickory, TN. On the right is a house in Norfolk (on Major Avenue). We're now certain that these houses came from Penniman (site of a Dupont Munitions Factory) and floated by barge to this location. According to an article in the "Richmond News Leader" (June 1938) there are 51 of these homes in Norfolk, in varying designs. Thus far, we've found more than 45 of these homes.

Vintage photo of Old Hickory (site of a Dupont Munitions Plant) shows two of the eight housing styles found there. These are the same two housing styles found on Major Avenue in Norfolk, VA.

Vintage photo of Old Hickory (site of a Dupont Munitions Plant in Tennessee) shows two of the eight housing styles found there. These are the same two housing styles found on Major Avenue and Glenroie Avenue in Norfolk, VA.

This little Dutch Colonial

This little Dutch Colonial was one of the "Dupont Designs" found in Old Hickory, TN. Note the narrow windows by the front door. We've now learned that this house style was named "The Georgia."

Dutchie

There are nine of these "Georgia" (Dupont' designs) on Major Avenue and Glenroie Avenue in Norfolk. These Norfolk houses are a perfect match to the houses in Old Hickory, TN.

house

Note the long, thin tall windows flanking the front door.

Two of the many Dutchies from DuPont found in Norfolk.

One of the many Georgias from DuPont found in Norfolk.

Cumberland

The Cumberland was one of 12 designs created by Dupont and found in both Norfolk and Old Hickory. There are two of these on Major Avenue (Norfolk).

And heres the real life example.

And here's one of two Cumberlands on Major Avenue. It is a perfect match to the Dupont Cumberland found in Old Hickory, TN.

The other Cumberland on Major Avenue

The other Cumberland on Major Avenue.

This is the two-story house (ensconced in the land of Ethels) in Riverview. Note the unusual attic window.

This is the two-story house (ensconced in the land of Ethels) in Norfolk. Note the tall thin attic window which is a perfect match to the Old Hickory house above. There are other architectural features which lead us to believe that this is also a "Dupont Design." This house was floated by barge to its location here in Norfolk. This is a big house to move!

Close-up of the attic window.

Close-up of the attic window found on all the two-storyy Dupont designs.

It all started with these little bungalows that weve named, The Ethels. There are 16 of these in Riverview (Ethel Avenue) and two in Highland Park (51st Street) in Norfolk.

It all started with these little bungalows that we've named, The Ethels. There are 16 of these in Riverview (Ethel Avenue) and two in Highland Park (51st Street) in Norfolk.

I spent many hours of my life, poring through old mail order catalogs, trying to identify these bungalows as kit homes.

I spent many hours of my life, poring through old mail order catalogs, trying to identify these bungalows as kit homes. And it turns out, they were built by Dupont for their employees at Penniman (Virginia). Dupont had a massive munitions plant there in Penniman, and after it was closed, the houses were shipped out to other cities, including Norfolk. That's where these "Ethels" came from.

And there are dozens of Ethels in Dupont, Washington, site of another Dupont Munitions plant.

And there are dozens of "Ethels" in Dupont, Washington, site of another Dupont Munitions plant. This Ethel is in Dupont, Washington (and shares the neighborhood with 100 identical twins).

Close-up of dormer

This dormer window on these "Ethels" is a pretty distinctive feature.

If you have any information about the houses in Old Hickory, please leave a comment below.

And there was an employee newsletter called, “The Projectile,” which featured a story on the building of these houses. That would also be an incredible resources. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

If you’d like to read earlier posts, start with Part I.

And then go to Part II.

Part III.

Part IV.

Part V.

Part VI.

Part VII.

Part VIII.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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Old Hickory, Tennessee and Norfolk, Virginia (Updated!)

January 1st, 2012 Sears Homes 2 comments

Since I moved to Norfolk in September 2006, the 16 identical bungalows on Ethel Avenue have been whispering my name, and imploring me to come close, and learn more about their unique origins. Problem was, I could never quite make out what they were saying.

For years, I pored through my vintage catalogs from Sears, Aladdin, Gordon Van Tine, Lewis Manufacturing, Sterling Homes and even Pacific Ready Cut Homes, hoping to identify them as kit homes from a mail-order company.

I never could find a design that was anything close.

Someone in town said the houses were built at the 300th anniversary fair at Jamestown (1904) and moved from that site to their resting place in Riverview (Norfolk). That didn’t ring true, because these little bungalows were more typical of the 1910s. And somewhere, we heard that there had been a DuPont factory in Penniman, Virginia (about 30 minutes from Norfolk), and that the houses might have come from the factory at Penniman.

And then I started doing research on Hopewell, Virginia and learned that it had also been the site of a DuPont munitions factory. So I drove around Hopewell, trying to find our “Ethels” (as they came to be known).

There have been many interesting discoveries along the way. To read a full history of our project, click here.

If I was doing this project on my own, it probably would have ended when I couldn’t find the houses in my mail order catalogs. But I’m not alone. Norfolk historian David Spriggs and Researcher Extraordinaire Mark Hardin have been doing most of the heavy lifting. And they’ve made some amazing discoveries.

It was Mark who found our “Ethels” in other cities (Butte, Montana and Dupont, Washington), and it was Mark who found a plethora of info on the architecture history of DuPont’s “Munition Towns.”

It was David who found an article about George P. Hudson in a newspaper article dated April 14, 1922. Hudson owned several lots where Ethels landed, and also owned a barge company here in Norfolk.

A few months ago, Mark Hardin sent me a photo of a Dupont design in Old Hickory, Tennessee (near Nashville).  I looked at it, but I wasn’t sure what to think. And then last week, David Spriggs said, “I think I’ve identified a two-story Dupont design here in Riverview.”

I thought, “Okay, I’ll look at it.”

And that’s when things took a turn for the better.

Looking at the architectural details of David’s “two-story Dupont house,” and comparing it to our Ethels, I had to say, he was right. The two houses shared several important architectural features. And then I noticed the two-story house had a long tall attic window. Where had I seen that before? In the picture that Mark sent me, of the houses in Old Hickory.

David and I had also been told that there were some houses on Major Avenue (another part of Norfolk), that had come here by barge. We drove down Major Avenue and that’s when it all started to come together. The houses on Major Avenue had a very distinctive attic window that we’d just seen on the two-story “Dupont Design” in Riverview.

Pictures are a lot better than words, so here are a few pictures (below).

I’d be grateful for any information anyone can share about Old Hickory, TN.

*David Spriggs and Mark Hardin have done most of the research on this subject. On this project, I’ve been the blog writer and photo taker!  :)

H

On the left is a vintage picture of a Dupont Design (The Haskell) that was built in Old Hickory, TN. On the right is a house in Norfolk (on Major Avenue). We're now pretty well certain that these houses came from Penniman (site of a Dupont Munitions Factory) and floated by barge to this location. According to an article in the "Richmond News Leader" (June 1938) there are 51 of these homes in Norfolk, in varying designs. Thus far, we've found fewer than 30 of the 51 houses.

Vintage photo of Old Hickory (site of a Dupont Munitions Plant) shows two of the eight housing styles found there. These are the same two housing styles found on Major Avenue in Norfolk, VA.

Vintage photo of Old Hickory (site of a Dupont Munitions Plant in Tennessee) shows two of the eight housing styles found there. These are the same two housing styles found on Major Avenue and Glenroie Avenue in Norfolk, VA.

This little Dutch Colonial

This little Dutch Colonial was one of the "Dupont Designs" found in Old Hickory, Tennessee. Note the narrow windows by the front door.

house

There are nine of these "Dutchie Dupont' designs on Major Avenue and Glenroie Avenue in Norfolk. These Norfolk houses are a perfect match to the houses in Old Hickory, TN.

Two of the many Dutchies from DuPont found in Norfolk.

One of the many "Dutchies from DuPont" found in Norfolk.

Cumberland

The Cumberland was one of 12 designs created by Dupont and found in both Norfolk and Old Hickory. There are two of these on Major Avenue (Norfolk).

And heres the real life example.

And here's one of two Cumberlands on Major Avenue. It is a perfect match to the Dupont Cumberland found in Old Hickory, TN.

The other Cumberland on Major Avenue

The other Cumberland on Major Avenue.

This is the two-story house (ensconced in the land of Ethels) in Riverview. Note the unusual attic window.

This is the two-story house (ensconced in the land of Ethels) in Norfolk. Note the tall thin attic window which is a perfect match to the Old Hickory house above. There are other architectural features which lead us to believe that this is also a "Dupont Design." This house was floated by barge to its location here in Norfolk. This is a big house to move!

Close-up of the attic window.

Close-up of the attic window found on all the two-storyy Dupont designs.

It all started with these little bungalows that weve named, The Ethels. There are 16 of these in Riverview (Ethel Avenue) and two in Highland Park (51st Street) in Norfolk.

It all started with these little bungalows that we've named, The Ethels. There are 16 of these in Riverview (Ethel Avenue) and two in Highland Park (51st Street) in Norfolk.

I spent many hours of my life, poring through old mail order catalogs, trying to identify these bungalows as kit homes.

I spent many hours of my life, poring through old mail order catalogs, trying to identify these bungalows as kit homes. And it turns out, they were built by Dupont for their employees at Penniman (Virginia). Dupont had a massive munitions plant there in Penniman, and after it was closed, the houses were shipped out to other cities, including Norfolk. That's where these "Ethels" came from.

And there are dozens of Ethels in Dupont, Washington, site of another Dupont Munitions plant.

And there are dozens of "Ethels" in Dupont, Washington, site of another Dupont Munitions plant.

Close-up of dormer

This dormer window on these "Ethels" is a pretty distinctive feature.

If you have any information about the houses in Old Hickory, please leave a comment below.

And there was an employee newsletter called, “The Projectile,” which featured a story on the building of these houses. That would also be an incredible resource. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

If you’d like to read earlier posts, start with Part I.

And then go to Part II.

Part III.

Part IV.

Part V.

Part VI.

Part VII.

Part VIII.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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Not a Kit House

August 7th, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

Boise has a surprising number of kit homes within the city borders, but this big fancy house at the end of Capitol Blvd is not one of them. When you look at kit homes, you need to think about what a kit home is. These were mail-order kits, that arrived by boxcar in 12,000 pieces. The wanna-be homeowner had 24 hours to get that boxcar unloaded and get its contents moved to the building site. Once there, the homeowner had four months to build the house, or the Sears mortgage he’d obtained would be null and void.

Sears promised that a “man of average abilities” could built a kit home. That’s a pretty low threshold when you think about. These homes were designed for the novice, who’d built nothing fancier than a chicken coop in his life. On the 75-page instruction books that came with the house, even the proper spacing of those 750 pounds of nails was included. Sears knew who their market was: Men (and sometimes women) who were scrambling and striving to catch a piece of the American Dream.

Often people ask me if a big fancy house is a Sears kit home. This is a surprise. These were novice homebuilders and Sears made everything as easy as possible at every point and turn. Staircases were all very simple, with no complex twists or turns. Newel posts were straightforward and boxy. Doors came pre-mortised, ready to receive hinges and hardware. Plinth blocks (flat, square blocks) were used at complex corners to make joinery simpler.

When looking at a potential kit home, ask yourself, is this house simple enough to be a kit home? And if it looks too fancy to be a kit home, it probably is.

This is not a kit house

This is not a kit house. It is actually the state capitol in Boise, Idaho.

Kit Homes in Idaho

August 6th, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

On a recent trip to Idaho, I took a day to search for kit homes. I found a handful of Pacific Ready Cut Homes (a regional company based in Los Angeles), but despite 200 miles of driving around Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and nearby areas, I only found this one little Sears Home in Nampa, Idaho.

However, it’s a real beauty, and a spot-on match to the original catalog image. It’s the Sears Argyle and it’s in a historic section of Nampa. I wonder if the owners know what they have?

In the coming days, I’ll post photos of the Pacific Ready Cut Homes that I found in the area.

I’ve also posted below one of the reasons I may not have found as many kit homes as I could have. The views here are spectacular!

Sears Argyle from the Sears Modern Homes catalog

Sears Argyle from the Sears Modern Homes catalog

Sears Argyle in Nampa, Idaho!

Sears Argyle in Nampa, Idaho!

Close-up of porch detail

Close-up of porch detail

Note how the details on this 1910s Argyle have been preserved!

Note how the details on this 1910s Argyle have been preserved!

When I took this photo (below) at about 6 pm, I didn’t have much hope it’d look good (as the shadows were so extreme) but it came out beautifully!  These views just take my breath away.