“Sears sold about 70,000 kit homes during their 32 years in the kit house business,” I tell folks at my lectures, “but judging from my emails, you’d think that number was 70 million kit homes.”
Some people really, really, really want their house to be a kit house, but not every 1920s house is a kit house.
And if I were queen of the world (a title I aspire to), I’d make that Hopewell’s town motto.
When I visited Hopewell in 2003, I caused a stir when I proclaimed that 36 of the town’s 44 Sears Homes in Crescent Hills weren’t really Sears Homes. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well.
Still, that leaves six Sears Homes in Crescent Hills (Hopewell).
After the “stir” in 2003, I didn’t hear back from Hopewell. But then, several years ago, I offered to help Hopewell do a proper survey of their kit homes - for FREE!
The town never responded to my emails or letters.
Eight years later, when I returned to Hopewell in Spring 2011 (wearing a wig and a fake nose), I focused on the amazing collection of Aladdin kit homes in that city. While Hopewell has only a few Sears Homes in Crescent Hills, they have dozens and dozens of Aladdin kit homes near the downtown area. More on that here and here.
However, I couldn’t resist driving through Crescent Hills and photographing a few of the fake Sears Homes.
For instance, the city’s brochure states that the house at 201 Prince George Avenue is the Sears Van Jean.
Let’s make this simple.
It has a gambrel roof and a chimney and some windows, but that’s about it.
The photos below make that pretty clear.
Hopewell, if you’re listening, you can contact me by leaving a comment below!
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Will there ever be a day when someone in Hopewell exclaims, “Enough of this! Let’s call that gal in Norfolk and get this right - once and for all!!”?
In the meantime, Hopewell certainly does offer a lovely opportunity of how not to promote historic architecture.