I’ve always dreamt of living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and one day, I’ll get there. In the meantime, there’s no prettier place on earth to go hunting for Sears kit homes.
What is a Sears House? These were kit homes, sold right out of the pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog. From 1908-1940, you could order one of 370 designs, and your 12,000-piece kit would be shipped by rail to the train depot of your choice. Each kit came with a 75-page instruction book, and a promise that “a man of average abilities” could have one of these kits built in 90 days. Click here for more info on Sears kit homes.
Here are a few of the Sears kit homes I’ve found so far. First, my favorite find in Shenandoah, Virginia.
To read more about how to identify Sears kit homes, click here.
Original image from 1916 catalog
Sears Maytown - original catalog image
Sears Home in Shenandoah, Virginia
This next house is currently in use as a B&B. It’s the only Sears Milton I’ve ever seen, and it’s in Stanley, Virginia. It’s quite a magnificent house! Note the tall columns and flanking pergola on the front porch. The Milton was one of Sears’ biggest and best homes. Probably the only house that was fancier was the Sears Magnolia.
Sears Vallonia, from the 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog. This was a very popular house.
A beautiful Sears Vallonia in Lewisburg, WV
Sears Altona from the Sears Modern Home's catalog
Sears Altona in the tiny town of Ronceverte, West Virginia.
Sears Lynnhaven, as seen in the 1929 catalog
Sears Lynnhaven in Rainelle, WV
Sears Marina, Model #2024
Although significantly remodeled, this is clearly a Sears Marina, #2024. This house is in Lewisburg, WV. Note how the shed dormer still retains its three little windows.
Aladdin was another prominent kit home company, with a large lumberyard and mill in Greensboro, NC. There were many Aladdin Kit Homes in WV, too. Here, you can see the Aladdin Genie going back into his bottle (presumably on the back porch) after building a house for his master in a day (I'm guessing here).
The Aladdin Pasadena was one of Aladdin's most popular homes.
As a point of comparison, this is a PERFECT Pasadena in Lynchburg, Virginia. Note, the side porch is still in original condition.
Here's a nice Aladdin Pasadena in a small town just outside of Rainelle, WV. To the uninformed, this may look like a grove of trees, but there is an Aladdin House there. Sometimes, it's hard to identify these kit homes because of surrounding landscaping. This house called my name from the highway, and once you hear the sound of an Aladdin Pasadena, you never forget it. :)
Aladdin Virginia from the 1919 Aladdin catalog
An Aladdin Virginian in White Sulphur Springs, not too far from the famous hotel, The Greenbriar.
Gordon Van Tine was yet another popular kit home company of the early 1900s. Here's the GVT "Durant," a fairly popular little bungalow.
The Durant, in Lewisburg, WV.
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
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