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Lost in Lynchburg! (Virginia)

February 2nd, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

My friend Rebecca is working on a new project and asked me to find this 1910s kit home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Most folks have heard of Sears Kit Homes, but in addition to Sears, there were six companies selling kit homes through mail order. Their names were Gordon Van Tine, Montgomery Ward, Aladdin, Harris Brothers, Lewis Manufacturing and Sterling Homes.

According to Rebecca, there’s a Sterling Windemere in Lynchburg. She found a testimonial in an old Sterling Homes catalog and the location listed for this house was Lynchburg. I’ll be driving up to Lynchburg soon to find this house. If anyone knows the address or area, it sure would be helpful to have that!

Please leave a comment below with the address or write me at thorntonrose@hotmail.com.

Note, one of the distinctive features of this house is that paired staircase landing window (midway up the side wall). That’s a fairly unusual feature, as most landing windows were single. Also note the grouped columns (three on the corners), with the brick foundations. And note how the second-floor windows come right up to the eaves of the house. Lastly, there’s a hipped dormer in the attic with two small windows. On the home’s front (first floor), the door is to the side and there are three windows in the living room.

There are a gazillion foursquares in Lynchburg, but I’m hoping to find THIS foursquare! Thanks for your help!

Sterling Homes The Windemere from the 1917 catalog

Sterling Homes "The Windemere" from the 1917 catalog.

Heres a photo of a Sterling Windemere in Bay City, Michigan. Photo is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.

Here's a photo of a Sterling Windemere in Bay City, Michigan. Note the paired windows on the stair case landing. Photo is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.

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This image is from the 1917 Sterling Homes catalog. It was to be a demonstration of how quickly (and easily?) a Sterling Windemere could be erected on a lot. After two days of work, the house was sheathed in.

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This picture shows how close the house was to completion by the fourth day.

Windemere

Proving the superiority of Sterling pre-cut homes, this Windemere was built on this lot in just 11 days. Note, this did not include the fireplace chimney and windows. This view shows the other side of the Windemere which (unfortunately) is quite non-descript.

Sterling Homes was based in Bay City, Michigan. Heres a picture from the cover of their 1917 catalog.

Sterling Homes was based in Bay City, Michigan. Here's a picture from the cover of their 1917 catalog.

To learn more about identifying kit homes, click here.

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Sterling Homes

October 22nd, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

The following information on Sterling Homes originally appeared here, a website dedicated to Wardway Homes. All material is copyright  protected and owned by Dale Patrick Wolicki and Rosemary Thornton. Original research on Sterling Homes is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.

We will help you make your dream come true - your dream of a home that is really a home. We will send you a home that will be more cherished as the years pass on. We want to see you own a Sterling System Home which will be a joy through your life, and which will be passed on to your children as a fitting inheritance (1917 Sterling Homes).

Sterling Homes, based in Bay City, started out life as a lumber company, International Mill and Timber Company. In the early 1900s, Aladdin Homes turned to International Mill and Timber hoping that they’d be able to fulfill a backlog of millwork orders for Aladdin kit homes. International Mill was not able to meet the demand, so Aladdin Homes went elsewhere.

International Mill and Timber had glimpsed the Promise Land: Kit Homes sold through a mail-order catalog.

In 1915, this Bay City company launched their own line of pre-cut kit homes and called it, Sterling Homes.

Sterling Homes offered construction services for developers and one of their largest clients turned out to be General Motors, which paid for 1,000 houses built in Flint Michigan (for GM workers).

Post-war troubles and a recession in 1921 forced Sterling Homes into bankruptcy. Bay City businessman Leopold Kantzler purchased their assets and put Sterling Homes back in business with a new focus on cottages and smaller homes. During the Great Depression, the company focused on its retail lumber business (International Mill and Timber). Like other companies, it survived World War One by manufacturing wartime housing and military structures. After the war, during the building boom of the early 1920s, Sterling Homes shipped more than 250 homes a month.

Hampered by outdated models and advertising, Sterling Home sales dropped throughout the 1960s. The last catalog was printed in 1971, and the same catalog was sent out each year (with updated price lists) until 1974, when the company closed its doors, having sold about 45,000 homes.

Want to learn more about Sterling Homes? Montgomery Ward’s Mail-Order Homes has information on all the national kit home companies. To read more about this fascinating new book, click here.

Sterling Homes "Rembrandt" from the 1917 catalog

Sterling Rembrandt in Roanoke, Virginia