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Posts Tagged ‘sears buildings’

Have You Seen This Kit Schoolhouse?

January 22nd, 2013 Sears Homes 1 comment

The very first Sears “Modern Homes” catalog (1908) offered a kit schoolhouse. One year later (1909), the schoolhouse had already disappeared and was never offered again.

For reasons I can not fathom, they named this first (and only) schoolhouse, “Schoolhouse Number 5008.” (What happened to Schoolhouses #1 - #5007?)

I’ve  searched long and hard hoping to find a real-life example of Schoolhouse Number 5008 but heretofore, I’ve come up empty.

Were any of these $11,500, 11,000-square-feet schoolhouses ever built? I’d love to know.

Do you have one in your community?

To read more about Sears schoolhouse catalogs, click here.

The very first Sears Modern Homes catalog was issued in 1908, and within its pages, Schoolhouse Number 5008 was offered for $11,800.

The very first Sears Modern Homes catalog was issued in 1908, and within its pages, Schoolhouse Number 5008 was offered for $11,500. That's about one dollar per square foot.

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This floorplan is amazing. I love it.

This floorplan is amazing. Brings back memories of the school I attended in the 1960s.

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Check out the library. Its a mere seven feet. wide.

Check out the library. It's a mere seven feet wide and 18' long. In the late 1800s, many American children learned to read at home using only the Holy Bible and the Sears Roebuck catalog (as those were the only two books in the house). Perhaps in 1908, a library with a single bookcase up against one 18' wall was considered plenty. Today, this really seems like a very tiny room for a "library."

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Floorplan bath

My favorite part is the "Future toilets." I can just hear a kid saying, "I have to go to the bathroom," and some curmudgeonly old teacher screeching back, "In the future, Sonny!"

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The second  floor

The only administrative offices were the Superintendent's Office which was 24' by 12'.

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See seee seee here

Pretty distinctive structure.

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house house

In 2003, I gave a lecture in some Midwestern town and a woman said, "I've seen that schoolhouse! I have SEEN THAT Schoolhouse!" After I'd extracted an address from her, I wrote it down and the next day, I made the two-hour trek to see it. When I arrived at the school building she'd referenced, I found a one-story structure with a gabled roof and no dormers. Oh yeah, a "perfect" match. This building has so many unique features, but some people have trouble seeing them.

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Dormers

Details matter. These dormers are quite distinctive.

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And the entrance also has several unique features!

And the entrance also has several unique features!

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In 1909, Sears issued their first specialty catalog, devoted to school supplies.

In 1909, Sears issued their first specialty catalog, devoted to school supplies. Shown here is a school catalog from the early 1920s.

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Have you seen Schoolhouse #5008? Please leave a comment below. Or better yet, send me a photo!

To read more  about Sears and their Schoolhouse catalogs, click here.

To read another really fun blog, click here.

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The Schoolhouse, by Sears Roebuck

July 30th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Bit by bit, I’ve been donating my vintage catalogs and ephemera from Sears Roebuck to Old Dominion University. In the process of digging through many, many boxes of old specialty catalogs, I discovered this 1926 Sears and Roebuck catalog titled, School Furniture and Supplies.

My 57-year-old husband browsed through the yellowed pages and said, “I remember those desks.” He grew up attending school in a small town in West Virginia. Apparently, they didn’t replace functional items like schoolhouses and schoolhouse equipment as fast as we did here in Hampton Roads.

Recently we returned to West Virginia to visit his family and while there, we were treated to a tour of this old one-room schoolhouse in Arbovale, West Virginia. The small building is currently being restored by Wayne Gillespie (of Arbovale). It’s a beautiful little building!

To learn about Sears Houses, click here.

One-room schoolhouse in Arbovale, WV. When built in the early 1900s, this building probably contained many items from the Sears Schoolhouse catalog!

One-room schoolhouse in Arbovale, WV. When built in the early 1900s, this building probably contained many items from the Sears Schoolhouse catalog!

How many schoolchildren gazed out these windows, pining for the end of the day and longing to go play in these mountains!

How many schoolchildren gazed out these windows, pining for the end of the day and longing to go play in these mountains!

An old tablet found in the walls records teh last day of school

An old tablet found in the walls records the last day of school.

Sears Schoolhouse specialty catalog

Sears Schoolhouse specialty catalog from 1926.

Sears desks

Sears desks

Sears Recitation Desks. Somehow, just hearing the word recitation brings back the wearing nothing but undies to school and being asked to take a pop quiz nightmare.

Sears Recitation Desks. Somehow, just hearing the word "recitation" brings back the "wearing nothing but undies to school and being asked to take a pop quiz" nightmare.

Sears

Nice oak chairs for the teachers.

And nice maps

And nice water coolers, too.

And nice maps of our 48 states.

And nice maps of our 48 states.

And of course, a school bell.

And of course, a school bell.

To read another fascinating article, click here.

To contact Rose, write thorntonrose@hotmail.com.

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Cairo, Illinois: Can This City Be Saved?

May 2nd, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

Despite a last-minute plea from desperate Missourians, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the plan to flood 132,000 acres of prime Missouri farmland will go forward. Flooding the farms will spare the tiny town of Cairo, Illinois, population - 2,800.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that as of yesterday (Saturday, April 30th), floodwaters in Cairo crested at 59.2 feet, and have now reached 59.8 feet (as of 3:40 pm, EST). If the levees in Cairo give way, the town will be flooded. Opening up levees on the farmland in Missouri will spare Cairo, and ruin the farmland for years.

The Chicago Tribune is also reporting that crops have already been planted on some of the farms that will be inundated with this “man-made tsunami,” destroying the crops and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the local farmers. In addition, about 100 homes would be lost.

Cairo is an interesting little town, and was full of history, but much of their historically significant architecture is gone, and the remnant is in poor condition. A few grand old manses remain, but they’re the exception. Most of the businesses and all of the industry left long ago. Cairo’s downtown is a ghost town, and a virtual trip back in time to the 1960s. To learn more about Cairo’s history, click here.

We’ve got to protect our farms. With the rising costs of food, it’s time to start showing a little respect to the few family farms we have left in this country, many of which are in Missouri.

This time, it might be best to let Cairo be the sacrificial lamb, rather than lose our farmland.

Pictures of Cairo are below.

Entrance to Cairo
Entrance to Cairo. The old flood gates are no longer in working, but the old rivers still work really, really well.

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Part of the charm of the downtown is it really is a step back in time. Notice the vintage cat in the foreground.

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Downtown Cairo. The barricade is presumably there to protect citizens from collapsing buildings. You'll notice the building on the far right has mostly fallen in on itself. This photo was taken about 11 am in the morning. This is the morning rush hour in downtown Cairo.

Spearmint “Pepsin Gum” surely got their money’s worth out of this old advertisement.

Hospital in Cairo

Is there a doctor in the house?

School

School's out for summer. And for the rest of time.

More views

Capt'n Wades appears to be the only viable business in the whole of downtown. However, this photo was taken in 2003, and when I was there in 2010, this building was collapsing.

Another view

Another store in downtown Cairo, complete with a 1960s Maytag sign.

views

Another view of downtown Cairo. All these stores back up to the Ohio River, and they're all now empty, waiting for nothing fancier than time to take them down. Visiting downtown Cairo really is like taking a step back to another time. Cairo was abandoned - in a hurry in the mid 1960s - when race riots decimated the city. The city went from a population of 13,000+ to 2,800 (current) in a very short time. The business owners and captains of industry are the ones who fled the city, taking their businesses with them.

Throughout the city, there are many such houses, burned out and left to fall down. Note, this shot shows three houses in a row.

Throughout the city, there are many such houses, burned out and left to fall down. Note, this shot shows three burned out houses in a row.

What remain in Cairo, Illinois are many Sears Homes. Most are in marginal condition.

What remain in Cairo, Illinois are many Sears Homes. Many of these Sears Homes are no longer "pretty little homes."

Sears House - The Rodessa - in Cairo.

Sears House - The Rodessa - in Cairo.

An old Sears Homart (prefab house) sits on the edges of the city, not far from the Sears Mill in Cairo, IL

An old Sears Homart (prefab house) sits on the edges of the city, not far from the Sears Mill in Cairo, IL. Homart Homes were post-WW2 Sears Homes that were shipped out in sections, which were then bolted together at the building site. These were radically different from "Sears Modern Homes" which were pre-cut kit homes.

Sears

A glorious billboard at the city's entrance offers such promise.

To learn more about Cairo, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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