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Posts Tagged ‘Sears Del Rey’

Next Stop, Waynesboro?

May 7th, 2013 Sears Homes 9 comments

My talk in Staunton was well-organized (thanks to Historic Staunton Foundation) and well attended (standing room only!) and it was a lot of fun!

And what an unexpected delight to discover such a variety of kit homes in nearby Staunton! (Click here to read more about what we found!)

On my way to Staunton last week, I took a quickie ride through Waynesboro and found a handful of kit homes.  Some day soon, I’d love to come back and do a more thorough survey and give a talk.

For those newbies here, what is a Sears kit home?

In the early 1900s, Sears sold entire kit homes through their mail-order catalog. These 12,ooo-piece kits came with a 75-page instruction book that promised “a man of average abilities” could have the house assembled in 90 days!  From 1908-1940, Sears sold about 70,000 of these kits, and finding them is just like looking for hidden treasure.

OOOH, there are MORE Sears Homes in Waynesboro! Click here to see the rest of the photos!

To read about the kit homes I found in Charlottesville, click here.

To see what I found in Waynesboro, scroll on down!

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The 1920s were the hey-day for the Sears Modern Homes program. At its peak, the Sears Modern Homes catalog had almost 150 pages, with 100 models offered. Shown here is the cover of the 1930 catalog, with a Sears Lewiston on the front cover.

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If you buy a Sears Modern Home, even your little dog will be happy!

If you buy a Sears Modern Home, even your little dog will be happy!

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The Lewiston was a hugely popular house for Sears.

The Lewiston was a hugely popular house for Sears.

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Its missing the happy dog and the little girl, but its definitely a Sears Lewiston, and its in Waynesboro.

It's missing the happy dog and the little girl, but it's definitely a Sears Lewiston, and it's in Waynesboro. Unfortunately, the original windows were replaced and the vinyl siding has obliterated some of the unique detail. However, it's still identifiable as a Sears Lewiston.

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And you can tell its a Sears Home because it has an S on the chimney.

And you can tell it's a Sears Home because it has an "S" on the chimney. Ah not really. That's a tired old myth that's been lurking around on the internet since Al Gore first invented it. Oh wait, that's another old story. In fact, that "S" on the chimney has nothing to do with Sears. It's just a stylistic detail often found on Neo-Tudors. And I don't think Al Gore had much to do with inventing the internet, either. :)

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But it does look

The Lewiston was remodeled, but it looks like the front door was spared! :)

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The Sears Lynnhaven was a very popular house (1938 catalog).

The Sears Lynnhaven was a very popular house (1938 catalog).

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And it was also a very pretty house.

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The owners obviously love this house, but I wonder if they know that it *might* be a Sears kit house?

The owners obviously love this house, but I wonder if they know that it *might* be a Sears kit house?

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And I found a Del Rey in Waynesboro, too, and this Del Rey is in beautifully original condition!

The Dely Rey I found in Waynesboro, is in beautifully original condition (1919 catalog).

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Check out the floorplan for the Del Rey.

Check out the floorplan for the Del Rey.

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Notice the little railings in front of the casement windows? In all my travels, I have never seen a Del Rey that actually had these little railings in place. Until Waynesboro...

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Be still my quivering heart!

Be still my quivering heart! It's a picture perfect Del Rey!

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And it even has the little bump out (as seen above in the floorplan) for the kitchen area.

And it even has the little bump out (as seen above in the floorplan) for the kitchen area.

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And original windows!

And not only does it have its original windows, but its original wooden storm windows!

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Love those little railings!

Do these folks know that they have a Sears House? About 90% of the time, the people living in these historically significant homes did not realize what they had, until they were contacted by me (or someone *like* me!).

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Next on the list is the Sears Westwood.

Next on the list is the Sears Collingwood (1930 catalog).

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The Westwood is another kit home that I had never seen before in the flesh until I went to Waynesboro.

The Collingwood is another kit home that I had never seen before "in the flesh" until I went to Waynesboro. Notice the unusual bay window in the dining room with its hipped roof.

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Wow, what a match! Unfortunately, I didn't have my chain saw with me, so the view was blocked by a Japanese Maple. I also forgot to bring along a tow truck to get that Ford Explorer out of the way. Seriously, the house was blocked by a myriad of obstacles. And the windows have been replaced - sadly.

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The dormer is also a spot-on match. And apparently, it gets REALLY hot upstairs. Ive never seen dueling air conditioners before.

Apparently, it gets REALLY hot upstairs. I've never seen dueling air conditioners before. That aside, the details on this attic dormer are also just right.

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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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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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