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Posts Tagged ‘sears history’

A Rare Bird: The Sears Vallonia in Original Condition

April 9th, 2012 Sears Homes 3 comments

There’s a Sears Vallonia in Washington, DC that’s on the market - kind of - but according to local Realtors, they’re having a tough time getting inside the house to show it. I thought I’d help them out by providing a few interior photos of a *real* Vallonia!

These are amongst my favorite photos (slides, actually), because they show a 1928-built Sears Vallonia in original condition - as of 2001. That’s when Rebecca Hunter and I had a chance to tour the inside of this remarkable house in Columbia, Illinois.

As of 2001, one of the home’s original owners and builders (yep, that’s right), had passed on a couple years prior.

Sadly, I’ve forgotten the name of the original homeowner, but she and her husband built the house in 1928, and years after the husband passed on, his widow lived there until her death. When we saw the house, not only was it in original condition, but it was in beautiful shape - as the pictures will show.

So if those folks in DC want to know what their Vallonia looks like on the inside, they can just scroll on down to see the interior of the Vallonia in Columbia, Illinois.

If you want to buy a Sears Vallonia in DC (or any Sears House), click here.

To learn more about kit homes in DC, click here.

From the 1925 Sears Modern Homes Catalog: The Vallonia

From the 1925 Sears Modern Homes Catalog: The Vallonia

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Check out the interiors, as shown in the 1928 catalog.

Check out the interiors, as shown in the 1928 catalog.

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Close-up of the original Vallonia bathroom

Close-up of the original Vallonia bathroom

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And here it is, as of 2001. Notice the floor tile, which is probably original to the house.

And here it is, as of 2001. Notice the floor tile, which is probably original to the house. I wish I'd gotten a photo of that medicine chest! But these are the original plumbing fixtures. And see what a good match they are to the 1928 image above!!

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The bath

And the Vallonia bath tub

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The original

And the original "pedestal" tub.

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The kitchen, as seen in 1928.

The kitchen, as seen in 1928.

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And heres the kitchen in 2001.

And here's the kitchen in 2001. The sink is a spot-on match.

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The original dining room.

The original dining room.

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The dining room in the Columbia Vallonia

The dining room in the Columbia Vallonia

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And original light fixtures throughout.

And original light fixtures throughout.

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The bedroom

The living room - as seen in 1928.

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And the bedroom.

And the bedroom.

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The folks in Columbia loved their Sears Homes so much, they turned the risers and treads wrong-side-out, so people would always remember, theirs was a Sears kit home.

The folks in Columbia loved their Sears Homes so much, they turned the risers and treads wrong-side-out (with numbers exposed), so people would always remember, theirs was a Sears kit home. Each riser and tread - all the way up - showed the marked lumber.

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The Sears Vallonia

The Sears Vallonia

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And here it is in 2001.

And here it is in 2001.

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Side by side comparison

Side by side comparison

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To learn more about kit homes, click here.

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A&P: The Little Red Schoolhouse of Retailing?

January 28th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

In the 1960s, A&P dominated the grocery store line-up here in Southeastern Virginia. Do any of them remain? I don’t know of any in Hampton Roads.

Below is an ad from the 1926 Ladies Home Journal for the “Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.” The “economy rules” line in the advertisement makes sense, but “The Little Red Schoolhouse of Retailing”?

To my further shock, a Google search for the term “Little Red Schoolhouse of Retailing” turned up zero results.

I’d love to know what that’s about. From my 21st Century perspective, I’d say that A&P was striving to be the antithesis of Walmart.

To see more vintage ads, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

Interesting advertisement from a 1926 Ladies Home Journal

Interesting advertisement from a 1926 Ladies' Home Journal

Larger view of the same advertisment

Larger view of the same advertisement

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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Modern Maggy Wanna-Be: Not!

August 17th, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

The Sears Magnolia was the biggest, fanciest and prettiest home. According to legend, there were only a few Magnolias built in the country, and heretofore, only six have been found (Benson, NC., South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana). The sixth was in Nebraska, and has since been torn down.

Everyone loves Sears kit homes. People are enchanted and intrigued by the idea that you could order a kit home out of a mail-order catalog and have it shipped (via train) to your building site. These were true kits, arriving in 12,000-piece kits (including a 75-page instruction book). Sears promised that a man of average abilities could have one assembled in 90 days.

But there’s another reason we love these homes: They’re beautiful. They’re well-designed and thoughtfully arranged, with nice profiles and proportions and lines.

Recently I was driving through a 1990s neighborhood and spotted this house (second photo below - with beige vinyl siding). If the Sears Magnolia were built today, it might look something like this. However, in my humble opinion, this is not an attractive home. It lacks those nice profiles and proportions and lines. It is, to be blunt, uninspiring and boring.

Then again, I’m just biding my time here until they figure out this time travel so I can get back to where I belong: The 1920s.

A Sears Magnolia in Benson:
maggy_benson_nc

Contemporary Magnolia Maybe Sorta Kinda

Modern house in modern area

Modern house in modern area

Original catalog image from 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog

Original catalog image from 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog

The Lost Sears Homes of Atlantic City, New Jersey

August 15th, 2010 Sears Homes 7 comments

A few days ago, I was looking through the pages of my 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog when I happened upon this page (see below). According to this little graphic, there were four Sears homes built in a row somewhere in a 1920s neighborhood in Atlantic City, NJ. I’d imagine there are many other Sears Homes in the area, too.

I live in Norfolk, Virginia and as soon as I can locate the general area of these little pretties (with a little help from my friends hopefully), it’s my intention to drive up there and check out the rest of the city.

There was a massive Sears Mill in Newark, NJ, so I’m confident that there are many Sears Homes in and around the New Jersey area.

In posting this info, I’m hoping and praying some kind soul that’s familiar with the area will drop me a note and tell me where to find these four little Marinas in Atlantic City, NJ. Simply post your response in the comments section (below) and leave an email address and you’ll hear from me pretty quickly.

To read more about Sears Homes, click here.

The Little Marinas of Atlantic City, NJ

The Little Marinas of Atlantic City, NJ

This is a Sears Marina. This is a close-up of the house Im looking for in Atlantic City, NJ

This is a Sears Marina. This is a close-up of the house I'm looking for in Atlantic City, NJ

Close-up of the other Marina with a shed (flat) former. Theres one of these in this grouping in Atlantic City, NJ

Close-up of the "other" Marina with a shed (flat) former. There's one of these in this grouping in Atlantic City, NJ

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Everything I know about the Sears Homes in Atlantic City, I learned from this paragraph in the 1923 Modern Homes catalog.

Everything I know about the Sears Homes in Atlantic City, I learned from this paragraph in the 1923 Modern Homes catalog.

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Cover of the 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog

Cover of the 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog