Today, I left Addie’s house to drive out to Oconomowoc, WI to hunt for Sears Homes. And not only did I find several, but they’re real beauties!!
Based on my research, more than 90% of the people living in Sears houses did not realize what they had until I knocked on their door and told them (or they read about it here). I’d suspect most of these homeowners (whose houses are shown below), don’t realize they have a kit home.
And what is a Sears House? These were 12,000-piece kits, ordered out of the Sears Roebuck catalog, that were shipped by train to wanna-be homeowners. Each kit came with a 75-page instruction book that told the homeowner how all those pieces and parts went together. Sears promised that a “man of average abilities” could have the house ready for occupancy in 90 days!
Sears offered these homes from 1908-1940, and there are fewer than 70,000 still standing today.
To read about why I was in Wisconsin, click here.
To learn how to identify a kit home, click here.
Sears Mitchell as seen in the 1936 Sears Modern Homes catalog. This was one of their most popular home. And it's a real cutie!
What a beauty! And it's in pristine condition. And a perfect match to the catalog picture above.
Sears Lewiston (1928 catalog)
Like the Mitchell above, this Sears Lewiston is in perfect condition. I wonder if these Sears homeowners in Oconomowoc realize what a treasure they have?
Sears Arlington from the 1919 catalog.
Unfortunately, I photographed this from the wrong angle but the other side (not visible here) has the gabled bay, just as it does in the catalog picture.
Sears Berwyn - 1929
This Berwyn has had some changes, and the small double arch on the front has been enclosed and encased in aluminum siding, but...this is most certainly a Berwyn.
And if you look in through the storm door, you'll see that the original wooden door is in its right place - for the Sears Berwyn.
Aladdin Pasadena from the 1919 catalog. Aladdin was a bigger company than Sears, but is not as well known these many years later.
And what a pretty, pretty Pasadena it is!
Despite a whole lot of driving around throughout Watertown, Wisconsin, I found only one Sears Home in the entire city. That was a surprise. I spent more than two hours driving around the early 20th Century neighborhoods and saw many beautiful (and well-maintained) homes on spacious and attractive lots (so it was a fun two hours!).
In addition to Sears, I was on the lookout for Aladdin (based in Bay City, MI), and Lewis Manufacturing (Chicago) and Gordon Van Tine (Davenport, Iowa) and Montgomery Ward and Sterling (Bay City) but found only this one lone kit home.
However, it’s a real beauty!
The Strathmore was one of my favorite Sears Homes, and it was not that popular a model (based on the number I've found). And yet, there's one in Watertown, Wisconsin.
The Strathmore in Watertown had a small dormer added to the second floor. Other than this one minor change, it's a darn good match!
Pretty much every meal I've had in Wisconsin has involved cheese of some form - and I LIKE IT! Wisconsin is full of beautiful landscapes such as this dairy farm just outside of Oconomowoc.
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
To read more about Addie, click here.
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