There are many models of Sears Homes that I have never seen “in the flesh,” and Sears Modern Home #158 is one of them. It was offered only a short time (about 1910 to 1913), and yet, it was an attractive home with a good floor plan.
I hadn’t though much about this particular model until recently, when Sarah in our “Sears House” Facebook group mentioned that she’d found a reference to #158 in a contemporary book.
“Flesh and Bone” (a novel, written by Jefferson Bass and published in 2007), has several lines on our beloved Sears Modern Home #158.
The excerpt reads,
“You know one of my favorite things about this house? Guess who created it.”
“Let’s see,” I said. “Surely I can dredge up the name from my encyclopedic knowledge of Chattanooga architects of the early 1900s…”
“Wasn’t a Chattanooga architect,” she grinned.
“Sears? Who Sears? From where - New York?”
“Not ‘Who Sears’: ‘Sears Who.’ Sears Roebuck, the department store,” she said, pointing to a wall.
There, she’d hung a framed page from the century-old Sears catalog, showing an ad for the house I was standing in. It bore the catchy name “Modern Home #158,” and a price tag of $1,548.
“Houses by mail order,” said Jess. “The house came into town on a freight car, in pieces. Probably four grand, all told, for the kit plus the caboodle.”
“I’m guessing it appreciated some since then.”
“Well, I appreciate it some,” she said.
I’d love to know why author Jefferson Bass picked #158. Does he know of one somewhere? Or did he pick it out of a book at random?
Is there a #158 in Chattanooga, TN (as is described in the story)?
I’d love to know!
In the 1910 Sears Modern Homes catalog (shown here), Model #158 was priced at $1,533. In Mr. Bass' novel "Flesh and Bone," it's given a price of $1,548.
In "Houses by Mail" (a 1985 field guide to Sears Homes - published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation), Sears Modern Home #158 is listed with a low price of $1,548. Seems likely that *this* was the source of Mr. Bass' info. The "four grand" is given as a total price, which is pretty close, and reflects the info shown here.
Modern Home #158 was a classic foursquare with some a sprinkling of Prairie-style thrown in.
Yes, a kit house with servant's quarters.
This 2,200-square foot house was unusually spacious for a kit house. And check out the first-floor powder room! Another unusual feature for this era.
Two sets of staircases, and lots of space on the second floor.
Modern Home #158 was also shown on the cover of the 1910 Sears Modern Homes catalog (far right).
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
To join our Facebook group, click here.