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Posts Tagged ‘sears mail order giant’

The Beaumont: Extra Convenience

May 29th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

When Rebecca and I were reviewing and comparing our Life Lists, Rebecca identified the Sears Beaumont as one of the Sears Homes that she’d never seen.

“I’ve only seen one,” I told her, “and it was in Carlinville, Illinois.”

Rebecca laughed out loud and said, “I might have driven right past it and not noticed it!”

Me, too.

In 2004, I gave a talk in Carlinville on Sears Homes.

The event was organized by Beth Kaburick, Head Librarian at the Carlinville Public Library.  I was so impressed with her professionalism and her passion for Carlinville’s history. I had first met Beth in 1999, when I spent countless hours at her library, researching Sears Homes, first for an article, and then later for my books.

Beth went out of her way to help me with my research. In 2004, when I gave the talk in Carlinville, it was well publicized and well attended, thanks wholly to Beth. (Sadly, Beth died in June 2007 in a tragic car accident.)

It was after that talk that someone told me about a Sears Home outside of Standard Addition (where 150 Sears Homes are located). The gentleman gave me the street name but wasn’t sure of the specific address.

Immediately after the talk, I drove up and down that street - in the dark - trying to figure out which Sears House I’d missed! As the author of several books on kit homes, I’d driven on that street too many times to count, and had never seen any Sears Homes.

And there in the dark, I saw an interesting Colonial Revival/Bungalowish-type house with a familiar-looking attic window. I grabbed my dog-eared copy of Houses by Mail and hastily thumbed through it and found my match:  The house I’d found in the dark - thanks to a kind stranger at a lecture - was a Sears Beaumont.

That was eight years ago, and it was (and remains) the only Beaumont I’ve ever seen.

To see vintage pictures of Carlinville and Schoper, click here.

To read about the woman who supervised the construction of Standard Addition, click here.

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1919

In the 1919 catalog, the heading proclaimed that the Beaumont had "Extra convenience." Unfortunately, the text in the body offers no clue as to what they're talking about.

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1921

In 1921, the price on the Beaumont increased $500 or about 26%. Pretty steep increase for two year's time. And apparently what it gained in price it lost in "convenience." Now the heading had changed from the dramatic ("Extra convenience") to the pedestrian ("Six rooms and bath").

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floorplan 1921

The Beaumont's floorplan (1921 catalog).

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2004 or so

The Beaumont, as it looked in 2004.

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house

In February 2010, I traveled to Carlinville to do more research for my book, "The Sears Homes of Illinois." That's when this photograph was taken. Notice, a plague of vinyl siding salesmen had descended upon the house since the last photo in 2004.

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house also

Another view of the Beaumont.

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The attic window that caught my eye

That night, when I first saw the Beaumont, it was the attic window that caught my eye.

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Attic window again

Nice match to the catalog picture!

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To learn more about the 150 Sears Homes in Carlinville, click here or here.

To buy Rose’s newest book, click here.

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$15 per pound: Sears Simplex Sectional Cottages

January 15th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Simplex Sectional Cottages were very simple houses - to say the least. They were - without a doubt - the bottom rung of the construction ladder. These were prefab vacation cottages that could be disassembled and packed away when it was time to go home and very quite primitive by today’s standards.

The 1922 Modern Homes catalog described Simplex Sectional Cottages as, “ideal seashore, lake, winter resort houses and substantial garages.” The 1919 catalog stated that they were ideal for summer or winter resorts because, “they can be quickly put up at the beginning of the season and then taken down and moved to a new location.”

Walls and gables came in whole sections, with windows and doors pre-hung in their frames. The small homes could be put together with basic tools and their assembly required no sawing or nailing. The houses were held together by strap irons, screws, metal clips and bolts.    Two men could assemble the house in eight hours, according to the 1923 catalog.

And this blog’s title? Came from the fifth image below, where a 13,800 pound house is offered for $887. That’s $15 per pound! It’s also $1.54 per square foot (24 x 24).

The images below came from the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog:

House two

This graphic from the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog shows the process of erecting a Simplex Sectional Cottage. Note the clock in the foreground.

House 3

As the clock demonstrated, this modest little house can be erected and ready for occupancy in a mere eight hours.

This says it all.

This says it all.

Wow.

If you want walls in your house, that'll raise the price of this house by 24%.

Wow

The price seems like a swinging deal. Let's see - that works out to about $15 per pound.

hosue 4

An overview of the prices in the 1921 catalog.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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To learn how to identify Sears Homes, click here.

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