For years and years, it was believed that only six Magnolias had been sold by Sears and Roebuck, but their locations were unknown.
As the years passed, the six Magnolias were discovered in Benson, North Carolina, South Bend, Indiana, Irwin, Pennsylvania, Canton, Ohio and a fifth in Piedmont, Alabama. A sixth Magnolia in Lincoln, Nebraska was lost in 1985 when it burned down.
And that was that.
Six Magnolias. All accounted for.
Five alive. One dead (and cremated).
And then two years ago, one of my faithful readers reported that there was a Sears Magnolia in Syracuse, NY.
Turned out, they were right. The discovery made the local papers, and it was all pretty exciting. Click here to read the article from May 2011.
All of which brings me to this newest discovery of an 8th Magnolia.
In June 2013, someone left me a comment saying, that many years ago, he’d lived in a small town in West Virginia, and there was a Sears Magnolia just across the street from his home.
According to his reminiscence, the Magnolia was ordered from the Sears & Roebuck catalog in 1924, and the price was $7,000. The homeowner then paid a local builder another $7,000 to build the house. Rachel Shoemaker and I stayed up most of one night trying to figure out if this house was the real deal. About 4:00 am, we came to the conclusion that it was.
I contacted the homeowner (who was gracious enough to write back!) and asked if we could visit his wonderful Magnolia when we visited Elkins, later in the summer.
He said yes.
“Thrilled” doesn’t begin to describe my feelings about this elegant home in West Virginia.
For one, this Maggy has been painstakingly and thoroughly restored. In the world of architectural preservation, there’s a massive difference between “remodeling” and “restoring.”
This Magnolia has truly been restored.
I’m a tough cookie with an eye for detail and a penchant for perfection and a passion for historicity, and I’m happy to report that the work done on this old house was absolutely first-class. This West Virginia “Maggy” is truly a wonder to behold. As the pictures will show, the house is a gem and every room looks like something out of a fancy architectural magazine. It really is that beautiful.
Secondly, I was so pleased to see that the house is in good hands. The home’s current owners love this house with their whole heart, and they genuinely appreciate their home’s unique history. They’re “caretakers” in the truest sense of the word, and they really do “get it.”
An interesting aside, my husband toured the house with me, and he was also smitten (and he’s not even a big architecture guy). When we returned to our car, he said quietly, “That really is a beautiful place they’ve got there.”
Enough words. Just wait until you see these pictures. You’ll fall in love with this house, just like I did.
To read Part II of this blog, click here.
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The Magnolia was offered from 1918-1922. It's shown here in the 1921 catalog
The description of the Magnolia gives some wonderful detail on the home's fine qualities (1921).
A price list from the 1921 catalog shows detail on the optional extras for the Magnolia.
What a fine-looking house!
This magnificent Magnolia is now 88 years old, and still retains all its original stateliness, beauty and grandeur. Beginning in 2003, the house underwent a major, three-year-long restoration that saved this historically significant home.
The house sits on several acres on a beautifully landscaped lot in a small West Virginia town about two hours from my husband's ancestral home in Elkins, WV. The previous owners (who did the major three-year restoration) planted the two Magnolia trees at the front of the house. The house is even more beautiful "in person" than it is in these photos. It's stunning. Just stunning.
This house has no bad sides. It is beautiful from every angle.
Just imagine bobbing about in the pool on an August afternoon, sipping on a cool soda and gazing upward at a majestic Magnolia. Bliss! On a more architectural note, the 40' wide addition across the back added quite a bit of square footage and also expanded the size of the small den and kitchen.
The floorplan for the first floor (shown here) shows how the addition to the rear of the house increased the square footage, expanded the den and the kitchen and did not diminish the home's original beauty. Major kudos to the architect who came up with this plan! Brilliant!
And from the back of the house, you can get a good view of that distinctive Magnolia dormer.
A view of the front yard from the second-floor balcony. West Virginia is a state filled with beautiful views, and this house is located in an unusually beautiful spot in West Virginia.
When I first contacted the home's owner, he told me that this Magnolia was in unusually original condition. After spending two hours examining this lovely home, I can affirm - he was right!
Beautiful house. Just beautiful.
And much praise is due to the folks who restored the Maggy. Every window in this old house was restored and preserved. These windows - with a little love and care - will last for generations.
It's claimed that the Sears Magnolia was the only kit that was required two boxcars (as opposed to one) for shipment. I suspect the six two-story columns were part of the reason for the second boxcar. When shipped, these columns were in pieces (length-wise) which were to be assembled on site. The bases on these columns were recently replaced.
The porch floor on the other Magnolias I've seen is poured concrete. On the West Virginia Magnolia, the terrace is tiled, with several floor drains. I've read that they get lots of snow in WV so maybe the floor drains help with that.
And in the basement, we found marked lumber!
Return to this blog tomorrow, and come inside for a tour of this beautiful home. You're in for a treat!
To read Part II of this blog (and see interior photos) click here.
Is there a Sears Magnolia in your neighborhood?
Of the eight Sears Magnolias that have been discovered, three of them were found thanks to the loyal readers of this blog. If you know of a Magnolia, please leave a comment below!
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