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Staunton, Virginia: More Amazing Finds

May 3rd, 2013 Sears Homes 2 comments

A couple days ago (May 1st),  I returned to Staunton to do a little more research on the kit homes in the city (in preparation for my talk on May 2nd), and this time, I was driven around by Frank Strassler, head of the Historic Staunton Foundation. It’s a lot easier to focus on kit homes when someone else is doing all the driving, and especially when that someone else knows where they’re going!

We found many kit homes that I’d not seen during a prior visit, and the most intriguing find was the four Harris Brothers kit homes we discovered. Frankly, I suspect there are more than four HB houses in Staunton, but I’m not that familiar with this company and, I have very few of their catalogs.

Harris Brothers (formerly the Chicago House Wrecking Company) was based in Chicago, Illinois. How did four Harris Brothers houses end up in Staunton? And three of them were in the same neighborhood (Sears Hill).

Hopefully, some of Staunton’s history loving residents will poke around a bit more, because I’m sure there are many more hidden architectural treasures just waiting to be found.

And, a little aside:   My favorite memory of the lecture on Thursday evening? I asked the crowd (128 attendees!), “Before there was a World War Two, does anyone know what we called World War One?”

To my utter delight and astonishment, a cacophony of voices replied, “The Great War.”

It was sheer bliss to realize that I was surrounded by so many history lovers. In all my travels, there’s typically a lone voice (or less), that correctly answers that question. The people of Staunton really do love their history, and better yet, they know their history, and that’s such a joy to behold.

To read the first blog I wrote about Staunton’s kit homes, click here.

OOOH, an update! Read about my newest find in Staunton here!

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First, my favorite find in Staunton.

First, my favorite find in Staunton. Shown above is Modern Home #2028 from the 1923 Harris Brothers catalog (courtesy of Dale Wolicki).

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Now thats a big house!

It looks like a massive house, but in fact, it's 22 feet wide and 29 feet deep.

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Originally, I snapped this photo just because it seemed like a good idea. Sometimes, something will trigger a memory, and I didnt consciously remember having seen this house, and yet...

Originally, I snapped this photo just because it seemed like a good idea. Sometimes, something will trigger a memory, and I didn't consciously remember having seen this house, and yet, when I got back to my hotel and started going through the old catalogs, I realized it was a perfect match to the Harris Brothers #2028!

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Pretty

And, as a nice bonus, I even managed to snap my one photo from the perfect angle! Though not easily seen in the photo above, the house in Staunton has the two bay windows, just as it should!

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house house house

The other three Harris Brothers homes were in one neighborhood: Sears Hill. Shown above is Modern Home #1017 from the 1923 Harris Brothers catalog (courtesy of Dale Wolicki).

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The HB 1017, as seen in 1923.

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house house

And here's the 1017 in Staunton! Look at the unique window arrangement on the home's front. And check out those unique columns, and the bracketing under the eaves. It was tough to get a good photo, but the little attic window is also a spot-on match to the catalog page. The house is 24 feet' wide and 36 feet deep. The dimensions of this house (shown above) seem to be a good match! The line drawings (from the original catalogs) are sometimes a little bit off in scale and proportion.

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If you look down the side, youll see its a good match there, too.

If you look down the side, you'll see it's a good match there, too. BTW, Staunton is very hilly, and I learned that it's tough to get good house photos in hilly neighborhoods! And, the angle skews the proportions. Short of carrying a 20-foot stepladder around on top of the Camry, I'm not sure how to solve this.

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house house

HB # 1025 was another "favorite" find for me, and yet another kit home that I'd never seen before. From the 1923 Harris Brothers catalog (courtesy of Dale Wolicki).

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HB # 1025 was another favorite find for me, and yet another kit home that Id never seen before.

HBClose-up of HB #1025. From the 1923 Harris Brothers catalog (courtesy of Dale Wolicki).

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At the lower right of that catalog page (seen above), is an actual photo of a HB #1025. This photo shows off those beautiful six casement windows on the front.

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Be still my heart!!! Heres a real life example

What a fine house! Here's a real life example of HB #1025. And look at those pretty casement windows! Were it not for those original windows, I'm not sure I would have recognized this 90-year-old kit home.

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Another view of those wonderful old casements. By the way, apparently this house is for sale. Someone should contact the owner and let them know - this is a kit house!

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Close-up of the porch columns.

Close-up of the porch columns. And this house still has its original gutters.

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house house house

HB #1007 was one of their more popular designs, however... It's also a house that has several "twins." Given that Staunton's #1007 is within three houses of the other two HB homes, I'm going to assume that the model in Staunton is indeed from Harris Brothers.

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Nice house, isnt it?

Nice house, isn't it? Love the rocking chairs!

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Stauntons own HB #1017.

Staunton's own HB #1017.

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While we were out driving around, I also spotted a Sears Woodland. The Woodland is an eye-catcher because it has those two full-sized windows flanking the front door.

While we were out driving around, I also spotted a Sears Woodland. The Woodland is an eye-catcher because it has those two full-sized windows flanking the front door. And it has an unusual window arrangement down the right side (as shown here). This image is from the 1919 catalog.

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The small attic dormer is missing but other than that, this is a great match. Due to landscaping, I was not able to get a good photo of that right side, but it does match the catalog image.

The small attic dormer is missing but other than that, this is a great match. Due to landscaping, I was not able to get a good photo of that right side, but it does match the catalog image. Was the house built sans dormer, or was it removed during a roofing job? Hard to know, but I'd guess that it was built this way. And, this house is next door to the big Harris Brothers foursquare (#2028).

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Another fun discovery on this most recent trip was the Sears Winona in Staunton.

Another fun discovery on this most recent trip was the Sears Winona in Staunton (1938 catalog).

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This house was offered in two floorplans (in 1938). The floorplan shown here is a match to the house in Staunton.

This house was offered in two floorplans (in 1938). The floorplan shown here is a match to the house in Staunton. It squeezes three bedrooms into 960 square feet.

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Close-up on the Winona.

A key feature in identifying this very simple house is the small space between those two windows in the gabled bay (dining room).

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What a nice match!

What a nice match!

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And the other side is a good match, too!

And the other side is a good match, too!

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Despite two days of driving around, we never did spot the Stanhope (Aladdin) purchased by Mr.

Despite two days of driving around, we never did spot the Stanhope (Aladdin) purchased by Mr. Linkenholer.

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As seen in the 1919 catalog, heres a picture of the Aladdin Stanhope.

As seen in the 1919 catalog, here's a picture of the Aladdin Stanhope. Where's Mr. Linkholer's Stanhope? I'd love to know!

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To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here.

To read more about the kit homes of Staunton, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below!

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That Had to Hurt

January 6th, 2012 Sears Homes 6 comments

Yikes.

You know that had to hurt.

Talk about a splitting headache.

Talk about a splitting headache. This poor Sears kit house (The Woodland) is on East 233 and Wickham in the Bronx (New York). It must have been in pretty dismal condition prior to whatever *really* bad thing recently happened to it. This catastrophic damage appeared soon after a bad wind storm came through the area. It might have been a tree that befell this fine old house. (Photo is copyright 2012 Nicole Zernone and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.)

ow

Whatever it was, it surely put a hurtin' on this Sears Woodland. (Photo is copyright 2012 Nicole Zernone and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.)

Go to the light, little house. Go to the light.

Go to the light, little house. Go to the light. (Photo is copyright 2012 Nicole Zernone and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.)

Sears Woodland as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Sears Woodland as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

And a reasonably happy and healthy Sears Woodland in Clifton Forge, Virginia.

And a reasonably happy and healthy Sears Woodland in Clifton Forge, Virginia.

Not sure why, but Clifton Forge has an amazing collection of Sears Homes. Click here to see more.

Another happy Sears Woodland in Bluefield, WV.

Another happy Sears Woodland in Bluefield, WV.

And one in Bloomington, IL.

And one in Bloomington, IL.

And in the tiny town of Siegel, IL.

And in the tiny town of Siegel, IL. This has a bay window, but that was an option.

One of the distinctive features of the Sears Woodland (and 24 other popular Sears models) was this unique column detail.

One of the distinctive features of the Sears Woodland (and 24 other popular Sears models) is this unique column detail. Another eye-catching feature of the Woodland are the two windows flanking the front door.

Owe.

This is an old photo from 2002. This is a really "insensitive" siding job. Why oh why do people put siding over COLUMNS? If you are physically unable to turn off "Dancing with the Stars" long enough to paint your porch columns, perhaps you should reconsider this whole "homeownership" thing. I love this old photo because of the sign in the front yard. It says, "Gazebo Award: Home of the Month." I think that "gazebo" must be Latin for "creative overuse of poly-vinyl chloride in residential applications." I could be wrong about that, though .

Was this really necessary?

Was this really necessary?

Another Woodland thats feeling some pain. This one is in Tulsa.

Another Woodland that's feeling some pain, however it's being remodeled. This one is in Tulsa. (Photo is copyright 2010 Rachel Shoemaker and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.)

The Sears Woodland was a very popular house. It was offered in the late 1910s, and endured into the 1930s. Its shown here in the 1933 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

The Sears Woodland was a very popular house. It was offered in the late 1910s, and endured into the 1930s. It's shown here in the 1933 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

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To read about the Sears Magnolia (Sears fanciest house!) that’s in Syracuse, NY, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To turn on to another obsession that’s even more addicting than Sears Homes, click here.

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Sears Homes abound in Clifton Forge, Virginia!

September 16th, 2010 Sears Homes 2 comments

In the 1960s, our family  frequently traveled from Portsmouth, VA to Douthat State Park in Clifton Forge. Ensconced by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Douthat was (and remains) one of my favorite places on earth.  We’d venture into Clifton Forge to use the laundromat and to buy supplies at the local grocery store.

Even in my childhood, I’d noticed that Clifton Forge had lots of train tracks and lots of trains coming and going.  (Today, there’s a delightful train museum in Clifton Forge - The C&O Railway Heritage Center - stuffed full of treasures and ephemera and photographs. It’s at 705 Main Street in the heart of the city.)

About 40 years after those fun family vacations in Douthat, I returned to Clifton Forge to look for Sears Homes. Take a look at what I found!

To see more pictures of Sears Homes in Virginia, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

Sears Princeville from the 1919 catalog

Sears Princeville from the 1919 catalog

Sears Princeville in Clifton Forge - and what a beauty!

Sears Princeville in Clifton Forge - and what a beauty!

Sears Woodland from 1918 catalog

Sears Woodland from 1918 catalog

Sears Fullerton!

Sears Woodland!

In all my travels, I have never seen a Model #113, until I saw it in Clifton Forge!

In all my travels, I have never seen a Model #137, until I saw it in Clifton Forge!

Landscaping prevented a better photo, but you can see one side!

Landscaping prevented a better photo, but you can see one side!

From the front

From the front

The Sears Auburn is another unusual house. This is a massive house with lots of interesting details.

The Sears Auburn is another unusual house. This is, as the catalog states, a massive house with lots of interesting details. Note the interesting brickwork on the porch, and the bracketing under the eaves.

There are many trees sitting right in front of houses in Clifton Forge. This large evergreen prevented me from taking the picture I wanted to take. Nonetheless, even from this angle, you can clearly see this is a Sears Auburn.

There are many trees sitting right in front of houses in Clifton Forge. This large evergreen prevented me from taking the picture I wanted to take. Nonetheless, even from this angle, you can clearly see this is a Sears Auburn.

Another view of the Auburn

Another view of the Auburn

Close-up of the brickwork on the front porch.

Close-up of the brickwork on the front porch.

Sears Elsmore from the 1919 catalog

Sears Elsmore from the 1919 catalog

Sears Elsmore on the main drag in Clifton Forge

Sears Elsmore on the main drag in Clifton Forge

Like Sears, Montgomery Wardd also sold kit homes. Heres a Montgomery Ward Lexington from the 1927 catalog.

Like Sears, Montgomery Wardd also sold kit homes. Here's a Montgomery Ward "Lexington" from the 1927 catalog.

And in the flesh - The Montgomery Ward Lexington in Clifton Forge!

And in the flesh - The Montgomery Ward Lexington in Clifton Forge!

Aladdin was another kit home company that, like Sears, sold kit homes through mail order. Aladdin Homes are fairly common in Virginia and I found a few in Clifton Forge. However, most of the kit homes I found in Clifton Forge were Sears Homes.

Aladdin was another kit home company that, like Sears, sold kit homes through mail order. Aladdin Homes are fairly common in Virginia and I found a few in Clifton Forge. However, most of the kit homes I found in Clifton Forge were Sears Homes.

An Aladdin Sheffield in Clifton Forge

An Aladdin Sheffield in Clifton Forge

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