Posts Tagged ‘sterling houses’

Make That FIVE Sterling Kit Homes in Anderson, South Carolina.

June 19th, 2012 Sears Homes 4 comments

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about the four Sterling kit homes that I found in Anderson, South Carolina.

Click here to read more about that.

Well, when I was in Anderson, I took a photo of another house that I couldn’t readily identify, but it triggered a memory. This morning, I sat down and went through the 1928 Sterling Homes catalog and realized that my “triggered memory” was The Sterling Classic. This now represents the FIFTH house from Sterling Homes that I found in Anderson.

It’s a pretty distinctive house and there’s little doubt (especially with the other four houses) that this could be anything but another Sterling Home.

Again I wonder - how in the world did Anderson - 800 miles due south from Bay City, Michigan, end up with so many Sterling Homes? And are there MORE than five? I’m sure there are. My knowledge of Sterling Homes is truly pitiable. My buddy Dale Wolicki is the expert on Sterling.

But even a blind squirrel finds an acorn from time to time, and I happened to find five Sterlings in Anderson. I’m confident there are many more.

And if anyone can get me a better photo of this little house, I’d be profoundly grateful.  :)

The FIFTH Sterling kit house in Anderson is the Classic (1928 catalog).

The FIFTH Sterling kit house in Anderson is the "Classic" (1928 catalog).


Nice floorplan, too.

Nice floorplan, too.


The Classic

The Classic had several distinctive features, such as the two matching "picture" windows on the home's front and that small, low dormer. But most distinctive is that front porch. The four piers extend beyond the home's walls and the porch column sits within those four piers. Now that's very unusual.


The close

Close-up on that unusual feature.


And heres the Classic in Anderson.

And here's the "Classic" in Anderson.


Take a look at the front porch detail.

Take a look at the front porch detail. It shows that column sitting within the space created by the four piers. This is a good match!!

Again - how did Anderson end up with so many Sterling Homes? I’d love to know.

To learn more about Sterling Homes, click here.

To read more about the Sterling Homes in Anderson, click here.

If you’re able to get me a better photo of this house, please leave a comment below!

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Lost in Lynchburg! (Virginia)

February 2nd, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

My friend Rebecca is working on a new project and asked me to find this 1910s kit home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Most folks have heard of Sears Kit Homes, but in addition to Sears, there were six companies selling kit homes through mail order. Their names were Gordon Van Tine, Montgomery Ward, Aladdin, Harris Brothers, Lewis Manufacturing and Sterling Homes.

According to Rebecca, there’s a Sterling Windemere in Lynchburg. She found a testimonial in an old Sterling Homes catalog and the location listed for this house was Lynchburg. I’ll be driving up to Lynchburg soon to find this house. If anyone knows the address or area, it sure would be helpful to have that!

Please leave a comment below with the address or write me at

Note, one of the distinctive features of this house is that paired staircase landing window (midway up the side wall). That’s a fairly unusual feature, as most landing windows were single. Also note the grouped columns (three on the corners), with the brick foundations. And note how the second-floor windows come right up to the eaves of the house. Lastly, there’s a hipped dormer in the attic with two small windows. On the home’s front (first floor), the door is to the side and there are three windows in the living room.

There are a gazillion foursquares in Lynchburg, but I’m hoping to find THIS foursquare! Thanks for your help!

Sterling Homes The Windemere from the 1917 catalog

Sterling Homes "The Windemere" from the 1917 catalog.

Heres a photo of a Sterling Windemere in Bay City, Michigan. Photo is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.

Here's a photo of a Sterling Windemere in Bay City, Michigan. Note the paired windows on the stair case landing. Photo is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.


This image is from the 1917 Sterling Homes catalog. It was to be a demonstration of how quickly (and easily?) a Sterling Windemere could be erected on a lot. After two days of work, the house was sheathed in.

photo s

This picture shows how close the house was to completion by the fourth day.


Proving the superiority of Sterling pre-cut homes, this Windemere was built on this lot in just 11 days. Note, this did not include the fireplace chimney and windows. This view shows the other side of the Windemere which (unfortunately) is quite non-descript.

Sterling Homes was based in Bay City, Michigan. Heres a picture from the cover of their 1917 catalog.

Sterling Homes was based in Bay City, Michigan. Here's a picture from the cover of their 1917 catalog.

To learn more about identifying kit homes, click here.

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Sterling Homes and Hughes for President

February 1st, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

The other day, I had occasion to dig out my 1917 Sterling Homes mail-order catalog and look for a picture of the Sterling Windemere. While I was rustling through the pages, I noticed that the words, “Hughes for President” had been scribbled on the catalog’s front cover (see below). Was this some kid, nominating his elder brother for president? Probably, I told myself.

When my husband came home a few hours later, I asked him, “have you ever heard of a 1916 presidential candidate named Hughes?

“Yes,” he replied, with hardly a pause. “Charles Evan Hughes.”

I love smart men.

Hughes, I later learned, resigned from his position as Associate Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court to run against Wilson in the 1916 presidential election. He put in a good showing, losing by a mere 594,000 votes.

Sterling Homes, as the image shows below, was an early 20th Century mail-order company that sold kit homes in a wide variety of sizes and price ranges. They were solid homes, built from high-quality southern yellow and white pine. The houses were sturdy and strong, and I’ve always been impressed with the attractiveness of Sterling Homes. They apparently had some competent and creative architects.

Sterling Homes 1917 catalog.

Sterling Homes 1917 catalog.

Sterling System

Sterling System, as shown in their 1917 catalog.

Sterling Windemere

Sterling Windemere

To read about the Sears Homes of Lynchburg and Roanoke, click here.

To read more about Sterling Homes, click here or you can click here

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Sterling Homes

October 22nd, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

The following information on Sterling Homes originally appeared here, a website dedicated to Wardway Homes. All material is copyright  protected and owned by Dale Patrick Wolicki and Rosemary Thornton. Original research on Sterling Homes is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki.

We will help you make your dream come true - your dream of a home that is really a home. We will send you a home that will be more cherished as the years pass on. We want to see you own a Sterling System Home which will be a joy through your life, and which will be passed on to your children as a fitting inheritance (1917 Sterling Homes).

Sterling Homes, based in Bay City, started out life as a lumber company, International Mill and Timber Company. In the early 1900s, Aladdin Homes turned to International Mill and Timber hoping that they’d be able to fulfill a backlog of millwork orders for Aladdin kit homes. International Mill was not able to meet the demand, so Aladdin Homes went elsewhere.

International Mill and Timber had glimpsed the Promise Land: Kit Homes sold through a mail-order catalog.

In 1915, this Bay City company launched their own line of pre-cut kit homes and called it, Sterling Homes.

Sterling Homes offered construction services for developers and one of their largest clients turned out to be General Motors, which paid for 1,000 houses built in Flint Michigan (for GM workers).

Post-war troubles and a recession in 1921 forced Sterling Homes into bankruptcy. Bay City businessman Leopold Kantzler purchased their assets and put Sterling Homes back in business with a new focus on cottages and smaller homes. During the Great Depression, the company focused on its retail lumber business (International Mill and Timber). Like other companies, it survived World War One by manufacturing wartime housing and military structures. After the war, during the building boom of the early 1920s, Sterling Homes shipped more than 250 homes a month.

Hampered by outdated models and advertising, Sterling Home sales dropped throughout the 1960s. The last catalog was printed in 1971, and the same catalog was sent out each year (with updated price lists) until 1974, when the company closed its doors, having sold about 45,000 homes.

Want to learn more about Sterling Homes? Montgomery Ward’s Mail-Order Homes has information on all the national kit home companies. To read more about this fascinating new book, click here.

Sterling Homes "Rembrandt" from the 1917 catalog

Sterling Rembrandt in Roanoke, Virginia