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Posts Tagged ‘the sears homes in illinois’

The Dandy Dundee in Alton, Illinois

June 1st, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

When I first started researching Sears Homes in 1999, I was living in Alton, Illinois. By 2002, I had driven the city many, many times, finding all the Crescents, and Gladstones, and Starlights and Craftons and Westlys - in short, all the most popular, easy-to-identify models.

In my spare time, I’d alternately study the old catalogs and then cruise around town, hoping to discover something new.

In late 2002, I drove down Park Avenue in Alton and discovered the Sears Dundee. It’s the only one I’ve ever found and - thank goodness - as of March 2010 (when this photo was taken), it was still in beautifully original condition.

To read more about Sears Homes, click here.

The Dundee from the 1921 catalog.

"The Dundee" from the 1921 catalog.

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By 1928, the house had undergone some changes.

By 1928, the house had undergone some changes. The square footage was increased by extending the home's length, and the price increased a mere $58 (from 1921 to 1928).

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The floor plan in 1921

The floor plan in 1921 showed two wee-tiny bedrooms, with a small mudroom on the rear.

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Sears Homes

In the 1928 floor plan, the kitchen and the rear bedroom have increased by two linear feet.

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The 1921 catalog showed a front view of the Dundee.

The 1921 catalog showed a "front view" of the Dundee.

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The Sears Dundee in Alton, ILlinois.

The Sears Dundee in Alton, Illinois. Between landscaping and hills, it was impossible to get a photo from the same angle as the catalog image.

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porch

The Dundee in Alton is a little larger than the Sears Dundee, but it's likely that this house was either customized when built or added on to, later in life. Because of the distinctive ornamental detail on the porch roof, I am confident this really is the Sears Dundee.

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Had this house been covered in crappy vinyl siding, I would never have discovered it.

Had this house been covered in crappy vinyl siding, I would never have discovered it. That distinctive gable on the front porch was the item that caught my eye!

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read about a big fancy Sears House in New York City, click here.

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The South Bend Maggy - And the Kindness of Strangers!

May 17th, 2012 Sears Homes 8 comments

Last week, I wrote about the Sears Magnolia in South Bend, Indiana, and posted some old, not-so-clear snapshots of the house. I also posted the photos at a couple internet sites, asking if someone might be so kind as to snap a few new photos for me.

Incredibly, wonderfully, two kind souls responded, providing beautiful, professional-quality photos of this very rare Sears House in South Bend.

So now, thanks to the kindness of not one, but two dear souls, I have updated (and beautiful) photos! That’s the GOOD news!

The sad news is, our Maggy in South Bend is in some pain. I’d love to know if this house is for sale, or what’s happened. It appears to be in a state of decline. We’ve already lost one Magnolia in Nebraska that was torn down years ago, and we almost lost the Maggy in Canton, Ohio in the 1970s, when it fell into such a state of disrepair that the roof collapsed into the second floor. It was the vision of two people, and a heroic restoration and a devotion to historic preservation that saved that house.

Let’s hope and pray that our Maggy in South Bend is preserved and restored. After all, it’s one of only six remaining (known) Magnolias in the country!

And thank you to James Layne and Garrett Baumann who took time out of their busy day to run over to the house and take several *beautiful* photos.

To learn more about how to identify Sears Homes, click here.

The Sears Magnolia - as seen in the 1921 catalog.

The Sears Magnolia - as seen in the 1921 catalog.

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Close-up on the floor plan for the first floor.

Close-up on the floor plan for the first floor.

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And here it is - the Sears Magnolia in South Bend, Indiana. Oh, what a house - and what a wonderful photo!!  Many thanks to James Layne who sent me a plethora of wonderful, high resolutation photos!

And here it is - the Sears Magnolia in South Bend, Indiana. Oh, what a house - and what a wonderful photo!! Many thanks to James Layne who sent me a plethora of wonderful, high resolution photos! (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Close-up of the porch

Close-up of the porch

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Thanks to the high resolution, clear photos that James sent, I was able to zoom in on some details - such as the front porch!

Thanks to the high resolution, clear photos that James sent, I was able to zoom in on details - such as the front porch! (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Front

In fact, Mr. Layne's photos were such a high resolution that I was able to zoom way, way in and get nice, detailed images of the entryway (shown above). (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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And this photo, taken by Garrett Baumann, really shows the majesty of the Magnolia, and its setting on a spacious lot.

And this photo, taken by Garrett Baumann, really shows the majesty of the Magnolia, and its setting on a spacious lot. (Photo is copyright 2012 Garrett Baumann and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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The original wooden railing is long gone, and has been replaced with wrought iron, which also appears to be fading a bit.

The original wooden railing on the top of the porch roof is long gone, and has been replaced with wrought iron, which also appears to be fading a bit. (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Our poor Maggy is in some pain. The original half-round galvanized gutters are looking a little tired.

Our poor Maggy is in some pain. The original half-round galvanized gutters are looking a little tired. And you can see that someone started to paint the eaves - but then stopped. The good news is, it'll be easy to remove that aluminum siding, and those plastic "accoutrements" atop the windows. (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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The porch ceiling needs a little attention, too.

The porch ceiling needs a little attention, too. In fact, it needs a lot of attention. Sears Homes were made with #1 Southern Yellow Pine (for framing members) harvested out of first-growth virgin forests. We'll never see wood like that again in this country. The exteriors were 100% cypress, which was known as "The Wood Eternal." Sears Homes were made with superior quality wood, but left unattended and unmaintained, they will eventually deteriorate and decay. Hopefully, this Magnolia will be preserved. (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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The Magnolia has these very distinctive windows, with the small lites above the main sashes. Its details such as this that really distinguish the Sears Magnolia from look-alikes.

The Magnolia has these very distinctive windows, with the small lites above the main sashes. It's details such as this that really distinguish the Sears Magnolia from look-alikes. Every day, several people land at my website after googling the terms "house with the blue shutters" (from the movie, "The Notebook" because someone somewhere started a rumor that the house featured in that movie is a Sears Magnolia. That house looks nothing like the Sears Magnolia. The key to proper identification really is in the details. (Photo is copyright 2012 Garrett Baumann and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Just look at those beautiful Ionic columns!!

Just look at those beautiful Ionic columns!! (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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The Magnolia - in all its splendor.

The Magnolia - in all it's splendor. (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Another splendiferous

Another splendiferous shot of a splendid house: The Magnolia. (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Thereve been times when people send me house photos that look like this. (And yes, there is a house back here.)

I really appreciate a good photo, because there've been many times when people send me "house photos" that look like this. (And yes, there is a house back there, hidden behind all that greenery!)

Thank you again to both James Layne and Garrett Baumann for running out to an old house on West North Shore Drive and performing a “random act of kindness” for a total stranger. I am profoundly grateful. And I’m confident that the 1,000+ daily readers of my blog are grateful, too!

We love our Magnolias!  :)

To read the first blog on the South Bend Magnolia, click here.

To learn more about the Sears Magnolia, click here.

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Sears Modern Home #147 - And It’s Only $885

May 7th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

In February 2003, I traveled to Flora, Illinois to give a talk on Sears Homes. It was one of my first “paid gigs,” and I was very excited about actually getting paid to do the thing I loved the most - talk about Sears Homes!

In celebration of this happy time, I treated myself to a fine automobile for the trip. The night before my talk, I went to Enterprise Rent-A-Car and rented a 2003 Cadillac DeVille.

My oh my, that was a sweet ride!

During the ride around Flora, I found several interesting houses, including the Sears Modern Home #147. The folks in Flora knew it was a kit house, but they didn’t know which model it was.

This was the first time I’d seen a #147, and it was - without any doubt - the nicest #147 that I ever did see. It was in remarkably original condition.

After I finished in Flora, I rode over to Olney (nearby town) to look for more kit  homes. While driving around in Olney, my shiny new Cadillac had mechanical problems and I had to take it to a nearby shop for emergency repairs. When I returned the car to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Wood River (near my home in Alton), the clerk was very apologetic. He offered to discount the price of the three-day rental. I told him, “That’s a good start.”

He then said, “How can I turn this into a good experience for you, Mrs. Thornton?”

I said, “How about a deeper discount? I just spent four hours standing outside a car dealership in Olney, Illinois, waiting for them to fix your car.”

He then offered to discount the price of the rental to nothing.

“That’ll work,” I told him.

Almost ten years later, when I look at these old photos, I remember that fine “Glacier White” Cadillac with its buttery soft “Cashmere Gray” leather seats. Despite our little mishap in Olney, that was one fine automobile.

And in the intervening 10 years, I’ve rented at least 20 cars from Enterprise. :)

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To see more pretty pictures of Sears Homes, click here.

147 house

The Sears Modern Home #147 as seen in the 1916 catalog.

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147

Pretty simple house, but a good value at $885.

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147

Look at the columns - clad in clapboard!

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SMH 147

And here's the world's most perfect $147 in Flora, Illinois (near Olney).

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147

The details around the window are perfect!

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Want to see more pretty pictures? Click here.

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