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Posts Tagged ‘wardway kit houses’

Did You Know About This *Other* Website?

April 27th, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

For five years, Dale Wolicki and I labored to write a book on Wardway Homes titled, The Mail Order Homes of Montgomery Ward. My oh my, did we work hard on that book!

This incredible tome has 347 pages and more than 500 vintage and extant photos of the kit homes sold by Montgomery Ward in the early 1900s. Dr. Rebecca Hunter wrote a couple chapters for us, too. I suspect that Dale put a few thousand miles on his Mercury Mountaineer, photographing houses from Mississippi to Michigan and Kentucky to Pennsylvania.

Like Sears, Montgomery Ward also sold kit homes through their mail-order catalogs. Sears started in 1908; Montgomery Ward started in 1909. Montgomery Ward saw the writing on the wall and closed down their “modern homes” department in 1932; Sears held on another eight years until 1940.

Sears sold about 70,000 kit homes during their 32 years in the kit home business. Based on our best guess, we suspect that Montgomery Ward sold about 25,000 kit homes.

Dale and I maintain a website devoted to Wardway Homes here. It’s another website that’s just stuffed full of information on Wardway Homes.

To visit the website, click here.

To learn more about our book, click here.

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Wardway Homes

Montgomery Ward also sold kit homes. This is the cover of their 1931 catalog.

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And they did have some truly beautiful homes.

And they did have some truly beautiful homes.

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Dale and I worked for five years to research and write this book.

Dale and I worked for five years to research and write this book.

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Teddy

Teddy especially enjoyed reading about the Wardway Newport.

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Wayne Ringer stands in front of the

Wayne Ringer stands in front of the Norfolk and Western's 1218 (A Class), the last known 2-6-6-4. When built in 1943, this was the most powerful steam locomotive in the world. I'm including this photo here because these were the type of trains that hauled the 12,000-piece kit homes from the southern mills to waiting customers in all 48 states. And I'm also including this photo because this is just a cool photo. This train is now on display in Roanoke, Virginia at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

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Pic

From the 1919 Pacific Ready Cut Homes catalog, this picture shows two workmen loading 12,000 pieces of kit house into a boxcar.

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Montgomery Ward offered many kit homes, but this is one of my favorites. They named it The Kenmore.

Montgomery Ward offered many kit homes, but this is one of my favorites. They named it "The Kenmore."

Learn more about Wardway Homes by clicking 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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To contact Rose Thornton, please leave a comment below.

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A Dazzling Collection of Sears Homes in Northern Illinois

August 23rd, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

Not surprisingly, there’s an abundance of Sears kit home in Northern Illinois.

In fact, Elgin, Illinois has the largest known collection of Sears Homes in the country! This southwestern Chicago suburb has more than 210 Sears Homes!

To learn more about the houses in Elgin, visit the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, and check out The Elgin Illinois Sears House Research Project (by Rebecca Hunter).

To learn how to identify Sears Homes, click here.

A bungalow from the Golden West the Osborn was another very popular house. This one is on a corner lot in Annapolis.

A "bungalow from the Golden West" the Osborn was another very popular house. This picture from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog also shows interior views of The Osborn.

Sears Osborn in St. Charles, Illinois

Sears Osborn in St. Charles, Illinois

The Sears Newcastle was a Colonial Revival and a popular design

The Sears Newcastle was a Colonial Revival and a popular design

Sears Newcastle in northern Illinois

Sears Newcastle in Geneva, Illinois

Sears Matoka, another popular Sears Homes

Sears Matoka, another popular Sears Homes

Sears Matoka in St. Charles

Sears Matoka in St. Charles

Sears Fullerton

Sears Fullerton

Sears Fullerton in Aurora, Illinois

Sears Fullerton in Aurora, Illinois

Sears Fullerton in Elgin, Illinois

Sears Fullerton in Elgin, Illinois

Sears Del Rey

Sears Del Rey

Sears Del Rey in Wheaton, Illinois

Sears Del Rey in Wheaton, Illinois

Sears Marina, Model #2024

Sears Marina, Model #2024

Sears Marina (2024) in West Chicago

Sears Marina (2024) in Geneva, Illinois

The Sears Hamilton was a modest, but a big seller for Sears.

The Sears Hamilton was a modest, but a big seller for Sears.

Sears Hamilton in Elgin, IL

Sears Hamilton in Elgin, IL

Perhaps one of their top ten most popular designs, the Sears Crescent was offered in two floor plans, with an expandable attic option in both plans.

Perhaps one of their top ten most popular designs, the Sears Crescent was offered in two floor plans, with an expandable attic option in both plans.

Crescent in Elmhurst, IL

Significantly remodeled Crescent in Elmhurst, IL

The most notable feature on the Americus (shown here from the 1925 catalog) was the oversized front porch roof, unique front columns and the second floor front wall that juts out a little from the first.

The most notable feature on the Americus (shown here from the 1925 catalog) was the oversized front porch roof, unique front columns and the second floor front wall that juts out a little from the first.

Sears Americus in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Sears Americus in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

To read the next blog, click here.

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