And then there were 10…….

A while back I did a blog post about the The Nine Sears Alhambras in Cincinnati.

Well, just today, I did a quick scan of real estate listings in Cincinnati (gotta keep my eye out for Sears Houses we all missed), and OMG!

There is another Alhambra in Cincinnati.  That makes 10.


Sears Alhambra at 3975 Abington Ave., North Avondale, Cincinnati (Historical photo from the Hamilton County Auditor’s website)


Sears Alhambra at 3975 Abington Ave., North Avondale, Cincinnati (Photo from Hamilton County Auditor website)

The exterior looks to be in great condition still, but the interior photos of the inside…….well…….it could be a gorgeous home again.  And it can be yours for only $79,000!

Zillow listing for a Sears Alhambra in Cincinnati

The Auditor and the real estate listing both state the home was built in 1935, but that is incorrect.  The  house is shown in the 1930 Census with Lester Herrick, his wife Harriet, an adult son, and a near adult daughter living in the residence.  Lester Herrick stated he owned the home at that time.


The Alhambra was offered in the Sears Modern Homes catalog from 1918 until 1929.

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Joseph St. in Mt. Healthy (Cincinnati)

If you have been following this little blog, you might already know that the most complete inventory of Sears Houses in Cincinnati was done in the 1990’s by Beatrice Lask.

Since then, a handful of serious researchers have added to her list of about 500 homes, and have been able to document many of them through mortgage records.

We have added so many homes to her list, that every once in a while I like to go back and refresh my memory on specific neighborhoods and review her original finds.

Since I had the opportunity recently to grab a few photos of Sears Houses on Joseph St. in Mt Healthy, I decided to get out my hard copy of her thesis and see what Bea had noted.

Ha!  Three houses in Mt. Healthy.  None of them on Joseph St.


Then I had a look at our Master List and saw that we have 25 Sears Houses listed in Mt. Healthy, seven of them on Joseph St.  What’s up with that?  How could Bea have missed that many houses?  Well, she didn’t.  When Laraine Shape and I met her a few years back, one of the questions Laraine asked was why she didn’t survey a lot of the northern suburbs.  Bea just smiled slightly and said “Well, I had to stop somewhere”.

Another lover of Sears Houses, Donna Bakke, was the one who spotted quite a few models in Mt Healthy, and supplied a pretty good list of addresses, so others could drive by and check them out.  I mean, really, if you love Sears Houses and want to promote them, you’ve got to freely give out information on where they are, and what they are, or you aren’t helping anybody but yourself!

Anyways, here’s a few of my photos of the Sears Houses on Joseph St. in Mt. Healthy.


Sears Dundee – 7817 Joseph St.  This house had several rooms and a garage added on the left side in the 1950’s.



Sears Hampton – 7848 Joseph St


Right next door to the Sears Hampton is a Sears Starlight.  You can’t see it well from the street due to landscaping.  You can just make out the identifying feature, that clipped gable dormer, from the side.


Side by side Sears Houses at 7848 and 7844 Joseph St. A Hampton model on the left and a Starlight on the right.

Here’s the Auditor’s photo of the Starlight from 2008,  when the shrubbery was much smaller.


Auditor photo of a Sears Starlight at 7844 Joseph St.  As is seen quite often in Cincinnati, half of the front porch has been modified to make the Living Room larger.

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Sears Josephine at 7853 Joseph St. This home is documented with a Mechanic’s Lien from Norwood Sash & Door, a millwork factory owned by Sears, Roebuck.



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Sears Whitehall – 7821 Joseph St. This is also documented with a Norwood Sash & Door Mechanic’s Lien.

image 1925

This small group of Sears Houses are all pretty much in the same long block.  There are a couple more Sears Houses on Joseph St. a few blocks down.  I will share those in a future post.

One final note about the three houses that Bea Lask identified in Mt Healthy.  Two of them, the ones on Clovernook, aren’t actually in Mt Healthy.  They are in the neighboring suburb of North College Hill.

Thanks for following along.


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A Sears Dundee in Mt Healthy (Cincinnati)

This house is on the Master List of Sears Homes as a  Dundee model, and it is one.


Sears Dundee – 7817 Joseph St – Cincinnati (Mt Healthy)

But here’s the deal. I was in Cincinnati yesterday with a friend (who loves my Sears House habit), and she drove me around a bit, checking out a few of the houses on Joseph St. in Mt. Healthy,  before attending a birthday party nearby.  I was taking photos of this house (and the one next door) when the owner came out. Bob. He already knew it was a Sears House because they had bought it from the family of the original owner, who passed along the history.  He didn’t, however, know what model it was.  We chatted for a minute, then I headed on down the street to get photos of several other Sears Houses that are also on our list.

I was just finishing up getting my photos, ready to hop in Gretchen’s car and head for the birthday bash, when I saw a woman waving at me from down the street.   So, of course, I headed back towards The Dundee, and discovered it was Mrs. Bob.  She had a question.  Did I know what the house looked like originally?  The home had been added onto, sometime in the 1950’s, they knew, but she had always wondered how the rooms were arranged before the addition.

Fortunately, I had brought along several of my research books, so I grabbed my copy of the reprint of the 1926 Sears Modern Home catalog out of the car, and turned to the page showing The Dundee.


Sears Dundee from the 1926 catalog (my original, not the reprint)

Mrs Bob had a look, and said that it still didn’t seem quite right, based on the current room arrangement, and I’d better come on in and see what was what.


In we go.  She was right.  The original part of the house didn’t quite match up with the 1926 catalog floor plan, even though some of the rooms had been repurposed.

Hmmmmm……..I promised to do some further research when I got home, and see if I could find another floor plan for the Dundee, or an alternate model that was similar.

And I did.  Find an alternate floor plan for The Dundee.  Well, not really an alternate, I guess, but an earlier one.  And it was one that had no bathroom!


Floor plan of the Sears Dundee from the 1920 Modern Home catalog. No bathroom!


Lets compare the two floor plans, 1920 and 1926.

In order to make room for a bathroom in The Dundee, Sears added square footage to the back right hand corner of the house, and reconfigured the layout of the bedrooms.  They squeezed in a super small bathroom, and added a short hallway in between the bedrooms for added privacy.  In the original floor plan, without the bathroom, the bedrooms opened directly off the kitchen and living room.  No wasted space there!

Now, back to the real Sears Dundee in Mt Healthy.

I’m no good with those photo shop programs that let you add lines, circles, pointers, etc., so I won’t waste my time and get frustrated trying to do that.  I’ll just make an attempt at explaining what I think happened with the Dundee on Joseph St.

The exterior footprint of the house matches the plan in the 1920 catalog, the one with no bathroom.  The living room is in the correct place, and the front bedroom door is off the living room, right inside the entry door.  The original kitchen is now the dining room, and the wall between those two rooms has been widened to make it more open and light.  Off the back of the new dining room is the original stairway to the basement.  To the right of the old kitchen/new dining room space, originally the back bedroom, there are now two rooms.  One is a small galley kitchen, at the rear, and the other is the bathroom, larger than the one in the 1926 floor plan.  There is no little hallway.  The house does not have the added square footage shown in the 1926 floor plan.

So that’s pretty much it for the original part of the house, which is lovely.  It retains all the original doors and trim boards, unpainted and glowing just like new.  The house also has the Stratford design hardware that is listed as being included with The Dundee in the catalogs.

What we don’t know, is whether this room change was made at time of build, or was done when the house had an addition put on in the 1950’s.  If the rooms were changed at construction time, that would mean there was an alternate floor plan available for The Dundee that wasn’t shown in the catalog, or the house was customized by the purchaser at time of ordering.  Either way, when it was done, all the doors and closets were kept in the original positions, except for the back bedroom as that room was re-purposed.

Interesting.  If the house did have those room changes made at construction time, it would have had only one bedroom to begin with.

Here’s a current photo of the house, which shows the addition on the left side of the home.


Sears Dundee at 7817 Joseph St. in the Mt Healthy area of Cincinnati. The house had rooms and a garage added on the left side in the 1950’s.

Thanks to Bob and his wife for allowing me in their lovely Sears Dundee, and thanks to my friend Gretchen for waiting patiently while I got an unexpected house tour.



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An Aladdin Sunshine in Champaign County

A few years back, I went to Urbana to check out a house I thought might be a Sears Barrington model.  I had seen it listed for sale and had already checked out the Realtor’s photos, but I wanted to do a drive by to get a better look at the exterior details.  When I got there, there was a large truck in the driveway, and the folks were moving out.

Hmmmmm……should I stop?  Why not!  The moving guys pointed me to the owner, and I went to talk to him about the house.  Well, seems the house was a rental, and the man wasn’t the owner, but he had lived there for a while, and was interested in my speech about the house possibly being a kit from Sears.  He had heard of them!  We chatted for a minute, then he told me he knew about another Sears House in the area.  He gave me specific directions,  then went back to monitoring his moving guys.

Of course, I drove past the house he told me about on my way home.  I didn’t recognize it.  Since then I have driven past it about 50 times, but still didn’t recognize it as a Sears House.


Early on I didn’t make that important connection that the house might not be from Sears, but possibly a kit from another company.  Now I know better…..some days anyways…..so the last couple of times I have driven past it, I tried to look at it with new eyes.  Still no luck at identifying it.

But, today my luck changed.  I was going through some of my old stuff, looking for my record of an Aladdin Home that was shipped to Medway, when I came across a sales record for a house that was shipped to Bowlusville.


Photo of the original sales record.  Aladdin Homes records are available for research by the public at The Clarke Historical Library at CMU University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.  Thanks to them for allowing me to share images of these documents.

You all might have never even heard of Bowlusville, but I know exactly where it is.  Or at least what is left of it.   About 1/2 mile from that house I have driven past 50 times, but didn’t recognize.


1640 W County Line Rd., Urbana.  (The house isn’t really in Urbana, it just has an Urbana mailing address.)

Is this it?  Is this the Aladdin Sunshine on my sales record?

Yep.  It is.


Aladdin Sunshine at 1640 W County Line Rd., Urbana.  


image of the Aladdin Sunshine from the 1917 catalog

The house on County Line Rd has had quite a few changes and additions since it was purchased as a kit in 1919, but after reviewing the window arrangement, along with the year of build (1920) and exterior footprint available on the Champaign Co Auditor’s website, I was 99.9% sure I had correctly identified the house.

Ancestry filled in the other .1%, by telling me that John A Schart lived on Storms Creek Rd in the 1930 Census.  County Line Rd.’s name changes to Storms Creek Rd just a little ways west, once you cross over Upper Valley Pike.  I’ll bet it was all named Storms Creek in 1930.

The house has lost its little dormer, and had a side porch added where you see the triple window in the bump out behind the fireplace chimney.

Here’s the floor plan and details, also from the 1917 catalog.


It’s really hard to tell where the original house begins and ends in the current Auditor’s sketch, due to all the additions, but the width of 28 feet matches the floor plan.


I’m really glad I was finally able to identify this house.  I’ve gotten a lot of leads over the years about possible kit homes in my area, and many of them  are still on my “need to check out” list.

Thanks for following along.



Gunnison Homes in Springfield

Gunnison Magic Homes- Gunnison Homes- United States Steel Homes

I had heard about Gunnison Homes.  I had even been in one, when it was listed for sale a while back.  But I thought they were just some plain old Pre-Fabricated House from the 1950’s, and not of much interest.  But twice this Summer, they came up while I was out and about hunting up Sears and other kit houses.

The first time was in July, when my Mentor, Rebecca Hunter, was visiting my area.  We were making a quick trip out early on a Sunday morning to get photos of one of Springfield’s best kit houses, an Aladdin Villa.  Our next stop was to pick up Andrew Mutch, who was also visiting, and I drove through a connecting neighborhood to where he was staying.  Rebecca, of course, had her eyes peeled for anything that might look like a kit house, even though I knew we were in a 1950’s neighborhood.  And then she said “There’s a Gunnison House”.  It was actually the one I had been in when it was for sale a while back.  And then she taught me something.  Not like she isn’t always teaching me something, because she is, but she taught me something about Gunnison Homes.  They have a unique feature that is easy to spot from the street.  Huh.  We’ll get to that shortly.

The second time Gunnison Homes came up was a just a few weeks later when I went to an Open House for A Harris Bros 1517 in Urbana.

I took a copy of the catalog page for the Harris Bros., and gave it to the real estate agent on site at the Open House.  She was very interested.  We discussed kit houses for a minute, then she said she knew of one in Springfield on Kensington Place.  I was skeptical.  Kensington Place is in our Ridgewood in the Country Club District, and I hadn’t spotted any kit homes there on my numerous visits to the neighborhood.  But she was insistent, and said it was just a little ranch style house, and seemed very out of place on the block.  Oh yes!  I knew exactly which little house she was talking about.  Then I asked her if she thought maybe it was a Gunnison Home.  She thought a minute, and said that sounded  familiar, but wasn’t sure.  So, of course, I had to take a drive past the house, and sure enough, it’s a Gunnison Home.

How did I know so quickly?  From that little detail Rebecca Hunter pointed out when she was visiting.  Gunnison Homes have a unique design on the chimney, and once you know that, you will be able to easily spot Gunnison Homes, too.



See those two stripes on the chimney?  That’s all there is to it.

Now I do have to tell you, you can’t really see that small detail on Google Maps or Bing Maps, so you do have to leave your house, drive around, and look for the houses.  And that’s what I did the other day.  I spent about an hour and a half driving around the North West Quadrant of Springfield, and I got photos of 18 Gunnison Homes.

But what is a Gunnison Home?  Yes, they were pre-fab, but they didn’t come into being in the 1950’s like I thought.  The first Gunnisons started being manufactured in 1936, and continued until 1974.  They were made from insulated plywood panels that were bolted together at the home site. I’m going to send you to a link that explains them in more detail.  No sense repeating what someone else has already taken the time to research and post about.  This link has good information.  The Gunnison Home  If you want to know more, you can just Google them.

From my reading up on them, it looks like they had between 11 and 14 models, depending on the year, and we have a nice selection of those models here in Springfield.  The Gunnison Home kits had to be purchased from a Gunnison Dealer, so I am assuming we had one locally.  I’ll have to do additional research to see if I can figure out who was selling them.

Before I show you photos of a few of the ones around town, please take a look at this flickr set showing the  1950 Gunnison Homes catalog.  Note that you could purchase porches, sun rooms, and garages as add ons.

OK, here’s some of the ones in Springfield.  A couple of them still retain their original exterior look, meaning you can tell they were built from panels, but for the most part, the homes have been covered over in newer vinyl siding.  Some have been altered so much, that if it wasn’t for those two stripes on the chimney, I never would have known.


520 Southwood Dr. According to Rebecca Hunter, this was one of the largest models, and was purchased with added side porches and a garage.


221 W Harding Rd


1345 N Plum St.  This one still has the original exterior panel design.  There are three other Gunnison Homes on N Plum St., within a few blocks of this one.  


1824 Fairway Dr.  This one sits sideways on the lot.  The side with the two windows and the garage door is what you see from the street.


1963 Oak Knoll Dr.  This one had an added side porch and garage, but they are attached to make the home an L shape.  There is a matching home next door at 1977 Oak Knoll Dr., but it is hard to see from the street due to a lot of mature trees.


1977 and 1983 Harshman Blvd.  The home on the left is turned sideways on the lot.  There are three other Gunnison Homes on Harshman Blvd.


2027 Pembrook Dr.  


425 and 427 W Harding Rd. These two are business buildings, and they are longer than the largest model available from Gunnison Homes. I am thinking they were custom ordered, or both had additions made to them sometime after they were built in 1951. If you read up on these homes, you will find that there were only a few types of panels made, and they were bolted together in different ways to create the various models.


132 N Kensington Place. This is the home I showed the chimney for in the beginning of this post.


132 N Kensington Place, and it does indeed look out of place among the larger homes on the block that were built in the 1920’s.


If you know of any Gunnison Homes near you, please leave a comment.  Just look for that chimney with the two stripes!





A Harris Bros 1517 in Urbana

I’ve had my Sears House hunting eye on a home in Urbana for a couple of years now, and recently the house was listed for sale.  On Sunday they had an Open House, which is always a good time to go explore the inside of possible kit homes.  The house in question is not a kit from Sears Roebuck, but is from another mail order catalog company, Harris Brothers of Chicago.   I only recognize a few of their house designs by sight, but the No. 1517 is one of them.

1923 image

This Harris Brothers bungalow has a few floor plan and exterior details to look for when trying to match it up to the catalog.  And one of those features, the roof line, that is shown in the catalog illustration above, just may be flat out wrong.

Here’s the deal.  In our little Facebook research group, there have been several homes posted that seem to match the No. 1517, but they all have one thing that doesn’t match.  The rear roof line.  Notice how in the catalog illustration the lowest point of the front part of the roof, and the lowest part of the back roof are even.  If that doesn’t make sense, see how the front and rear parts of the roof are symmetrical.  Got it?

Well, let’s have a look at the floor plan, and thanks to Andrew Mutch for figuring this out.

side by side floor plan


I’ve placed the first floor next to the second floor and there is a line drawn between the furnace chimney vent for both floors.  That will allow us to see how the second floor stacks on top the first.  Looks like the back wall of the second floor lines up with the first floor to me, except for that small dining room bump out area.   Actually we don’t even have to do that to see that the front roof is not equal to the back roof, since “ROOF” is plainly marked on the diagram for the second floor layout.  Look how large it is on the front section of the second floor compared to the back.  Duh.  It certainly doesn’t match the illustration of the house in the catalog.  We’ve seen this type of thing on a few other models in other catalogs.  You always need to check the floor plan diagram and not rely exclusively on the house illustration, which may have been stock artwork for a common home design.  Remember, these catalogs were advertising publications, not historical documents.

Anyways, now we know.  And now I am 99.9% certain that the house I toured on Sunday is a Harris Brothers No. 1517.

Harris 1517 119 S High St L Urbana OH

Harris Brothers 1517 at 119 S High St, Urbana

Harris 1517 119 S High St R Urbana OH

The room arrangement in the home matches the catalog floor plan exactly, and the exterior dimensions are correct, using the Champaign Co Auditor’s website sketch.  Those details are necessary to document the home.

Here’s a few interior photos I took on Sunday.  The home has a lot of original leaded glass and casement windows.


Central stairway to the second floor from the living room, and the dining room with bay. This matches the catalog floor plan.


I found the fireplace mantel in a Harris Brothers Building Materials catalog.


Screenshot (1434)


Remember that really cool pattern book house I blogged about a while back?  There it is across the street.  A Home Builders Crestwood in Urbana




Back hallway between the dining room and the kitchen.


I couldn’t find these gorgeous interior doors in the Building Materials catalog, but I only checked one year. I may find them later.



Here’s those interesting porch columns.


And the rear of the house.

Harris 1517 119 S High St rear Urbana OH

From the back of the house you can see the dining room bump out, double windows on the stairway landing, and what appeared to be an original back porch addition. And not much roof!

I’m adding this to our small but growing list of Harris Brothers Homes that our little research group has located.  Bet we find more.



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A Sears Corona in Grandview Heights (Columbus)

In Jan of 2015, I got a few Pinterest recommendations.  One of those was a house in the Columbus area that was said to be a Sears Corona.

1918 image

Image of the Corona as shown in the 1918 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Since I’m not in the habit of going to Columbus ( hate traffic, don’t know my way around), it wasn’t until Dec of 2015, while Christmas shopping with my daughter, that I finally got to see it myself.

I snapped some photos, and shared them with a few other Sears House researchers.  Since none of us had ever seen a Corona in real life, we just weren’t sure it really was one.

Time passed.

Then in late July, my Mentor, Rebecca Hunter of Elgin Illinois, and Andrew Mutch of Novi, Michigan,  came to Ohio to do some Sears Houses hunting.  We hopped in Andrew’s car, and headed off to the big city.  One of Ohio’s big cities, anyways, Columbus.  Andrew and I had already discussed that we needed to take Rebecca past the possible Corona, since she had located others.  Andrew had mapped some additional houses we wanted to review with her, and we planned a route around that.

We didn’t get started until mid-afternoon, and  scouted out several neighborhoods on our list.  We were planning on driving past the Corona on our way out of town, back to Springfield.   I knew the street it was on had a possible Sears Osborn and an Aladdin Marsden from my previous visit, and Andrew had a Marsden on his map, so I had no fear we would find it.

WRONG!  (Note to self- make sure you know the address of the house you want to take people past, before you go out of town.)

Apparently, there is more than one Aladdin Marsden in Columbus, and I didn’t have the street name of the one nearby the Corona.  So…….a little quick Google mapping on my part occurred, and I did finally find the street name.

By the time we got there, daylight was starting to fade, but we still were able to see everything we needed to see.  And……Rebecca says it is one!  Hooray!

And it’s a beauty.  The house is a reverse floor plan from the one illustrated in the Modern Homes catalog, so if you choose to compare, keep that in mind.

S Corona 1405 Wyandotte Rd Columbus OH 1

Sears Corona at 1405 Wyandotte Rd in the Grandview Heights area of Columbus. (Not documented)


The Corona is a huge house.  Almost 50 feet deep.  Many city lots in 1920’s neighborhoods are quite small, so this house wouldn’t fit just anywhere.

1918 first floor plan

There were 2 bedrooms on the main floor, but the second floor had 2 more, along with a sleeping porch.   The stairwell and sleeping porch are located in a large rear dormer, according to Rebecca.

1918 second floor plan

Here’s a nice view of the front.

S Corona 1405 Wyandotte Rd Columbus OH 3

The side view below shows how huge the house really is.  It looks like the original side porch by the kitchen has been expanded and enclosed, at construction time, or later, but done in keeping with the original style of the home.  The Corona was “Not Cut or Fitted”, meaning the lumber for the house was cut to size on site, and not in the Sears Lumber mill.  Rebecca mentioned that most of the early Sears models she has seen that were not “Cut and Fitted” had changes made to the plans at time of construction.


S Corona 1405 Wyandotte Rd Columbus OH 8

Lastly, Rebecca had us drive around the street behind the house, to make sure there was a rear dormer.  There is!  The original sleeping porch has also been enclosed.

S Corona 1405 Wyandotte Rd Columbus OH 9

Thanks to the the Historical Parcel Sheets available on the Franklin Co Recorder’s website, I was able to track down a bit of information on the original owner, Clyde S White.

parcel sheet cropped

Clyde Sinclair White and his wife, Kittorah, first appeared at the address in the 1917 City Directory.  Clyde S was a foreman for the railroad.

In the 1920 Census, the couple lived in the house along with their daughter, son-in-law, nephew, and Kittorah’s mother.  The address of the house in 1920 was 1225 Wyandotte Rd.

1920 census cropped

Thanks for following along!


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A Wardway Northbrook in Columbus

I spent this past weekend traveling around my part of the world with two other Sears House Researchers.  Rebecca Hunter from Elgin, Illinois, and Andrew Mutch from Novi, Michigan, both made the drive to meet up with me to hunt for Sears Houses in Ohio.

Armed with our lists, a few reference books, snacks, and cold drinks, we spent hours in the car driving around Springfield, Dayton, Columbus and Delaware.  Rebecca and I even managed to squeeze in a bit of mortgage record research in Delaware, which netted us a few good finds.

And since I took loads of photos, I have enough houses to share for the rest of the year!  But…. that won’t keep me from going out and hunting up more.

I’ll keep this post short and to the point.

I had already done some document research for Franklin County, and was fortunate enough to track down the addresses for a couple of models from Montgomery Wards that I hadn’t seen before.  Well, that isn’t hard, since I’ve only actually seen a few Wardway Houses since I started this quest.

But those couple of houses were on our list to drive by, and one turned out to be lovely.  It’s a Wardway Northbrook model, only offered between 1929 and 1931, which, to my knowledge, was the last year Montgomery Ward published a kit house catalog.

House catalogs from the last few years Wardway was in the business are really hard to come by, and only a few researchers have access to them.  I’m not one of them, but Lauren from The Daily Bungalow came to my rescue by supplying the catalog image from her 1929 Wardway Homes catalog.  Thanks Lauren!

1929 image

The real life Wardway Northbrook in Columbus has a different front porch cover than what is shown in the catalog, and I think I like it better.  Here’s the house.

WW Northbrook 446 Blenheim L Columbus OH

Wardway Northbrook, 446 Blenheim Rd., Columbus

In the photo above, you can just make out the windows on the left side of the house.  They match the catalog image and floor plan illustration perfectly.

1929 details

The photo below shows the right side, and maybe that’s a Wardway garage, too!

WW Northbrook 446 Blenheim R Columbus OH

This home is documented as a house kit from Wardway through a deed record on file at the Franklin County Recorder’s Office.



Is this a Sears No. 123? (Richmond, Indiana)

Summer is here!  And that means day trips!  Not always to look for Sears Houses, but that seems to happen along the way wherever I go.    And that’s what happened this week.  I had a great girl’s day out with a couple of good friends.  The idea was to go antiquing in Richmond, Indiana.

If you are from Ohio, you know Richmond is practically in Ohio.  In fact, I think their Corporation lines run right along the Ohio/Indiana State Line for a few miles just south of I-70.

We had already checked out the info on line for Antique Shops in the Richmond area.  There’s a bunch.  When we got off the Interstate we headed directly to the Old National Road Visitor Center to pick up some additional information on things to do in Richmond.  And that’s how we got a little off track.

Richmond has some great self guided tour brochures, themed, and we quickly honed in one that wasn’t about antiques.   What’s better for us than antiques?  Um……..chocolate.  The Visitor Center will set you up with their Chocolate Trail Passport.  You stop at the places listed on the Passport and you get FREE SAMPLES!  Heavenly.

So after loading up on maps and travel brochures, we headed out on the National Road to see what we could see.  First stop.  Square Donuts to get our free Chocolate Donut.  Heavenly.

It’s nice to not have to stick to any kind of itinerary, and just pull over to see the sights.  And that’s what we did when we spotted the Richmond Rose Garden.

They had a whole bed of one of my favorite roses, Cherry Parfait.


After the Rose Garden, we headed downtown and stopped at the second place listed on the Chocolate Tour, Olympian Candies.  Got a free sample!  Heavenly.

Then, since all three of us are kind of old house nuts, we drove around a bit and checked out some of the older neighborhoods close to downtown.  Richmond has wonderful old homes and great architecture, but many houses need a lot of TLC.

One thing we had planned to do, was stop by and see a friend of one of my friends, and that’s when the day got really off track.  Seems friend of a friend had recently purchased one of those older homes that needed a lot of TLC, so we got the tour of that, and then, as said friend of a friend is also heavily involved in Architectural Preservation in Richmond, he took us on a Walking Tour of Downtown and a driving tour of some the residential Historic Districts in Richmond.

And that’s when I spotted what could be a Sears Modern Home No.123.

Screenshot (1307)

When Sears started out selling house plans and building materials in their Modern Homes Catalog in 1908, all the models were given a number to identify them.  (Later on, they started using names instead of numbers.)  According to Houses by Mail, the No. 123 was offered beginning in 1911, and even though the field guide says the last year was 1913, we now know it was also in the 1914 catalog. (Image above is from the 1914.)

Sears advertised the No. 123 as  “an attractive two-story house of frame construction with gambrel roof, with return cornices”.

The No. 123 was a big house.  Check out the floor plan which includes a Reception Hall, Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, five bedrooms (four up and one down) a front and back stairway, a pantry, and one teeny tiny bathroom.

Screenshot (1309)

A few of the architectural details to look for on this home are the projecting  entry in front of the full width front porch, one small gable dormer in front of the large gambrel roof dormer on the side and bump out bay window just beneath that large side dormer.  These details, along with the those large cornice returns, give the house a different look from many other early Dutch Colonial homes.

Here’s photos of the house I spotted in Richmond that has many, but not all, of those details I mentioned above.

The front of the house features those deep return cornices shown in the catalog illustration, along with the second floor triple window, not all one size, also like the catalog.  The front porch, and the projecting entry have both been enclosed.

2000 S A St 1

Possible Sears No. 123 in Richmond, Indiana.

In this little bit closer view of the front, you can just barely see that the actual front entry door to the house is on the right side, inside the enclosed porch.  That also matches the No. 123 floor plan.

2000 S A St 3.JPG

The sides of the house are where it gets a little tricky.  This home has the small single window dormer, but the larger dormer behind it is a gable roof, not the wide gambrel that is shown in the Sears catalog for the No. 123.  The house does have the bump out bay below.  Also, that short triple window towards the front would suggest a fully open Reception Hall, and the No. 123 had a small vestibule and a coat closet.  Maybe those were removed when the front porch was enclosed.  Why have a small vestibule inside your newer larger vestibule?

2000 S A St 2


The left side window arrangement is also not a perfect match to the catalog, but would still work with the floor plan.

2000 S A St 4

The early Sears kit homes were not Pre-Cut and Fitted like most of the later models, so slight changes to the floor plan could be made at the time of construction if you were skilled in engineering, or had a local architect make some adjustments to the design.

Researchers are pretty certain that Sears purchased the rights to use popular house plans of the time in their Modern Homes Catalogs, so it is certainly possible that this is the pattern book home design that the No. 123 is based on, and not the actual Sears offering.

I’m hoping it is one, so, could it be?  A 123?

We did finally make it to an Antique Mall, late in the day, after a wonderful lunch at Little Sheba’s and free chocolate ice cream next door at Ullery’s Homemade Ice Cream.

We’l be going back soon, as there is lots more to see and do in Richmond.

Thanks for following along and if you know of a pattern book home design that matches the Sears No. 123, I would appreciate you contacting me or leaving a comment.

One last thing.   In the catalog floor plan shown earlier, you might have noticed that Sears mentioned two cities in Ohio where the model had been built.  One was Springfield and the other was Sharonville.  I’m still looking for the one in Sharonville, but here’s the one in Springfield.


A documented Sears No. 123 on Springfield- Xenia Rd. in Springfield.


The Sears Houses of Pleasant Ridge (Cincinnati)

Oh Cincinnati, I haven’t forgotten you.  In fact, no serious Sears House researcher would ever forget about Cincinnati.  Why?  Because it’s the home to the most Sears Houses ever built.  That have been located so far, that is.

I’ve been on numerous day trips to Cincinnati to get pictures of some of the houses that have already been located, and every time, I spot a few more.

And as several researchers, including myself, are still diligently going through a bunch of old mortgage books on line looking for the houses that were financed through Sears, we are continuing to document some of the houses already found, and locate even more.  It’s never ending.

Just in the last couple of days, researcher friend Andrew Mutch located a couple of Sears Houses through those old mortgage records, on Woodmont Ave in Cincinnati.  When he posted them in our little tiny Facebook research group, he wondered what neighborhood Woodmont was in.  So…..right to the Hamilton Co Auditor’s website I go, and look it up.  It’s in Pleasant Ridge.

Well, on my very first day trip to Cincinnati several years ago, I met up with a fabulous lady named Donna Bakke, and she took me to several Cincinnati neighborhoods, Pleasant Ridge being one of them.  But we didn’t go down Woodmont, which is a “No Outlet” street.  Did Donna know about the Sears Houses on Woodmont?  We’ll never know for sure, as she has since passed away, and all her knowledge has been lost.  Sad.

But, I do have my great memories of that first Sears House hunting day trip to Cincinnati, and a whole bunch of pictures.  Yes, they are old pictures.  At least three years!  But they are new to this little blog, and I want to share them with anybody who happens to stumble across this site.  Houses we didn’t go past, or ones located after my trip are shown with Auditor of Google Map photos.

Here they are, in alphabetical order, mostly.

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S Aurora 6416 Grand Vista Ave R CCat Cincinnati OH

The one and only Sears Aurora.   6416 Grand Vista Ave.  Documented with a mortgage record.  The open porch has been enclosed, and it has been added onto.

1928 image

6225 Fairhurst Cinc OH

Sears Homewood 6225 Fairhurst Ave. Photo from Hamilton Co. Auditor. Documented. Building permit lists Sears Roebuck, plans.

image 1925


A possible customized Sears Kilbourne.  The front porch and the dormer have been swapped from what is shown in the catalog.  This change would be possible as this model is basically a rectangle, and the porch and dormer are simply design elements.  Or maybe……they put the house together wrong.

S Kilbourne 5619 Lester Rd CCat Cincinnati OH

Possible Sears Kilbourne  5619 Lester Rd

image 1918


S Langston 3118 Auten Ave CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Langston 3118 Auten Ave.  Not documented


image (2024) 1918


S Marina (2024) 3010 Mapleleaf Ave L CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Marina 3010 Mapleleaf Ave.  Not documented.

There are two other Sears Marinas in Pleasant Ridge.  One is at 3137 Gloss Ave. but there are a lot of trees in the front yard, so views are not great.  The third is located at 3151 Auten Ave.

1918 image

5899 E Woodmont Cinc OH

Sears Norwood 5899 E Woodmont.  Photo from Hamilton Co Auditor.   This house is one of the new ones Andrew just located, but is not documented.

5901 E Woodmont Cinc OH

Sears Norwood 5901 E Woodmont.  Photo from Hamilton Co Auditor.   Andrew has documented this one with his mortgage record research.

image 1918

S Osborn 5623 Lester Rd CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Osborn 5623 Lester Rd.  Some Osborn models seem to have been built without the swoopy peaks shown in the catalog.

image 1928

S Pittsburgh 6423 Lisbon Cinc PH Google

Sears Pittsburgh 6423 Lisbon Ave.  Photo from Google Map.   Documented with a mortgage record.


There are three Sears Puritans in Pleasant Ridge.

image 1925

5907 Woodmont Cinc OH

Sears Puritan 5907 Woodmont. Photo from Hamilton Co. Auditor. Andrew has documented this one with his mortgage research.

The other two Puritans in Pleasant Ridge are at 3265 and 3281 Beredith Pl.  Neither are documented.  Yet.

image 1922

S Roanoke 3147 Mapleleaf Ave R CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Roanoke 3147 Mapleleaf Ave. Not documented. The hood over the second floor windows and the side porch have either been removed, or were never built there to begin.

There is another Roanoke at 5622 Lester Rd.

1920 Image

Cincinnati has loads of Rodessa models, but there is one in Pleasant Ridge that is my all time favorite.

S Rodessa 3123 Mapleleaf Ave CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Rodessa  3114 Mapleleaf Ave.  Not documented but so close to original who would think it wasn’t from Sears?

There is a second Rodessa in Pleasant Ridge at 5553 Bosworth Place.

Another popular little Sears House was their Starlight model.

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Pleasant Ridge has a nice one.

6320 Fairhurst Cinc OH

Sears Starlight 6320 Fairhurst Ave.  Documented with a mortgage record.  Photo from Hamilton Co Auditor.


There are two Vallonia models in Pleasant Ridge.

1930 image

S Vallonia 3149 Mapleleaf Ave CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Vallonia   3149 Mapleleaf Ave.   Not documented.

3331 Orion Cinc OH

Sears Vallonia 3331 Orion Ave.  Photo from Hamilton Co Auditor.  Not documented.

Another great bungalow model from Sears was The Westly.

S Westly image 1925

3249 Woodford Pl Cinc OH

Sears Westly 3249 Woodford Place.  Photo from Hamilton Co. Auditor.  Not documented.

image 1925


Hard to see this one due to the landscaping.

S Whitehall 3119 Auten Ave R CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Whitehall 3119 Auten Ave. Not documented but my friend Donna Bakke said it is one.

image 1922

Just located this Windsor model while I was reviewing the Pleasant Ridge houses for this blog post.  It’s right next door to a Rodessa that had already been identified.  And that’s how it goes in Cincinnati!  We find new ones every time we look around!    The roof line looks a little off, but the window arrangement and the exterior dimensions of the house match.  I will need to take a look at it in real life some day.

5551 Bosworth Pl Cinc OH

Possible Sears Windsor  5551 Bosworth Place.   Photo from Hamilton Co. Auditor.


image 1922

S Woodland 3123 Mapleleaf Ave R CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Woodland 3123 Mapleleaf Ave. Not documented.

And last, but not least is this sweet little house.  The body of the home appears to be a Sears Delevan, but the front porch is more like the one on The Somerset.  Sears would make changes to models for a small fee.

Screenshot (1284)image 1922

S Delevan 3132 Mapleleaf L CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Delevan with a different front porch. 3132 Mapleleaf Ave. Not documented.

There they are!  26 so far in Pleasant Ridge.  Bet we find more.


Drifting Through My Open Mind

Random thoughts and musings

Preservation in Mississippi

It ain't all moonlight and magnolias

DC House Cat Chiming In

On Washington Real Estate and History

Sears Houses in Cincinnati

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