A while back I located a 1930’s Sears model, The Concord, right here in my hometown – Springfield.
The Concord has great history for Sears Roebuck, as it was the model they chose to be on display in Chicago at the 1933 World’s Fair, “A Century of Progress”. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, the fair was reopened in 1934. When all was said and done, more than 40 million people had attended.
So…….with all those people attending, surely some of them would have wanted to build the very same model home they had seen in Chicago.
Until I started researching Sears Houses, I had always thought the tri-level style home, which includes quad level homes, was a 1960’s thing. But then, I’ve been wrong about a lot of things in my life, so being wrong about this was no surprise to me! Heck, even Wikipedia says the house style wasn’t popular until the 1950’s.
So for the first several years that I was researching Sears Houses, I pretty much looked right over any tri or quad levels, even though I knew there were a few shown in Houses by Mail.
But after coming across the one near me in Springfield, I started paying more attention. And guess what? They are out there, all right. You just have to know what to look for.
First, you have to recognize that the Sears tri (quad) level homes were small. The 1960’s ones around here tend to be large, more Contemporary looking homes. The Sears ones were pretty ordinary looking, actually. Just a Cape Cod with multiple floors, like it says in the catalog details.
The details noted above is from my 1938 catalog, and Sears is telling us this style had become quite popular by then, only a few years after the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair.
Here’s a couple of tips our research group has discussed as ways to spot this model on street surveys, and they are all right there on the front of the house.
- The second floor slightly overhangs the first on the main two story section of the house.
- The Concord has two brick sections on the outer edges of the visible lower level that resemble pillars.
- There is a small decorative bracket on the brick that makes it look like it is holding up the upper level.
Those details, of course, are just a start. You would still need to check all the other things Sears House researchers look for. The window arrangement, house dimensions, and year of build also need to be carefully reviewed. And of course, if you can happen to get inside, make sure the floor plan matches the catalog.
You already know I’ve located one in Springfield, which is documented. I’ve also spotted a possible in Cincinnati, one in Kettering, and just recently, one in Xenia. Let’s check those front details on the Springfield, Cincinnati, and Kettering houses first, then I’ll move on the one in Xenia.
overhang – check
brick façade pillars – check
small bracket on brick pillars – check
The possible Concord in Cincinnati has a garage in the visible lower level instead of a Recreation Room. This option was mentioned in the catalog. The house was built reversed from the catalog floor plan, another option that was available on all models the years The Concord was sold.
Below is the catalog page for The Homestead mentioned in the detail above. It has the garage in the basement as part of the plans, and not as an option. Also notice there is no overhang on the front of the house, and no dormer. I like how Sears says there is a “regular first floor level” in the details.
The possible Concord in Kettering doesn’t have the brick façade pillars, so, hmmmmm. And those brackets look a little larger than on the other houses I’ve seen, unless that’s just an optical illusion without the brick in place. Everything else checks out.
Now let’s have a good look at the house in Xenia.
The one in Xenia has original features shown in the catalog image, like the six over six windows, front door with four window panes and attached side porch.
The house in Xenia also has a single car garage like the catalog, but it is separated from the house by a small covered walkway.
When I sent a photo of this house to my research buddy, Lara, of Sears Homes of Chicagoland, she told me that walkway was a “Sears connector”. Lara is really good with the 1930’s Sears tri (quad) level models. I had to look it up. I found it in the catalog, but attached to a similar model, The Homecrest.
Notice the Homecrest has a flat front instead of the overhang as seen on The Concord. Also, The Homecrest has a bump out behind the side porch, which makes the dining room a bit larger.
Here’s a closer look at the connector walkway between the house and garage on The Concord model in Xenia.
That’s a nice original leaded glass window on the right side of the open arched doorway.
The Sears Concord in Xenia sits pretty on a lot with loads of trees behind it, and it was nice to get there earlier today and get photos, with all the leaves on the ground. The setting looks amazingly like a “real house photo” of this model shown in the front section of my 1938 catalog, but I know it is not, because the Xenia house doesn’t have a fireplace on the right by the side porch.
I know there are more Sears tri (quad) level models out there. We need to get busy and find them.
Thanks for following along!