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Happy Fall!

I love the Fall of the year.  It’s without  a doubt my favorite season.  If you know me personally, you might know that orange is my favorite color, so maybe that’s one of the reasons why Fall appeals to me.

Apparently, my love of Fall must prompt me to get out and about hunting up Sears Houses, because as I was going through my photo files (which aren’t very well organized), I discovered I have a lot of pictures of Sears Houses that are decorated for Fall or Halloween, or have lovely Fall colors in the landscaping.

Now that it has finally cooled off here in Ohio and feels more like Fall, I decided this would be a good time to share some of my photos.   I will post the models, the addresses, and when I took the photo in the captions.

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Harris Bros No 1000, 2126 Heritage Point Dr., Kettering Ohio. Photo taken Nov 6, 2015

Harris Bros No 1000 image 1923

How about this house being a perfect match to the catalog?  Just add a skelelton……

S Alhambra 221 North Shore R South Bend IN

Sears Alhambra, 221 W North Shore Dr., South Bend, IN. Photo taken Nov 1, 2016

Sears Alhambra image 1918

This Sears Kilbourne in Cincinnati was built reversed from the catalog offering.  No problem at time of ordering and no extra charge!

S Kilbourne 601 Rushton Rd CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Kilbourne, 601 Rushton Rd., Cincinnati Ohio – photo taken Oct 5, 2014

Sears Kilbourne image 1920.jpg

OK so the next one isn’t decorated for Fall, but it’s ORANGE!

S Puritan 412 S 23rd St L Richmond IN

Sears Puritan, 412 S 23rd St., Richmond IN. Photo taken Nov 18, 2018

Puritan image 1925

Nice original details on the front of this Sears Oakdale in Newtown, Ohio.

S Oakdale 6810 Main St R CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Oakdale, 6810 Main St, Newtown Ohio.   Photo taken Sept 29, 2014

Sears Oakdale image 1925

I got up close to this Sears Attleboro last year when the owners opened their home to the public for a Holiday Craft Sale.   There was a  bit of snow that day, which added a nice touch to the Fall leaves.  Lots of trees on this property, which makes it hard to see from the road.

Sears Attleboro 2904 Dayton Xenia Rd Beavercreek OH

Sears Attleboro, 2904 Dayton Xenia Rd., Beavercreek Ohio. Photo take Nov 16, 2018. 

Sears Attleboro imge on cover 1936 catalog

The Sears Attleboro was featured on the cover of the 1936 and 1938 Modern Homes catalogs.

One of the more unique Sears models, The Carroll.  Also built reversed from the catalog offering.

S Carroll 7230 Fernbank Ave Cincinnati OH 2

Sears Carroll, 7230 Fernbank Ave., Cincinnati Ohio. Photo taken Nov 12, 2018

Sears Carroll image 1931 catalog

You always hear that lot of Sears Houses were built close to the railroad tracks.  Well…….if that wasn’t the case, I guess you could try to bring the railroad tracks close to the house!

S Wilmore 6719 Home City Ave Cincinnati OH

Sears Wilmore (also called The Jewel), 6719 Home City Ave., Cincinnati Ohio. Photo taken Nov 12, 2018

Sears Wilmore image 1936 catalog

Just down the street from the Wilmore is this very well kept Sears Rochelle.

S Rochelle 6818 Home City Ave Cincinnati OH

Sears Rochelle, 6818 Home City Ave., Cincinnati Ohio.  Photo taken Nov 12, 2018

Sears Rochelle image 1930

I could go on and on…….but it’s a nice Fall day in Ohio.  Maybe I should get out there and take some new photos.

Thanks for following along.

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A Sears Osborn in Middletown

I can’t believe it has been over three weeks since my last blog post!  I always intend to do  a post once a week….. then I get busy with real life.

Sometimes I forget I even have a blog!  Then I check my backlog of emails and see that people have left comments, which I haven’t reviewed, and remember…….

Yeah…….I could do better with that.

Anyways, I promised that my next post would be about a house in Middletown that I have had on my “Sears House” radar for quite a while.  I took photos of it a couple of years back, but I wasn’t sold on it since it had a roof line difference from what was offered in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs.

Except for the fact that the house has “clipped” gables and the side porch has been enclosed, it’s a pretty close match to the Sears Osborn.

201 Monroe St Middletown OH (7)

Sears Osborn, 201 Monroe St., Middletown Ohio

osborn-image-1925

Sears House researchers are always a little bit skeptical, maybe too skeptical, about houses that aren’t a “spot on” match to the catalog offering.  Nobody knows better than we do that many, many Sears Houses were either changed a bit at time of ordering, or modified at time of construction.  This has been proven over and over again through our mortgage record and newspaper research.

So why are we still skeptical about houses that don’t match up?  Because just as many times, we find out they AREN’T Sears Houses.

Sigh…….

But now I have it from a descendant of the original owner that this is a Sears House. And I am in no position to argue with that!

Now for the FUN part of this blog post.  Said descendant of the original owner (thanks Cam) sent me vintage photos of the house!

I LOVE that.  And I think you will, too.

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John Petrocy family Sears Osborn, 201 Monroe St., Middletown Ohio

According to Cam, the granddaughter of the original  owner, John Petrocy was a concrete contractor, and built the house himself.

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201 Monroe St Middletown OH (8).jpg

Another thing that looks “off” on this house, comparing it to the catalog illustration, is the width of the front door, and the size of the front windows.  I am wondering if maybe those things were changed to save on the cost of the house.  While the Sears Osborn was offered as an “already cut and fitted” model, maybe John Petrocy ordered just the plans and building materials, and cut the lumber himself to save some money.  We may never know…….

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201 Monroe St Middletown OH (9).jpg

People, it gives me the chills to see that I took photos of this house ( a couple years ago) from the exact same angles as the vintage photos Cam sent me.

Cam also sent me a photo of her Grandfather standing on the front porch.

Petrocy Osbrn ghost

Using the photo above, and my own photo of the house……….well……..maybe I should have saved this post for Halloween.  😉

Petrocy Osborn ghost

It’s even cooler in black and white.

Petrocy Osborn ghost BW

These photos are a treasure, that’s for sure.   It’s not everyday I get old photos of Sears Houses, but I have gotten a bunch this year!

Check back occasionally, as I plan on featuring others in future posts.

Thanks for following along.

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A few “Sears Houses” in Monroe

Monroe, Ohio is a small city just off I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Up until this year, I knew pretty much nothing about Monroe.  All I ever saw of it was what was on “The Exit”.  You know the one.  Big Buttery Jesus…….Traders World……Premium Outlet Mall……..

Then, this past Spring, I was asked to give a Presentation at a General Meeting of the Monroe Historical Society.  It’s been a while since I have given a “stand still” type of talk, as usually I am guiding folks around neighborhoods here in Springfield on Walking Tours.

But as I had decided to take this year off from the Walking Tour schedule, the timing was perfect for me to freshen up my Power Point Presentation.

So off to Monroe I went, in the Spring, to have a drive around and check out the one house they already knew was a “Sears House”

Or was it?

Lewis San Fernando 110 Macready Monroe OH

Possible Lewis San Fernando, 110 Macready Ave., Monroe OH

Here’s the deal.  “Sears House” has become a generic name used to describe any house purchased as a kit from a mail order catalog.  And since there were other companies that sold houses besides Sears, sometimes a “Sears House” isn’t from Sears, Roebuck.

Some researchers get annoyed about it when a house from another company is referred to as a “Sears House”, but it doesn’t bother me a bit.  I am glad, and thankful, to have the information, and….it helps my research skills to track down models from some of the other companies.

So I’m pretty sure, and so is the family that has owned it for years, that their house is a “Sears House” from Lewis Mfg Co.

San Fernando image

The San Fernando from Lewis Homes – 1924 catalog

According to the family that attended my talk, there are a few things that don’t match up to either of the two floor plans that were offered for this model.  For one thing, the house has access to the attic area via a stairway that is not shown in the catalog.  Adding that stairway might have accounted for the few other small things that are different, like closet locations.  I am hopeful the owners may be able to find some documentation that will determine if the house is, indeed, from Lewis Homes.  We don’t have many Lewis models in our part of Ohio, so I was thrilled to see one in such good repair.

A couple houses down the street is this house, which matches up to a design offered by Montgomery Ward.

WW Monteroy (GVT Gilmore) 142 Macready Monroe OH right

Possible Wardway Monteroy, 142 Macready Ave., Monroe OH

WW Monteroy 1924 image

The house has had vertical siding added, making the identification a little tricky, but what caught my eye is the other side of the house.

WW Monteroy (GVT Gilmore) 142 Macready Monroe OH left

See that little bumped out area?  That’s the bathroom!  The Wardway Monteroy shows that in the catalog illustration of the floor plan.

WW Monteroy 1924 details

Around the corner from these two possible kit houses on Macready Ave., are two more houses that match a design offered by Montgomery Ward.

WW Florence 61 Ohio Ave Monroe OH right (2)

Possible Wardway Florence, 61 Ohio Ave., Monroe OH

The front of the house shows the detail to look for to get started identifying this one, with the front door flanked by half windows.

WW Florence 61 Ohio Ave Monroe OH

WW Florence image 1924

The house on Ohio Ave is reversed from the catalog offering.  That was a common change at order time.

The second house on Ohio Ave is right next door.  It’s the same model, but not as photogenic.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

So….are there any “real”  Sears Houses in Monroe?

YES!!!

Sears Homecrest 629 Lebanon St Monroe OH

Sears Homecrest, 629 Lebanon St., Monroe OH

 

I have to admit, I would have driven right past this house and not recognized it.  In fact……I did…..several times.  In my defense, it has been altered a bit.  The front porch has been enlarged and the dormer removed.  I am getting better at spotting one of the tri-level models that Sears offered, The Concord, but this is the Homecrest design.  The first one I have ever seen!

Anyways……I didn’t spot it.  And probably never would have.  So thanks to Reed, for contacting me, offering to give me a tour of Monroe, and showing me the pages of his copy of the original blueprints for the home his family built in 1939.

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Homecrest catalog 1938

I found a photo of the house taken before the porch was changed on the Butler County Auditor’s website.

Sears Homecrest 629 Lebanon St Monroe auditor 2005

The house still has the original door on the connector from the house to the garage.

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Reed says the doorbell is original, too, on this door.  He remembers ringing it repeatedly as a child.    “TURN CRANK”

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I loved having the opportunity to scout out Monroe, and had a wonderful evening sharing my finds, and hearing from their residents about their houses.

I also got some new information about a house in Middletown that has been on my radar for a while.  I will share that in my next post.

Thanks for following along.

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A Shout Out to Monroe

It’s been a crazy busy, Sears House Hunting year for me so far.  Probably the best one yet.

It’s hard to believe that I was feeling a little burned out with this hobby a couple of years back, and thinking about finding something new to occupy my time.  Then……I remembered how much I love these houses, and realized that I probably just needed to find some new and different ways to be involved in the “big picture” part of this deal, which is to track down houses, and find more ways to promote awareness.

And I’ve done that this year by working harder at finding on line records, and then this Summer, making quite a few trips to new areas here in Ohio, with the focus on getting mortgage records.

Mortgage records lead to Sears Houses.  And sometimes, those Sears Houses lead to more Sears Houses……in the same neighborhoods, villages, and towns.  And while doing that, I’ve been blessed to see other great homes and buildings along the way.   And meet some really nice people.

Some of those really nice people showed up for a Presentation I was asked to give last week at a General Meeting of the Monroe Historical Society.

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The room was full, and the folks were so very interested in hearing me talk…. and talk….. and talk….. about Sears Houses.

And during and after, several people shared their own stories about Sears Houses.  Some had grown up in one, or lived in one at some point, or was living in one now!  Those stories make the whole thing come alive.  Houses from Sears, Roebuck, are part of our architectural history, but when you hear stories about the families that built or lived in one,  it becomes my own personal history.

So thanks, Monroe.  For asking me.  I had a blast!

 

 

 

 

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A Wardway Cranford in Marion

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”  said the white rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

Some days I can relate to that.

This has been a Summer of Sears House Hunting for me.  We took several weeks off from our work, and because of that, I’ve been trying to get out and about a least one day every week, to hunt down mortgage records and look for houses.

So……..because of that……..I am behind on labeling photos, actually looking for the houses that go along with the mortgage records I’ve found, and……sharing some of the houses I have found here on my little blog.

It’s a good problem to have, in this case, to be a little behind.

As I am based in Southeast Ohio, I am in the Sears, Roebuck laden area for kit houses.  On mortgage record research trips to small area Counties, I usually find several mortgages that lead me to Sears Homes, but zero, or maybe one, mortgage record for homes purchased from Montgomery Ward.

On a recent trip to Marion County, I did find that one occasional mortgage record for a Wardway Home.

Background info: Wardway Homes was the name used by  Montgomery Ward, who sold houses as kits through specialty mail order catalogs.  Sears, Roebuck started out selling house plans in 1908, and Montgomery Ward followed a year later, in 1909.

Montgomery Ward didn’t sell near as many homes as Sears, and discontinued that part of their business toward the end of 1931.  Sears stayed in the home selling business until 1942.

On Nov 24, 1930, a mortgage for $5,350 was issued to George A Hultz for two lots (8387 and 8388) in a plat with the crazy name “South-We Go”.

Now I have to tell you, I totally did not find the house when I went looking for it the day I got the mortgage record.  My Granddaughter and I drove around the block so many times trying to figure out which house it was, based on the plat map, that we were starting to get dirty looks from the neighbors working outside in their yards.

Here’s part of the plat map, with the two lots circled.

South We Go plat map Marion Ohio.png

 

When I looked at this plat map, I was pretty confident the house would be on Uncapher St., and that’s where we drove around and around and around again.  No house I could ID as being from Wardway.

We moved on.

Later that night, I pulled up the area on Google Maps, to see if maybe I had misinterpreted where the lot was.

I still don’t entirely understand how the plat map relates to the current Google Map, but by going back and forth between the maps and the Auditor’s website, I was able to find the correct lots.  Eventually.

Google Map of 954 Westwood Marion OH

A lot of things have changed in this little area in the last 90 years.  Here’s what the legal description for the house looks like now.

Auditor description 954 Westwood Marion

 

It’s no wonder I didn’t find the house when we were driving around and around and around the block……..because………it sits sideways on the lot!

At one time I’m sure it did face a street……or maybe the alley…….but no more.  And since I was driving, and looking at the houses facing the street, I missed it.

No matter.  I did find it, and went back the next day for my very own pictures of Ohio’s first ever located Wardway Cranford.

Wardway Cranford 954 Westwood Ave Marion OH 2 (Riordan)

Wardway Cranford, 954 Westwood Ave., Marion, Ohio

 

Now don’t let me lead you on.  Other researchers have located Wardway Cranford models through the years.  We currently have 32 Cranford models listed on our Wardway Homes list, but the majority of them (24) are in Michigan.  Apparently it was a very popular model up there.  I guess I need to look harder for them here in Ohio, because us Buckeyes don’t like it when Michigan wins.

Now that I have seen one “for real”, they should be easier for me to spot.

The Wardway Cranford is an odd combination of architectural styles, in my opinion.  From the front, it looks like an English Tudor.  The catalog showed the false front gable peak with half timbering over a four paned picture window.  What makes this odd is that the Cranford is a Dutch Colonial with a Gambrel style roof line.

Wardway Cranford image 1929

Here’s the side of the Cranford model in Marion that faces the street.  It’s clearly a Dutch Colonial from this angle.

Wardway Cranford 954 Westwood Ave Marion OH 4 (Riordan)

See that large evergreen tree on the right?  That’s what blocked my view of the front of the house when I was driving around and around and around the block.  ( That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. )

Wardway Cranford 954 Westwood Ave Marion OH 3 (Riordan)

Wardway Cranford, 954 Westwood Ave., Marion Ohio

 

I’m so glad to have located this Wardway Home in Marion.  I’ll be sharing a few more finds from my trip those two days.  Eventually.

Thanks for following along.

 

 

 

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The Sears No. 201 in Prospect

I hate skipping over all the houses we’ve located recently in Middletown, Reading, Sidney, and Wapakoneta……..but……..when something really special comes along…….this  gal’s got to share it.

No 264P201 image - 1914 catalog

The No 201 from the 1914 catalog

I’ve been wanting to go to Marion for a while now, to check for mortgage records, and do some looking around.  I’ve been there before, but not with the specific intent of tracking down Sears Houses.

The last time I was there, I was with my daughter and grandkids on a day trip to see the sites, like The Harding House and The Harding Memorial.  Both are eye candy.

This time, I had my granddaughter only in tow, as she has developed an interest in this crazy hobby of mine, and wanted to help with house hunting.

We started our day at the Marion County Recorder’s Office.  Thankfully, they had “real books” of mortgage indexes, and not just microfilm.  That makes the process so much quicker, in my opinion.

After a bit of trouble figuring out what books had the correct dates for Sears mortgages, we got started.  My granddaughter caught on to the process pretty quickly, but, like many kids these days, had a bit of trouble deciphering the old hand written records.  Some of the index books had been re-done and were typed, so she handled those.

While we didn’t find many mortgage records, 6 for Sears Roebuck, and 1 for Montgomery Ward, one of the mortgages was for a parcel in the village of Prospect.

After we got everything we needed, we grabbed a pizza at The Warehouse, then headed to another destination we had planned on…..

The Wyandot Popcorn Museum

You gotta go.  You just gotta.

IMG_6692

We had a great docent with loads of information on Marion’s history, and its connection to popcorn and Cracker Jacks, among other things.  The Museum is also home to the Marion County Historical Society.

Of course, we were given popcorn on our way out the door, so we had plenty of snacks for our trip home.  We already had a box with several slices of pizza!

We did drive around Marion a bit, but were unable to locate the one parcel that had a Montgomery Ward mortgage.  ( Don’t worry.  I found it later. )

The Sears mortgages were all Township legal descriptions outside of Marion city limits, so I knew those would require a bit of on line searching once I got home.

But…..we did have that one mortgage for Prospect.  We headed towards the village, since it was on our way home.

Prospect is a sweet little village of about 500 houses, and we had already kinda sorta figured out where the parcel was with the Sears mortgage attached, so it didn’t take us long to find it.

IMG_6703

Sears Berwyn, 701 North St., Prospect Ohio. Documented with a mortgage record.  Built reversed from the catalog illustration.

 

Sears Berwyn image 1930

 

I know.  I know.  Where’s the No. 201?

Well….we didn’t spy it on our quick drive around the village, and it was getting late in the afternoon, so we headed home.

OH!  I forgot to mention……I did already know a No. 201 had been built in Prospect.  Sears told us so in their 1914 catalog.

The No. 264P201 is a really long way of saying the No. 201.

No 201 in Prospect Ohio mention

I was disappointed we didn’t spot the house while we were there…..but……later that night, when other people in my house ( husband ) were watching TV,  I did what I do sometimes ( a lot of times ).  I looked for the house.  In this instance, I did that by working my way methodically through all the houses in Prospect on the Marion County Auditor’s website.  They have pictures.

AND…….I found it!!!

So……the next day……this gal’s birthday……said husband drove me back to Prospect to see it “for real” and get my very own photos.

And what a house!

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

The house appears to be all original on the exterior.  The Auditor’s website states the year of build is 1912, which is probably correct, since we know Sears mentioned it in its 1914 catalog.

Wow.  100 hundred plus years old, and nobody has messed with it.

YAY!!!

Of course, after drooling for a bit, I took about 100 pictures.  Here’s a few.

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

The No. 201 was offered primarily in the years before Sears started their “Already Cut and Fitted” method of furnishing the framing lumber.  Since what you got had to be cut on site, the models in those early years tended to be more complicated.  This house has several angles, which you can see in the floor plan illustration.

No 264P201 floor plan - 1914 catalog

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

 

After getting this close, I realized the house even has the original art glass windows included with this model.

 

 

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

And those pillars!

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

I’m in love with this house.  So much so, I am thinking of writing to the owner, and asking him to let me know if he ever wants to sell it.

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Sears No. 201, 708 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

 

After hanging around a bit longer, we moved on.

As we were heading out, I spotted what could be another Sears House.  This one is The Uriel.

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Possible Sears Uriel, 505 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

The house’s brackets and “notches” on the porch header aren’t what I have seen before on this model, so I’m not 100% sure.   Other than that, everything looks right.

Sears Uriel 1923 catalog

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Possible Sears Uriel, 505 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

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Possible Sears Uriel, 505 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

Another reason I am pretty sure The Uriel is the “real deal” from Sears, Roebuck, is that two doors down is what is most likely a house from a different mail order catalog company.

Aladdin Pomona 1919 catalog (1)

The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan sold houses as kits for longer than Sears but is not as well known.  The Pomona was one of their most popular models, and is found frequently here in Ohio.

Aladdin Pomona 509 Park Ave Propsect OH right

Aladdin Pomona, 509 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

This Pomona has been vinyl sided and has the front porch enclosed, but it still has a few of the original details.  You can see the stick work over the front porch in the next photo.  The porch pillars match as well, including the half one, which sometimes has had a support added over the years.

Aladdin Pomona 509 Park Ave Prospect OH

Aladdin Pomona, 509 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

On the left side, several of the distinctive Aladdin brackets can be seen as well.  Those brackets are what caught my eye as we were driving past.

Aladdin Pomona 509 Park Ave Prospect OH left

Aladdin Pomona, 509 Park Ave., Prospect Ohio

We did go into Marion briefly as well, so I could get pictures of that Montgomery Ward house I mentioned earlier.  I’ll save that home for another post.

Thanks for following along.

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Sears House Hunters meet up – Day 3

If you’ve been following along, you know a few members of our Sears House research team had a meet up in the Cleveland area in June.

This post will focus on the third day, Sunday.

We didn’t get together on Sunday, since it was a travel day for all of us.  But we all did get to see some Sears Houses on our way back to our own parts of our Sears House Hunting world.

Judith decided on a quick trip up north to see the lake before she headed to the airport for her flight back to the St Louis area.  While she was up there she did a quick tour of Lakewood, and took this photo of a colorful Sears Honor.

Sears Honor 1524 Saint Charles Ave Lakewood OH 2 (JEC photo)

Sears Honor, 1524 Saint Charles Ave., Lakewood OH  ( Photo courtesy of Judith Chabot )

The Sears Honor in Lakewood sits on a corner lot, so if it looks like what we expect to be the front door is closed up, it is!  The owners are using the side of the house that faces the other street for the main entrance.

Sears Honor 1524 Saint Charles Ave Lakewood OH (JEC photo)

Side view of a Sears Honor in Lakewood, Ohio. This side is being used as the main entrance to the home. ( Photo courtesy of Judith Chabot )

 

image 1920

floor plan 1918

Andrew also stopped on his way home to Michigan to have a look at a few more houses in Elyria.  Unfortunately, due to a problem later in the week, he lost all the photos he took during our weekend outing.  Now he will have to go back to Elyria and get new photos soon.

RIGHT, ANDREW?!?!?

That leaves Marie and I.  We headed down south through Medina once again.  After a quick look at a few houses we already knew about, we decided to head towards Mansfield by way of Ashland.  We couldn’t get to Ashland on our way up on St Rt 42 due to water covering the road, but hoped it had cleared and was open by now.

Well……..we would never know for sure, because not too far south of Medina we came across a different road closure, and had to reroute again, heading east toward the Interstate.

So…..what do Sears House Hunters do when faced with such an issue?

Ha!  We look for Sears Houses somewhere else.

Like Wooster.

Since I hadn’t printed a list for Wooster for our weekend, Marie did a quick look at our on line database to see if we had any houses already identified there.

Yep!  On our way!

Almost as soon as we got to the edge of town, Marie spotted a Sears Crescent.  The house is being used as an insurance company office now, and since it was Sunday, we were able to pull in the parking lot and get photos easily.

Sears Crescent 2708 Cleveland Rd Wooster OH

Sears Crescent, 2708 Cleveland Rd., Wooster Ohio

Sears Crescent image 1925

We spotted a few more houses on Cleveland Rd. that need further review, then drove around a few blocks and spotted this lovely Sears Lewiston with a brick facade.

Sears Lewiston 430 Highland Wooster OH

Sears Lewiston , 430 Highland Ave., Wooster Ohio

Sears Lewiston image 1930

Then on we go to see a couple of houses already on “the list”.

It needs some love, but it is clearly a Sears Amsterdam.  Thanks to Lara for locating this one a while back.

Sears Amsterdam 1502 Beall St Wooster OH (2)

Sears Amsterdam, 1502 Beall St., Wooster Ohio

 

Sears Amsterdam 1502 Beall St Wooster OH door details

Distinctive door details on the Sears Amsterdam

Sears Amsterdam 1502 Beall St Wooster OH rear 2

Rear view of a Sears Amsterdam at 1502 Beall St., Wooster Ohio

Sears Amsterdam catalog 1926

Another house that has been on “the list” for so long we don’t even know who located it, is this Sears Belmont.   This was a common house design  that was offered by Sears and included in many plan books of the time, so documentation is really important when we see a house like this.  (This is true of many Sears House designs.)

Sears Belmont 1120 N Bever Wooster OH

Possible Sears Belmont, 1120 N Bever St., Wooster Ohio

Sears Belmont catalog 1931

Wooster has some great architecture, and we plan to go back to do some more looking around, and see if there are mortgage records available for our Sears House locating process.

Time is passing, and we’ve had a big weekend, so we decide to head out towards home, but still want to avoid the Interstate.

So…….where does that road take us?

Mount Vernon

Again, Marie checked “the list” for what had already been identified, and sees that Judith located a Sears Belmont there!

But……it’s the OTHER Sears Belmont.

Sears used the name Belmont twice during their house selling years, once for a lovely California style bungalow between 1916 and 1921, then for the brick English style home, shown above, in the early 1930’s.

Here’s the early one.

Sears Belmont image 1918

The house in Mount Vernon has the front porch enclosed, but it sure looks like the real deal.

Sears Belmont 109 Potwin St Mount Vernon OH right

Sears Belmont, 109 Potwin St., Mount Vernon Ohio

And while I was taking photos of the house above, Marie wandered off because she “saw something”.

Yep!  She sure did!

Right around the corner was this Sears Argyle.

Sears Argyle 102 Oak St Mount Vernon OH left 2

Sears Argyle, 102 Oak St., Mount Vernon Ohio

Argyle 1918 Image

Sears Argyle and Belmont Mount Vernon OH

By now, we really needed to make tracks for home, so we did.

What a great day we had in the Cleveland area, and what a great way to cap it off, by seeing more Sears Houses in Ohio on the way home.

Since our meet up in Cleveland, I have been out and about several times.  I went back to Middletown where I spotted a few more Sears Houses ( no surprise ), then spent a few hours in Reading another day.

A quick trip to Logan County to look for mortgage records netted a Wardway Home in Lakeview, then Marie and I did another day trip a bit north of us to Sidney and Wapakoneta.

Keep watching and……..

Thanks for following along!

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Sears House Hunters meet up – Day 2

This summer is flying by!  It seems like forever ago we had our Sears House Hunters meet up in Cleveland, but in fact, it’s only been a few weeks.

I better get some details down in here, since it’s like my very own Sears House Hunting journal, before I forget what all we saw!

It would take way too long to list all the houses we drove by on Saturday of our weekend.  I tried to keep count, but may have missed a few, in our excitement over nice homes, and new finds.   In all, we passed by about 75 Sears Houses!  WOW!

We started the day out meeting up in Independence, Ohio.  That’s a bit south of Cleveland, but still in Cuyahoga County, which was to be our focus for the day.  We hopped in Judith’s rental car, a nice spacious  Jeep Grand Cherokee, and with Andrew as navigator, headed out.  Marie was in the front with Judith, so she could use her eagle eye to spot new houses.  (And she did)  I was in the back, taking notes.

Since I wasn’t driving, and wasn’t navigating, I couldn’t actually tell you our exact path, but I know we drove some streets in Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, Bedford, Warrensville Heights, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, Lyndurst, and Mayfield Heights.  Then…..we wandered outside of Cuyahoga County into Lake County, where we toured a bit of Wickliffe and Willoughby.  Not necessarily in that order, but pretty close, I think.

Cleveland route

 

Of course, we didn’t stop at all the houses along our way, just ones that were especially nice, or models one of us hadn’t seen before in real life….. or just because.

Here’s a sampling of some of the houses we did actually stop the car to see from the sidewalk, which is definitely a better view than from the car, like you would get on Google Maps.  Well….. all our views were better that Google Maps, because we were going slower, and did pull to the curb if there was traffic.

Sears Glendale 10212 Plymouth Ave Garfield Heights OH left

Sears Glendale, 10212 Plymouth Ave., Garfield Heights OH

 

The Sears Glendale was offered as early as 1911,  as the No. 148.  Around 1916, Sears changed their models from numbers to names.  The Glendale model in Garfield Heights was built around 1919, according to tax information.  It has an added dormer and a side door.  I have seen this change on other Glendale models in the Cincinnati area.  The side door works well with the floor plan, because that is where the basement stairs are.  This home still has the original leaded glass window panes shown in the catalog illustration.

Sears Glendale image 1918

 

One of the houses on my “must see” list for Cuyahoga County was a home, not from Sears, but from Montgomery Ward.

WW Coventry 10608 Grace Ave Garfield Heights OH left

Wardway Coventry, 10608 Grace Ave., Garfield Heights Ohio

Wardway Coventry 1931 catalog

This catalog page was available on Google images.

In Bedford, we stopped by this Sears Lakecrest model.  It’s always been a bit of a puzzle as to why this house didn’t appear in the Sears catalogs until 1931.  It’s a very common bungalow design and by 1931, those were a bit out of style.   We’re sure this is a “real deal” Sears House because it is documented with a mortgage record.

Sears Lakecrest 81 Tudor Ave Bedford OH left

Sears Lakecrest, 81 Tudor Ave., Bedford Ohio

Sears Lakecrest 1931 catalog

Up the road a bit in Warrensville Heights, we saw this wonderful example of a Sears Kilbourne.  We stopped for this one because Judith had never seen one “for real”.

Sears Kilbourne 20009 Gladstone Rd Warrensville OH (JEC photo)

Sears Kilbourne, 20009 Gladstone Rd, Warrensville Heights, Ohio   (Photo by Judith Chabot)

Sears Kilbourne image 1925

In Cleveland Heights, we got an invite to see the INSIDE of a Sears Ashmore.  That story would be a whole separate blog post.  Good thing Judith already took care of that!

Sears Ashmore in Cleveland Heights

After lunch we headed for Lyndhurst, where there was another model on my “need to see” list, a Sears Gateshead.

Sears Gateshead 5240 Edenhurst Rd Lyndhurst OH left

Sears Gateshead, 5240 Edenhurst Rd., Lyndhurst Ohio

 

The Gateshead is considered a rare model.  To date, only 4 of them have been located, and 2 of them are in Cuyahoga County!

The catalog image is available at Antique Home

Sears Gateshead catalog image

Another model we don’t see very often is the Sears Hammond.  Lyndurst has two!  One we already had on our list from deed research.  The second one, I spotted on our drive around the area.

Sears Hammond 5280 Spencer Rd Lyndhurst OH right

Sears Hammond, 5280 Spencer Rd., Lyndhurst Ohio. Built reversed from the catalog image

 

Sears Hammond image 1932

Up the road in Wickcliffe,  we saw spied this Sears Westly.

Sears Westly 1805 Maple St Wickliffe OH

Sears Westly, 1805 Maple St., Wickliffe Ohio

s-westly-image-1925

 

And in Willoughby, another.  The Westly was a very popular model.

Sears Westly 4765 Waldamere Ave Willoughby OH

Sears Westly, 4765 Waldamere Ave., Willoughby Ohio

And a Sears Windsor, getting a new roof.

Sears Windsor 37504 2nd St Willoughby OH

Sears Windsor, 37504 2nd St., Willoughby Ohio

Sears Windsor image 1922

I could go on and on, but like I said earlier, no way to share them all!  Cuyahoga and Lake County delivered what we set out for.  A nice day out seeing houses, great weather, and some of our group got to meet each other “for real” at last.

Our weekend didn’t end here.  Marie and I took a different route home on Sunday, and had more great finds.  I will share some of those in my next post, which I hope, will be sooner rather than later.

Thanks for following along.

 

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Sears House Hunters meet up

My research group talks and talks and talks about having a “meet-up” someday to share our love for “Sears Houses”, and go out and find more.

Well…….guess what?!?!?

We finally did it!

Well, a few of us did, anyways.  It would be so hard to get our full group together, if not impossible,  when we all live in different states, and have real lives that need attending to.

But not too long ago, in June, four of us carved out a couple of days to meet up in…..

CLEVELAND!!!

We already knew there were train loads of Sears Houses in Cuyahoga County, from our on line deed record and newspaper research.  But we also knew there would be plenty more to find.  And since the Cleveland area was somewhat convenient for several of us, we decided to do it.

On a Wednesday, Judith flew in from St Louis, planning to spend a full day Thursday at the Cuyahoga County Archives to hunt up mortgage records.  (Sears offered financing plans for the houses they sold as kits through their mail order catalogs, and that is one of the best ways to get started finding out where the houses were built.)

Then on Thursday, Andrew drove over from his (Sears) home in Novi, Michigan, stopping in Lorain County along his way, also to do some mortgage record research.

Then on Friday, my research partner Marie and I headed up from our Dayton/Springfield area, stopping in Richland County and Medina County to see if we could also grab a few leads from mortgage records.

Here we are, ready to go!

IMG_6371

Marie and Cindy, part of the “Sears House” Hunters group

 

Of course, there would be no Sears Houses to find along the way if we took the Interstate, so we headed up the back roads to get to St Rt 42, which pretty much parallels I-71 all the way to Cleveland, in the hopes of spotting some new houses for “The List”.

Marie hadn’t been to Delaware yet, and they have some great Sears Houses, so we drove around just a bit so I could show her a few homes that had already been located.  This Sears Columbine, which went through a major restoration a few years back, was one I wanted her to see “for real”.

Sears Columbine 248 W Lincoln Ave Delaware OH 6-21-2019

Sears Columbine, 248 W Lincoln Ave, Delaware Ohio

Here’s what it looked like when I stopped a few years back, pretty close to the restoration being complete.  I talked to the contractor, and he said the owners had some original sales paperwork from Sears.  How cool is that?

S Columbine 248 W Lincoln Ave 1 CCat Delaware OH

After lunch in Cardington (a town I had never heard of before), we spotted what is most likely a Sears Elmwood up the road a little ways.

Sears Elmwood 97 W Marion Mt Gilead OH

Sears Elmwood, 97 W Marion St., Mount Gilead Ohio

The Elmwood model had an open porch on the front of the second story.  It’s pretty rare to find one that still has that.  Most all have been modified since time of build to enclose that porch.   Sears offered the same design later with the porch already closed in.  It was renamed “The Sunbeam”.

Sears Elmwood image 1921

Sears Sunbeam image 1925

Onward to Mansfield, where we stopped at the Richland County Recorder’s Office to see about mortgage records.  No luck there, as the indexes we needed were not available, and we didn’t want to spend a lot of time paging through a lot of old books individually.  That could be done another time.

Time to make tracks to Medina County, where planned to spend Friday night.

We were hoping to do a quick drive around Ashland on the way, but due to all the rain we had, St Rt 42 was actually under water and closed to through traffic just south of there, so we did have to detour over to……sigh…….the Interstate.

We did get to Medina in time to stop at their Recorder’s Office, again on the hunt for those sometimes elusive mortgage records.  Again, no luck, as Medina County didn’t index in a way that would make them easy to research for our purpose.  We did manage to get a few names from a mortgage release book, but I haven’t had a chance to track those down yet.

I had reviewed “The List” before we headed to Cleveland, and highlighted a few houses that I wanted to see on our trip.  A couple of them were in Medina, so we headed out to stalk them.

Here’s one that my mentor, Rebecca Hunter, identified as a Sears Savoy.  It’s a beautiful house in person!

Sears Savoy 831 S Court St Medina OH right

Sears Savoy, 831 S Court St., Medina OH

Sears Savoy 831 S Court St Medina OH

No 264P233 1916 catalog

This numbered model from the 1916 catalog was later renamed “The Savoy”. Catalog illustration courtesy of Daily Bungalow

Another older model that we researchers don’t see everyday is the No 124.  Medina has one of those, too!

I couldn’t get a photo showing off all the distinctive features due to landscaping, but it matches the catalog images perfectly.

Sears No 124 915 Wadsworth Rd Medina OH 1

Sears No 124, 915 Wadsworth Rd., Medina OH

Sears No 124 915 Wadsworth Rd Medina OH 2

Sears No 124 image 1914

After touring a bit more of Medina, Marie and I headed for Brunswick where we planned to spend the night.

A little bit later we met up with Andrew and Judith and toured Parma, Ohio before grabbing some dinner.

Parma has 21 Sears Houses on “The List”, and we were able to drive by about half of them in the time we had.

Of note was this Sears Pittsburgh model.

Sears Pittsburgh 5902 Brownfield Dr Parma OH right

Sears Pittsburgh, 5902 Brownfield Dr., Parma OH

Sears Pittsburgh 5902 Brownfield Dr Parma OH left

Sears Pittsburgh image 1928

The house in Parma was built reversed from the catalog offering, an option that was offered on many designs by Sears, Roebuck.  While it doesn’t match the catalog exactly, we know it is one because it had a mortgage and was foreclosed on by Sears, giving it solid documentation records.

It’s crazy to find a Sears PITTSBURGH in Ohio.  Our research team member Karen, who lives in Pittsburgh, has identified about 150 of them in the Pittsburgh area, but this is only one of two that have been located in Ohio.  The other one is in Cincinnati.

Marie and I had a great start to our Sears House Hunters meet up weekend.

My next blog post will be about the houses we checked out, and new ones we found, during our full day Saturday street survey.

Thanks for following along!

 

 

 

 

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A Sears Hathaway in Bexley

I’ll bet you all think I haven’t been hunting down Sears Houses for a while, since I haven’t done a post since the end of April.  Yeah, well, if you thought that, you were wrong!

I’ve just been so busy with family, friends, and a large work project, that I haven’t sat down at my computer long enough to put something together for this little blog.

I’ve worked in visits to so many places around my area in the last several weeks that  even I have forgotten where all I’ve been!  And, I’ve seen all kinds of Sears Houses, and I’ve loved them all.

I do have a great story I want to tell though, about a house I saw when I went to Bexley, Ohio a couple weeks ago. I sort of invited myself over there to meet up with a gal from their Historic Preservation group. She contacted me through this little blog and was very interested in the Sears Houses that had been identified there.  Their group wanted more detailed information, so the houses could be included in their preservation plan.

After meeting up at a local coffee shop,  we hopped in her car with the list of addresses, my copy of “Houses by Mail”, and a mission to see some great houses.

Our first stop was only a few blocks away from our meeting place, so within minutes we were having a close up look at what was as yet an undocumented Sears Hathaway model.

Hathaway image 1928

The probable Hathaway in Bexley had a bit of a difference in the way the front porch was attached to the main body of the house, from what is shown in the catalog.  If you can see it in the illustration above, the porch is off set to the left of the actual house.

Here’s the first floor diagram,  showing how that was designed.

Hathaway first floor 1928 off set porch

Also note that above the floor plan illustration, it states that The Hathaway can be built on a lot that is 36 feet wide.  The house itself is only 24 feet wide, but that extended porch adds some symmetry to the kitchen extension on the right and gives the illusion of a larger home.

But what if you had a fairly narrow city lot?  Those were common in platted neighborhoods in cities in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Could you have asked Sears to move that porch over a bit so this particular house would fit on this 41 foot wide lot, and still have room for a driveway?

Of course you could!  Sears was happy to make those kind of changes to their house kits at time of ordering.

Is that what happened here, as this house doesn’t have that off set front porch?

Sears Hathaway 971 Euclaire Bexley OH 1

Sears Hathaway, 971 Euclaire Ave., Bexley OH

 

I hopped out for a closer look and to get photos, and YAY!, the owner sees us and comes out to see what’s up.

After explaining what we were about, and telling her she might have a house purchased from Sears, Roebuck, we get a WONDERFUL! invite to see the inside.

It didn’t take me long to spot the tell tale plinth blocks along the stairway to know this was probably a real deal Sears House.  Plinth blocks were a common feature of house kits.  They were used in place of the more complicated angled joints where mill work came together when the house was constructed.  The idea was that an unskilled person could more easily put the house together.  Remember, it was a kit.

Sears Hathaway 971 Euclaire Bexley OH 4a.png

Sears Hathaway 971 Euclaire Bexley OH 5a.png

Next, I asked the owner if there was any original door hardware.  Yes, indeed, all the doors and hardware were original, and they matched one of the designs offered in the Sears catalogs.

Sears Hathaway 971 Euclaire Bexley OH 6.JPG

Stratford design, as shown in the Sears Modern Home catalogs, and included with many house kits sold by Sears in the 1920’s.

stratford hardware

 

Well, now I’m sure this a Sears Hathaway, but it never hurts to ask…………got any exposed framing lumber in the basement?  We could look for stenciled lumber.

Found that, too!

Sears Hathaway 971 Euclaire Bexley OH 7a

Stenciled lumber found in a Sears Hathaway at 971 Euclaire Ave in Bexley, Ohio. (Photo is copyright Stacy Grossman and may not be used without permission.)

 

Sears marked their lumber with a letter followed by three numbers.  We found the markings on the back of basement stair risers.   I turned the photo sideways so we could more easily see the numbers.  The letter is either faded or concealed by the stair stringer.

It’s always great to come across an owner who is interested in the history of their house, and this owner was thrilled to get the information we provided.

Here’s another picture of the house from the angle seen in the Sears catalog.

Sears Hathaway 971 Euclaire Bexley OH 2

Sears Hathaway, 971 Euclaire Ave, Bexley OH

If you are a Sears House researcher, you might notice that the house next door with the brick front looks like “something”, and you would be right!  That something is a Sears Mayfield, and it was the second stop on our list of houses to visit.

Sears Mayfield 1940 catalog

Sears Mayfield from the 1940 catalog

 

Sears Mayfield 977 Euclaire Bexley OH 1

Sears Mayfield, 977 Euclaire Ave., Bexley OH

I had originally identified this house as a Sears Berwyn, totally forgetting that Sears changed the name of The Berwyn to Mayfield about 1933.

This Mayfield model is special as it was built in 1941, a year after the last Sears Modern Home catalog was published.  I located this house from an article I found in the Columbus Dispatch, mentioning a number of Sears homes that were under construction, dated 20 July, 1941.  I love old newspapers!

Sears Mayfield 977 Euclaire Ave Bexley OH 2Sears Mayfield 977 Euclaire Ave Bexley OH 3

I thoroughly enjoyed the few hours I spent getting a tour of the Sears Homes in Bexley, and getting to chat with a few of its residents.  I’m hoping to go back soon, for some additional house hunting.

I’ve already shown you the Sears Tarryton model in Bexley in an earlier blog post, and I will feature a few more of their homes in a later post.

Thanks for following along.