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  Remember, these catalogs were advertising publications, not historical documents.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.

Screenshot (1039)

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.

Screenshot (1083)

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.


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A Home Builders Crestwood in Urbana

While the main purpose of this blog is to showcase houses that were purchased as kits through the Sears Modern Homes catalogs, occasionally I will feature something different.

This blog post is one of those “something different” ones.

Although Sears sold houses by mail from roughly 1908 to 1940, I generally focus on the smaller time period of the 1920’s.   I like those styles the best, and since that was the largest sales period for Sears Houses, there are more of them to be found.  At least in my area.

But I also look through the “plan” or “pattern” books of the same period, to compare styles that Sears offered to other designs that were available at the time.  Many of those are available for viewing on websites like Antique Home.

But the “Big Daddy” of pattern books of the 1920’s, in my opinion, is the Home Builders Catalog.

Screenshot (1263)

Published annually from 1926 to 1931 (those are the years I have seen for sale on line), the book was around 1200 pages. The first 500 to 600 pages featured information and advertisements for all kinds of stuff you would need to build a house, and the rest of the book showed more than 500 plans that you could purchase from the company.  Twenty bucks got you two sets of blueprints, a list of building materials, specifications sheets and contract forms.

The book was distributed mainly through local lumber companies,  and in my research, I have found that local builders and developers also offered the plans to prospective home buyers.

I’ve identified several Home Builders designs  right here in my hometown of Springfield, and I knew there was one in nearby Urbana as well. So on Sunday, while attending the CCPA (Champaign County Preservation Alliance) Home & Garden Tour, I made an extra stop to get photos of the house.

It’s The Crestwood.

1927 image

From the 1927 Home Builders Catalog

While the house itself was an English Cottage style, the interior was way ahead of its time with a two story living room!

1927 floor plan

And the one in Urbana is a beauty!  Maybe someday it will be on the Home & Garden Tour, and I’ll get to see if it has that two story living room.

120 S High Urbana 2

The Crestwood design from the Home Builders Catalog. 120 S High St., Urbana.

And if you’ve got an hour to spare, you can look through the plans that were offered in the 1928 Home Builders Catalog here.


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A Sears Hamilton in Piqua

The Hamilton must have been one of the most popular models that Sears sold as a kit through their mail order catalogs, based on the number of them that have been located to date.  There are currently 94 listed on the National Database of Sears Homes, of which 29 are right here in Ohio.  Here’s the image of The Hamilton from the 1928 Modern Homes catalog.

1928 image

It’s a pretty distinctive little bungalow, with a clipped gable dormer on the front and a matching one in the dining room bump out on the side.

Today we were running an errand in near to us Piqua, and not being familiar with the area, I turned the wrong way to get on S Main St.  And ended up on E Main St.  Confusing!  Anyway, since we were already turned around, we decided to grab a quick lunch and headed toward the shopping area by the Interstate.  As we were getting ready to turn a corner onto Looney Rd ( yes, there is a road named Looney in Piqua), I spotted that familiar clipped gable on a house nearby.  So after lunch, we headed back that way, and sure enough, it appears to be a Sears Hamilton.

S Hamilton 1225 Garbry Rd R CCat Piqua OH

Probable Sears Hamilton at 1225 Garbry Rd in Piqua

This one is reversed from the catalog image.  Sears offered that option on many models with no additional charge. While the house has been sided, it retains the original windows that were shown with this design in the 1928 catalog.  This house was built in 1928, according to the Miami Co Auditor’s website.

Here’s the front view

S Hamilton 1225 Garbry Rd CCat Piqua OH

And the other side

S Hamilton 1225 Garbry L CCat Piqua OH

Here’s the floor plan and catalog details, also from the 1928 catalog.

floor plan 1925

This Hamilton model is the second Sears House in Piqua on the our National List.  The other is a documented Lewiston at 829 Covington.  (Note to self – check the National List before you leave town, so you can get pictures of houses.)

Screenshot (1252)

Sears Lewiston at 829 Covington, Piqua.  (Documented with a mortgage record.)  Photo from Miami Co Auditor website

Here’s the Lewiston image from the 1936 catalog.  The one in Piqua was built in 1935, according to their Auditor. The house above is also reversed from the catalog offering.

Screenshot (1253)

Not that we know there are Sears Houses in Piqua, the hunt will be on to locate more.  Bet we find them!








A Sears Gladstone in Springfield

My last blog post was about a lovely Sears Langston model in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky.  The Langston had what I call a companion model, the Gladstone. Sears altered the floor plan of the Langston a bit, updated the look of the front porch,  renamed the house the Gladstone, then offered it in subsequent years.

I already knew there was Sears Gladstone model in Springfield, as I had identified it when I researched the mortgage records on file in my home county of Clark a number of years ago.  So I was super excited when I saw a for sale out in front of it last weekend when I did a drive by to check on it.  I already knew it had bank papers in the windows, a bad sign, but the house looked like it might be in pretty good shape.


A Sears Gladstone model at 219 Birch Rd in Springfield.  I took this picture this way on purpose so I could see if the siding on the house matched my car.

Anyways, since my husband and I dabble in real estate a bit, I made a call to our realtor, Justen Fain, who I highly recommend, and scheduled a walk through to see what was what with the inside.


Yep, it’s a Sears Gladstone all right.  I identified it correctly when I did my mortgage research.  The exterior details, the window arrangement, and the floor plan matched perfectly.

41 The Gladstone.jpg


But in the last 89 years, a whole bunch of stuff has happened to the inside.  And a lot of it is not pretty.

In the living room, the stairway to the second floor and the coat closet placement along the back wall match the catalog illustration.  A fireplace was added somewhere along the way (no that’s not original), knotty pine paneling was installed over the plaster walls, and all the original mill work has been replaced by plain pine trim boards.


Moving to the right of the living room is the dining room.  The door frames and baseboards in this room are original.  At least I think they are original.  They are solid and thick, which would indicate the quality that Sears provided with their house kits.  The room itself isn’t pretty, but here’s a couple of photos of the trim boards.




Upstairs in the bedrooms, I spotted a few original doors with the Sears Stratford design hardware.



Screenshot (1175)

And a few doors with a ghost of the Stratford design hardware.


All in all, the house was very disappointing.   But since we were there, I took the time to hunt for signs that would document the house as a Sears kit, even though since it had a mortgage record, I didn’t really need to.  But it’s always fun to look, and since this house made me sad, I needed the fun factor.

So I headed toward the basement stairs, and that’s all the further I needed to go, since some of the ceiling had fallen out.

Always look up!  I spotted a partial mailing label.  These were attached to the bundles of building materials that were shipped by rail from Sears to your local train station.


I took the photo from the stairs below, so the label itself came out blurry when I cropped it.  I didn’t actually see any stenciled lumber from where I was standing when I took the photo, but you can see it slightly in the cropped picture.  It’s to the right coming out from behind the label.

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I did spot the real deal of marked lumber from Sears on the stairway lumber.  One or two letters followed by three numbers.  The framing lumber was marked so you could match it up to the instruction booklet that came with your kit.


The stair steps also had blue grease pen markings, but as that occurs with lumber from local lumber companies, I don’t consider that documentation without additional items.



I also spotted what I think were a couple original light fixtures.  When I have time I will have to hunt for them in the Sears General Merchandise or specialty lighting catalogs.



My original documentation that this house was purchased as a kit from Sears Roebuck is a mortgage  of $3,950 between Walker O Lewis, Trustee, and Harold S. Goodrich dated Oct 12, 1927.  Walker O Lewis was the Sears employee who was responsible for signing mortgages in this area.  Harold S. Goodrich was an employee of the James-Bauer Realty Co., the developer of the Garden Acres neighborhood in Springfield.  There are eight other Sears Houses documented with mortgages in Garden Acres.  I will feature them in a future post.

Here’s an older photo of the house.   It was taken before the house was vinyl sided, and shows the original triple pillar arrangement on the porch pillars.  I surely wish I could remember who sent it to me!  I think it was someone in the Garden Acres Facebook group. If you know, please leave a comment.  Thanks!!!

Sears Gladstone vintage photo 219 Birch Rd Springfield OH


This Sears Gladstone in Springfield will need a lot of TLC.  I hope the next owner will bring it back to life.

Thanks for following along.




A Sears Langston in Ft. Mitchell, KY


Sears Langston at 113 Highland Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY

If you have been following my blog, you saw my last two posts about some Sears Houses I spotted “Over the River” in Ft., Mitchell, KY.  Well, the Langston model pictured above is the reason I stumbled across that pocket of nice Sears Homes to begin with, as I saw it on a real estate site as “For Sale by Owner”.  And it just so happened that said owners had scheduled an Open House for Mother’s Day, so off we (husband and I) went.

Of course, I immediately told the owners when we got there, that I wasn’t there to consider buying their home, but was interested in it because I thought it was a kit from Sears, Roebuck.  And guess what!  Like so many other homeowners I have spoken with, they already knew it!

The owners of 32 years were kind enough to show me all through anyway, and even let me take  a few pictures of some of the details that connect the house to Sears.  Here’s the catalog image and floor plan to start. By the way, The Langston model had a slight floor plan change in the years it was offered.  I am thinking this home is the model No. 2000, due to the left side window placement.  The home has had a few minor interior alterations through the years.

image 1918


floor plan 1918



Here’s a picture  heading towards the stairs at the left rear of the living room.  I’ve always thought The Langston, and its companion model, the Gladstone, had stairs in an odd place.  The small window you see in the stairwell is not shown in the catalog image, which is also odd, because almost all the other Sears House Four Square type two story homes have a window in the stairway. It’s nice this one has that as it lets in a lot of light during the day.


So while a picture of the stairs at the rear of the room doesn’t document the house as a Sears Langston, the plinth block at the base of the stairs is a good indication.  Plinth blocks were common in kit houses at complex trim board connections, to assist an unskilled carpenter (sometimes the actual buyer/owner) assemble his house.


Another thing that assists in documenting this house is the Sears Stratford design hardware found throughout the home on original interior doors.



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This house also the oversize door hinges seen on many early Sears Homes.


Sears called those hinges “Door Butts”.

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Out on the front porch, most of the original Sears pillars are intact.  The owner did have to alter them on the front a bit, when the house was vinyl sided.


The bead board on the front porch is stunning.


We weren’t able to locate any stenciled lumber or Sears mailing labels in the basement, as it is almost entirely finished space.  No matter on this one.  I’m considering it a documented Sears Langston.  But……what do I know?

The home owner has loads of interior photos on their listing on various realtor websites, if you are interested.  Of course, once the house is sold, and I’ll bet it won’t take long, this link will be gone.  Click here

If you happen to be the lucky one to purchase the house, I’ll bet you get to keep this sketch, that was given to the original owners by a local artist.

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Thanks for following along.



Over the River – part 2- Ft Mitchell, KY


My last post showed several Sears Houses I spotted while driving (Google and for real) in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, a lovely community just a few miles south of the Ohio River.  I promised to post the rest, and here they are, except for one, which I will feature separately.

As in my last post, none of these houses are documented as being actual kits from Sears, Roebuck.  These are homes that look close enough to the catalog illustrations, though, that they will be added to the Master List of Sears Houses in the United States, as undocumented homes.  For those of you that are wondering, the list now contains 4,372 addresses.

This group of homes are all within walking distance of each other, and I would have walked the blocks, except that it was raining lightly the day I was there.

I spotted five Sears Houses on Highland Ave.  Here are four of them.  The fifth is the house that will get a separate post.


Sears Roanoke at 121 Highland Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

As with many Roanoke models, this one is missing the hood over the second floor windows.

image 1922


Sears Marina at 221 Highland Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

This Marina is missing a few windows in the dormer, a common change when you vinyl side the exterior.

image (7024) 1920


Sears Vallonia at 317 Highland Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

This Vallonia has the distinctive porch pillars that are found on many Sears designs. The porch railing is original, too. And, it’s lovely. The front lawn just glowed in the Spring rain.

1930 image


Sears Somers at 315 Highland Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

That decorative piece on the front gable is original, and pretty rare to find on a Somers today.

image 1930

The next group of houses are all on streets that run off of Hillside Ave., or in close proximity.


Possible Sears Gladstone at 20 Idaho Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

This may be a Sears Gladstone that has been slightly customized. It has a partially enclosed front porch, and a bump out on the side that was not shown in the catalogs. Or………it might not be one at all.

image 1925




Most likely a Sears Cornell at 4 Floral Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

Most likely a Sears Cornell. It has a couple things that are off a bit, and after some discussion with my fellow researchers, we think it is one. The front porch roof appears to be flatter than what is shown in the catalog, which makes the change from shingle siding to wood framing seem wrong, but actually it is correct. Also, the chimney is on the outside of the house, not inside, which is a concern when matching to the catalog.

image 1925



Another Sears Marina.  This one is at 38 Ross Ave., Ft., Mitchell, KY.

The Marina could be purchased with either a gable dormer or a shed dormer, like the one above.

image (2024) 1918

After I got home, I was double checking the address of the Marina on Ross Ave., and noticed another house, also on Ross.  I am pretty sure it is a Sears Delmar, a rare model, as it was only offered in the 1924 catalog.  The Delmar looked a lot like the more common Wayne model, but the floor plan was different.

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Possible Sears Delmar at 22 Ross Ave., Ft. Mitchell, KY. (Photo from Google maps)


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It’s hard to see, but there is a chimney and side door in the proper place for this to be a Sears Delmar. (Photo from Google maps)


From the 1924 catalog. Image courtesy of Judith Chabot.

To see a comparison of the Sears Wayne and the Sears Delmar click here

I will surely need to get my very own photos of the possible Delmar next time I go to Ft. Mitchell.


Sears Willard at 4 Alpine Dr., Ft. Mitchell, KY.

This house above was for sale recently and has brand new exterior paint.  To see all the interior photos from the real estate listing, click here and scroll down a ways.  Catalog image of the Willard and it’s companion model, The Randolph, are also at that link.

There is also a Sears Lewiston at 2356 Dixie Highway, but I didn’t get a picture when I was there.  Another one for the next trip!

In my next post, I will feature the Sears Langston at 113 Highland Ave.

Thanks for following along.



DC House Cat Chiming In

On Washington Real Estate and History

Sears Houses in Cincinnati

A re-creation of a website by Laraine Shape


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