One of the great things about being a Sears House Hunter is that you can take this hobby with you everywhere you go. And I do, much to the chagrin of whomever I am riding with. So last Tuesday on the way to see some glorious old cars at a museum in Auburn, Indiana, something exciting happened.
We took a wrong turn.
I know, I know, that doesn’t sound exciting. But as it turns out, just as we realized we were on the wrong road, I caught a glimpse of a bungalow that looked like one I had seen in Sears Modern Home Catalogs.
Was it really a Sears Hollywood?
For a number of years the Sears Hollywood has been considered a rare model, meaning only a handful have been located. Until recently, the only ones known were in Owaneco, St. Charles and Cairo, Illinois. Then last year, a fourth Hollywood was spotted in Enid, Oklahoma. Considering the number of Sears Kit Homes that were built (we think about 75,000), that’s a pretty small number for a model that was offered for at least seven years. Less than one a year? That seems odd. Why would Sears continue to market such an unpopular plan? More than likely, this well designed bungalow is hiding in small towns, or on County roads less traveled, where avid Sears House Hunters just haven’t looked.
And then, it seems, of the Sears Hollywood models mentioned above….well….. they aren’t exactly Sears Hollywoods.
Here’s the Hollywood from the 1921 catalog.
Here’s the catalog details about the model.
Hey, wait a minute.
What’s that other house pictured in the lower right corner? Oh, that’s just the No. 2069. It has the same floor plan as The Hollywood, but a different dormer.
The No 2069 was “Already Cut and Fitted” meaning the framing lumber was pre-cut at a Sears owned lumber mill, and came with detailed instructions on how all the pieces went together. The Hollywood shown at the top of the catalog listing was not pre-cut.
After reviewing pictures and information about the four previously located Hollywood models, it seems they were actually the No. 2069 model. No wonder Sears House Hunters have so much trouble spotting this one. We’ve been looking for the wrong house! For some unknown reason, the No. 2069 was selected frequently over the more elegant Hollywood by Sears customers.
So yes, the house I spotted really is a Sears Hollywood. Sort of. And it’s lovely.
From this angle you can see the complex window arrangement on the right side of the house.
Here’s the fireplace side
A close up of the dormer that confirms this is a Sears No. 2069, the alternate plan for the Sears Hollywood
Notice those five piece eave brackets? Those were featured on many Sears Modern Home models. If you see them, there’s a good chance the house was purchased from Sears.
This Sears No. 2069 was built in 1917. Like many early Sears Kit Homes, this one is so close to the Railroad tracks, the vibrations and noise would probably have kept the residents awake at night.
I am always interested in knowing what kind of people purchased their house from Sears Roebuck, so I try to find out a little bit about them.
The original owners were William C and Flonna Hess. William was the proprietor at a local feed mill. In 1920, they owned the house free and clear. William and Flonna had no children, and were still living in the house in 1940.
If you know of other Sears Houses in Hicksville, let me know!