Extra, extra! Read all about it!
That’s how I felt when, after hours and hours of diligently searching through the Cincinnati Enquirer Archives for information about Sears Houses, I came across this headline.
Now the headline isn’t what grabbed my attention. It was the illustrations of two of the houses, the one on the left and the one on the right. Wow, Wow, Wow! Those are Sears Houses! And high end models as well.
I immediately grabbed my 1932 Sears Modern Home catalog, and looked up what I already knew. Yes, indeed! A Sears Jefferson and a Sears Lexington. And the images in the newspaper were right out of the catalog.
This post will focus on the Sears Jefferson, and its Sears origin. Rather than typing it all out, you can just read what happened in 1930. Below are images from the inside front cover of the 1932 Sears Homes of Today catalog.
Here’s page 1 of the same catalog
So now we know that Sears built of replica of Mount Vernon in Paris and have heard how wonderful the whole thing went. Sears would now like you to say……
I want Sears-Roebuck to build my home!
W.W Peterson must have been listening, because by August of 1933, he had contracted with the Home Construction Division of Sears Roebuck to do just that. And he selected the model that Sears was now offering that was based on Mount Vernon, The Jefferson. Here’s the catalog illustration. Look familiar? Yep, it’s the illustration shown in the newspaper article shown above.
Here’s the floor plan and catalog listing details.
Folks, locating and documenting a Sears Jefferson is a big deal for a Sears House researcher, and I am thrilled to be the one who came across this information, so I can share it for all who are interested. I did some internet research, and it appears that only one other Sears Jefferson has been located to date (see photo below), so this model truly is one of the rare ones.
The Jefferson was offered in the 1932, 1933, and 1937 catalogs, according to Houses by Mail, the bible of Sears House hunting. Remember that these were the years of the Great Depression, so it’s doubtful many of these high end models were built.
By now, you’re probably wondering where the heck my pictures are of this fabulous Sears House. Well, I was hoping to get out and get real photos, but it’s winter, it’s snowy, and the house sits back off the road a bit, so for now, we will have to make do with Auditor and Google map photos. I’ll surely put this one on my list to drive by the next time I can get to Cincinnati.
Here’s the best I can give you today. This is the 2008 historical photo of the house from the Hamilton Co Auditor’s website. I think I like the yellow door better, but red is surely classic for this style home. It also looks like the original balcony railing was in place until recently.
W.W. Peterson was an executive with P&G. In the 1940 Census, he was living in the house with his wife, Elizabeth, two children, and two servants. It appears the Peterson’s owned the house until 1951.
Here is the only other Sears Jefferson that has been located, and documented, to date. Rebecca Hunter, my mentor, was kind enough to forward me a photo of it. She has authenticated the house as a Sears kit due to finding a packing slip, a mailing label, and marked lumber in the home.