I know, I know.
I’m still blogging about Cincinnati. This site is supposed to be about Sears Houses all over Ohio, or at least my little piece of it. Good thing for me though, that my little piece includes Cincinnati, which has train loads of Sears Houses.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I recently subscribed to the Archives of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and since then, have spent way too much time looking at old newspapers, seeking out references to Sears Houses. And I’ve found some great stuff, since Sears advertised heavily in the Enquirer.
But some of the more tedious parts of that research is locating, or attempting to locate, an address for properties that have a mortgage filed notice, a mortgage canceled notice, a foreclosure suit, or occasionally, a deed transfer to Sears. The deed transfer, like today, would mean the house had been to Sheriff Sale. Sears offered mortgages, and foreclosed on quite a lot of those mortgages, especially after the 1929 stock market crash.
And that’s how I located what I think might be (pretty please, be one) a Sears Modern Home No. 149.
Early on, Sears Houses were listed in the catalogs with just a model number, like the No. 149 shown above. Later, generally after 1916, Sears started giving their models names, like The Oakdale, which is what the No. 149 was called until 1918, which was most likely the last year it was offered.
In the early years, your purchase would include the plans, and the building materials listed, but you would have to size and hand saw the lumber on site. After 1916, Sears would begin “Pre-cutting” the framing limber, which would greatly reduce waste and labor hours.
What I have noticed as I research these homes, is that a lot of the models from the early years were discontinued after Sears started their Pre-cutting method. Some were probably too complicated, like the No. 149, and some models, of course, had just fallen out of fashion.
One thing to notice about the No. 149, is that is was a two-family home. Yep! Sears had a few of those in their catalogs, and a few four unit apartment buildings as well.
Here’s the floor plan for the No. 149
No, you’re not seeing double. Well, I guess you are kinda seeing double. The No. 149 wasn’t a side by side two family home. The first floor was one unit, and the second floor was the other. So, the floor plans are basically identical, with just a few small adjustments needed to allow for the stairways and entries. Nice that the second floor unit has a Library. Of course, that means you would have to carry all your books up the stairs!
The No. 149 had some wonderful features, too. Both units had a fireplace, a built-in buffet, and a pantry. Here’s what the catalog had to say about the house.
I didn’t find this house through one of those notices in the newspaper that I mentioned above. Well, actually, I guess I did. I found this house because I was looking for a house that WAS mentioned in one of those notices. And what was nice is that the notice I found gave me an actual address! That doesn’t happen too much. Usually all I get is a brief legal description, or a Subdivision name and a lot number. Then the search is on to find the house.
But the notice gave me an address on Evanston Ave. So I did what I always do next, and put the address into Google Maps and see what I can see in Street View. Here’s what I saw.
Bummer. Guess what’s on the other side of that barricade? I-71. Great, just great. I get what should be an easy find, and the house is gone. Sigh………..
Well, since I’m already here, on Evanston, in Google maps, that is, I might as well tool around a little bit and have a look at the neighborhood. Why not?
So, I turn around and head down the street. And what do I spot, right there on the corner? Is it? Is it, really?
I’ve noticed this model in the catalog, and fellow researcher Lara Solonickne had shared photos of a real one, too, so I pretty much recognized it right away. Let’s have a look at the sides and some of the details. Good thing it’s on the corner, and has an empty lot beside it, so we can go all the way around.
Here’s the front. No, the house isn’t falling over. Google Map photos look like that sometimes.
It’s a bit hard to see in the catalog image, but the house has a bay window on both floors. Those are plainly visible in the floor plan illustration. Here’s a close up that shows the first floor bay window and what appear to be the original Sears front porch pillars.
Several other Sears models featured those pillars, which were offered in various sizes. If you notice the Newark N.J thing in the catalog listing below, ignore that. These pillars would have come from Norwood Sash and Door in the Cincinnati market, not Newark.
The house does appear to have a few less details on the inset in the front gable than the No. 149, but that whole area looks newer.
The catalog says the house is 22 ft wide and 50 ft deep, according to the floor plan illustration. The Hamilton Co Auditor website provides a sketch with exterior dimensions, so I checked that. It shows only 48 ft. deep, but I wonder if they didn’t include the bay window extension. And we’ve got an extra foot on the width. Hard to know for sure how accurate the Auditor’s measurements are. I have seen them off a bit on documented Sears Homes. I guess I should also mention the year of build is 1914, according to the tax card.
Let’s have a look at the right side. All the windows and both chimney placements match the catalog floor plan.
Same with the left side, which you can check on the first photo of the house I posted, if you are that interested. Windows match, except we are missing the small one in the closet. Not a big thing to change at construction time.
The back windows match up, too, as well as the location of the rear entry door. The house is on the corner of Evanston Ave. and Duck Creek Rd., in case you are wondering about the address in the picture.
All in all, I would say the house is a match. Maybe someday we will be able to add it to the growing list of “Documented” Sears Houses in Cincinnati.
And last, but not least, here’s the best photo of the house available. It’s the Auditor’s picture from 2008. Thanks to the unknown employee of the Hamilton Co. Auditor’s Office for taking great pictures of Sears Houses. Well……possible Sears Houses.
Click here to see a photo of a Sears No. 149 / Oakdale (now demolished ) in Park Ridge, Illinois.