If you know me, you know I’ve been at this Sears House hunting for a while now. Several years. And like I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I’ve made some valuable connections, and some not so valuable, mostly through Facebook.
Recently, one of my most valuable connections, Andrew Mutch, did a blog post about the list of “Sears Roebuck Houses in the United States” started by another valuable connection, Lara Solonickne, who has a website about the Sears Homes of Chicagoland.
Click here to read Andrew’s post.
I had been wondering myself, how much the list had grown for Ohio, since I’ve been adding houses to it. Of course, not all the houses are ones I have located. Many were previously identified by researchers like Bea Lask and Donna Bakke, who started hunting up Sears Houses long before I had even heard of them. But since I have become, by default, I guess, the main researcher of homes here in Ohio, most of the list entries were added by me. Somebody had to do it!
Anyways, I decided to have a look at the numbers, and see what’s what here in Ohio.
As of today- Feb 10, 2016- the total number of Sears Houses on “The List” is 3,346. Of those homes, 955 of them are in Ohio.
Where does that put Ohio in the rankings on the list?
Number 1, of course! And almost half of those entries are due to Bea Lask and her initial identification of over 500 Sears Houses in Cincinnati in the early 1990’s. And now that we are finding many source documents have become available on line, we are not only able to document many of the homes Bea located, but are finding many, many more.
Here’s the top five states for houses on “The List”
#1- Ohio – 955 homes
#2- Illinois- 477 on the list, but when we add in the 200 or so in Elgin and the 150 or so in Carlinville- closer to 825. We found no reason to add the Elgin and Carlinville homes to the list, as the addresses and models are readily available on other Internet sites.
#3- Michigan- 578 – thanks to Andrew Mutch for his efforts there.
#4- Washington D.C.- 252 – several researchers have done work on the Sears Homes in D.C., but Andrew, again, has now documented a large portion of them through mortgage records.
#5- New York- 233- Andrew again, working his way through on line records and newspapers for information.
There is still much work to do here in Ohio, and I can’t do it all myself. Thankfully, a few others have stepped up to assist in the laborious task of going through the on line mortgage record index books for Hamilton Co., and we are adding to the Cincinnati area homes daily.
Franklin Co. and Cuyahoga Co. also have some on line Deed Records, and I’ve been through most of those. I have personally visited the Recorder’s Office in Clark Co., Champaign Co., Greene Co., Butler Co., and Warren Co., and have documented the Sears Homes there. Montgomery Co. will be a big project, but it’s on the back burner right now. Their records are all on Microfilm. Ugh. I’ll get to them someday, if some snappy young Wright State History student doesn’t step up and want the job. I’ll help!
Of course, I can’t do a blog post here without a few pretty pictures of Sears Houses. So here’s the top 5 models in Ohio to date.
#1 – The Vallonia- 48 in Ohio (Only 47 are on the list. Apparently I don’t have the address for this one just outside Fayette, even though I took the picture myself! If you know where it is, please let me know in the comments.
#2 – The Starlight – 45 in Ohio- the one pictured below has half of the front porch enclosed. This was a very common modification here in Ohio.
#3 – The Rodessa – 41 in Ohio- this is the #1 model in Cincinnati….so far…..
#4 – The Crescent – 34 in Ohio – the one pictured below is home to The Madeira Historical Society
#5 – The Argyle – 26 in Ohio
This top five list of Sears House in Ohio may change over time. If it does, I’ll let you know.