This two-story bungalow is built on a concrete block foundation and is sided with narrow beveled clear cypress siding. All rooms on both floors are light and airy.
The Westly model was available through Sears Roebuck for almost 20 years. It first appeared, to my knowledge anyway, in the 1913 Modern Homes catalog, as the No. 206. It was shown in the catalog along side the No. 144, which appears to have had an identical floor plan, but simpler exterior styling. A few years later, Sears changed over to more identifiable names for their kit house designs, and the No. 206 became The Westly.
Why am I posting about The Westly today? Well, if you have been following my blog recently, you have seen that I am doing some pretty intense research about the Sears Houses that were built in the Cincinnati area. And I love doing research. But sometimes, I just want to look at pretty pictures of Sears Houses. And finding more Sears Houses to look at is pretty much the reason I am researching in Cincinnati, where more than 3,000 kit homes were sold by Sears Roebuck, through Norwood Sash & Door.
As of today, there are 55 Westly models listed on The Master List of Sears Homes in the United States. 18 of those are right here in Ohio. 9 of those 18 are in Cincinnati. And today, as I was tracking down a mortgage record from Hamilton Co., I was able to document a Sears Westly that was already on our list. For the longest time, the Sears Houses in the Cincinnati area have not been considered authenticated by current standards. But myself, and a handful of others, are slowly making great progress to correct that.
Here’s the one I documented today. It’s in Sharonville. I don’t have a “real” picture of this one, apparently, even though I’ve been to Sharonville and photographed several other Sears Houses there. The reason I didn’t take pictures of this one, is because I wasn’t entirely sure it really WAS a Westly, as most of the original identifying features are gone. The photo below is the 2008 Historic Photo from the Hamilton Co. Auditor. (BTW, whoever took the Auditor’s pictures in 2008 was a professional. They are beautiful. The photos they took to update records in 2015 are terrible.)
As you can see, this Westly has had some modifications, mostly the enclosing of the front porch area. Sears did encourage closing in the porches on some models, so maybe, just maybe, this might be original. If you look closely you can see that the left side has been modified in a way that makes it look like that area is now part of the interior of the house. The right side of what was the porch area still appears to be porch, just enclosed. Here’s the floor plan so you can see how these modifications would change the design. The area on the left would significantly enlarge the dining room, not a bad thing if you like to entertain, or have a large family. There is no room in the kitchen for large family dining.
This Wesley model was mortgaged through Sears Roebuck. I found a notice in the Cincinnati Enquirer dated 14 Dec 1926. The listing for this house is the 6th one down.
It states “Lloyd E Barr to Walker O Lewis 6500” Lloyd E Barr was the borrower, and Walker O Lewis was the Trustee of Sears Roebuck mortgages in Ohio at that time. 6500 is the amount of the mortgage. That might seem like quite a lot considering the cost of the house kit for the Westly was only $2614 in 1926, a bit of an increase over the 1925 cost shown in the image above, but the kit didn’t include a lot of things you needed to complete your house, like the plumbing fixtures, heating system, wiring, and light fixtures. Those could all be added at time of ordering, so it looks like Lloyd E went ahead with all the extras when he filled out his order blank. And maybe, just maybe, he had the house modified to include the enclosure of the left side of the front porch. Who knows?
After finding the mortgage notice, I then went to Ancestry, and was fortunate to find LLoyd E Barr in the 1930 Census. He was living on the west side of Spinner Ave in Sharonville. And look at that! He had his wife, three children and his uncle living in the house with him. Bet they needed a bigger dining room. The “O” you see means LLoyd stated he owned the house, and he valued it at $8000 at the time of the 1930 Census.
I completely documented the house by reviewing the old Property Record card, also available on the Hamilton Co Auditor website. It shows that LLoyd E Barr was the original owner of the house.
So that’s how we do it, folks. Myself and several other diligent Sears House researchers. We hunt down those mortgage records, then find the houses. Some are easier than others.
But what about the other Westly models here in Ohio. Well, it just so happens, I have some pretty pictures of some of them. “Real” pictures. You know. Ones I took myself.
The first one is right here in my own County. It’s the first Sears Westly I had ever seen. It’s not the best one, but it is documented, also with a mortgage record.
A very sad Sears Westly that I found when it was listed for sale after foreclosure. It was overpriced and the roof was falling in. I’m pretty sure they sold it finally. I need to go back and check on it after the weather gets better. This one is not documented.
This mostly original Sears Westly is appropriately located by the Railroad Tracks. Sears kit houses were delivered in a boxcar to your local train station. The builder of this one probably didn’t have to haul all that lumber very far. Also not documented.
I about fell out of the car to snap photos of this beauty in Cincinnati. But after I got home and looked at it closer, I have doubts it’s the real deal. There were plan book look a likes to almost all the models Sears offered. This home was built in 1918 and it’s gorgeous. I hope to get more information on this one someday.
Another Cincinnati home. Pretty sure this is the real deal, but it’s not documented. There’s a Sears Avalon model next door.
One more in Cincy! Getting pictures of this one was a bit of a challenge, as the lot was hilly. Like the one above, this home has most all the original porch and balcony details that were shown in the catalog. This home is probably in danger of being lost over the next several years, as the area where it’s located is being torn down for redevelopment at a rapid pace.
Since I’ve showed you some nice ones by the River, here’s one by the Lake. Not my picture! I haven’t got up there yet. Not documented.
How do I love thee. Let me count the ways. My absolutely favorite Sears Westly. At least I think it’s a Sears Westly. It’s not documented.
I loved the color scheme on the Sears Westly above so much, that I used similar colors on a home that my husband and I rehabbed for resale last year. Sorry, you missed it. We already sold it.
Thanks for following along!