I know I said I would share photos of more Sears Houses in Delaware in my next post, but today I got sidetracked.
It was another bright sunny February day in Ohio, but chilly, so my husband and I decided to hop in the car and go to the Columbus Home and Garden Show. I love that show. One whole building is devoted to landscaping, and when you walk in, it’s just like Summer. Warm and humid from all the designer gardens, flowers in bloom everywhere, large size trees, water features. It’s a great way to spend a winter day. And the advertising I saw said the show this year was from Feb 20-28. So off we went. It’s Columbus, so of course it took longer to get there than we expected. Traffic, road construction, railroad gates down with no train coming. What a mess. But finally we get there, pull in the parking lot and……..the show is closed on Monday. Sigh………
Now what. Oh well. Go to lunch. Go home.
Yeah. Right. Like I’m going to drive to Columbus, find out I have a little time to spare, and not hunt up some Sears Houses? No way.
I didn’t have access to “the list” from my smart phone, so I had to rely on memory to figure out where to go without getting too far away from the edge of town. We wanted to make sure we were well on our way home before rush hour.
Then I remembered about a neighborhood named “Little Farms”. The plat is just off the National Road (St Rt 40) on the west side of town, so we headed that way. I had spotted a Sears Elsmore there a while back when my daughter and I were over that way for something or other, I forget what. Then when I went through all the deed records available on line through the Franklin Co Recorder’s Office last year, I documented a Sears House in that very same neighborhood. The record was a quit claim deed from Walter Schoby to Sears, Roebuck & Company. That means that Walter Schoby had a mortgage for building materials or a house kit and was unable to satisfy the loan, so deeded the house back to Sears instead of going through foreclosure.
After finding this quit claim deed, I was able to locate the house using the lot number and plat book of Little Farms. The address for the lot is 269 Pasadena Ave., and I knew from the Franklin Co Auditor’s photo that the house was a Sears Hathaway, sold as a kit through the Modern Homes catalog.
And that’s the house I went hunting for today. Here it is!
But that’s not all I want to tell you about. There’s more to the story of Walter Schoby.
For several years in the 1920’s, the Sears Modern Homes catalog featured a page full of contractors who had built homes in various parts of the country, and had written letters to Sears telling them about their experiences. Guess who is listed on that page?
In the letter that Walter Schoby wrote, he says he had built six Sears Houses. Well, I already found one of them in Little Farms from the Quit Claim deed, so now I wonder if there were more there? Yep. I spotted five total today. Here they are.
A second Sears Hathaway. Additional research connected this house to Walter Schoby as well. I found a deed record for it that listed him as the owner in 1929. It’s just a few doors down from the Hathaway I posted above.
Here’s the Sears Elsmore I already had photos of from a previous trip to Little Farms. Its had the front porch enclosed so you can’t see the pillars, but retains the decorative trim piece over the front entry.
Here’s the catalog image from 1928, the year the house above was built.
I haven’t seen too many of these with the original front porch details. It’s a Sears Dundee.
Here’s the front view of The Dundee. Note the front porch details match the catalog image
I saved the best for last! It’s a Sears Mitchell. And what a beauty!
The Sears Mitchell had a lot of competition in the kit house business. Just about all the other kit house companies, and there were quite a few, had a model that looked like The Mitchell. Small details can help with identification, but to be sure, you would need to document the home using current methods before saying for sure it’s a Sears.
The two Hathaway models I have attributed to Walter Schoby, a known builder of Sears Homes through catalog information, will go on “the list” as documented. The Elsmore, Dundee, and the Mitchell will also go on the list, but not as documented.
I found a deed record for a lot in Little Farms that I think may have been the 6th Walter Schoby house. But the home there now was built in 1951, so if there was a Sears kit house on that lot it most likely has been torn down and replaced. I also found deeds for Walter Schoby in several other plats in Franklin Co., but none of those turned out to be Sears Kits.
Thanks for following along, and if you spot a house that looks like any of these, let me know!