I’ve been doing loads of mortgage record research over the past several months, most of it in the Cincinnati area. But last fall, I did make a trip to the Butler Co. Record Center, and found quite a few mortgages for building materials or house kits from Sears Roebuck. These mortgages were recorded between 1921 and 1933. Butler Co., as you may or may not know, is one county north of Hamilton Co., which is Cincinnati. So as I’ve been hopping back and forth between Hamilton Co. (Cincinnati) and Butler Co., (which has city named Hamilton), I got a bit confused about where some of the houses I located actually were. Silly me. Excel to the rescue. I ended up spending several hours putting all my mortgage records for both counties on separate spreadsheets, and finally have a handle on what I’ve got, Sears House wise.
To date, I have located 73 mortgage records for Butler Co. Of those 73, I’ve been able to determine 48 actual addresses from the legal descriptions supplied in the records, and of those 48, have positively identified 30 Sears House kit models. 17 parcels associated with the mortgages have houses on them that are not Sears kits from the catalogs, or have been demolished. I’m still working through the remaining records, mostly ones outside platted neighborhoods in cities, which are more difficult to figure out.
In this post, I will share some of the Sears house kits in the city of Hamilton, in Butler Co. (I’m only repeating that so I don’t get confused about what I’m posting about.) Most of the images of the houses will be from the Butler Co Auditor’s website, as I haven’t gotten around to getting real photos yet. I surely will, though, as that’s how you find the ones that weren’t mortgaged through Sears. Many times they are in the same neighborhoods, sometimes even next door!
Here’s a sampling. In alphabetical order, because I working from that spreadsheet , ya know. And that’s how it’s sorted.
This first house was also in my last post, so if you follow along, it might look familiar.
The Clyde was offered in two floor plans. Notice this house has those distinctive five piece eave brackets that are seen on several Sears models.
The Conway had a name change over the years. It was seen in earlier catalogs as The Uriel.
A typical four square design, The Gladstone.
One of the tiny houses from Sears, The Josephine.
The last house for this post is not documented, but is so catalog perfect, it’s got to be the real deal. It’s just a block or so away from the Sears Gladstone I posted above. The house below was built in 1929, according to the tax card, and what’s odd about Butler Co. is that there were no recorded Sears mortgages in that year. 1929 was the year with the most recorded mortgages in many other areas, so I am hoping to get back to the Record Center and do some additional research to see if I can determine what happened with that. I already made a second trip to make sure I didn’t miss an index book, which I didn’t.
Anyways, here’s the house with no mortgage.
Oh! I do have my very own real life photo of a documented house in Hamilton. It isn’t too far from the Record Center, and I had time to do a drive by last week when I was there. It’s a Sears LaSalle, one of the few two family models that Sears offered.
This is just a small selection of the Sears Houses in Hamilton (the city, not the county). I’m hoping to go get real life photos of some of the others soon.
Thanks for following along!