My last blog post was about a lovely Sears Langston model in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. The Langston had what I call a companion model, the Gladstone. Sears altered the floor plan of the Langston a bit, updated the look of the front porch, renamed the house the Gladstone, then offered it in subsequent years.
I already knew there was Sears Gladstone model in Springfield, as I had identified it when I researched the mortgage records on file in my home county of Clark a number of years ago. So I was super excited when I saw a for sale out in front of it last weekend when I did a drive by to check on it. I already knew it had bank papers in the windows, a bad sign, but the house looked like it might be in pretty good shape.
Anyways, since my husband and I dabble in real estate a bit, I made a call to our realtor, Justen Fain, who I highly recommend, and scheduled a walk through to see what was what with the inside.
Yep, it’s a Sears Gladstone all right. I identified it correctly when I did my mortgage research. The exterior details, the window arrangement, and the floor plan matched perfectly.
But in the last 89 years, a whole bunch of stuff has happened to the inside. And a lot of it is not pretty.
In the living room, the stairway to the second floor and the coat closet placement along the back wall match the catalog illustration. A fireplace was added somewhere along the way (no that’s not original), knotty pine paneling was installed over the plaster walls, and all the original mill work has been replaced by plain pine trim boards.
Moving to the right of the living room is the dining room. The door frames and baseboards in this room are original. At least I think they are original. They are solid and thick, which would indicate the quality that Sears provided with their house kits. The room itself isn’t pretty, but here’s a couple of photos of the trim boards.
Upstairs in the bedrooms, I spotted a few original doors with the Sears Stratford design hardware.
And a few doors with a ghost of the Stratford design hardware.
All in all, the house was very disappointing. But since we were there, I took the time to hunt for signs that would document the house as a Sears kit, even though since it had a mortgage record, I didn’t really need to. But it’s always fun to look, and since this house made me sad, I needed the fun factor.
So I headed toward the basement stairs, and that’s all the further I needed to go, since some of the ceiling had fallen out.
Always look up! I spotted a partial mailing label. These were attached to the bundles of building materials that were shipped by rail from Sears to your local train station.
I took the photo from the stairs below, so the label itself came out blurry when I cropped it. I didn’t actually see any stenciled lumber from where I was standing when I took the photo, but you can see it slightly in the cropped picture. It’s to the right coming out from behind the label.
I did spot the real deal of marked lumber from Sears on the stairway lumber. One or two letters followed by three numbers. The framing lumber was marked so you could match it up to the instruction booklet that came with your kit.
The stair steps also had blue grease pen markings, but as that occurs with lumber from local lumber companies, I don’t consider that documentation without additional items.
I also spotted what I think were a couple original light fixtures. When I have time I will have to hunt for them in the Sears General Merchandise or specialty lighting catalogs.
My original documentation that this house was purchased as a kit from Sears Roebuck is a mortgage of $3,950 between Walker O Lewis, Trustee, and Harold S. Goodrich dated Oct 12, 1927. Walker O Lewis was the Sears employee who was responsible for signing mortgages in this area. Harold S. Goodrich was an employee of the James-Bauer Realty Co., the developer of the Garden Acres neighborhood in Springfield. There are eight other Sears Houses documented with mortgages in Garden Acres. I will feature them in a future post.
Here’s an older photo of the house. It was taken before the house was vinyl sided, and shows the original triple pillar arrangement on the porch pillars. I surely wish I could remember who sent it to me! I think it was someone in the Garden Acres Facebook group. If you know, please leave a comment. Thanks!!!
This Sears Gladstone in Springfield will need a lot of TLC. I hope the next owner will bring it back to life.
Thanks for following along.