A few years back, I went to Urbana to check out a house I thought might be a Sears Barrington model. I had seen it listed for sale and had already checked out the Realtor’s photos, but I wanted to do a drive by to get a better look at the exterior details. When I got there, there was a large truck in the driveway, and the folks were moving out.
Hmmmmm……should I stop? Why not! The moving guys pointed me to the owner, and I went to talk to him about the house. Well, seems the house was a rental, and the man wasn’t the owner, but he had lived there for a while, and was interested in my speech about the house possibly being a kit from Sears. He had heard of them! We chatted for a minute, then he told me he knew about another Sears House in the area. He gave me specific directions, then went back to monitoring his moving guys.
Of course, I drove past the house he told me about on my way home. I didn’t recognize it. Since then I have driven past it about 50 times, but still didn’t recognize it as a Sears House.
Early on I didn’t make that important connection that the house might not be from Sears, but possibly a kit from another company. Now I know better…..some days anyways…..so the last couple of times I have driven past it, I tried to look at it with new eyes. Still no luck at identifying it.
But, today my luck changed. I was going through some of my old stuff, looking for my record of an Aladdin Home that was shipped to Medway, when I came across a sales record for a house that was shipped to Bowlusville.
You all might have never even heard of Bowlusville, but I know exactly where it is. Or at least what is left of it. About 1/2 mile from that house I have driven past 50 times, but didn’t recognize.
Is this it? Is this the Aladdin Sunshine on my sales record?
Yep. It is.
The house on County Line Rd has had quite a few changes and additions since it was purchased as a kit in 1919, but after reviewing the window arrangement, along with the year of build (1920) and exterior footprint available on the Champaign Co Auditor’s website, I was 99.9% sure I had correctly identified the house.
Ancestry filled in the other .1%, by telling me that John A Schart lived on Storms Creek Rd in the 1930 Census. County Line Rd.’s name changes to Storms Creek Rd just a little ways west, once you cross over Upper Valley Pike. I’ll bet it was all named Storms Creek in 1930.
The house has lost its little dormer, and had a side porch added where you see the triple window in the bump out behind the fireplace chimney.
Here’s the floor plan and details, also from the 1917 catalog.
It’s really hard to tell where the original house begins and ends in the current Auditor’s sketch, due to all the additions, but the width of 28 feet matches the floor plan.
I’m really glad I was finally able to identify this house. I’ve gotten a lot of leads over the years about possible kit homes in my area, and many of them are still on my “need to check out” list.
Thanks for following along.