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A Home Builders Davenport in Springfield

Collaboration has helped me identify another pattern book home built right here in my hometown of Springfield.

Well, sort of.

Recently I was included in a group text message between a few other Sears House researchers, asking for input about a brick home that one of said researchers had questions about.  “Did anybody recognize it”  “Was it from Home Builders?

I imagine I was included in the group text because I have identified quite a few homes here  in Springfield that were built with plans purchased from the Home Builders Catalog Co. of Chicago.  These were not kit homes, like those offered by Sears, Roebuck.  Instead, for twenty dollars, you received two sets each of blueprints, specifications and contract forms, along with a sixteen page guide listing materials.  All the lumber, and everything else you needed to build the home would have purchased through a local lumber company, which many times was the place you went to look through the catalog in the first place.

So…..even though I was pretty sure I hadn’t seen the house included in the text message in my Home Builders Catalog collection, I went ahead and pulled out my 1928 and had a look anyway.  Home Builders had a good selection of plans for brick homes, so I looked primarily in that section of the catalog.  Sure enough, I didn’t see the house my fellow researcher was hunting for, but I did stop at a page that had a house that looked really, really familiar.

The Davenport

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Near the west edge of Springfield is a street full of homes that face our wonderful Snyder Park.  Many of those homes were built in the 1920’s, and one in particular, sits proudly on a corner lot and shouts “Look at me!” to everybody who drives, bikes, runs, jogs, or walks the dogs past it.  I know, because every single time I go down that street I have surely looked at it.  For years…..

Guess what it is?

A Home Builders Davenport!

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2101 Harshman Blvd., Springfield. Most likely built with plans purchased from The Home Builders Catalog Co. of Chicago.

Let’s have a look at the floor plan and then match up the windows on the sides to see if it looks like the same room arrangement.

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On the first floor, left side, behind the Terrace, is the entry door to the vestibule.  While you can’t tell how large the window is in the vestibule by the catalog illustration,  hallway windows are generally small, just enough to let in some light.  Directly behind the entry is a half bathroom, a pretty uncommon feature in houses from the 1920’s.  That means the home was considered pretty upscale for the time period.  Again, a bathroom window would generally be small and high, to offer privacy.  Sometimes Dining Room windows are also small and high, if the designer thought the wall would have a buffet or a window seat there.

On the second floor, left side, is the main bathroom, and a bedroom.  This plan calls it a “Chamber”.  Again, the bathroom window would be small and high, for privacy.

Looking down the left side of the house on Harshman, all the windows would match the catalog floor plan.  One thing that doesn’t quite match up is the window that faces the Terrace.  In the catalog floor plan, that window has four sashes.  The house on Harshman has only three there, but that would have been an easy alteration at time of build.

The windows on the front of the house match perfectly, with the main floor sashes having 18 panes, and the second floor having diamond grids.

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The windows on the right side of the house also match the catalog illustration, from what we can see that isn’t concealed by landscaping.  There is an addition on the rear of the house, so don’t count that when you match them up!

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The home also has a double flue in the chimney, as shown in the floor plan.

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Second floor plan of The Davenport by the Home Builders Catalog Co., of Chicago

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Now, the fun part.  Since the house is currently for sale, I have some interior photos to share, all from Realtor websites.

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Entry hall.

The door across from the entry door should be access to a small half bath, according to the floor plan.  That doesn’t appear to be the case in this house, but those double doors are certainly not original, so maybe that has been converted to a closet.  There appears to be a full bath on the main floor now, in the addition at the back of the home, based on some of the other realtor photos.

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Living Room

Those triple windows are the set on the front of the house, and how about that woodwork around the fireplace!  Remember that this house wasn’t a kit, so interior details would have been determined by the builder at time of construction.

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Dining Room. Gorgeous hardwood floors!

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Main “Chamber” at the front of the house with the diamond grid window panes.

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Main upstairs bathroom.

I’m thinking I should try to become more familiar with the Home Builders plans, as I continue to stumble across them here in Springfield.  I know I will never be able to memorize them, as there were more than 500 in the 1928 catalog alone.  One of our local lumber companies may have been offering the plans, and I have already determined that one local developer built several as model homes in a new neighborhood.

I have already featured The Chantilly from Home Builders in a previous blog post, and will have an update on that house soon.

Keep watching!

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9 comments on “A Home Builders Davenport in Springfield

  1. Ok, so how many times have I driven by this house too?

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  2. Great find Cindy! Lovely home.

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  3. Ooh, that is a nice house. Very reminiscent of the Elmhurst. Good catch!
    Judith
    Sears-House-Seeker.blogspot.com

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  4. Great find! I think not only would that downstairs guest half bath have made it quite “upscale” but so would the presence of the incinerator for household garbage disposal, but so would a dumbwaiter!! Be still my heart! 😍 To not have to carry laundry up and down the stairs! What an upscale plus! Any evidence of either of those features in the photos from the realtor’s site?
    I haven’t always been a huge fan of this English style of home, but there’s definitely something about this one that I really like! I wonder what it is that appeals to me? Couldn’t possibly be the name, could it? 😋

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    • Too funny, Shari, that I didn’t even make the connection about the name! I am hoping to get inside before or after it sells, and see about the dumbwaiter. I’ll let you know. The house is under contract and scheduled to close next week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If it doesn’t have either of those features (incinerator, dumbwaiter) I’m curious if it has/had a laundry chute? Could have had both of the others and had them closed up/removed in previous remodels or upgrades. The dumbwaiter access on each floor might have been turned into small linen storage closets, and the incinerator would surely have been closed up or even completely removed responsive to upgraded requirements related to no lo

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      • Don’t know what happened to my reply! I was in the middle of typing it, and then my screen started bouncing around and I wasn’t anywhere NEAR the “Post Comment” button!
        Anyway – I was trying to finish saying about the incinerator being removed, responsive to newer requirements regarding not burning trash due to air pollution issues, fire control issues related to homeowners insurance, or just personal preference. The laundry chutes I read some time ago, were no longer allowed in new construction because of their relationship to fire paths inside the walls of homes. I don’t know what relationship they might have to historical architecture.
        Anyway, it will be interesting to see what else you might be able to find out about it soon! Thanks!

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