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A Sears Gainsboro in Dayton

Have you been following along?  If you have, you know I’ve been busy researching in Montgomery County (Dayton and vicinity), by slogging my way through their on-line Abstract Books.

Well…….after spending hours doing just that from the comfort of my own home, over the Winter, I realized I could make much better progress if I would just get off my rear end and go directly to the Recorder’s Office.

So I did.

It would have taken me forever to get the same information I got in about 4 hours, one day not long ago.  The only bad part about the whole deal is that their old mortgage books are on Microfilm, and the Recorder’s Office readers are about as old as the film itself, so I wasn’t able to make copies of anything.  But, using the old fashioned method of a notebook and a pencil, I was able to get approximately 85 additional mortgage records to track down.  That part I CAN do from the comfort of home.

Of those 85 mortgage records, 17 of them were signed by E. Harrison Powell, the Sears Trustee for this area from mid 1930, when prior Trustee Walker O Lewis retired,  to early 1934, when Sears stopped offering financing plans.

As I was busy taking my notes, and getting tired and hungry, I neglected to write down an important piece of information on the very last Sears mortgage that was recorded in Montgomery County.  The date!  I’ll be sure to look it up next time I go.

Anyways, since it was the last mortgage Sears wrote for Dayton, we can surmise that it was late 1933, or very early 1934.  Again, I’ll confirm that next trip.

And as was common in the later Sears mortgages, there were actually two recordings.  One for the “first” mortgage, and a second, which was noted at the top as a “junior” mortgage.  I guess second mortgages aren’t a new thing!

Now, back to my findings for that very last Sears mortgage in Montgomery County. (This doesn’t mean this was the last Sears Houses built in Dayton.  It just means it was the last one that carried a mortgage through Sears, Roebuck.)

After 30 minutes or so at my home computer and the available on line resources, I was able to pinpoint the property address for the mortgage records. And it turned out to be ANOTHER one of the Missing Models, meaning Sears researchers hadn’t located one yet.

A Sears Gainsboro

Gainsboro image

Sears Gainsboro – catalog image courtesy of Lara Solonickne

The Gainsboro made its debut in the 1933 Sears Modern Home catalog, making it more difficult to locate using mortgage records, since Sears was about done with their financing program, so I am extremely fortunate to have been able to get this one on our Master List.

In the catalog,  part of the front of the house was intended to be brick,  with a slight decorative extension on the left side, but since the house in Dayton doesn’t have those features, this home would be difficult to spot on a street survey.  Gotta love those mortgage records!

Here she is!

Sears Gainsboro 4300 Midway Ave R Dayton OH (EHP) CCat

Sears Gainsboro, 4300 Midway Ave., Dayton Ohio.

Here’s what Sears had to say about the model.

Gainsboro details

The home today is indeed, hospitable and charming, and retains what appears to be the original front door.

Sears Gainsboro 4300 Midway Ave Dayton OH (EHP) CCat

Sears Gainsboro, 4300 Midway Ave, Dayton Ohio

Sears Gainsboro 4300 Midway Ave L Dayton OH (EHP) CCat

Sears Gainsboro, 4300 Midway Ave, Dayton Ohio

Now, about those “people who owned such a lovely home”, at least at the beginning.

The original owner was Florence E Clippinger, with the mortgage document stating she was ” a spinster”.  I guess that was just their way of saying she was unmarried at the time the mortgage was issued.   Kudos to Sears, Roebuck for giving a single woman a mortgage in 1933 or 1934.  The first mortgage amount was $3500, and the junior mortgage was for $450.

Florence E Clippinger had a 30 year career at Roosevelt High School in Dayton, starting as a Biology teacher, and  later becoming head of the Biology Department.

She was mentioned often in newspaper articles and occasionally made the social section as well.

Here’s a couple of the more interesting articles from the Dayton newspapers.

From the Dayton Herald- June 1930- a couple of years before Miss Clippinger built her Sears Gainsboro.


The_Dayton_Herald_Wed__Jun_11__1930_ (1)

YIKES!  The Dayton Herald- Dec 1933



The Sears Gainsboro housed an interesting collection.  Dayton Herald Feb 1948


In 1960, a squirrel antic…….( my friend Laraine Shape would have been amused.)


A 1962 article about Miss Clippinger when she was one Daytons’ top 10 Women in the Miami Valley.  Her home on Midway Ave is mentioned.

Dayton_Daily_News_Thu__Dec_6__1962_ (2).jpg

What an interesting woman!

Check back occasionally for more updates on my Dayton research project.

Thanks for following along.


One comment on “A Sears Gainsboro in Dayton

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information! Having just purchased a 1926 American Foursquare, my interest in old houses and their history has bloomed. The information you passed along regarding my house on Stockton Ave was so helpful (Thank you!)!!! I had no idea there was an online archive of the deed books. With the information you provided I was able to get a complete listing of the historical owners. I cannot wait to read your other blogs!


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