This past week, I got an email from Steve Stephens, the Home and Real Estate writer for the Columbus Dispatch. Steve said he was writing a story about the Sears Houses in and around Columbus. He stumbled across this little blog while researching, and asked me for a bit of information.
Since they declared bankruptcy, there has been renewed interest in Sears, Roebuck history, and the house kits you could purchase from their mail order catalogs.
I’m sure I talked way too much in our short phone interview, but that’s what happens when I get started on this subject. I’m talking and I can’t shut up!
Anyways, if you popped in here looking for additional information on Franklin County’s Sears Houses from the Dispatch article, here’s some basic details on the number of models, and where they are located, in the Columbus area.
As of Feb 27, 2019, there were 205 Sears, Roebuck kit homes in Franklin County listed on the “National Database of Sears Houses Across the United States”. This list was started in January of 2013 with just a few hundred addresses, and has since grown to over 11,000 homes. The list is the work of a small group of dedicated Sears House researchers, who work together daily, to locate, identify, and promote awareness of this unique part of our Architectural History.
Here’s the breakdown by area for Franklin County
Bexley – 10,
Blacklick – 1
Canal Winchester – 5
Columbus – includes houses in the city limits, and homes in Franklin County with Columbus mailing addresses – 154 (109 are documented! )
Gahanna – 3
Grandview Heights – 4
Grove City -3
Groveport – 4
Marble Cliff – 2
Upper Arlington – 3
Westerville – 3
Whitehall – 3
Worthington – 3
The Model list is much longer, as there are many models represented in Franklin County. I’m not going to list them all here, just a few with notes as to why they are important.
Alhambra – 2 – one is the standard stucco style seen in the Modern Homes catalog, and one is brick and customized – really cool! I hope to get real photos of that one, which is documented, very soon.
Ashland – 1 – This is currently considered a rare model. Only three have been located to date. In addition to the one in Bexley, there is one in Washington DC, and one in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ( GO BUCKS! )
Berwyn – 6 – of these six houses, 3 were built in 1941, a year after the last Sears Modern Homes catalog was published – those three are documented with a Columbus Dispatch newspaper article dated 20 July 1941
Colchester – 1 – Tim Treadwell’s house
Fullerton – 6 – one has a gable roof instead of the standard hipped roof
Hampton – 18 – the number one model in Columbus so far – all but one are documented with mortgage records. That’s a good thing because The Hampton is a pretty common looking house and is hard to identify with just a street survey.
Homart – 1 – not part of the Sears Modern Home Department that was active from 1908- 1942 – Homart Homes were sold by Sears from 1946 to 1952 and were assembled from factory built wall panels
More info on Homart Homes at this link –
Lewiston – 1 – this Sears home was mortgaged through competitor Montgomery Ward – my research team has found this happened in many instances in 1931 -we are still trying to figure out why
Trenton – the only one located so far —anywhere!
I guess should mention that there are also kit houses from some of Sears, Roebuck competitors in the Columbus area as well, but not near as many as Sears. Or….we just haven’t found them yet!
Here’s one from Montgomery Ward that I located with a deed record
And a lovely bungalow from The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan
My Franklin County mortgage record research project is on-going, so I am sure I will have lots more houses to share in the near future.
Thanks for following along!