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Franklin County Update- part 2

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

Obetz -6

Reynoldsburg -1

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.

Sears Alhambra, 1218 Mulford Rd., Grandview Heights OH (Photo by Cindy Catanzaro)

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! )

Sears Ashland, 172 N Ardmore Rd, Bexley OH (Photo from Franklin County Auditor)


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

Columbus Dispatch 20 July 1941
Sears Berwyn built in 1941, 176 S Sylvan, Columbus OH (Photo by Cindy Catanzaro)

Colchester – 1 – Tim Treadwell’s house

Tim Treadwell’s house was painted by Columbus artist Harvey Gilliam in the 1960’s
Sears Colchester, 401 Woodland Ave., Columbus OH

https://starr-review.blogspot.com/2012/02/?fbclid=IwAR2qAZo68qXMacedR0qEBsRGI3dVTx2ic_A4bSmP32VAAwbL3m_qtql4AVc

Fullerton – 6 – one has a gable roof instead of the standard hipped roof

Sears Fullerton with a gable roof, 1215 Heyl Ave., Columbus OH – This house is documented with a mortgage record (Photo from Franklin County Auditor)


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 –

http://www.sears-homes.com/2013/06/a-rare-authenticated-homart-home-in.html

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

What appears to be a Sears Lewiston, but was mortgaged through Montgomery Ward. 5545 Norton Rd., Grove City OH (Photo from Franklin County Auditor)

Trenton – the only one located so far —anywhere!

Illustration of the Sears Trenton from the 1932 Homes of Today catalog
Sears Trenton at 400 N Lenappe Dr., Columbus OH. ( This image is cropped from the 2017 public photo found on the Franklin County Auditor’s website )

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

Wardway Northbrook, 446 Blenheim Rd., Columbus OH (Photo by Cindy Catanzaro)

And a lovely bungalow from The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan

Aladdin Pomona, 54 Webster Park Ave., Columbus OH (Photo by Cindy Catanzaro)

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!

14 comments on “Franklin County Update- part 2

  1. Such an interesting post–I love the comparison pictures!

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  2. Those are great houses, Cindy! And a Northbrook! Is that the only one?

    Lara

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  3. I have a Sears and Robucks home. Mine has been remodeled. Although a former president’s step grandchildren lived in the home and I have a wonderful newspaper article and picture of them sitting on the front steps! Pretty cool history!

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  4. Cindy, we think we are in a Sears home. Maybe the maplewood or the ridgeland model. I haven’t been able to find any identifying items, but wanted to see if this was on your list.

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  5. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I had no idea there were several of these homes in the Columbus area!

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  6. We live in a Sears house on Morris Rd, Hilliard, Oh. We have lived in it for 48+ years. Only second family to own this home.

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  7. I own a Sears home in Middletown (Sorg Place). My husband and I bought the house in 1986 for his parents to live in. We call it the “gingerbread” house because our daughter thought that’s what it looked like. My in laws and now my daughter has enjoyed living here for many years.

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    • Your house on Sorg Place is a Gunnison Home. They were house kits, but were not sold by Sears, Roebuck. Looks like there are a bunch of them on your block. I will have to drive past some day and get photos.

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  8. Was so excited to see the article in last Sunday’s Dispatch — fascinating work! Thanks for what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cindy, we thoroughly enjoyed the Steve Stephens article on 3/10/18 in the Columbus Dispatch. My father was in the wholesale building materials business for 50 years, so I grew up watching for things like Sears and Lustron homes. Our “catty-corner” backyard neighbors, the Armitage family, live in a Sears home. It is Franklin County parcel no. 070-005197-00, located at 2732 Eastcleft Road in Upper Arlington. I checked the property record and, voila, Sears owned the house in 1933. It looks similar to a Vallonia, but I don’t think I saw the exact model on your site after a quick scan. Our first home was on Lenappe Drive in Columbus, just down the road from your featured home at 400 Lenappe. We never knew its history or that it was a Sears home. Thanks for a fascinating, fun, and fact-filled site!

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  10. Jon, the house at 2732 Eastcleft is a Kilbourne model, and yes, it was mortgaged and later repossessed by Sears, so it is a documented Sears Home. The house across the street from it at 2729 Eastcleft is a Sears Langston, I’m pretty sure. No mortgage there yet, but maybe I will find it as I continue my research in Franklin County.

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  11. I get the Sunday Dispatch and enjoyed reading the article.

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