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A few “Sears Houses” in Monroe

Monroe, Ohio is a small city just off I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Up until this year, I knew pretty much nothing about Monroe.  All I ever saw of it was what was on “The Exit”.  You know the one.  Big Buttery Jesus…….Traders World……Premium Outlet Mall……..

Then, this past Spring, I was asked to give a Presentation at a General Meeting of the Monroe Historical Society.  It’s been a while since I have given a “stand still” type of talk, as usually I am guiding folks around neighborhoods here in Springfield on Walking Tours.

But as I had decided to take this year off from the Walking Tour schedule, the timing was perfect for me to freshen up my Power Point Presentation.

So off to Monroe I went, in the Spring, to have a drive around and check out the one house they already knew was a “Sears House”

Or was it?

Lewis San Fernando 110 Macready Monroe OH

Possible Lewis San Fernando, 110 Macready Ave., Monroe OH

Here’s the deal.  “Sears House” has become a generic name used to describe any house purchased as a kit from a mail order catalog.  And since there were other companies that sold houses besides Sears, sometimes a “Sears House” isn’t from Sears, Roebuck.

Some researchers get annoyed about it when a house from another company is referred to as a “Sears House”, but it doesn’t bother me a bit.  I am glad, and thankful, to have the information, and….it helps my research skills to track down models from some of the other companies.

So I’m pretty sure, and so is the family that has owned it for years, that their house is a “Sears House” from Lewis Mfg Co.

San Fernando image

The San Fernando from Lewis Homes – 1924 catalog

According to the family that attended my talk, there are a few things that don’t match up to either of the two floor plans that were offered for this model.  For one thing, the house has access to the attic area via a stairway that is not shown in the catalog.  Adding that stairway might have accounted for the few other small things that are different, like closet locations.  I am hopeful the owners may be able to find some documentation that will determine if the house is, indeed, from Lewis Homes.  We don’t have many Lewis models in our part of Ohio, so I was thrilled to see one in such good repair.

A couple houses down the street is this house, which matches up to a design offered by Montgomery Ward.

WW Monteroy (GVT Gilmore) 142 Macready Monroe OH right

Possible Wardway Monteroy, 142 Macready Ave., Monroe OH

WW Monteroy 1924 image

The house has had vertical siding added, making the identification a little tricky, but what caught my eye is the other side of the house.

WW Monteroy (GVT Gilmore) 142 Macready Monroe OH left

See that little bumped out area?  That’s the bathroom!  The Wardway Monteroy shows that in the catalog illustration of the floor plan.

WW Monteroy 1924 details

Around the corner from these two possible kit houses on Macready Ave., are two more houses that match a design offered by Montgomery Ward.

WW Florence 61 Ohio Ave Monroe OH right (2)

Possible Wardway Florence, 61 Ohio Ave., Monroe OH

The front of the house shows the detail to look for to get started identifying this one, with the front door flanked by half windows.

WW Florence 61 Ohio Ave Monroe OH

WW Florence image 1924

The house on Ohio Ave is reversed from the catalog offering.  That was a common change at order time.

The second house on Ohio Ave is right next door.  It’s the same model, but not as photogenic.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

So….are there any “real”  Sears Houses in Monroe?

YES!!!

Sears Homecrest 629 Lebanon St Monroe OH

Sears Homecrest, 629 Lebanon St., Monroe OH

 

I have to admit, I would have driven right past this house and not recognized it.  In fact……I did…..several times.  In my defense, it has been altered a bit.  The front porch has been enlarged and the dormer removed.  I am getting better at spotting one of the tri-level models that Sears offered, The Concord, but this is the Homecrest design.  The first one I have ever seen!

Anyways……I didn’t spot it.  And probably never would have.  So thanks to Reed, for contacting me, offering to give me a tour of Monroe, and showing me the pages of his copy of the original blueprints for the home his family built in 1939.

IMG_6944

Homecrest catalog 1938

I found a photo of the house taken before the porch was changed on the Butler County Auditor’s website.

Sears Homecrest 629 Lebanon St Monroe auditor 2005

The house still has the original door on the connector from the house to the garage.

IMG_6960

Reed says the doorbell is original, too, on this door.  He remembers ringing it repeatedly as a child.    “TURN CRANK”

IMG_6961

I loved having the opportunity to scout out Monroe, and had a wonderful evening sharing my finds, and hearing from their residents about their houses.

I also got some new information about a house in Middletown that has been on my radar for a while.  I will share that in my next post.

Thanks for following along.

6 comments on “A few “Sears Houses” in Monroe

  1. I love your breezy, friendly style AND your great pictures!

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  2. I don’t know you personally like your friend, victorianfan, but I do enjoy seeing all of your photos & hearing about all the history of the Sears kit houses, Montgomery Ward & any other homes whether they were built from a kit or not! I have always been interested in all the different styles of vintage homes from yesteryear!

    My Dear Mom, God rest her soul, used to talk about the different Sears homes whenever she & I would be in the car together driving somewhere in Cincinnati. She grew up in a Sears home in the My. Airy neighborhood of NW Cincinnati on North Bend Rd.
    I knew that she really loved living in a Sears home most of her childhood until the 7th grade when my grandparents, my Mom, & her siblings had to move, because my Mom always had a big smile on her face whenever she talked about growing up in one or whenever she’d spot a Sears home! The last time that I happened to drive by the house that my Mom grew up in, I noticed that it is for sale, except it doesn’t look as nice as it once did which makes me sad! I wish that more people that live in any style of house would take more responsibility to care for where they live….SIGH!!

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    • Thanks Mary. I do love to stop and take pictures whenever I can, and I’m glad to know there are people out there who appreciate them.

      Thanks, too, for your story about your connection to a Sears House. Seems like your Mom passed along her love for old homes to you.

      Like

  3. Great finds in Monroe, Cindy! I’m looking forward to hearing more about the Middletown house.
    Judith

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