The little Facebook page I started several years ago to promote Sears Modern Homes has grown slowly and steadily over time. Since my research buddy, Judith, took over the Admin duties a while back, it has grown faster and more steadily than when I was managing it! Thanks to Judith for keeping it going strong.
Thankfully, whenever the page gets an inquiry about a possible Sears House here in Ohio, Judith is quick to let me know.
That’s what happened earlier this month.
After finding a mailing label from Sears, Roebuck on the back of a trim board in his house, the owner, Hank, got to work doing some research about what that might mean. It didn’t take him long to figure out that his whole house might have been purchased from Sears!
Hank was pretty sure he had figured out the model from on line resources, but a few things were off. He contacted the Facebook page to share his findings and was looking for confirmation. He and Judith exchanged information for a while, and guess what?
He was right!
Here’s his photo of the mailing label that got the whole thing started.
Judith put me in touch with Hank, and shortly after, I was able to go see the house in person. The house has some great original details, and…….a great story to tell.
The house is what I call an “old style” farmhouse. You know the kind. It’s a traditional gabled ell design, and here in Ohio, they are everywhere in our rural areas. They are so common, in fact, that I never really look at them twice on street surveys. It is only when something brings a particular property to my attention, that I spend time reviewing it for Sears details.
Here’s the house in Sidney. We have determined that the house is a model No. 171, which was later known as The Rossville. ( In a few catalogs, Sears expanded the number to what is shown in the images below, the No. 264P171.)
As for original details…… the house has this window…..which Hank and Judith had already figured out. It’s the Bayview Cottage Window.
It was a little bit challenging, but with help from Trina, Hank’s lovely lady, I was able to get a photo that showed some of the details of the window.
The Bayview window is one of two things that made Hank and Judith sure the house was an early Sears model. The second thing was the door hardware. If you follow this little blog, you’ve probably seen photo after photo after photo of the common Sears door hardware, the Stratford design.
Yeah…..well…..this house doesn’t have that kind!
After getting photos of those two distinctive things about this particular house, we got down to the business of reviewing the floor plan, window arrangement, and a few other details.
Hank already knew a lot about his home’s history, but one of the things he wasn’t sure about is the actual year of build. The Auditor information says the house was built in 1940. Well……we know that’s not correct….but in this instance there is a reason that this is wrong on the Tax Card.
The place where the house is now…..isn’t where the house was built!
I know! Crazy!
Hank is sure, from local sources, and his own research, that the house was moved to its current location from another area close by that was owned by the same family as the one that built it. Apparently, the place where it sits now was the location of a log cabin that burned down somewhere along the way, and the family moved the Sears House there. It partially sits on the original stone foundation that supported the log cabin previously.
I TOLD you the house had a great story.
Knowing that the house had been moved to its current location gave us some insight into why some things aren’t quite right. Mainly, the location of the stairs to the basement aren’t where they are shown in the floor plan for the No 171.
Well…….if you picked up a house and moved it, you aren’t going to be taking the stairs to the basement with you! Especially in this situation, where the house is being put on an existing foundation. New stairs would have to be be built, and in this instance, they changed that location to better serve the family. Like….they are inside the house now, instead of outside!
The basement stairs are now beneath the stairs to the second floor, and you enter from the kitchen, where the floor plan shows a closet. Except for the door being narrow, that is a great place to access the basement. In the original details, it clearly states that the stairs for the No. 171 were outside the footprint of the house.
And that door…..that used to be to the closet……they kept it. Another original feature of the house.
All the doors in the house are original, as well as most of the trim boards.
Here’s the inside of the door leading from the kitchen to the outside.
We were able to match up the exterior door design to one also shown in the early Sears Building Materials catalog. The house doesn’t have a fancy pane of glass as is shown in the catalog. Maybe it did at one time. The door does have the little ledges on the part that faces the outside.
While I am sure other companies besides Sears sold doors with this design – one top panel, a large pane of glass, and three panels below, we also found that Sears used the combination of the Metropole door, the five panel interior door, the Bayview Window, and the Mayfair hardware on another early gabled ell design, the No. 115, in 1908, the very first year for Sears Modern Home catalogs!
After seeing these details advertised together, maybe we are getting closer to putting a year of build on Hank’s house.
Factoring in the mailing label, we know it can’t be as early as 1908. The mailing label states that the materials were shipped directly from Norwood, Ohio. Sears, Roebuck purchased what would be called Norwood Sash and Door in 1912, and the first catalog year that mentioned shipments were made from “Southern Ohio” was 1913.
I did suggest to Hank that maybe only the first floor of the house was completed at time of build. In the floor plan, there is a bedroom on the first floor, which is now used as the Dining room. If that was the case, maybe the original owners bought additional materials in 1913, or later, to complete the second floor.
Hank is doing additional research at the County Offices and the Library to try to get a closer year of build.
Here’s a few more pictures of original details.
What a great history. And a great house. And a great owner.
My thanks to Judith for connecting me with the owner, and of course, my thanks to Hank (and his lovely lady Trina) for sharing the home with me. And you.
Thanks for following along!