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Follow the Money – Provident Estates Co. – Tallmadge

This is the continuation of my last post about The Provident Estates Co. in Summit County. Said company borrowed a whole lot of money from Sears in 1920 and proceeded to build kit homes purchased from the Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Provident Estates Co. got three mortgages from Sears, with parcels from three different plats used as collateral. My last post talked about two of those plats in Akron, while this post will be about the third neighborhood, in Tallmadge.

As usual, I went down a rabbit hole, so to speak, researching the Provident Estates Co. I will share what I found out about them after I tell you about the Sears kit houses that were intended to be built in the brand new neighborhood of Tallmadge Park. Unlike the other two neighborhoods involved, these houses were NOT going to be Sears Rockhurst models.

One of the many Sears Rockhurst models built by the Provident Estates Co. in Akron in 1920

The third mortgage that Sears wrote to Provident Estates was the smallest of the three, only about $35,000, as compared to the approx. $70,000 and $77,000 for the first two. There was also a major difference in the kind of parcels involved in the third mortgage. For the first two, Provident was simply buying lots in established plats and building a house. For the third mortgage, the loan was for houses in what was to be a brand new plat………

Tallmadge Park

The Tallmadge Park plat was recorded on April 30, 1920, and only a few short weeks later, Provident Estates Co. ran a full page ad in the Akron Evening Times promoting sales of homes and lots.

Akron Evening Times – 16 May 1920

The house illustrations in the ad aren’t very clear in the digitized edition available on line, but they were good enough for me to make my eyes pop, kinda like they did when I saw how much money was involved in these mortgages. Because……..I see Sears Houses…….

Two of the houses in the ad were photo copied right out of the pages of the 1920 Sears Modern Home catalog, The Beaumont and the Lexington models, both high end homes of that time period.

Off to the races I went, in my Google car, to scout out the neighborhood, looking for these great Sears Homes. Especially The Beaumont, as it is one of the models our research team has yet to find anywhere!

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. No Beaumont. No Lexington.

But…….there were two Sears Houses I did recognize, a Verona and a Preston, also high end models of the day. Both of those houses had previously been spotted by other researchers, and were already on our Master List, but hopefully now I could document them.

Sears Verona on North Ave in Tallmadge, Ohio. photo grab from Google Maps

Sears Preston on North Ave in Tallmadge, Ohio. photo grab from Google maps

The Preston model had several options for the front, apparently. In some years it was shown with a rounded front door.

Both of these homes were built on an existing road in Tallmadge, at the entrance to the neighborhood, not on one of the new roads that would have been put in for the plat.

But these two homes, though higher dollar Sears Houses, would surely not have used up all the mortgage dollars attached. $35,287.13. Hmmmmmm…..wonder where the rest of the money went?

There was one more house in that original ad that looked familiar, but my old brain couldn’t pin it down. Fortunately, Marie has a younger brain, and remembered it almost immediately.

It wasn’t from Sears, but may be a kit house from another company, Aladdin Homes. It was even featured in a separate ad about a week later.

Akron Evening Times – 25 May 1920

We have no documentation that Provident Estates Co. had any business dealings with The Aladdin Co., so it is only a guess that it’s the model pictured in the ad. But what I do know for sure, is that this house was actually built, at the other end of the new plat, also on an existing road.

House that looks like an Aladdin Sunnyside, on Kent Rd in Tallmadge, Ohio.

For those of you that follow along, you might notice the brackets on the front porch roof. Yep. Five piece. Just like the ones Sears used on a lot of models. Crazy! This model was never offered by Sears.

So……..about documentation of the two large Sears models…….only one of them had pass through dollars on their deeds, like many of the Sears Rockhurst models associated with the other mortgages. The Sears Preston had $9449.00 shown as being owed to Walker O Lewis when it was purchased from the Provident Estates Co. in January of 1922. So we still have almost $26,000 of mortgage dollars unaccounted for in Tallmadge Park.

I wonder where the money went……

That’s what I have to share for now about the Sears Houses built by the Provident Estates Co., but like I said, I went down a rabbit hole researching this, and I did find some other interesting goings on, so if you still have interest, keep reading……..it’s REALLY long, so if you click out along the way, no worries.

I did a bit of a timeline…..

February 11-15,1920 – first mention of Provident Estates Co. in Akron newspapers. – they were selling stock in their newly formed company and needed office help.

Feb 22, 1920 – full page ad in the Akron Sunday Times promoting their stock program

Feb 27, 1920 – Sears, Roebuck mortgage to Provident Estates Co recorded – $69,740 – for parcels in Blue Pond Allotment

March 16, 1920 – ad explaining in more detail about the stock being sold – it was to back mortgages

March 23, 1920 – first ad about a house to be completed – this was one of the Sears Rockhurst models. $8750 purchase price with a $2500 down payment required

April 21, 1920 – ad with lots of details about the houses being built in the Blue Pond Allotment – these were all Sears Rockhurst models.

May 16, 1920 – full page ad about Tallmadge Park – shown at the beginning of this post

And….they need help selling houses

May 20, 1920 – another ad about Tallmadge Park, explaining in detail about the special terms for the first twenty buyers.

May 25, 1920 – Sears, Roebuck mortgage to Provident Estates Co recorded – $77,050 – for parcels in the Smith Re-Allotment – this is where additional Sears Rockhurst models were built

Also, an ad for salesmen stating 40 houses were currently under construction

May 30, 1920 – an ad stating ten of the twenty homes offered under special terms had been sold in Tallmadge Park.

June 3, 1920 – ad stating a house to be ready in three weeks, with only $1500 down instead of the $2500 from earlier in the year. This is most likely for another Sears Rockhurst.

July 13, 1920 – notice of 20 building permits issued for parcels in the Smith Re-Allotment – more Sears Rockhurst models.

Also, they are now offering evening training classes on how to sell their stock

July 11, 1920 – press release stating that 11 of the Sears Rockhurst models had been sold, and more are nearing completion. Also, a change in upper management.

July 18, 1920 – the company declares a dividend

Aug 1, 1920 – stock sales are going well

Sept 18, 1920 – they need more stock to sell

Sept 23, 1920 – Sears, Roebuck mortgage to Provident Estates Co recorded – $35, 287.13 – for parcels in Tallmadge Park

Oct 3, 1920 – the main man himself, T. H. Dillon, and they are expanding into Cleveland and Columbus

Oct 16, 1920 – growing fast

Nov 13, 1920 – they need a few live wires

Dec 24, 1920 – more dividends declared – Merry Christmas

Dec 26, 1920 – Happy Anniversary

June 25, 1921 – a change at the top

Aug 3, 1921 – huh. There’s that first Sears Rockhurst from 1920, and a couple others, for rent

Feb 15, 1922 – uh oh – a foreclosure of one of the Sears Rockhurst models with a promissory note attached

Feb 16, 1922 – uh oh – former President is in trouble

March 1922 – several more foreclosure notices of Sears Rockhurst models, followed by more throughout 1922

Oct 10, 1922 – a salesman didn’t get paid apparently

Nov 14, 1922 – somebody else stole money from the company

Mar 6, 1923 – going out of business

Summary of sales as I could find – between July of 1920 and May of 1922, Provident Estates Co sold 31 parcels, most with Sears Rockhurst models on them. No further sales from the company were recorded until the Receiver started selling parcels in July of 1923. Sales continued through the Receiver until April of 1925, many of which were vacant lots.

21 Jan 1926 – it’s over

So, did Sears get paid? I doubt it. Did all the house kits Sears shipped to Akron get built? Maybe. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

I did find a few articles on the first President of Provident Estates Co., T H Dillon, before he came to Akron.

Aug 30 1911

And Aug 21, 1914 – seems our man had a little experience in business, eh? Draw your own conclusions.

And for those of you still here..

Thanks for following along!!!

2 comments on “Follow the Money – Provident Estates Co. – Tallmadge

  1. Very interesting !

    On Fri, Feb 18, 2022 at 6:59 PM Sears Houses in Ohio wrote:

    > Cindy Catanzaro posted: ” This is the continuation of my last post about > The Provident Estates Co. in Summit County. Said company borrowed a whole > lot of money from Sears in 1920 and proceeded to build kit homes purchased > from the Sears Modern Homes catalog. Provident Estat” >

    Like

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