A Sears Richmond in Upper Arlington

Over the Winter months I usually try to go back through some of my old mortgage research spreadsheets to see what I wasn’t able to locate the first time around. With new records being digitized regularly, sometimes I can find a house after an additional search several years later.

Last week I had a look at my old research documents from Franklin County. There weren’t a whole lot of missing houses, since that county has deed records available for the “Sears Years” on their Recorder’s website, which resulted in exceptional results from the mortgage records I was given access to several years ago in their office.

But since there were a few missing pieces to the Sears puzzle in the Columbus area, I hopped onto their Recorder’s website and did another search for the Sears Trustees for that area.

Boy, am I glad I did!

Franklin County had uploaded some new records which enabled me to locate several more homes with Sears mortgages that I didn’t already have on my original spreadsheet.

And one of those was a Sears Richmond model, a rare one in the Sears Modern Home world. To date there were only two on our Master List of Sears Homes in the United States, both in Illinois, which were located by Lara of Sears Homes of Chicagoland.


Now Ohio has one as well! And it’s a nice one!

The Sears Richmond was only offered for two years, to my knowledge, in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs. 1932 and 1933.

Here’s the information on the model from the 1932 catalog.

In 1932, Sears gave some very nice descriptions of their homes, in just a few paragraphs.

Below is the floor plan, which really gives you the feel of the home based on the description above. I can just “see” the garden out back, beyond the bay window in the dining room.

Here’s how I located the one in Upper Arlington. I compare mortgage record research to a pick a path book, as sometimes you get where you are supposed to be quickly and sometimes you have to back track and do it all over again. This one was actually pretty easy.

Franklin County now has mortgage release records (not the actual mortgages ), but those are great starts to picking the right path.

Above is the release of the mortgage held by Sears, Roebuck for a parcel owned by John H. and Dorothy H. Garland. The mortgage was written on May 3, 1932, and released on Sept. 27, 1939.

Next I searched for a deed record for John H. Garland, recorded shortly before the mortgage was issued, figuring if you were going to build a new house, you would have to buy the lot first. Found it!

Next, I pulled up the Plat Map for Guilford Place. Those are also available on the Franklin County Recorder’s website. It takes a bit of back and forth, sometimes, between the Plat Map and Google Maps, to figure out exactly where the parcel is, in this case, lot number 37, especially since I’m not really that familiar with Columbus area neighborhoods. But I got it. And the Auditor’s website confirmed the address after I figured it out, as the tax card lists the Plat and Lot number.

I told you it was like Pick a Path!

The Auditor also has some great photos of houses to go along with the tax information. Below is one from 2014. They have a newer one, but there is a car in the driveway, so this one shows more of the house. It’s a great match. There has been an addition added onto the back and the side porch enclosed since the home was built in 1932.

I really like the look of this house, and the floor plan, too. Lara from Chicagoland thinks the style of the home was already outdated by the time Sears offered it, and it didn’t sell well, which would explain why we haven’t found many. Still, there are probably more out there. Somewhere…….

I did do a little research on the couple who built this house. It’s amazing how you can track people from old newspapers with a little practice. Especially if they are the kind of people who made the business and social sections. This couple did!

John H. Garland first showed up in my newspaper research in 1928, when a small item stated he had recently completed his 2nd year at the University of Chicago. ( Later research would show he was there working on his Master’s Degree. ) In September of 1929, he was appointed to be an Instructor of Geography at The Ohio State University. In August of 1930, he moved to Pullman, Washington to be an Instructor at Washington State College. In May of 1931, he got a leave of absence from his position at Washington State. A couple weeks later, on June 19, he left for a trip to Europe with twelve members of his class from the University of Chicago. On August 7, 1931, his engagement to Dorothy Hutchinson was announced. The wedding was to take place on August 22. John H. returned from his trip to Europe on August 19, only three days before the wedding!

It was quite a wedding.

These articles say John H. was an instructor back at Ohio State, and indeed further articles confirmed he was heading back to the Columbus area.

Since he was married and had a good job, now was the time to build his new home, purchased as a kit and financed through Sears, Roebuck.

The Garland’s lived in their Sears Richmond until Sept of 1939, when John J. took another teaching position in Cleveland at Western Reserve University.

I was able to find a couple of pictures of him in the Cleveland Plain Dealer from his years there.

This is just one example of how much fun my research team members have tracking down these houses from Sears, Roebuck and from some of the other kit house companies.

I know. We’re nuts! But thank God I’m a Buckeye, and not just any nut!

Thanks for following along, and I really hope to share more in 2023 than I did in 2022. Because Andrew, another member of our research group reminded me recently that while we love to find these houses, we really need to share them with the rest of the world.

2 comments on “A Sears Richmond in Upper Arlington

  1. I think it’s a very nice model, too. I just posted it on our FaceBook page, and the comments are all very positive! Glad you had some more leads on mortgages. I bet we’ve (well, I, anyway) passed this model by before.


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