A Sears Norwich in Cincinnati (Green Twp)

My last blog post was about A Sears Carrington in Wyoming (Cincinnati).  Until recently,  researchers used to think that mid to late 1930’s Sears Houses were rare, but the current group (me included) of kit house hunters know now that is just not so.  They are out there all right…….but they are harder to find.

One of the reasons is that in late 1933, Sears stopped offering financing plans.  If you bought a Sears Modern Home and chose to make your payments directly to Sears Roebuck, a mortgage would be recorded at your County Offices.  These mortgage records are still available in many County Recorders offices across the country and some have even been digitized so they can be seen on line.

My research group is finding train loads of Sears Houses this way, and even more importantly, the process documents the house for historical purposes.

So here I am in Ohio, “The Heart of it All”, researching Sears Houses.

And so far, Ohio is the “heart” of it all as far as locating Sears Houses as well.  Most of that is due to the fact that Sears, Roebuck & Co. owned Norwood Sash & Door Manufacturing Company, which was located…… guess where?  Norwood, Ohio, which is right in the “heart” of the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan area.  Due to this there are train loads, and train loads, and more train loads…..of Sears Houses in Cincinnati, and the surrounding area.

Making my job way easier.

One of the ways I have been locating Sears Houses in the Cincinnati area has been through the tedious process of going through the Hamilton County deed and mortgage record index books which are available on line.  A couple of my research buddies paged through a lot of the books a while back, but when we got down to the Township books we set the project aside for a while.

Now I’m back at it, and I just finished going through a 919 page index book looking for what we look for to find Sears Houses.  It’s slow…………and my eyes get tired……..and my head hurts from trying to decipher legal descriptions…….but once in a while, I find a Sears House.  Like that Carrington.

I actually had more success with this particular index book than we have had with some of the others, as I had 32 separate records that I needed to research.  Some books only have had a few.   Of course, I wasn’t able to connect all 32 records to houses still in existence today, but I was able to put addresses and models to 19 of the records.  Pretty good work, eh?  Of the others, some were gone, replaced by commercial buildings or new housing additions, and a few weren’t actually Sears Houses.

How did that happen, you must be wondering?  How did Sears finance a house that wasn’t a Sears House?

Well…..that’s where all this has been going.  I want to tell you a bit about the kind of records that are showing up regularly in the Hamilton County index books, because it appears that in the Cincinnati geographical area, the financing plan thing, through Sears, was handled just a little bit differently sometimes.  And that’s where we get back to Norwood Sash & Door.

Sears researchers have known for years what to look for when hunting up mortgage records, due to the early work done by Dale Wolicki.  Thanks, Dale!  Sears, and the other kit house companies that offered mortgages, had employees known as “Trustees” that signed off on the paperwork that went out to the various County Offices to record the mortgage, and those are the names we look for.

And we are finding those in the Cincinnati area, but, due to the sheer volume of sales there, over 3000 homes according to Sears advertisements, we aren’t really finding many actual Sears mortgage records.


Here’s where I’m going to do what Historians are supposed to do.  Look at all the information available, through source documents, and make a supposition.

Through my own research, and other members of my group, we can clearly state that many of the Sears Houses that were sold in the Cincinnati geographical area, were sold through Norwood Sash & Door, who then carried in house accounts for buyers, and builders.  What that means is that any credit worthy buyer, and maybe some who weren’t so credit worthy, could open an account, and make their payments directly to Norwood Sash & Door, instead of to Sears, Roebuck.

How do we know that?

Because…..in Cincinnati, and in many neighboring areas, we are finding Mechanics Liens instead of mortgages.

What’s a Mechanics Lien, you say?   It’s the legal way for a company, or an individual, to get money owed to them, if somebody doesn’t pay their bill for materials or services rendered.  Pretend it’s 1933, and you decide to buy a furnace for your house.  You give a local company a deposit, and promise to pay the balance due after installation.  But……something goes wrong.  When the final bill comes due, you don’t have the money, and can’t pay the bill.  You work out a payment plan with the company, but for whatever reason, you don’t follow through and after a while, you still owe on the furnace.  You  stop making  payments.  At this point, the company wants to make sure they get what is owed to them, even if they have to wait until you sell your house!  They file a Mechanics Lien, which basically says whatever you owe the company has to be paid before the deed can be transferred to a new owner.  Just like a mortgage.  Make sense?

So…….that’s what we are finding in Hamilton County…..and surrounding areas.  Mechanics Liens, put in place by Norwood Sash & Door Mfg. Company against kit houses sold through the Sears Modern Homes catalogs.

NSD Mech Lien for 7180 Bridgetown Rd

And what is even better, is that this practice was still going on long after Sears Roebuck stopped offering traditional financing plans (mortgages) in 1933.

And that’s how I located a Sears Norwich in Cincinnati.

I’ll bet you were wondering when I was going to get around to that!

Anyways, finding this little bit of information is just the start of the process of actually putting an address and a Sears model to the record.  And while it’s long and sometimes tedious, that’s the part I like the best.  It’s almost like a game……with a prize at the end if you’re the winner.

Like I mentioned earlier, this index book was for Township areas, and not within Cincinnati city limits.  City records are easier because they have a platted neighborhood and a lot number.  Township legal descriptions use a bunch of jargon that needs to be deciphered, and sometimes it’s not easy.  The one for The Norwich was actually pretty simple compared to most I’ve seen……but that didn’t mean it was any easier.  First, the name of the road changed.  Then, somewhere along the way, part of the original parcel was sold off, so the current dimensions of the lot are different than in 1937.  Hamilton County has old property record cards available on their Auditor’s website, but they didn’t go back far enough in time, to list Lee A. Henkel.  I had to use my Newspapers.com subscription to find out who Henkel sold the house to, through deed transfer notices,  then again……then again….. to find the first owner of record on the property card for the parcel.

But, finally, I did determine that 7180 Bridgetown Rd., in Green Township, Section 33, South West 1/4, matched the parcel description and owner mentioned in the 1937 Mechanics Lien.   Whew!

Then……I had to figure out if it was actually a Sears House!  Because…….you know…….Norwood Sash & Door sold stuff besides Sears kit houses.  Like windows…….and doors…….and millwork…….and roofing materials……..and that’s how there might end up being a mortgage, or Mechanics Lien, record for something that’s not a Sears House.

Want to see the house?  So do I, but it’s zero degrees outside, so I’ll be using the Auditor’s pictures.

First, here’s the catalog image of the Sears Norwich, offered in Modern Homes catalogs from approx. 1931 until 1938.

1938 image

Typical looking Colonial Revival styling.  No wonder we don’t spot them on street surveys!

Let’s look at a few of the details.  Here’s Sears description…….

1938 description

Whoa……an attached garage!  That was a bit uncommon for a Sears House in 1931, but was seen more a few years later.

Notice Sears recommended the house be painted white with dark shutters.

Here’s the Auditor’s photo of the actual house from 2008.

S Norwich 7180 Bridgetown Rd Cincinnati OH 2008 cropped

Sears Norwich, 7180 Bridgetown Rd., Cincinnati OH (Photo from Hamilton Co Auditor’s website)

There’s that attached garage, and yep, it’s painted white, but the shutters are gone.

Let’s compare it to the floor plan.  There are a few differences, but I’m still confident this is a Norwich model.

1938 first floor .jpg

1938 second floor.jpg

A couple of things different.  First, the Library on the first floor is missing!  Hard to see that in the Auditor’s photo, but it’s not there.  The porch on that side of the house has been turned 90 degrees and runs along the side of the house instead of in front of the Library.  I’m thinking it’s because of the size of the lot.  If the Library was in place, the house would be 65 feet wide.  Maybe it wouldn’t fit on the lot, or maybe they didn’t need the space and wanted to save money.  I did find out when I did my research that the original owner, Lee A Henkel, was the son of a contractor, and he did sell the house in 1939, so I’m thinking he built it for resale.  Eliminating the Library would have been a cost savings at build, and sell, time.

The second thing I noticed was the absence of two windows in the front bedroom on the second floor.  It looks like maybe they moved that window to the back bedroom on the second floor.

Now you’re probably wondering how these changes occurred if this was a Sears kit house?  Well…….first we know that Sears encouraged changes to their designs, and would make those changes for a small extra charge.  Second……in the 1938 catalog……this wasn’t a Pre-Cut design, meaning those changes would have been a bit less expensive to make.

1938 No 3342

Here’s what was included with The Norwich in 1938.

1938 details.jpg

Catalog price of this house in 1938 was $3136……plus……plus……plus…..

The house has had exterior updates since 2008, when the photo above was taken.  Here’s the 2015 picture.

S Norwich 7180 Bridgetown Rd Cincinnati OH 2015

I like the new color.  Hopefully I’ll get to Cincinnati soon and get my own photos.  If it ever warms up!  And maybe…..I’ll knock on the door.

Thanks for following along.











A Sears Carrington in Wyoming (Cincinnati)

A couple of years ago, I spent several months going through digitized copies of The Cincinnati Enquirer, available through my Newspapers.com subscription, looking for information about Sears Houses that had been built there.  I found loads of  good stuff.  Ads, articles, mortgage and deed references, building permit notices….. many of which led to locating one or more of the train loads of Sears Houses that were built in the Cincinnati area.

One of the best finds from my newspaper research was a A Sears Jefferson in Wyoming (Cincinnati)

Only one other Sears Jefferson had ever been located, so it was a thrill to identify such a rare model.

So what am I doing now, to continue my hunt for Sears Houses in Ohio?  I’m spending months going through digitized copies of Hamilton County deed and mortgage record index books.  You would think after all the research already done in Hamilton County, first by Beatrice Lask in the 1990’s, then followed up by other serious researchers over the next 20 some years, we would be running out of Sears Houses to find in Cincinnati.


Every once in a while, we find something new.  And today was one of those days, because I found something new.  And to add to the joy of this Holiday Season, it was the very first one of this model ever to be located!  (At least, the very first one among my group of researchers.)

A Sears Carrington

1932 image

According to Houses by Mail, the preferred field guide of most Sears Houses researchers, The Carrington was only available for three years, 1931, 1932 and 1933.

1933 was the last year that Sears offered financing plans, and the house I located today, was indeed, mortgaged through Sears, making it fully documented.


Here’s what Sears had to say about the model in their catalogs.

1932 details

And here’s the floor plan.

1932 floor plan

And here’s the house!

407 Compton Rd Wyoming OH 2015

Sears Carrington, 407 Compton Rd., Wyoming Ohio

I know…….I know…….you can’t really tell from the Auditor’s photo above.

Well let me tell you, the Google Maps street view is even worse.

407 Compton Rd Wyoming OH Google street view

Guess there wasn’t much chance anybody would have ever spotted this one from the road!

Fortunately, the Hamilton County Auditor’s website has a nice collection of historical photos of houses on their website, and the pic from 2008 is much better.

407 Compton Rd Wyoming OH.jpg

Sears Carrington, 407 Compton Rd., Wyoming Ohio

The house has had a major addition on the right side, but if you look closely at the main part of the house, you will see it matches the details of The Carrington nicely.

Notice the second floor overhang and the stone finish on the first floor, both mentioned in the catalog details.

Here’s a cropped photo that shows just the main part of the house, so we can see the details a bit better.

407 Compton Rd Wyoming OH crop

cropped view of the Auditor’s photo showing just the front

For some reason, it appears the window on the far right of the first floor is a little bit larger than the others.  That is the kitchen area.

Here’s a close up of the entry door, which is pretty distinctive on this model.

If you look closely, it appears that the catalog does show a small arch over the front door, but it appears to be more inset.  Remember the catalog illustration is just an artist rendering of the model, and may be slightly different than what the actual house looks like when built.

Honestly, without the mortgage record,  parcel description, and name of the original owner for guidance, I would never have identified this particular Sears model.

The original owners of the home were William R and Marguerite T Huber.  The mortgage was issued by E Harrison Powell, Trustee for Sears Roebuck financing plans in the early 1930’s.

Huber mortgage record

The property card on the Hamilton County Auditor’s website confirmed the location of the parcel, listing Marguerite Huber as the owner.

I found  a small notice in the Cincinnati Enquirer relating to the home dated May 22, 1933.   ( The additional rooms mentioned on the first floor are explained in an ad I found when the home was listed for sale in 1950.  See below for that article. )


William R Huber was the Comptroller for Proctor & Gamble and did volunteer work with The Community Chest and other local organizations.


The Hubers lived in the home until about 1946.

A later owner named the house “Willow Hill”.  The ad below states the “Recreation Room” mentioned in the article posted above, was actually in the basement.  You can see the house did have the addition by 1950.


Cincinnati Enquirer – Jan 22, 1950

So there you have it.  The first ever (maybe) Sears Carrington located.  And it’s right here in Ohio.

Thanks for following along.





10 Sears Clyde models (Dayton)

Do you ever wonder where Sears got the name for their house models?  I do!  Some, we know, are named after cities in Illinois, where Sears was based.  A lot of them, in fact.  And some are named after cities where the style of a particular model was popular, like “The Pittsburgh”, and “The Norwood”.

But what about “The Clyde”?  Why in the world did Sears use that name, for not only one model of house, but two?

Clyde 1918 catalog

Sears Clyde from the 1918 catalog (known as the No. 118 in earlier years)

42 The Clyde

The Clyde from the 1925 catalog

In some years, The Clyde was offered with two floor plans.

floor plan 1928

Floor plans available in 1928

But to me, an even more pressing question, why are there so many of this model (the later one) in Dayton, Ohio?

Well……I may never know the answer to my questions, but I can still share the Sears Clyde models that have been located, to date (Dec 1, 2017), here in this little blog.

Currently (see date above) there are 108 Sears Houses in Dayton, Ohio on the Master List my group of researchers is keeping for historical purposes.  Of those 108 in Dayton, 10 are Clyde models.  The later one, not the early one.  Almost 10 percent.

Huh.  Odd.  I guess the Sears Clyde was popular in Dayton.  And…..because I have way too many photos of Sears Houses in my files, (hundreds) and they are not organized, I mostly will be posting the Auditor’s photos.

Here they are

S Clyde 145 Samuel St L CCat Dayton OH

My own photo of the Sears Clyde at 145 Samuel St., Dayton OH ( documented) Testimonial house of H E Mackrodt ( see below) 

Happy Homes brochure Dayton

Page from the “Honor Bilt Make Happy Homes” brochure that was inside the 1927 Sears Modern Home catalog I purchased on Ebay a while back. I tracked The Clyde model built by H E MACKRODT to 145 Samuel St using  Montgomery County property abstract records.

S Clyde 264 Huron Dayton OH

My favorite Clyde in Dayton! I need to get there and get my own photos of this house before they change the house colors. LOVE!!! 264 Huron Ave., Dayton OH (Auditor photo)

S Clyde 348 Brooklyn Dayton OH

Sears Clyde at 348 Brooklyn Ave., Dayton OH (Auditor photo)

S Clyde 400 Verona Rd Dayton OH

Sears Clyde at 400 Verona Rd., Dayton OH (Auditor photo)

S Clyde 1404 Watervliet Dayton

Sears Clyde at 1404 Watervliet Ave., Dayton OH (Auditor photo)

S Clyde 1409 Arbor Dayton

Sears Clyde at 1409 Arbor Ave., Dayton OH

S Clyde 2805 Grace Dayton OH

Sears Clyde at 2805 Grace Ave., Dayton OH (Auditor photo)

S Clyde 3249 Ridge Dayton OH

Sears Clyde at 3249 Ridge Ave., Dayton OH (Auditor photo) This Clyde has an addition which looks original

S Clyde 3433 Wellington Dayton OH

My own photo of a Sears Clyde at 3433 Wellington Ave., Dayton OH. I took this photo in July of 2014. Since then the house has been rehabbed and has a new owner. Yay!

S Clyde 3439 Wellington Dayton OH

My own photo of a Sears Clyde at 3439 Wellington Ave., Dayton OH. This one also has an addition on one side. It’s also right next door to the Clyde I posted above.


If you want to own a Sears Clyde model in Ohio, Dayton might be the place to look!

Thanks for following along.




Another Sears Concord (Xenia)

A while back I located a 1930’s Sears model, The Concord, right here in my hometown – Springfield.

A Sears Concord in Springfield

The Concord has great history for Sears Roebuck, as it was the model they chose to be on display in Chicago at the 1933 World’s Fair, “A Century of Progress”.   Due to the popularity of the exhibition, the fair was reopened in 1934.  When all was said and done, more than 40 million people had attended.


40 million

So…….with all those people attending, surely some of them would have wanted to build the very same model home they had seen in Chicago.

Concord catalog 1938

Until I started researching Sears Houses, I had always thought the tri-level style home, which includes quad level homes, was a 1960’s thing.  But then, I’ve been wrong about a lot of things in my life, so being wrong about this was no surprise to me!  Heck, even Wikipedia says the house style wasn’t popular until the 1950’s.

So for the first several years that I was researching Sears Houses, I pretty much looked right over any tri or quad levels, even though I knew there were a few shown in Houses by Mail.

But after coming across the one near me in Springfield, I started paying more attention.  And guess what?  They are out there, all right.  You just have to know what to look for.

First, you have to recognize that the Sears tri (quad) level homes were small.  The 1960’s ones around here tend to be large, more Contemporary looking homes.  The Sears ones were pretty ordinary looking, actually.  Just a Cape Cod with multiple floors, like it says in the catalog details.

detail 1938

The details noted above is from my 1938 catalog, and Sears is telling us this style had become quite popular by then, only a few years after the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair.

Here’s a couple of tips our research group has discussed as ways to spot this model on street surveys, and they are all right there on the front of the house.

  1. The second floor slightly overhangs the first on the  main two story section of the house.
  2. The Concord has two brick sections on the outer edges of the visible lower level that resemble pillars.
  3. There is a small decorative bracket on the brick that makes it look like it is holding up the upper level.

front detail catalog 1938

Those details, of course, are just a start.  You would still need to check all the other things Sears House researchers look for.  The window arrangement, house dimensions, and year of build also need to be carefully reviewed.  And of course, if you can happen to get inside, make sure the floor plan matches the catalog.

You already know I’ve located one in Springfield, which is documented.   I’ve also spotted a possible in Cincinnati, one in Kettering, and just recently, one in Xenia.  Let’s check those front details on the Springfield, Cincinnati, and Kettering houses first, then I’ll move on the one in Xenia.

S Concord 3701 Old Clifton Rd CCat Springfield OH (3)

Sears Concord – documented with shipping paperwork – 3701 Old Clifton Rd., Springfield OH

overhang – check

brick façade pillars – check

small bracket on brick pillars – check

S Concord 1244 Drott Cincinnati OH

Possible Sears Concord, 1244 Drott, Cincinnati OH  (Photo from Hamilton Co Auditor)

The possible Concord in Cincinnati has a garage in the visible lower level instead of a Recreation Room.  This option was mentioned in the catalog.  The house was built reversed from the catalog  floor plan, another option that was available on all models the years The Concord was sold.

garage option catalog 1938

Below is the catalog page for The Homestead mentioned in the detail above.  It has the garage in the basement as part of the plans, and not as an option.  Also notice there is no overhang on the front of the house, and no dormer.  I like how Sears says there is a “regular first floor level” in the details.

Homestead 1938


S Concord 3015 Oakmont Kettering OH

Possible Sears Concord, 3015 Oakmont, Kettering OH

The possible Concord in Kettering doesn’t have the brick façade pillars, so, hmmmmm.  And those brackets look a little larger than on the other houses I’ve seen, unless that’s just an optical illusion without the brick in place.  Everything else checks out.

Now let’s have a good look at the house in Xenia.

S Concord 605 Home Ave Xenia OH 5

Probable Sears Concord, 605 Home Ave., Xenia Ohio

The one in Xenia has original features shown in the catalog image, like the six over six windows, front door with four window panes and attached side porch.

Concord image 1938

The house in Xenia also has a single car garage like the catalog, but it is separated from the house by a small covered walkway.

S Concord 605 Home Ave Xenia OH 6

Probable Sears Concord, 605 Home Ave., Xenia Ohio

When I sent a photo of this house to my research buddy, Lara, of Sears Homes of Chicagoland, she told me that walkway was a “Sears connector”.  Lara is really good with the 1930’s Sears tri (quad) level models.  I had to look it up.  I found it in the catalog, but attached to a similar model, The Homecrest.

Homecrest catalog 1938.jpg

Notice the Homecrest has a flat front instead of the overhang as seen on The Concord.  Also, The Homecrest has a bump out behind the side porch, which makes the dining room a bit larger.

Here’s a closer look at the connector walkway between the house and garage on The Concord model in Xenia.

S Concord 605 Home Ave Xenia OH 7

That’s a nice original leaded glass window on the right side of the open arched doorway.

The Sears Concord in Xenia sits pretty on a lot with loads of trees behind it, and it was nice to get there earlier today and get photos, with all the leaves on the ground.  The setting looks amazingly like a “real house photo” of this model shown in the front section of my 1938 catalog, but I know it is not, because the Xenia house doesn’t have a fireplace on the right by the side porch.

page 5 1938 catalog

S Concord 605 Home Ave Xenia OH 5

Probable Sears Concord, 605 Home Ave., Xenia Ohio

S Concord 605 Home Ave Xenia OH 2

I know there are more Sears tri (quad) level models out there.  We need to get busy and find them.

Thanks for following along!



More Sears Houses in Hartwell (Cincinnati)

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across two older Sears models while researching in the Hartwell neighborhood of Cincinnati.  Check them out! A 123 and a 124 and a 3190B

While we were in that area, we drove past several other Sears Homes that were on the “Master List of Sears Houses in the United States”, having been identified by other researchers previously.

I love seeing these houses in person.  Even though you can “Google drive” past them, and there are photos on the Hamilton County Auditor’s website, nothing really compares to standing on the sidewalk and checking them out for yourself.  For one thing, it’s hard to get a feel for the actual size of the homes from on line photos or the catalog images.   At least it is for me.

And of course, I took pictures, so I could share them with my research group, and anybody else who happens to stop by this little blog occasionally.

Here they are.

S Argyle 40 Sheehan Ave L CCat Cincinnati OH (2)

Sears Argyle at 40 Sheehan Ave., Cincinnati Ohio

1925 image

S Hamilton 62 Glendale L CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Hamilton, 62 Glendale Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio. This Hamilton model has a shed dormer on the side, which is different than what is shown in the catalog.

S Hamilton 143 Millsdale R CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Hamilton, 143 Millsdale St., Cincinnati, Ohio. I couldn’t get a good photo of the other side of this one, due to landscaping, but it has the standard hipped gable dormer that matches the one on the front of the house.

image 1925

S Marina 8100 Woodbine CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Marina, 8100 Woodbine Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio

The Marina came two ways.  One choice had a shed dormer, like the one above, and the other a gable dormer, which made the roof higher and steeper.

image (2024) 1918image (7024) 1920

S Marina 8100 Woodbine R CCatCincinnati OH

Sears Marina, 8100 Woodbine Ave., Cincinnati OH. This photo shows the house from the angle in the catalog.

The Marina on Woodbine has the shed dormer, but the roof has been raised like the option with the gable dormer.  This is another reason why seeing the houses in person is so cool!  Sears was willing to make changes to most of their home designs, for a small additional charge, and that is probably what happened when this home was ordered.

And last (for today), but certainly not least!

S Preston 59 Woodsdale CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Preston, 59 Woodsdale Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Sears Preston was one of the larger homes Sears offered in the early 1920’s, and this one has a brick façade.  You can’t really tell how large this home is from the front view, which is what is shown in the catalog illustration.

image 1918

But when you see the house from the side angle, and compare it to the catalog floor plan, it becomes apparent this is a very large home.

The catalog image below confirms that Sears would change up a home design to suit individual buyers. That’s a Preston in the background of this page about contractors that were building Sears homes.  It sure doesn’t look like the front facing image!  The front entry changes make the house look completely different.  No in set front door, and it has an added gabled porch roof.  Also, it looks like the dormers are a different style.  No wonder researchers have so much trouble finding these houses!

Screenshot (843)

Here’s the view of the Preston model on Woodsdale from the angle shown in the catalog image above.

S Preston 59 Woodsdale L CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Preston, 59 Woodsdale Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio

The brick Preston in Hartwell had been identified in 2003, by Rosemary Thornton, on what I think was her only trip to the Cincinnati area, long ago.  Unfortunately, she didn’t supply an address, and told her faithful readers it was in Wyoming, which is the next neighborhood over.  Several other researchers hunted for it for years, before it finally was spotted by my good friend Laraine Shape a couple years back.  Thank goodness it’s been re-located, so it can be reviewed by the current group of serious Sears House researchers, myself included.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few more of the Sears Homes in Hartwell.  We have several more on the “list”, but I’ll save those for another post.

Thanks for following along.



It’s getting closer…….in Dayton

You would think that with over 1600 Sears Roebuck kit homes already identified in Ohio, I wouldn’t have any trouble finding one to show here.

But when one of them tugs at your heart strings, it deserves a repeat blog post.

A while back, I stopped and took pictures of a nearly catalog perfect Sears Winona in Dayton.  By catalog perfect, I mean it still retained almost all it’s original Sears architectural details, not that it was in perfect condition.  Far from it.

Here’s the link to the older post.

Saying Goodbye to a Sears Winona in Dayton

So while I don’t get to Dayton as often as I should to hunt up houses, last week I was there and spotted a bit of progress on the fate of this Winona.  Not good progress, mind you.  More like progress towards it’s death by tear down.

And then today, another errand had me back in that same area.  Crazy.  No Dayton for months, then twice in two weeks.  That’s life.

But today, I had the time to stop and have a closer look at the house.


It’s not pretty.

Most of the windows have been removed now, so surely the home must be getting closer to demolition.  The good part is that I was able to take some pictures of the inside, since the house is now basically open to the world.

That’s also the bad part.


I’m not going to “talk” much about this house.  The photos say it all.  I think I will almost be glad when this Winona is gone…….I’m sure the neighbors will be.

Yeah.  I ignored this…….





I’m hoping somebody will at least save those doors and hardware!  I would love to have one!

85 The Winona

Thanks for following along, and sorry this post was so depressing.  😦





A 123 and a 124 and a 3190B

I wanted to break out in song when I typed the title for this blog post.

“A 123…..and a 124…..and a 3190B ! ”

I wanted to break out in song the other night, too,  when I was reviewing houses on the Hamilton County Auditor’s website and spotted what sure looked like a Sears model No 123 on Avalon St in the Hartwell area of Cincinnati.

I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying the No 123, since I spent the first couple years of this crazy hobby of mine hunting for the one that was supposed to have been built here in my hometown of Springfield.  After driving around for hours…..days….weeks….years…. I finally stumbled across it on a day when I wasn’t looking for it!

image 1914

From the 1914 Sears Modern Homes catalog

Then, earlier this year, I spotted one just south of  Waterville   coming home from a Sears House hunting road trip.

There are only 7 of this model, total, on the Master List of Sears Houses in the United States, and three of them are the ones I located right here in Ohio.  Is that cool….or what?!?

Anyways, here’s the latest find.  I went and got my own photos today, so I didn’t have to use the Auditor’s pictures.   It is reversed from the catalog image, which is pretty interesting for these earlier models.  I didn’t see anything in the 1914 catalog about that being an option, but it was offered on most models in later years.

S No 123 206 Avalon L CCat Cincinnati OH 2

Sears No. 123 at 206 Avalon St., in the Hartwell area of Cincinnati

The home looks lovely sitting on a slight rise above street level, with lots of green grass and flowers blooming.  It was a great day to take pictures here in Ohio.

The next photo shows the house just a little bit closer up.

S No 123 206 Avalon L CCat Cincinnati OH

A Sears No 123 at 206 Avalon St in the Hartwell area of Cincinnati


A good Sears house researcher might notice the house just to the right……….I did, too,  when I was researching the other night, but the Auditor’s photo and Google maps street views weren’t too good because of the trees in the front yard.

But it was definitely a house that made me go…..Hmmmmmm.

Could it be?  A Sears No 124?  Right next door to a Sears No 123?

image 1914

From the 1914 Sears Modern Home catalog


Well……my photos didn’t turn out much better than what I could find on line, also because of the tree in the front yard, but I did the best I could, and believe me, the house IS a Sears No. 124.

S No 124 216 Avalon L CCat Cincinnati OH 2

Sears No 124 at 216 Avalon St in the Hartwell area of Cincinnati


Here’s a couple of photos of the details that are unique to this model.

S No 124 216 Avalon detail CCat Cincinnati OH

S No 124 216 Avalon Window CCat Cincinnati OH

The four sided bay window on the front of the house is missing the pane on the right diagonal for some reason, but it is there in the Auditor’s older historical photos of the home.   You can also see the diamond shaped decoration of the left side of the house in those older photos as well.

I would love to go back and get photos of this one after the leaves are off the trees.

When I shared these two finds with my Sears House research group the other night, Andrew, one of the best in the group, jokingly asked if there was a No. 125 next to the No. 124.  I had to tell him no, but…..there is a third Sears model next to these two.

It’s a 3190B!  Some of you may know it by its common name, the Sears Puritan.

Puritan image 1925

From the 1925 Sears Modern Home catalog


The Puritan was offered with and without the Sun Room.  The house next door to the No 124 doesn’t have one.  I’m glad because it made the little song in my head more melodious.  🙂

S Puritan 230 Oakmont L CCat Cincinnati OH

Sears Puritan at 230 Oakmont in the Hartwell area of Cincinnati


The three homes I showed above were all new additions to our Master List.  We had several others for Hartwell already on the list, and I got photos of most of those today, too, for my research files.  I will share some of them in a future post.

Thanks for following along.



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A Sears Oak Park in Wilmington

OH!  Is it?  Is it a catalog perfect Sears Oak Park?

You bet it is!

Our route to and from Martinsville and Blanchester a couple weeks ago took us through Wilmington.  I wasn’t too familiar with the area, but my friend Gretchen was, so she navigated while I drove.

Wilmington looks to be a well kept town, with a nice downtown area, a small college, a newer shopping area, and what was really important to us on our way back home, a UDF.

After a double scoop of ice cream, we were ready for the hour ride home.

But on our way out of town, we made a quick turn down a side street to see what we could see, and there it was!

A catalog perfect Sears Oak Park.

Sears Oak Park 740 N South St CCat Wilmington OH

Sears Oak Park, 740 N South St, Wilmington Ohio

When I say catalog perfect, I mean that the house still has all the original details that identify it, even though some of them may be updated, like the siding or even new windows if the owner chose to retain the sash pattern of the originals.  But this one……it sure looks all original to me!

Here’s the catalog image.

Oak Park image 1928

Image of the Oak Park from the 1928 Sears Modern Home catalog

Original siding – check

Original windows – check

Original shutters – probably – but a different pattern than is shown in the catalog

Brick front porch – check

Original front door – check

Original porch pillars – check

Actually, that front door and porch set up was used on a few other Sears models, and they even sold it separately in the building materials catalogs.


The Oak Park was offered from 1926 until 1933, according to Houses by Mail, and you had two floor plans to choose from.

Oak Park floor plans 1928

Floor plans for the Oak Park from the 1928 catalog

The house is Wilmington appears to be the Plan No. C3237A

Oak Park floor plans C3237A 1928

From the right side of the house, you can see the small window on the second floor, which would make that the bathroom, like the floor plan above.   The larger window, in the middle, is on the stairway.  Notice the house also has the crescent shaped vents on the attic level, like those in the catalog image.

Sears Oak Park 740 N South St R CCat Wilmington OH

Sears Oak Park, 740 N South St, Wilmington Ohio


The left side of the house has the “Sun Parlor” and decorative accents, also seen in the catalog image.

Sears Oak Park 740 N South St L CCat Wilmington OH

Sears Oak Park, 740 N South St, Wilmington Ohio

Sears Oak Park 740 N South St detail CCat Wilmington OH

Stumbling across this catalog perfect Sears Oak Park just made our day.  We’ll have to go back to Wilmington when we have more time, and see what else we can see.

Thanks for following along.



A Sears No 156 in Blanchester (maybe)

My last blog post was about an older Sears model, the No. 170, in Martinsville, Ohio.  On the same day trip, we (my friend Gretchen and I) drove the short distance to Blanchester to check out another possible Sears home, the No 156.


No 156 - 1916

Sears No 156 from the 1916 Modern Homes catalog (Image courtesy of the Daily Bungalow)


The Sears No. 156 was first offered in 1911 as a plans and building materials only kit, then in 1916, had a few modifications and was sold as an “Already Cut” and fitted home named “The Glyndon”.  The last year The Glyndon was in the catalogs was 1922.

The Glyndon 1922

The Glyndon from the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog

The two models are pretty much identical in exterior dimensions and floor plan, but I did notice that the No. 156 has two sets of equally sized double windows on the right side of the house, and The Glyndon is shown with a clerestory (above eye level) window in the Living Room and a standard sized double window in the Dining Room.

Notice the roof line on both the No. 156 and The Glyndon.  It is high at the back of the house, but low on the front.  This roof line would be a deciding factor for me if I saw a home I thought might be one of these two models.  Until now.

Here’s the house in Blanchester, Ohio, I think might be a Sears No. 156.


S No 156 609 Cherry St R CCat Blanchester OH.JPG

Possible Sears No. 156 at 609 Cherry St in Blanchester, Ohio

Everything about this house matches up to the catalog image…..except that rear roof line.  And that’s a big issue.

Except…….I had the opportunity to see the home up close, like from the front porch, thanks to the nice homeowner, and after she had a look at the catalog image I had with me, confirmed the floor plan is a spot on match.

Except……the back two rooms, the Dining Room and the Kitchen, are not square like those shown in the catalog.  They are definitely deeper, and it appears the house was built that way originally. That would account for the change in the rear roof line.

Remember, these early models were not “Pre-cut” lumber from the Sears lumber mill, but just plans and building materials, so changes could be made at time of build easily if you knew what you were doing.

Let’s have a look at a few of the exterior features.

Like the front windows.

S No 156 609 Cherry St CCat Blanchester OH detail 2.JPG




S No 156 609 Cherry St CCat Blanchester OH detail 1.JPG

The house has the original front windows with a small glass pane over a large one as seen in the catalog image.  The top pane is leaded glass with a stained glass design in the center.  Sears sold these kind of windows but I couldn’t find an exact match to this style in any of the on line Building Materials catalogs.

Here’s the closest thing I found without the stained glass design.

2017-08-19 (3).png

And here’s one with a design, but it’s not quite right.

2017-08-19 (2).png

Another exterior feature to review are the porch pillars.




Those sure look like the ones Sears offered, but I’m sure they were a pretty common design.

2017-08-19 (1).png

I’m adding this home to the Master List of Sears Houses across the United States as a No. 156, but not documented.  No use looking for stamped lumber, as this was not a Pre-cut home.  I got a quick tour of the interior on the first floor, but didn’t see anything that would help document the house.

Here’s some additional exterior photos.

S No 156 609 Cherry St CCat Blanchester OH

Possible Sears No 156 at 609 Cherry St in Blanchester, Ohio

S No 156 609 Cherry St L CCat Blanchester OH

Possible Sears No. 156 at 609 Cherry St in Blanchester, Ohio

In any case, it’s a well kept 100 year old home right on the edge of Blanchester.  Maybe someday we’ll go back and have another look around the area.

Thanks for following along.



A Sears No. 170 in Martinsville

Occasionally I pull out my copy of Rebecca Hunter’s book “Putting Sears Homes on the Map”, and scan the entries for Ohio.  I did that this week, and noticed two older numbered models listed for “Martinville”, Ohio.

By “numbered models” I mean the homes that were listed in Sears Modern Homes catalogs before 1917, when Sears started giving their house designs names instead of numbers. In essence, older models.

“Martinville” caught my eye this time for 2 reasons.  First, I had never heard of Martinville, and second, because I wasn’t familiar with either of the 2 models listed, the No 170 and the No 179.

A quick Google map search for “Martinville, Ohio” told me that there was no “Martinville” in Ohio, but there was a “MartinSville”.  And….it was only about an hour drive south of me.  I also learned that Martinsville was a pretty small village, so if there were 2 older Sears models there, they should be easy to find.  Right?

But first, I had to look up the models.

Here’s the illustration of the No. 170 from the 1914 Sears Modern Home catalog.  A pretty typical looking house design for the early 1900’s.

1914 image

The Google Map guy hadn’t been to Martinsville since 2012, but I did take a bit of time “driving” around the town, and sure enough, I spotted a house I thought might be the No. 170.

Screenshot (987)

I know.  It doesn’t look that great, right?  Hard to tell from Google Maps street view.  I can fix that!  Today, I hopped in the car, picked up my friend Gretchen, and off we went to scout it out.

What I really wanted to see was the right side of the house, since the catalog shows a bump out with an interesting architectural feature over the windows on the diagonal.

Screenshot (1005)

You couldn’t see that side of the house in Martinsville on Google Maps due to a small privacy fence and an evergreen tree.

Guess what! The house has them!  It IS the Sears No. 170 listed in Rebecca’s book.

Sears 170 59 Main St Martinsville OH 1

Overall the house needed some TLC, but since it’s still standing, it’s all good.

Here’s a closeup of that detail on the side.

Sears 170 59 Main St Martinsville OH 3

Here’s a few more photos from today.

Sears 170 59 Main St Martinsville OH 5

Sears No. 170, 59 Main St., Martinsville Ohio


Sears 170 59 Main St Martinsville OH 6

Sears No. 170, 59 Main St., Martinsville OH

Sears 170 59 Main St Martinsville OH 2

Sears No 170, 59 Main St., Martinsville OH

The Sears No. 170 was first offered as the No. 34 in the very first year Sears sold house designs.  In 1913, the model number was changed to No. 170.  The last year this house was in the catalogs was 1916 or 1917.

Here’s the full page catalog listing for this model from 1914.

Screenshot (990)

For those of you who are paying attention to updates on our database of Sears Homes, (which currently has over 8100 houses), this is the first No. 170 on our list.  Hooray!

We didn’t spot the No. 179, after a bit of a drive around town.  Too bad, since that model is much more unique.

That’s all for today.  Thanks for following along.