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.


A “Beautiful Home” from The Keith Corporation – Springfield

A couple of years back, I was asked if I could do a little research on a house in a neighborhood where there was going to be an Architectural Walking Tour..

By sheer luck, I was able to locate the home design in a pattern book from Walter J Keith.

page from the 1915 catalog

page from the 1915 catalog of Walter J Keith’s Practical Homes

Pattern book homes are often confused with the kit houses offered by Sears, Roebuck, because the plans were offered through mail order catalogs.  But pattern books stopped there.  Usually, you would get all your building materials from a local lumber yard, though, in theory, you could have ordered the materials from a mail order house like Sears as well.

In any case, the house here in Springfield, in our Ridgewood in the Country Club District is a great match to a house in the 1915 pattern book that was published in Minneapolis.

Walter J Keith Practical Homes 1915

This home design must have been pretty popular, because I saw it again, slightly updated, in the 1925 catalog from the same company.  Even the name of the catalog had been updated, from “Practical Homes” to “Beautiful Homes”.

Keith Corp Beautiful Homes 1925

The 1925 offering had a sun room added, but the interior layout was unchanged.


Keith Corp Beautiful Homes 1925 image

From the 1925 pattern book catalog – Keith Corporation – Beautiful Homes

The house in Springfield was built in 1923 or 1924, making the timing right for it to be from the Keith’s catalog, since we know the design was offered, for sure, between 1915 and 1925.   It doesn’t have the side porch though,  but that may be because of the narrow width of the lot.

Here it is!

124 N Kensington Pl Springfield OH (2)

Keith Corporation pattern book home at 124 N Kensington Place in Springfield OH

The home in Springfield was built by local contractor Thomas W McDonnell.  He purchased the lot from the developer in July of 1923.  Thomas and his wife Verna only lived in the home for two years, as it went to Sheriff Sale in July of 1926 to satisfy a debt of $2,720.46.

The successful bidder at the Sheriff Sale was Robert P Brassel, who bought the home for $9,595.00.

Thanks for following along!


A Sears Argyle in Fairborn

 I love living in Ohio.  It’s a place where everywhere you turn, you might spot a Sears House.

I love having good friends, too, who will turn the car around every time I say “Hey!  There’s a Sears House!”

That’s what happened yesterday.  After a long day shopping with my two best gal friends……Flea Market…..Estate Sale……Antique Shops…….Ice Cream Shop……..we were finally ready to head home.

And then we turned a corner.

And there it was.  A Sears Argyle.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St CCat Fairborn OH

Sears Argyle at 26 N Broad St., Fairborn Ohio

And this wasn’t just any Sears Argyle.  It was one we could go inside!  A charming little place called “Ashlynne’s Attic” in Fairborn.

here’s a link to Ashlynne’s Attic Facebook page

My gal friends headed inside to check things out while I took some outside photos, so by the time I went in the charming owner had the scoop.  She already knew it was a Sears House, but didn’t know which model or details about the Sears Modern Home program.  While we chatted, she kept right on with her work fixing up an old chair for her shop.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St owner CCat Fairborn OH

She let me wander around and take lots of pictures of the original features of the house, and was proud of the fact that so many were still in place, even if some were a bit worn.

I have lots to share, but first you need to see the catalog image and details of the Argyle from the Sears Modern Home catalog.

1925 image

Image of The Argyle from the 1925 Sears Modern Home catalog

The house was built with the rooms reversed.  Sears offered that on many of their home designs.  Notice it is mentioned just to the right of the box that shows the cost of the model.

1925 image (2)


Here’s the floor plan.  Remember when we start looking at the house in Fairborn to visualize it as a mirror image, with the Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen on the left side of the house, and the 2 bedrooms and bath on the right.

Argyle 1925 floor plan

Here’s a comparison of the catalog and the real house.  Sorry the angle of my photo wasn’t quite enough.  I was standing in the middle of a four lane road and had to hurry.

1925 image


Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St 4 CCat Fairborn OH

The Argyle had a lot of windows on the bedroom side.  Two of those were small windows in closets.  The house in Fairborn doesn’t have those, but I have seen them omitted in other Argyle models around Ohio.

Here’s the bedroom, bathroom side of the house.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St R CCat Fairborn OH.JPG

The other side of the house has the correct window placement, but one of the small windows by the fireplace has been covered over.   It was like that when the current owner purchased it.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St L CCat Fairborn OH

The photo above shows a lot of the original Sears details of this model, like the triple brackets at the porch peak, two sets of double brackets further down, and the decorative barge boards.

Researchers will use these features to help document that the house is actually from Sears Roebuck and not one of the pattern book homes that were so similar.  We also check out the window arrangement to make sure it follows the floor plan, but in this case I really didn’t need to do that, since we got to go inside!

The house has the original front door.  (That’s me reflected in the glass. )

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St front door CCat Fairborn OH

Check out the original Sears door hardware that came with the house kit.  It’s the Stratford design.  The interior doors have the same.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St hardware 1 CCat Fairborn OH

Screenshot (242)

Here are some photos of the interior doors and trim boards.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St interior door 2 CCat Fairborn OHSears Argyle 26 N Broad St hardware 2 CCat Fairborn OHSears Argyle 26 N Broad St hinge CCat Fairborn OH

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St millwork CCat Fairborn OH

The owner let me sneak down to the basement to looked for stenciled lumber.  We didn’t find any for sure, but we did see some faint markings that might have been.  The wood had darkened just enough to obscure them.

What was interesting about the basement, though, was the way the house was placed on the foundation.  The owner is pretty sure the house is one of the homes that was moved from the old city of Osborn to just outside Fairfield in the early 1920’s.  From the looks of the basement wall construction, it is possible she is correct in that assumption.   In the 1950’s, the 2 cities were combined and renamed Fairborn.

Here’s some info on that if you are interested.  Dayton Daily News Archives

I do have a mortgage record attached to a parcel in Osborn that I haven’t been able to pin down.   Additional research will need to be done to see if it might be for this Argyle.

I know this is getting long……..but here’s a few more outside photos showing off some of the details.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St front window CCat Fairborn OH

Original front window that has twelve panes on the top sash, which is shown in the catalog image.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St brackets CCat Fairborn OH

The triple brackets at the porch peak. They are starting to deteriorate, but I am always glad to see them still in place.

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St Bargeb CCat Fairborn OH

The decorative barge boards. I love these!

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St pillar CCat Fairborn OH

Details on the porch pillars

My gals and I decided we loved the landscaping, especially the blue balloon flowers that contrasted so nicely with the color of the house.


Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St close up CCat Fairborn OH

Take a trip to Ashlynne’s Attic  in Fairborn.  We did!

Sears Argyle 26 N Broad St friends CCat Fairborn OH


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An Aladdin Plaza in Jeffersonville

It’s been a crazy busy Spring so I haven’t been blogging for a while.  We bought a fixer upper and fixed her up and moved in.  Well…..it’s not completely fixed up yet, but it’s getting there.  We had to move in before all the work we wanted to do was complete because we were fortunate enough to sell our previous residence super quick when we listed it for sale.

No, we didn’t move into a Sears House.  Been there.  Done that.  Time for something else.  We move every five years or so, and have ever since we got married 44 years ago today.

And, since it was our Anniversary, we decided to do something instead of unpacking or fixing up the parts of the house that aren’t fixed yet, so off we went for some personal shopping and lunch out.

One of our favorite places to shop is the Tanger Outlets just outside of Jeffersonville.  Across from the Outlet Mall is Werner’s Smokehouse, a great place for BBQ.   Off we went.

We almost always take the back roads when we travel locally, because, ya’ know, there just aren’t any Sears Houses on the Interstate.  There are a couple of ways to get to the Outlet Mall on the back roads from Springfield, and today’s route took us right through the small village of Jeffersonville.  Of course, we’ve driven that route many times before, and I’ve always looked at one house in particular on Main St on our way through, and say to Frank, “I really need to stop and get pictures of that house some day”.

Today was that day!

I had always thought the house closely resembled the Aladdin Plaza, but wasn’t quite right.  ( The Aladdin Co. of Bay City, Michigan sold houses as kits through mail order catalog, just like Sears, Roebuck. )

The Plaza 1917 catalog

I didn’t have my reprint Aladdin catalog with me when we stopped today, but no matter, Antique Home and my smart phone to the rescue, so I could analyze the details from the sidewalk before getting pictures.

After checking it out, I still wasn’t sure, so I started taking photos from all sides so I could review them when I got home.  As I was moving along the sidewalk, I noticed folks on a neighboring porch watching me.  I wave so as not to look too shady, and continue getting  my photos.

Uh-oh.  Here comes one of the folks.  Then she hollers “That’s my house!”

Yippee!  I love it when that happens.  Now I can really get some information.

After explaining what I was about, the owner tells me she had always thought her house was from Sears.  I explained about the alternate company (Aladdin) and that her house is pretty close to The Plaza from the outside. I grab my cell phone from the car so we can compare.  She checks it out, then invites me inside so we can be sure.

Yippee!  I love it when that happens.

We went room to room, and sure enough, her house matches the floor plan for the Aladdin Plaza exactly.  The reason is looks a bit different from the outside is because part of the wrap around front porch had been enclosed, maybe at time of build, from the looks of it.

The owner, Jona, knew her stuff about Sears Houses, too.  She even had a copy of the Houses by Mail Field Guide on an end table for reference.  She had picked out a Sears model that was similar to the Aladdin Plaza, but knew if wasn’t quite right for her home.

Now she knows!

Aladdin Plaza 47 S Main St CCat Jeffersonville OH

Aladdin Plaza, 47 S Main St., Jeffersonville OH

Aladdin Plaza 47 S Main St L CCat Jeffersonville OH

Aladdin Plaza, 47 S Main St.,Jeffersonville OH.

From the angle above you can see that the side portion of the wrap around front porch has been enclosed, which made positive identification difficult from the sidewalk.  An interior inspection, and the owner’s information, confirmed that this was an alteration from the original design.

The Plaza image 1917

Aladdin Plaza 47 S Main St R CCat Jeffersonville OH

Aladdin Plaza, 47 S Main St., Jeffersonville OH

My thanks to Jona for the quick tour of her lovely home.  It’s my first Aladdin Plaza identification.


A Sears Olivia in Springfield

I first started out on my quest to locate houses purchased from the Sears Modern Homes catalog here in my hometown of Springfield, Ohio in 2010.  I already knew I lived in a Sears Jeanette model, discovered by my daughter while she was researching small house plans on the Internet a couple of years earlier.  But it wasn’t until January of  2010 that I was asked to do some research and assist with putting together a Walking Tour of Sears Homes for The Springfield Preservation Alliance (now part of The Westcott Center for Architecture & Design).

Really people, I had no idea how to get started doing that, but with the guidance of local Historian Kevin Robert Rose, Architectural Historians Rebecca Hunter (Elgin, Illinois) and Dale Wolicki (Bay City, Michigan), I jumped right in and slowly but surely figured out what I needed to do.

First stop – the County Recorders Office to look for mortgage records, one of the best ways to document a Sears House.  Dale Wolicki had already provided a list of the names of Trustees for Sears, Roebuck (and Montgomery Ward), so I knew what I was looking for.  Off I went, along with my Co-Researcher for the Walking Tour, Sarah Shivler.  We were elated and excited to find a total of 39 mortgage records here in Clark County!

So…..now what?  We quickly found out that having a mortgage record is just the first step in a fairly complicated process of actually finding the house.  Once you have the mortgage record, you have a legal description of the property but no address, so now you need a plat map for the neighborhood if its in the city, or a County Engineer’s Map if its outside a platted development.  Those are harder to find.  Once you’ve figured out the actual address, off you go to drive by and stalk the house.  Then you have to use Sears Modern Homes catalogs or the Houses by Mail Field Guide to identify the model.  Whew.  Boy, did I learn a lot that Winter about how to do mortgage research.  I’m happy to say I’m pretty good at it now.

Anyway…..back to the Sears Olivia in Springfield!  It was one of two Sears Olivia models that I located and identified through those mortgage records.

Here it is!

S Olivia 150 S Fostoria L CCat Springfield OH

Sears Olivia at 150 S Fostoria Ave., Springfield Ohio. Documented with a mortgage record.  (My photo)

The Sears Olivia was a tiny house, by today’s standards.  The main body of the house is 22 ft wide and 29 feet deep. It has a small extension on the back for storage and the stairway to the basement.  Total square footage – 686 square feet.

Here’s the page from the 1925 Sears Modern Home catalog.

43 The Olivia

The first thing you might notice is that the house pictured is a mirror image of the one in the catalog.  Sears offered reverse floor plans on most of their models at no extra charge.

1925 floor plan

Why am I featuring this little Sears Olivia right now? Because it’s FOR SALE!  Who wants to buy a sweet little Sears House in Springfield, Ohio?

Here’s some interior photos from the real estate listing.


Living Room looking towards the front door.  You can see the small hallway that leads to the front bedroom on the right. (Photo from Realtor website)



Living Room  looking towards the kitchen. (Photo from Realtor website)

This Olivia has had an additional window added along the side wall towards the front of the house.  This would totally mess up a Researcher on a street survey, as one of the field notes for this model is only one window in the room, set towards the back on the side wall.

Living Room


This view of the kitchen shows the double windows as shown in the catalog.  The kitchen is not original (thank goodness) to the original Sears design.



This view of the kitchen shows the small extension for storage, which has been opened up to the room, and the door to the basement stairs. A good Sears researcher will spot Stratford design hardware on the back plate of the knob on that door, even though it has been painted white. (Photo from Realtor website)


The bathroom retains the original placement as seen on the Sears floor plan.  No way to change that around, since the room is small. (Photo from Realtor website)


Here’s the other side of the house, which shows that extra window in the Living Room.

S Olivia 150 S Fostoria R CCat Springfield OH

Sears Olivia at 150 S Fostoria Ave., Springfield Ohio. (My photo)

From the front view you can see that the door and windows are not centered on the house.  This is another good field note for this model. Also notice that the porch roof comes down almost to the outside edge of the bedroom window.

S Olivia 150 S Fostoria CCat Springfield OH

Sears Olivia at 150 S Fostoria Ave., Springfield Ohio (My photo)

The Realtor was nice enough  to take a picture of the back of the house for the listing.  That view shows the rear extension nicely.


Rear of a Sears Olivia at 150 S Fostoria Ave., Springfield Ohio.  (Photo from Realtor website)

So that’s one of the two Sears Olivia models I located from mortgage records.

Here’s the other one.  It’s right next door!  It was ordered and built with the floor plan as shown in the catalog, but was added onto later.  It also has the second Living Room window.

S Olivia 152 S Fostoria L CCat Springfield OH

Sears Olivia at 152 S Fostoria Ave., Springfield Ohio (My photo)

Here they are side by side.

S Olivia 150 and 152 S Fostoria CCat Springfield OH

Side by side Sears Olivia Models at 150 and 152 S Fostoria, Springfield Ohio


The mortgages for these two homes were both recorded on May 22, 1927.  The mortgage holders were Albert E Asebrook and William Eichelman.  Both mortgages were for $3000.  I researched the mortgage holders back in 2010, and determined that the houses were most likely built as rental properties. Neither of the mortgage holders ever lived in the homes.

Here is the link to the Zillow listing for 150 S Fostoria

Thanks for following along.



A Sears No. 123 in ???

Thanks to my mentor, Rebecca Hunter, I have located another Sears Model No. 123 in Ohio.  Well, indirectly, I guess.  Here’s what happened.  Last Tuesday, early, I got a text message from Rebecca, saying she was traveling to Michigan for a few days to meet up with some other Sears House Hunters, and was I available to come up.  After a quick review of my schedule, I was able to free up Friday for a (long) day trip.

The weather was perfect, in the 60’s, and traffic was light when I left Springfield at daybreak, my destination being Ann Arbor.

I know, I know.  Ann Arbor is the home of those infamous Wolverines.  What’s a Buckeye doing there?


But the truth is……Ann Arbor has some fabulous Sears Houses.  A lot of them are ones I hadn’t seen before in person, so I was super excited to check them out from the sidewalk, and not just on Google Maps.  And bonus!  I also got to meet up with Dale Wolicki, who has been at this Kit House thing a lot longer than the rest of us in our little Research Group.  And has written books about them, too, just like Rebecca.

Montgomery Ward’s Mail-Order Homes

Anyway……back to the Sears No. 123.

Since I was going to be driving to Ann Arbor, I had a look at our Master List of “Sears Houses in the United States” to see if there was anything else interesting along the way that I could stop and get real photos of.  There was.  A while back, like a couple of years ago, I did a little Google driving of Waterville, Ohio, as my friend Laraine Shape and I were planning to go there and hunt for houses.  Laraine was from Waterville, but was currently living in Cincinnati.  Since she was living in “Disneyland for Sears Houses” like I call it, she had gotten the bug, started a Website, Sears Houses in Cincinnati and she and I then connected through Social Media.

On my Google drive of Waterville, I spotted what I thought might be a Sears Arlington, and it looked to be in great original condition.

Unfortunately, Laraine and I never got the opportunity to travel there to see it together, as she passed away in January of 2015, after a short illness.

Yep.  I really needed to make the short side trip to see it.  For Laraine.

So, after a long day of looking at what seemed like hundreds (probably not that many) of Sears Houses in Ann Arbor, visiting, chatting, lunching, picture taking, I headed back to Ohio around 5:00PM.

In a round about way.  And I mean that literally.  St Rt 23 was a bit backed up with Friday afternoon traffic, so Google Maps took me a slightly different way to get on Southbound.  And there were Roundabouts.  Two of them.  We don’t have a lot of Roundabouts in my part of Ohio, and the ones we do have are pretty simple.  I guess the ones in Michigan are pretty simple, too, if you already know what lane you need to be in, and where to exit.  But I didn’t.  So I missed my exit on the second one, had to find a place to turn around, then tried again.  I got on to 23 the second time, but………I was going Northbound instead of Southbound.

Sigh…….big sigh……

Eventually I did get on the road the right direction, and made good time getting to Ohio, and Waterville.

I got my photos of the Sears Arlington, said a little prayer for Laraine, and hit the road for Springfield.

Google Maps took me east out of Waterville on Rt 64, heading me toward I-75 at Bowling Green.  After crossing the Maumee River, Rt 64 made a turn to head south, and as I was driving along, there on the side on the road was a large old Dutch Colonial Home.

It looked familiar.

I passed it.

As I was checking it out in the rear view mirror, I realized what it was.  A Sears No. 123!

image 1914

So there I go again.  Looking for a place to turn around, only this time in Ohio.

I got photos of the house from all angles, as it sits at a bit of an angle on the lot, and it appears to be part of a small farm.  There were no vehicles in sight, durn it, so I wasn’t able to talk to any owners.  I’m 99% sure it’s the real deal, but it is not a documented Sears Home.

First, here’s the floor plan, so you (and me) can compare the window arrangement and architectural details to the catalog.


The windows are a little hard to see in the images, as this is just a screen shot of a digital version of the 1914 catalog, so you will have to take my word for it that it matches up if you can’t make it out on your device.

Here’s my photos.

The first one is the angle that pretty much matches the catalog illustration.

Sears No 123 23520 W River Rd R CCat Perrysburg OH

Probable Sears No 123 just outside Waterville, Ohio

The details on the right side include a small dormer towards the front of the house that is a bump out in the large upstairs bedroom.  The gambrel cross gable has the correct window arrangement, single, double, single, and that is over a three window bay.  You don’t see a lot of Dutch Colonials with those features in this pattern.

Here’s the front.

Sears No 123 23520 W River Rd CCat Perrysburg OH

Probable Sears No 123 just outside Waterville Ohio

Yep.  The windows match up, too, along with the cornice returns and pediment style front porch.

The left side differs just a bit in that is has another small bump out in what would be that large bedroom at the front of the house.  The other windows appear to be correct.  Rebecca told me once that most of the early Sears Houses she has seen have some type of modification, which would account for that extra small dormer.  The No. 123 was offered in the early years, before Sears was “Pre-cutting” the framing lumber, so minor changes would have been more common at build time.

Sears No 123 23520 W River Rd Rd L CCat Perrysburg OH

Probably Sears No 123 just outside Waterville Ohio

Here’s the back.  Happy to be able to get this photo, since you don’t have that opportunity very often.  For some reason, folks just don’t want people poking around in their backyards trying to take pictures!

Sears No 123 23520 W River Rd rear CCat Perrysburg OH

Probable Sears No 123 just outside Waterville Ohio

The small “platform” shown in the catalog is now an enclosed porch and the other windows match up.

Yep.  After reviewing my photos when I got home, I’m pretty sure it’s a Sears No. 123.  So now, in order to add it to our Master List, I need the address.  Which turned out not to be so simple to figure out.  Sure, I knew where I was.  Right outside Waterville, Ohio.   In fact, I could get in the car and drive there right now.  But since this house wasn’t in a platted city neighborhood, finding the correct address on a County Road outside of an incorporated area can be a bit tricky.

My Google Maps app on my Iphone told me I was on Rt 64, or maybe it was County Rd 64, which I was.  But when I got home and looked for the house on my desktop Google Maps, the road shows up as Toledo-Grand Rapids Rd.   Then I used the point and click method of finding the address on Google Maps.  It gave me 14998 Reitz Rd.  And when I sent my photos to Rebecca and Dale, that’s what I told them it was.

Wrong!  I always admit it when I’m wrong.

I tried that address in the Wood County Auditor’s website and there was no match.  So back to Google Maps I go and try again.  Seems Reitz Rd was the cross road, and the house sits at an angle on the corner, so Google was confused.  Then I zoomed in on the house, and noticed one of those green reflector number panels near the road.  Hooray!  Now I have a house number.  After a bit more clicking around, I discovered that the road name changes from Toledo-Grand Rapids Rd to W River Rd, pretty much at the intersection with Reitz Rd.

Then I went back to the Wood County Auditor website and tried that.  Success!  The house is actually located at 23520 W River Rd.  Google Maps tells me this street address is in Perrysburg, Ohio, not Waterville.  That is strange since the house is much closer to Waterville than Perrysburg, but when I crossed the Maumee River, the County changed from Lucas to Wood, so maybe that’s the reason.

One last thing to check out, now that I have found the house on the Auditor’s website.  The dimensions.  Perfect match!

Screenshot (1519)


So, what about that Sears Arlington in Waterville?  Sadly, I have to say it isn’t one.  I took photos from three angles and there are several things that just don’t match up.  I told you.  I always admit it when I’m wrong.

But I have to say that Laraine would still be happy about the Sears No. 123.  In fact, maybe she led me there.  Sears told us in early catalogs that the No. 123 had been built a couple of places in Ohio.

where built 1914

One of those places was Sharonville, which is the community next door to where Laraine lived in the Cincinnati area.  After she found that out, she spent hours driving around hunting for it.  She even went to local Historical Societies with the catalog image to see if anybody recognized it.  No luck.  I told her we would find it one day.  Maybe this one can be considered its replacement.

All in all, I had a great day in Ann Arbor, Michigan with Sears House researchers Rebecca, Dale, Andrew, and Nigel.  I have a really good photo of the five of us together, but since I was told that you can get in big trouble for posting pictures of people without their permission, I better not add it here!

Oh yeah.  That other No. 123 that Sears said was built in Ohio.  In Springfield?

Here it is!

S 123 3131 Springfield Xenia Rd CCat Springfield OH

Sears No. 123 at 3131 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Springfield Ohio

Additional photos and info about the No 123 in Springfield here.

Thanks for following along.