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.



A Sears Lewiston in Delaware

I’m longing for Summer.  I’ll even take Spring right now.  After Mother Nature teased us with temperatures in the 60’s earlier this week, Winter has blown back in with lows tonight expected in the teens.

What to do to get through these last days of Winter?  Look through pictures of Sears Houses I took when the grass was green and the flowers were starting their Summer show.

And I came across this beauty.

Sears Lewiston 265 W Fountain Ave Delaware OH 1

Sears Lewiston at 265 W Fountain Ave., Delaware

It was a beautiful day in Ohio when I took these photos.  Here’s a few more showing the house from other angles.

Sears Lewiston 265 W Fountain Ave Delaware OH 4

Sears Lewiston 265 W Fountain Ave Delaware OH 3

Sears Lewiston 265 W Fountain Ave Delaware OH 5

The Sears Lewiston was offered in the Modern Homes catalogs from 1929 until the last catalog was published in 1940.

image 1930

The original owner of the Lewiston in Delaware was  Claude O’Neal, who obtained the financing for his home through Sears, Roebuck (Walker O Lewis, Trustee), making this a documented Sears kit house.

Claude, his wife Mabel, and their two children were listed as living in the home in the 1930 Census.

Claude was a Professor of Botany at Ohio Wesleyan University.

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Claude O’Neal in the 1936 Ohio Wesleyan  yearbook “Le Bijou”

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Fun info about Claude O’Neal from the 1936 Ohio Wesleyan yearbook “Le Bijou”


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Claude and Mabel in later years.  That front porch looks familiar!  (Public photo found on Ancestry)


A Sears Conway in Springfield

You know, I hardly ever post about Sears Houses here in my hometown of Springfield, the place where my love of these homes started.  I really need to prioritize better.

But today, after getting a reminder about a house I noticed last year, I decided to show you this one.

People, I have driven past this house hundreds of times since I started hunting up houses purchased as kits from Sears, Roebuck, but never realized what it was.   But one day last July, I was a passenger and not the driver, and with a turn of my head, I spotted it!

Here’s what it looks like from the street.


This Auditor’s photo shows you what you see when driving down E High St at 50 MPH.

The photo above is what I always saw when passing by.  No wonder I never identified it!

See the “real house” behind the addition that was used as a business?  It’s a Sears Conway.

Sears Conway 1928 image

 Image of The Conway from the 1928 Sears Modern Home catalog

Now is a good time to mention that this home is currently vacant and bank owned, so I was able to get close up (trespass) and see the house.

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH

Sears Conway at 3496 E High St., Springfield


The house is a reverse floor plan from the catalog, I think, based on the location of the entry stairs on the left side of the house, and the short brick pillar on the outside edge of the stairs.  I always look for that short pillar if I see a house that looks like a Sears Conway, even though in some instances, that feature is gone.


Another feature to look for on the Sears Conway are the eave brackets.  They are pretty distinctive.


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Even though the house on E High St has been vinyl sided, the original brackets were left exposed.  They could use a coat of paint.

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 5

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was reminded about this house today.  I just learned that the home was built by the Grandfather of somebody I know!  I hope to get more information about the original owners and maybe some vintage photos of the house sometime soon.

Here’s a few more photos I took while I was trespassing.

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 4

Distinctive front entry with windows on each side of the door

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 6

The storm door was locked so I couldn’t get a photo of the original front door, but it is there.

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 8

A glimpse of Stratford design hardware that was included with many Sears kit houses in the 1920’s.

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 3

There’s those eave brackets.  And my thumb.

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 7

S Conway 3496 E High St Springfield OH 2

More eave brackets.  Glad they were there, as that’s what I spotted on our drive by.

As I said earlier, this house is currently bank owned.  I am waiting for it to be listed for sale, and hope to get inside for further documentation, even though since I now have knowledge that it a Sears Home from a descendant of the original owner, I probably don’t need to see stamped lumber or mailing labels.

If you live in Springfield, turn your head when you drive down this part of E High St., and maybe you will spot the house, too.

Thanks for following along.



A Home Builders Davenport in Springfield

Collaboration has helped me identify another pattern book home built right here in my hometown of Springfield.

Well, sort of.

Recently I was included in a group text message between a few other Sears House researchers, asking for input about a brick home that one of said researchers had questions about.  “Did anybody recognize it”  “Was it from Home Builders?

I imagine I was included in the group text because I have identified quite a few homes here  in Springfield that were built with plans purchased from the Home Builders Catalog Co. of Chicago.  These were not kit homes, like those offered by Sears, Roebuck.  Instead, for twenty dollars, you received two sets each of blueprints, specifications and contract forms, along with a sixteen page guide listing materials.  All the lumber, and everything else you needed to build the home would have purchased through a local lumber company, which many times was the place you went to look through the catalog in the first place.

So…..even though I was pretty sure I hadn’t seen the house included in the text message in my Home Builders Catalog collection, I went ahead and pulled out my 1928 and had a look anyway.  Home Builders had a good selection of plans for brick homes, so I looked primarily in that section of the catalog.  Sure enough, I didn’t see the house my fellow researcher was hunting for, but I did stop at a page that had a house that looked really, really familiar.

The Davenport


Near the west edge of Springfield is a street full of homes that face our wonderful Snyder Park.  Many of those homes were built in the 1920’s, and one in particular, sits proudly on a corner lot and shouts “Look at me!” to everybody who drives, bikes, runs, jogs, or walks the dogs past it.  I know, because every single time I go down that street I have surely looked at it.  For years…..

Guess what it is?

A Home Builders Davenport!


2101 Harshman Blvd., Springfield. Most likely built with plans purchased from The Home Builders Catalog Co. of Chicago.

Let’s have a look at the floor plan and then match up the windows on the sides to see if it looks like the same room arrangement.


On the first floor, left side, behind the Terrace, is the entry door to the vestibule.  While you can’t tell how large the window is in the vestibule by the catalog illustration,  hallway windows are generally small, just enough to let in some light.  Directly behind the entry is a half bathroom, a pretty uncommon feature in houses from the 1920’s.  That means the home was considered pretty upscale for the time period.  Again, a bathroom window would generally be small and high, to offer privacy.  Sometimes Dining Room windows are also small and high, if the designer thought the wall would have a buffet or a window seat there.

On the second floor, left side, is the main bathroom, and a bedroom.  This plan calls it a “Chamber”.  Again, the bathroom window would be small and high, for privacy.

Looking down the left side of the house on Harshman, all the windows would match the catalog floor plan.  One thing that doesn’t quite match up is the window that faces the Terrace.  In the catalog floor plan, that window has four sashes.  The house on Harshman has only three there, but that would have been an easy alteration at time of build.

The windows on the front of the house match perfectly, with the main floor sashes having 18 panes, and the second floor having diamond grids.


The windows on the right side of the house also match the catalog illustration, from what we can see that isn’t concealed by landscaping.  There is an addition on the rear of the house, so don’t count that when you match them up!


The home also has a double flue in the chimney, as shown in the floor plan.


Second floor plan of The Davenport by the Home Builders Catalog Co., of Chicago


Now, the fun part.  Since the house is currently for sale, I have some interior photos to share, all from Realtor websites.


Entry hall.

The door across from the entry door should be access to a small half bath, according to the floor plan.  That doesn’t appear to be the case in this house, but those double doors are certainly not original, so maybe that has been converted to a closet.  There appears to be a full bath on the main floor now, in the addition at the back of the home, based on some of the other realtor photos.


Living Room

Those triple windows are the set on the front of the house, and how about that woodwork around the fireplace!  Remember that this house wasn’t a kit, so interior details would have been determined by the builder at time of construction.


Dining Room. Gorgeous hardwood floors!


Main “Chamber” at the front of the house with the diamond grid window panes.


Main upstairs bathroom.

I’m thinking I should try to become more familiar with the Home Builders plans, as I continue to stumble across them here in Springfield.  I know I will never be able to memorize them, as there were more than 500 in the 1928 catalog alone.  One of our local lumber companies may have been offering the plans, and I have already determined that one local developer built several as model homes in a new neighborhood.

I have already featured The Chantilly from Home Builders in a previous blog post, and will have an update on that house soon.

Keep watching!


More Sears Houses in Middletown

January is traditionally the month when I purge, organize, and declutter.  Or maybe I should say, I make an attempt to purge, organize, and declutter.  Mostly I read a lot of articles on how to go about it, but like most people, I find it difficult to find the place to start.

I consider myself to be a fairly organized person by nature, especially when it comes to my personal and work related paperwork, but for some reason, I have never been able to get a handle on how to keep track of all my research “stuff” on Sears Houses.

A lot of the “stuff” that is in no way organized, are notes I jotted down when researching from my desk, or made when on a day trip looking for houses, or, just out and about with family and friends.

Once a week, when I sit down to open my mail and pay bills, most of those notes get shoved in the front half of the top right hand drawer of my desk.  Hey, that’s a form of organizing, right?

But this week, I had a little problem.  When I opened said desk drawer to shove in the current selection of notes, I couldn’t get the drawer shut.  FULL!  Looks like this might the time and place to start a bit of my January Sears House “stuff” decluttering.

I’ve got quite a variety of notepads in there, thanks to the $25.00 I sent to the VFW in December of 2015.  Seems like every week since then I’ve gotten a mailing with at least one notepad, some with my name on them.  I’ve also gotten hundreds of return address labels, representing all seasons of the year, which I will surely be purging soon, since we are getting ready to move.  In just the last couple of months, I’ve also gotten three or four calendars,  Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift tags, a variety of other assorted Greeting Cards, and a tote bag with pretty Spring flowers on it.  I haven’t decided yet if I should send the VFW another $25.00 or not.  If I do, I think I will wait until after we move, so I get some new address labels.

ANYWAY……….back to my over flowing desk drawer.  A good bit of the notes close to the top of the pile were pretty recent.  I knew that because they were on note paper with my name on it from the VFW, and I was able to quickly check out the addresses I had noted to see if they needed added to the Sears House Master List or not.   But as I worked down through, I found some older sheets of paper.  One of them had quite a few addresses in Middletown.  I’ve done quite a bit of research on the Sears Houses in Middletown, after discovering a Train Load of Sears Houses there in July of 2015.  Well, actually I spotted them in May of 2015 on a a quick drive through town, but didn’t get back to get real photos until a while later.  Since then,  I’ve been to the Butler County Record Center & Archives in Hamilton to look for mortgage records, and identified several more from that research.

So now that I’ve been reminded that I know about quite a few Sears Houses in Middletown besides the ones in my post from July of 2015, this seems like a good time to review them myself, and share some of them with any of you who might be interested. I haven’t actually been back to get real photos of the additional ones I’ve located, so some of the pictures will be from the Butler County Auditor’s Website.

As of today, there are 36 homes listed for Middletown on the Master List of Sears Roebuck Houses in the United States.  7 of those homes I located from mortgage records,  some I spotted from that one personal trip to town, and the rest are from time spent reviewing street views in Google Maps.

We’ll start with the ones I have photos of from 2015.

When I originally located the Sears Houses on Fourteenth St. in May of 2015,  I shared my find with a small group of fellow researchers.  One of my friends from that group, Judith, did a bit of looking around the area where those homes were built, and spotted three more one block over on Fifteenth St.  So when I went to Middletown in July of 2015 to get photos, I was able to get pictures of those three along with the homes on Fourteenth.

Here’s the three on Fifteenth.  Two are Sears Somerset models, and one is a Winona.



Sears Somerset at 701 Fifteenth Ave. in Middletown. This home was built reversed from the catalog listing, an option Sears offered on most models.


Sears Somerset at 719 Fifteenth Ave. in Middletown


The Winona was offered for a really long time in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs, and had several floor plans over the years.  The Winona on Fifteenth Ave in Middletown appears to be the floor plan in the 1918 catalog, shown above.


Sears Winona at 705 Fifteenth Ave. in Middletown

Before spotting the block full of Sears Houses on Fourteenth in May 2015, my daughter and I had already driven around a bit, and I got photos of the following homes.



Sears Puritan at 2915 Flemming Rd in Middletown.

I’m pretty sure I knew about The Puritan before we did our first drive about town.  The owner, or maybe it was a former owner, contacted me somewhere along the way to tell me about it, but I don’t remember the exact timetable.  I think it was through my Facebook Page.  Since then I have documented this home with a mortgage record dated Nov 15, 1926.



Sears Osborn at 1114 Parkview Ave in Middletown.  Built with the rooms reversed from the catalog listing.  This Osborn is not documented, but retains so many of the original architectural details, I can’t imagine it being anything else.

We spotted what appears to be a Sears Dover model, but it was hidden behind a lot of shrubbery, so I didn’t even try to get a picture.  Fortunately, the Butler County Auditor had a great older photo of the house.  I’m pretty sure it’s a Dover, but this model had a lot of pattern book and other kit house company look a likes.



Possible Sears Dover at 506 The Alameda in Middletown.  

Here’s one of the trickier ones I encountered when researching the mortgage records.  Back in the 1920’s, mortgage, and deed records, didn’t have actual addresses on them, just the legal description.  So some of them are pretty difficult to find.  For this one particular mortgage, I had a City of Middletown lot number of 2353.  Using the GIS Maps on the Butler County Recorder’s website, I was able to track that to the physical address of 533 Garfield St.  Then you can pull up the address on the Auditor’s website for other details and hopefully a good photo.  Here’s what the Auditor had for 533 Garfield St.


Not a Sears House at 533 Garfield St in Middletown

I didn’t recognize the house above as being from Sears at all.  At least not from this photo, so I then went to Google Maps street view to see if I could get visuals from other angles.  That didn’t help much, but since the house was only one door away from the corner, I decided to “Google drive” around a bit to see if I could see the back of the house.

I could.  Ha Ha!  This house has a second home on the property.  In the backyard.  Then I discovered the Auditor had a picture of it on their website, too.  You can’t see all the details, but I’m pretty sure that’s a Sears Olivia out back behind the main house.



Sears Olivia built in the backyard of a home at 533 Garfield St in Middletown. Documented with a mortgage record dated Feb 5, 1927.

On my July 2015 trip I also spotted what I think is a Sears Avoca.  I couldn’t get a real photo because the residents were having a BBQ in the front yard and I didn’t want to bother them.  The Auditor had a nice photo of this one, too.  The Avoca had a somewhat complicated arrangement of windows on the side shown in the catalog listing, so that is what I am using to compare.



Probable Sears Avoca at 1403 Yankee Rd in Middletown

Are you tired of looking at Sears Houses yet?  Just one more.  Well, there are a lot more, but I’m only going to post one more, because it’s a popular Sears model, and you might spot one near you.



Sears Westly at 121 Curryer Rd in Middletown

The Westly had two floor plans in the 1920 catalog.  The house in Middletown appears to be the plan on the right, No 3085.


I have a nice list of addresses of Sears Houses in Middletown already.  I hope to get back there soon for more street survey work.  Bet I find more.

Thanks for following along.