Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Wardway Houses in Poets' Corner (Hartsdale), New York


Cover of Wardway Homes catalog (1930)
In my most recent post about the Sears houses located in the Poets' Corner section of Hartsdale, New York, I noted that based on the USGS maps available from the 1930s, many of the houses that were shown in this section of Hartsdale were homes purchased from Sears Roebuck. Using the USGS maps, I decided to look at the other houses built in Hartsdale Lawns and Hartsdale Manor that were not among the list of 18 known or possible Sears houses. As I used Google Streetview to "drive" around the area, I came across two houses that I recognized. But these houses did not have designs from Sears. Instead, they were designs I recognized as being from one of Sears biggest competitors in the mail order business - Montgomery Ward! Montgomery Ward sold kit houses under the "Wardway" brand name. It's not uncommon to find Wardway houses in close proximity to Sears houses and so I wasn't surprised to see these Wardway houses. I was just surprised that it took me this long to recognize them. Let's take a closer look!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Return to Poets' Corner (Hartsdale), New York

14 Longfellow St - Hartsdale, New York
Sears Gateshead
Five years ago, I wrote a few posts about the collection of Sears Roebuck kit houses in the Poets' Corner section of Hartsdale, New York. Between 1928 and 1933, at least 17 Sears houses were built in the Hartsdale Lawns and Hartsdale Manor subdivision plats where the streets are named after famous poets. At the time, I was able to document most of the Sears houses located in that area. However, in the intervening years, I've managed to locate and/or authenticate a few additional houses that didn't make it into the original posts about Hartsdale Lawns and Hartsdale Manor. Additionally, I've spotted a couple more houses that might be Sears (or might not) that I'll point out in case more information comes to light about those homes. Let's take (another) look!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

ID this House! Sears Carlin and Windsor

Sears Carlin in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Recently, while searching real estate listings, I spied what I thought was a model I've seen many times over, the Sears Windsor. On first glance, this house in Kalamazoo, Michigan had all the hallmarks of the Windsor. As I was drafting up a post for my "Sears Homes For Sale" Facebook page, I made sure to note that while this model is often misidentified as the "Carlin", in fact almost all of the hundreds of examples that have been identified to date are actually the "Windsor". I was going to point out some of the easy-to-spot differences between the two models that would show that this was a Sears Windsor. Except as I started reviewing the house more closely, it quickly became apparent that in fact the house in Kalamazoo was not a Windsor, it was a Carlin! To date, only 20 examples of the Carlin have been added to the national database of Sears houses. The house in Kalamazoo provided the perfect opportunity to showcase those differences and help other kit house researchers and homeowners easily determine whether a house is the Carlin or the Windsor. Let's learn to ID these models! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Sears Roebuck's "Home of the Week"


Over at Sears Homes of Chicagoland, Lara's latest post is exploring examples of advertising for "Modern Homes" from Sears Roebuck. Advertising for the "Modern Homes" program appeared in a number of different formats but the ones I've most frequently come across were ads in newspapers from those parts of the county where Sears sold their "Modern Homes". Thanks to digitization efforts, we've been able to see numerous examples of ads from a number of newspapers. Lara's post reminded me of some advertising I had come across again a few weeks ago while searching old newspapers for articles. These ads from Sears "Home Construction Division" featured a number of "Modern Homes" models. I'm calling these ads the Sears "Home of the Week" series. Let's take a look!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Model Homes - Sears Roebuck

Sears Maplewood
Lansing, Michigan
Image courtesy of Newspapers.com
Modern residential builders often advertise their model homes to help spur interest in their new developments. Staffed with sales people, these homes - often with all the bells and whistles included - are open to the public to explore in the hope of enticing prospective homebuyers. Things weren't much different in the kit house era of the 1920s - 1940s. In some cases, developers of new subdivisions of the era built and featured a kit house (or houses) as an example of the style of home that could or would be built in the new development. 

Kit house companies also teamed up with some of their customers who allowed their new homes to be used as model homes. Often times, this meant opening one's new house to visitors from near and far, sometimes thousands in number, over a period of a couple weeks. Presumably, once the tours were done, the house would be made like new. Not as common but also done were models that were built without a prospective customer in mind. These model homes are notable because they often pop up in searches about the kit house companies in historic newspapers. Let's take a look!