Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Kit House Presentations

Catalog images of Sears Stratford
(1929 Special Supplement)
Images courtesy of Antique Home
Interested in hearing us speak about kit houses? Here's a current list of scheduled presentations. Interested in having us present? Drop us a line!

January 25, 2017
"Michigan Kit Homes"
Brighton District Library - Registration
7:00 PM


View a list of previous presentations.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sears Alhambra in North Muskegon, Michigan

Last fall, I went searching online for kit houses in the villages and cities that dot the west side of the state of Michigan. While the "west coast" of Michigan doesn't have the density of kit houses that we find on the east side of the state, we've found examples of catalog and kit houses along the rural roads and in the villages and cities of western Michigan. One of the places I searched was the City of North Muskegon, which lies just east of Lake Michigan along the shores of Muskegon Lake. My search through the City of North Muskegon turned up a couple of possibilities for Wendy and I to check out in person when we traveled west. Little did we know what else we would find!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sears Albion in Elmsford, NY

A few weeks ago, I blogged about "The Missing Models" which are all the "named" models from Sears that don't yet appear in the national database of Sears homes. A couple of weeks later, one of my fellow kit house researchers Judith Chabot located and authenticated our first example of the Sears Albion. I had never seen the Albion before so it was exciting to finally see an example of this model "in the wild". The next day - with some help - I located not one but two Albions! One of the Albions is a good example to review so let's take a look!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Missing Models

1936 Sears Modern Homes Catalog
Image courtesy of Archive.org
Now that the national database of Sears houses has passed the 6,000 house mark, I decided to go through the list of models that have been found and see what's yet to be discovered. Depending on what source you use and how you count them, there are between 370 and 450 different models that Sears offered through the Modern Homes catalog. The database currently contains examples of over 300 different models. Which models are we still trying to find? Let's take a look!

Friday, December 23, 2016

6,000 Houses and Rolling

Back in August, I shared an update that the national database of Sears homes had reached the 5,000 home mark. Four months later, the list has reached and passed the 6,000 home mark! That's a pretty amazing pace of growth, especially when one considers that it was at less than 3,000 homes at the beginning of 2016.

15 Stone Ave - Ossining, NY - Sears Verona
Image courtesy of Trulia
This progress is the result of the tireless efforts of a group of dedicated Sears house researchers located all over the country. By combining our efforts, we've been able to accomplish what none of us could have done on our own. At the same time, we are all learning from each other and with each house added to the list, we're becoming better at finding even more houses.

While it will be a challenge to keep up that pace of growth in 2017, it's pretty exciting to think that we're on track to have identified at least 10% of the total numbers of homes that were likely sold during the 30+ years of the Sears Roebuck Modern Homes program (assuming 70,000 houses sold). Ten percent may not sound like much. But when the list started, it had just over 700 homes or 1% of the total homes sold. That's progress!

66 Cleveland - Croton-on-Hudson, NY - Sears Carroll
Authenticated with a Sears Mortgage
Image courtesy of Zillow
One aspect of the progress that I'm pleased to report is that almost 40% of the homes have been authenticated through official records like mortgages and deeds, official correspondence with Sears, ads and stories from newspapers and information from homeowners. That means that there are now thousands of homes where we can definitively state that they are Sears homes. That set of authenticated homes is providing researchers with an invaluable source of examples to use for comparison when evaluating new finds. I know we'll continue to grow those numbers are we go forward in 2017!