Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Kit House Presentations

Catalog images of Sears Stratford
(1929 Special Supplement)
Images courtesy of Antique Home
Interested in hearing us speak about kit houses? Check out our list of upcoming presentations. Interested in having us present? We're scheduling presentations for 2018. Contact us to schedule a presentation in your community!

2018 Scheduled Presentations

Ann Arbor District Library
Kit Homes of Ann Arbor: a Historical Tour
Thursday April 5
6:30 0pm to 8:30pm

Waterford Township Public Library
Thursday, April 19, 2018
7:00 pm

Preservation Farmington
Friday, April 27
7:00 pm - $5 admission

Private Group Presentation
May 12, 2018

Capital Area District Library - Holt Branch
Saturday, June 9, 2018
11:00 am

Petoskey District Library
Monday, July 23, 2018
7:00 pm

Pleasant Ridge Historical Commission
August 9, 2018
7:00 pm

View a list of previous presentations.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Washington DC - Sears Houses Over The Years

Two years ago, I wrote about the "The Great Sears Paper Trail", the idea that even though the original sales records from Sears Roebuck no longer exist, across the country, there is a trail of documents in the form of building permits, deeds, mortgages, newspaper articles and other recorded documents that allow us to find and authenticate Sears houses. Nowhere is the trail of document as robust or as accessible as in Washington DC. As I've shared in previous posts, online databases of mortgages and deeds, building permits as well as articles from digitized newspapers have allowed us to locate and/or authenticate hundreds of kit houses from Sears as well as other kit house manufacturers. This wealth of information has not only helped us to find Sears houses, it has assisted us in learning more about how the Sears Roebuck Modern Homes program operated in the Washington DC area. As we've assembled the data that is associated with these homes, it gives us the opportunity to share more about what we've learned.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

McClure #3060 in Cheverly, Maryland

Image courtesy of the
Bentley Historical Library
The McClure Company was a manufacturer of kit houses based in Saginaw, Michigan. While McClure only sold homes for a handful of years, I've been able to locate examples of McClure homes in several states. As I shared in a previous post, I learned of the McClure Company from research that had been done in Cheverly, Maryland. There are at least five examples of houses from McClure located in Cheverly. Today, I want to share one of the houses located in Cheverly, as it's a very nice example of the McClure #3060 model. To date, I'm not aware of any other examples of this model from McClure. But I'm hoping that by highlighting it, more examples of this house may come to light.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

McClure #3063 in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan

Image courtesy of the
Bentley Historical Library
If you have done any amount of research into kit houses, you're probably familiar with the big names in the kit house business - the three Chicago-based companies: Sears, Wardway (Montgomery Ward) and Harris Brothers and the three Bay City, Michigan companies: Aladdin, Lewis and Sterling and Davenport, Iowa based Gordon-Van Tine.  But there were a number of smaller, regional players in the kit house business too including companies like Bennett Homes out of North Tonawanda, New York and the McClure Company of Saginaw, Michigan. Most people have never heard of these smaller companies. But examples of homes from these companies can be found in communities across the country. While there's a fair amount of information about Bennett Homes available online, there's very little documented about the McClure company. To help fill that gap, I'm going to do a series of posts sharing examples of authenticated houses from McClure to help you identify examples in your hometown! Let's take a look!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hyattsville, Maryland

I recently came across a nicely written article on the history of Sears homes by the Hyattsville Preservation Association of Hyattsville, Maryland. In that article it was noted that "Half a dozen or more of them [Sears houses] exist today in Hyattsville." Or more is right! I had a chance to see a lot of the Sears houses that still stand in Hyattsville while doing mortgage research in Prince George's County and have since supplemented that work with quite a bit of Google driving around the streets of Hyattsville and help from fellow kit house researchers. A number of the Sears houses that are located in Hyattsville have been previously documented. But I wasn't able to find a single source that listed all the houses in Hyattsville that are included on the national database of Sears houses. So I've put together a list of known Sears houses in Hyattsville for homeowners, residents and local groups like the Hyattsville Preservation Association to use for reference. Hyattsville, Maryland has some nice examples of Sears kit houses. Let's take a look!