Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sears Twins - The Maplewood and the Ridgeland

One of the quirks of researching Sears houses is the fact that Sears would, from time to time, change the name of house models for no apparent reason. A house that was offered under one name in this year's catalog would appear in the next year's catalog under a new name. I've yet to see an explanation for any of these name changes. For those unfamiliar with this practice, it can be confusing to see what appear to be two identical models listed under two different names.


2812 Griffith - Berkley, Michigan - Sears Maplewood

Fortunately, Sears generally did not make wholesale changes to the house designs when the names changed so discerning which name to assign to the model is largely a matter of determining which year the house was built. This practice of renaming house models seems to be more common for houses that were introduced during what I consider the transition years of 1928 - 1932. During these years, Sears houses modeled on the English Cottage/Tudor Revival and Cape Cod architectural styles became more prevalent, joining existing models that reflected styles that had been popular in the 1920s like Arts and Crafts and other revival styles like Dutch Colonial and Mission. After 1932, most of the models of the earlier styles, which had fallen out of public favor, were purged from the catalog. Likely in an effort to refresh the catalog listings, a number of the models that were introduced during the transition period were given new names even as the house style and floor plans remained the same.

One of the models that went through a name change was the Sears Maplewood. "Houses by Mail", the go-to field guide for Sears houses, lists the Maplewood as being available in 1932 and 1933. In fact, the Maplewood first appeared in the 1930 Sears Modern Homes catalog. While an excellent resources, "Houses by Mail" does contain some errors related to dates and models. This is in part due to the fact that the authors didn't have access to catalogs for every year that Sears published catalogs when "Houses by Mail" was published in 1986. Also, it's been discovered that there are variations in models listed in catalogs within the same year depending on the region of the country and the time of year where the catalogs were made available. These factors can account for some of the discrepancies that are known to exist in "Houses by Mail".

Like other house models introduced during this time period, the Maplewood is best considered a English Cottage influenced style house. It's similar in appearance to other Sears models offered during this time period including the Claremont and the Dover. The Maplewood was priced between the Claremont and the Dover and had a very similar floorplan to the Dover.


Catalog image of Sears Claremont (1932)
Image courtesy of Archive.org


Catalog image of Sears Maplewood (1932)
Image courtesy of Archive.org



Catalog image of Sears Dover (1932)
Image courtesy of Archive.org

The Maplewood could be built with a face brick exterior. From the authenticated examples we have in the Detroit area, this seemed to be a popular option. You can also view an all-brick example of an authenticated Sears Maplewood in the St. Louis, Missouri area. 


3252 Catalpa - Berkley, Michigan - Sears Maplewood


712 Helene - Royal Oak, Michigan - Sears Maplewood
Image courtesy of Bing Maps

The Maplewood appears to have been a popular model and it could be found in the Sears Modern Homes catalog between 1930 and 1932. In 1933, the Maplewood name was dropped and replaced by the Ridgeland. Other than the change in the name, the Ridgeland was identical in its appearance and layout to the Maplewood. Surprisingly, the authors of "Houses by Mail" didn't appear to recognize that the Maplewood and Ridgeland are the exact same house. While other models were correctly noted as being identical save for the name change, the Maplewood and Ridgeland were listed separately without any reference to the other "twin". 


Catalog image of Sears Ridgeland (1936)
Image courtesy of Archive.org

The Ridgeland must have still appealed to homebuyers as Sears continued to offer it from 1933 until the final Sears Modern Homes catalog in 1940. Other than the change in the appearance of the landscaping around the house, the 1940 Ridgeland looks very similar to the 1930 Maplewood.


Catalog image of Sears Ridgeland (1940)
Image courtesy of Archive.org

While I haven't found any authenticated examples of a Sears Ridgeland in southeastern Michigan, I'm sure they are out there. If you know of examples of either "twin", let us know!




13 comments:

  1. Bravo :)
    I wondered, too, about the separate listing for the Ridgeland, instead of a simple mention on the Maplewood's page.
    I enjoyed seeing the images together of the Claremont, Maplewood, and Dover.

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  2. That is weird that the authors of Houses by Mail didn't catch that duplication. Even the catalog text was almost identical for the models. Maybe they were getting tired by that point--the research to compile the book must have been exhausting!

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    1. Good point! The number of models can be almost overwhelming at times.

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  3. I live in Indiana ina sears 1940s model home.

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    1. Robert - I would love to learn more about your house. Feel free to send me an e-mail with details.

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    2. I will try to post a picture, I just recently decided the windows are going to have to be replaced these single pane windows are cold in the winter.

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    3. Have you checked out some of the exterior and interior storm window options? Replacement windows won't last anywhere near as long as the originals. Ours are 91 years and going strong. We have storms for our Michigan winters.

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  4. I live in a Maplewood/Ridgeland in Traverse City Michigan. I see a lot similar houses up here that look very much like ours but with out the chimney.

    -Will Thomas

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  5. I live in a Maplewood/Ridgeland house in Traverse City, Michigan!

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    1. I would love to have the address if you wish to share it. You can contact me directly using the e-mail link here:

      http://www.kithousehunters.com/

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  6. On my profile I changed the picture to my home but I’m not sure that it changed so let me know if you are able to see our 1940’s sears kit house, thanks

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    1. Robert - I can see it! We would love to hear more about your Sears house!

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