Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sears Vallonia in South Whitley, Indiana


406 North State St - South Whitley, Indiana - Sears Vallonia
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Wendy and I spent a couple of days kit house hunting in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with two of the top experts in kit houses, Rebecca Hunter and Dale Wolicki (more on that soon!) After we all parted ways, Wendy and I made our way through the back roads of North Central Indiana on our way to Lake Michigan. Our route included a drive through South Whitley, Indiana where I had seen a real estate listing for a possible Sears house. South Whitley is your quintessential one stoplight, Midwestern farming community with a small "Main Street" downtown surrounded by neighborhoods of older homes and miles of farmland. You can often find at least one or two examples of kit houses in towns like this and South Whitley has at least one house we believe is from Sears Roebuck.


North of downtown on State Street, one block from the railroad tracks is a Sears Vallonia sporting many of the original exterior details that you would see on the image of the Sears Vallonia in the Modern Homes catalog. Here's the house today...

406 North State St - South Whitley, Indiana - Sears Vallonia
...and here is the catalog image.

Catalog image of Sears Vallonia (1925)
Image courtesy of Archive.org
The South Whitley house has the reversed floor plan, which was an option when you purchased your kit house from Sears Roebuck. The catalog image doesn't show the shed dormer but the model in the 1925 catalog did include it on the other side of the house. In the catalog image, you can see the distinctive porch columns that were featured on several different Sears house models and the exposed rafter tails on front dormer and the sides of the house. The only element missing from the South Whitley house is the front porch railings with those distinctive balusters. Perhaps a future owner will add them back to complete the look!

Here's one more view of the house.

406 North State St - South Whitley, Indiana - Sears Vallonia
Although we don't have any paperwork or house history that authenticates the house, this is about as good a match as you can find for a Sears Vallonia so we're pretty confident in identifying it as one.

Do you know of a Sears Vallonia in your town? Let us know!

2 comments:

  1. Nice one! I'm so glad you got to meet up with Rebecca and Dale for a weekend of house hunting. And I'm so sad I couldn't go along. Maybe next time!

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