Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sears Winthrop in Commerce Township, Michigan

When I reviewed the Sears mortgages in Oakland County, Michigan, I discovered exactly one house in Commerce Township, Michigan. This wasn't entirely surprisingly as Commerce Township was primarily a farming community during the period that Sears was selling houses with mortgages. But there was a railroad line that ran through southern Commerce Township and there was areas that had been platted around some of the many lakes in Commerce. It was in one of these platted lakeside subdivisions where we found this Sears Winthrop.

The Sears Winthrop first appeared in the Sears Modern Homes catalog in 1928 and continued to appear through the 1931 edition. While only offered for a handful of years, we've been able to locate several Withrops in Oakland County in addition to this example in Commerce Township.

1850 Portlock - Commerce Township, Michigan - Sears Winthrop
A distinctive spotting element for the Winthrop is the front porch. It helps distinguish it from many of the Cape Cod-style houses of the era. Another feature to look for is the chimney centered on the house. While the catalog image shows the chimney located on the ridge of the roof, as with this house in Commerce, we've seen other authenticated houses that have the chimney located just in front of the ridge line.

Catalog Image of Sears Winthrop
Image courtesy of Catarina Bannier
This Winthrop was purchased with a mortgage from Sears Roebuck for $4,250 in July 1928. It's located in the plat for the Oakwood Grove Subdivision Number One which was platted in 1919. When first platted, the street was labeled as Pershing. It's now called Portlock.

1850 Portlock - Commerce Township, Michigan - Sears Winthrop
Considering the number of kit houses we've found in nearby communities like West Bloomfield and Sylvan Lake, I wouldn't be surprised if there's more kit houses in Commerce Township. If you know of any, share that with us in the comments!

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