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!

When I located this Sears Albion in Elmsford, New York, I didn't realize at first what I had found. I was pretty sure that the house I had located was from Sears. I had a notice of a mortgage with Sears Roebuck from a newspaper that included a property description that led me to this house. But this house didn't match up with any of the usual suspects. It most resembled a Sears Cornell that had been supersized.

Catalog Image of Sears Cornell (1925)
Image courtesy of Archive.org

52 S Lawn Ave - Elmsford, NY
Image courtesy of Google Maps
Although, the windows on each side of the house actually match up well with the Sears Cornell, it is readily apparent that this house is too wide to be a Cornell. The extra window on the first floor and widely spaced windows on the second floor and the design of the porch columns all point to this being a different model. 

I shared my find with a group of my fellow kit house researchers and suggested that perhaps it was a supersized Cornell. It was actually the second house I had found that day that looked like a Cornell that had been expanded. Almost immediately, one of our group members, Karen from Pittsburgh, piped up - "That's an Albion!" Karen had seen the authenticated example that Judith had shared the day before and noticed the similarities to the Cornell. Sure enough, she was right! All the elements that were wrong for the Cornell were right for the Albion. 

Catalog image of Sears Albion (1925)
Image courtesy of Archive.org
Just to show which one of us has the better memory, Karen suggested that another house I had shared earlier in the day was also an Albion and she was right! In 24 hours, we went from having zero known examples to three. I was able to authenticate this example as it had a mortgage from Sears Roebuck trustee William C. Reed for $6,200 in July 1926. 

This particular Sears Albion in Elmsford, New York has a reversed floor plan from the standard plan in the catalog. The front door of the Albion in Elmsford is on the left hand-side of the house as compared to the right-hand side in the catalog image. Here's the standard first floor plan of the Albion for reference purposes.   

Catalog image of First Floor Plan of Sears Albion
Image courtesy of Archive.org
As you can see, the house is 26' wide by 30' deep with an 8' deep porch. In comparison, the Cornell is only 20' wide by 26' deep with a 7' deep porch. 

Here's the side of the house that you can see in the catalog image. The side entrance appears to have the original brackets for the side porch roof. If those are still in place, that's an element that can help you identify this house. 

52 S Lawn Ave - Elmsford, NY - Sears Albion
Image courtesy of Google Maps
While the window arrangement on the sides of the house are very similar to what you see on the Sears Cornell, the back is different so if you can see that view, it can help you in the identification process. Here's the back of the house:

52 S Lawn Ave - Elmsford, NY - Sears Albion
Image courtesy of Google Maps
One element you can see from this view is the placement of the chimney for the heating system in the basement. Depending on your view of a house, that might not be visible from the front of the house. 

The Sears Albion was first offered in the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog and made its last appearance in the 1928 catalog. Although it was only offered for 3 years, I'm sure that there are more examples of the Albion yet to be discovered.  If you know of any, share those with us in the comments!

2 comments:

  1. Here's to more Albions in our future!
    (I can't really take credit for finding that first Albion, more just of pointing it out, but we have it, anyway!)
    Judith
    Sears-House-Seeker.blogspot.com

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