Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sears Sherwood in Chatham, NJ

Catalog Image of Sears Sherwood (1930)
Image courtesy of Lara Solonickne
The last time we visited Chatham, New Jersey, it was to see a Sears "testimonial" house from the 1932 Modern Homes catalog. Today, I want to share an example of a very rare Sears model that I came across recently in Chatham. The Sears Sherwood was only offered for two years in the Modern Homes Catalog - in 1929 and 1930. To date, only three examples have been located in North Chicago, Illinois, Bound Brook, New Jersey and Leetsdale, Pennsylvania. Due to the relatively short time period that the house was offered and the cost of the house, It's likely that Sears didn't sell very many of these models. The Sherwood has some distinctive elements that can help you identify it. Let's take a look!

Unlike some of the other examples of the Sears Sherwood, I don't have any information that helps me authenticate this house as a Sherwood. However, I do feel confident in identifying this as an example of this rare model. The house in Chatham was recently listed for sale and sold at the end of  December 2016. But the listing photos have been taken down so we'll have to rely on the one good photo online that appears to be from the listing. This house does follow the standard orientation and the photo matches the catalog view so that helps.

40 Kings Rd - Chatham, NJ - Sears Sherwood
Image courtesy of Zillow
Probably the most distinctive elements we see on the Sherwood are overlapping front gables with the tall vertical windows on the right hand side of the house. You can also see how the windows visible on the right side of the house match the locations of the windows visible in the catalog image.


The tall window between the first and second floors provides natural light to the stairs between the first and second floor while the tall window on the second floor brings light into the main bathroom. In the catalog, the bathroom window is shown with diamond muntins.


Another distinctive element that is partially visible in this view is the front entrance with the round top door. You can also see some of the iron strapping detail on the door. Judith Chabot at "Sears House Seeker" has an excellent explanation on how to identify doors from Sears from this time period.


From what we can see, the front door appears to be a match for one of the doors that Sears offered that had a 9 pane window. Here's an example of that door design from a Sears Hillsboro in Chicago, Illinois.

Image courtesy of Lara Solonickne
While most of the front of the house is a match for the Sherwood, one element that is different is the missing side "gate" on the far right side of the house. This view from Google Streetview shows that this house has a sun porch in its place with a garage below it.

40 Kings Rd - Chatham, NJ - Sears Sherwood
Image courtesy of Google Maps
For a comparison, here's the Sears Sherwood in Bound Brook, New Jersey which has a side gate.

730 Hawthorne Ave - Bound Brook, NJ - Sears Sherwood
Image courtesy of Zillow
While it's a helpful element to have for spotting the Sherwood, it's not a deal-breaker that it's not here on this house in light of the location of the garage that obviates the need for that side gate.

Like most catalog and kit house identifications, it's the totality of the elements that gives us confidence in our ID. In this case, we have a lot of elements that match the Sears Sherwood. Local records indicate that the house was built in 1929 and several details in the real estate listing match what we would expect to find for the Sherwood. Based on those details, I'm pretty confident that this is the fourth example of the Sears Sherwood to be identified. Perhaps the new owners will find this post and be able to help us authenticate this house. If you know more about this house or any other examples of the Sears Sherwood, let us know in the comments.

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