Saturday, January 30, 2016

2015 - A Look Back on the Blog

Sears Hamilton
When 2015 started, there was no "Kit House Hunters" blog. Although several of my fellow kit house researchers had been encouraging/prodding me to start a blog for some time - usually following  comments from me like "this would make good material for a blog post" - I had kept putting it off. I think I was concerned that I wouldn't have time to keep up with it or that I might not have enough material to post regularly. I'm still not sure I don't have enough time to keep on it but I haven't lacked for material! Finally, in August 2015, I took the plunge by creating this blog and publishing my first post titled "In the Beginning" that explained how my interest in kit houses got started.

Over the next 5 months, I wrote and published 34 posts on a number of kit house topics. That's probably more than I expected to do but probably fewer than I should do if I want to keep up on my mission of documenting our kit house discoveries! I'll try to do better in 2016.

I really had zero expectations as far as the number of people who would see these posts. I find kit houses and the history associated with them to be interesting but I realize it's a niche interest. Still, it was interesting to see the number of viewers that some posts garnered. I hope it's helped some people learn more about kit houses. I know that writing the blogs has made me learn more about the houses that have been featured.

Sears Stuyvesant
One thing I discovered in the course of blogging some topics was how easily one could head down the proverbial rabbit hole in trying to tell a story. In 2016, I want to continue to do in-depth posts about kit houses and the stories associated with them. But I also want to do more "quick" posts that highlight a house and what we know about it for readers who prefer short stories over novels.

For those who may be new to the blog or those interested in a revisiting some of the "best of" 2015, I decided highlight some of the posts that were the most popular or I found the most interesting to share from the past 5 months.

Most Popular Post: The Lost Sears Houses of Hazel Park - This post was shared on the Historical Detroit Area Architecture Facebook group and several other local Facebook groups which has led to over 1000 views. The research into this house uncovered a lot of interesting historical tidbits, some of which I'll be blogging about in the future. One discovery I shared in this post led some local historians in Hazel Park to re-examine the origin of the naming of the community.

Most Important Research: Sears Mortgages of Washington DC - This post, inventorying hundreds of Sears houses discovered through Sears mortgages for houses in Washington DC, reflected a tremendous amount of work done by myself and Wendy and assisted by local kit house expert Catarina Bannier. I expect that the information we were able to gather and share will be of a huge help to local kit house researchers in and around Washington DC.

Most Unexpected Find: Custom Wardway House in Ann Arbor, Michigan - I'm fortunate to work with a great group of kit house researchers which was highlighted in this post featuring the amazing memory of fellow kit house researcher Cindy Catanzaro.

Most Unfinished Work: A Neighborhood of Wardway Homes - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 - Even though I've posted 4 different posts about a series of neighborhoods in Pontiac and Flint, Michigan filled with Wardway models, I know that there's a lot more work to be done to document and uncover the full story of how those neighborhoods came to be.

2015's Rarest Model: Sears Stuyvesant - Discovered among a cluster of Sears houses in Hampton Manor, New York, this Sears house may be one of a kind.

Although it took me a while to get started, I'm glad to have gotten started blogging about kit houses. I look forward to sharing more in 2016.


  1. I'm glad you're blogging, too. It's important that people with authenticated houses are blogging about them, and showing them. We always learn more when we blog about a certain model. You've done great work since August!

  2. These blogs are great. I blog too, although not on this topic. I've been doing it almost 5 years (I need to write an anniversary blog!) It's gone way further than I ever expected! I love reading yours and the others' blogs.

  3. Thanks Denise! I appreciate the feedback!