Friday, January 29, 2016

Sears Winona in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan

31 Kensington Blvd - Pleasant Ridge, Michigan - Sears Winona
Image courtesy of Bing Maps
I discovered this Sears Winona in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan through a mortgage with Sears Roebuck. It's one of the over 300 Sears houses in Oakland County that I was able to locate by researching mortgage and deed records. This Sears Winona also has the distinction of being the oldest Sears house still standing that I was able to locate using mortgage records (although not the oldest Sears house in the county). This house was financed by Earl Lamberton for $3,000 in December 1919 through a mortgage with Sears trustee Walker O. Lewis. 

In 1920, Earl L. Lamberton was living in Pleasant Ridge with his wife and 3 sons according to the U. S. Census. At the time, his occupation was listed as "labor" in an auto factory. But in the years that followed, the Lambertons lived in a couple of different houses in Royal Oak and Earl Lamberton's profession was listed as a builder. It's quite possible that Lamberton built this house, starting a career in the home building field.

The model that became Sears Winona was first offered in 1916 and continued to appear in the Modern Homes catalog through the last catalog in 1940. Although we don't have sales numbers for individual models, this long run makes it likely that the Winona was among the most popular - if not the most popular model - offered by Sears. Despite its popularity nationwide, I've only found a handful of Winonas in Oakland County in addition to this one in Pleasant Ridge.

When the 264P205, which became the Winona, was first offered in 1916, it was the first year that Sears offered customers the option to purchase their houses with pre-cut lumber. As you can see from the catalog image, the 264P205 had stout porch columns, a design feature of the house through the 1920s. This house no longer has those columns but you can still see the column bases on the porch.

Catalog image of Sears 264P205 (1916)
Image courtesy of Antique Home

In 1918, Sears started naming their house models and the 264P205 became the Winona. That same year, Sears changes the design of the brackets on the front gable to a distinctive 5 piece design that can be found on a number of Sears house models. While those 5 piece eaves brackets by themselves don't necessarily indicate that a house is a Sears house, they are definitely a sign that a house deserves a second look as a possible Sears house.

Image of 5 piece eaves brackets on the Sears Winona (1923)
Image courtesy of
In the photo below from 1991, you can only see the outline of where those brackets are located on the house at 31 Kensington Boulevard.

31 Kensington Blvd - Pleasant Ridge, Michigan - Sears Winona (1991)
Image courtesy of the Pleasant Ridge Historical Commission
But this photo of the house dated 1957 from the archives of the Pleasant Ridge Historical Commission clearly show the 5 piece eaves brackets.

31 Kensington Blvd - Pleasant Ridge, Michigan - Sears Winona (1957)

Another feature seen on the Kensington Boulevard house is the hipped roof porch that extends the full width of the house. The Sears Hampton and Crafton also have porches with hipped roofs but on those models, the width of the porch is less than the width of the house. Also, unlike the Hampton and Crafton, the Winona has two attic window in the front gable where the Hampton and Crafton have just one.

Image of hipped roof porch of the Sears Winona (1923)
Image courtesy of

Over the years, Sears offered different floor plan options for the Winona. These included two and three bedroom variations depending on whether one wanted an option to add stairs to a finished attic space. In later years, the staircase to the attic was integrated into the plan and the difference between the two and three bedroom plans could be seen by the addition of a dining room bump out and accompanying gabled roof as seen in the example below from the 1932 Sears catalog. Viewed from the outside, based on the placement of the windows along the side of the house, it would appear that the house at 31 Kensington Boulevard has the smaller of the two floor plans offered when this house would have been ordered - the No. 2010. That floor plan does not include the stairs to the attic. But it would take a walk through of the house to confirm that.

Catalog image of Sears Winona with 3 bedroom floor plan (1932)
Image courtesy of
Although the Winona was neither the largest nor the fanciest house offered by Sears, its design clearly appealed to many prospective house buyers. Nearing 100 years in age, this Sears Winona in Pleasant Ridge demonstrates the continuing appeal of the Sears homes. Interested in learning more about Sears houses in Oakland County? Read about where Sears houses are located in Oakland County.

Thank you to the Pleasant Ridge Historical Commission for their assistance in providing photos and additional information about this house. 

1 comment:

  1. So great that you were able to get that 1957 photo from the Pleasant Ridge Historical Commission. I love all of this research!