Friday, March 25, 2016

Lewis Stuyvesant in Yonkers, New York

Catalog image of Lewis Stuyvesant
Image courtesy of
My discovery of mortgages for Lewis houses in Yonkers, New York led me to several examples of Lewis kit houses. One of the houses is a Lewis Stuyvesant. The Stuyvesant was a large Dutch Colonial Revival model that was offered by Lewis in the early 1920s. The earliest catalog I've found that includes the Stuyvesant is from 1920. I have also seen it in the 1922 and 1924 catalogs that are available at and it's listed in the index for the 1925 catalog, which is the last year that Lewis featured most of the larger models in their catalogs. Starting in 1926, the catalogs from Lewis featured their "Liberty" line of homes that were primarily smaller, unadorned models that were sold on the basis of their affordability. It appears that there was no room in the Lewis product line for these grand houses that competed with the larger models offered by Sears and other kit house competitors.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lewis Sherman in Yonkers, New York

Catalog Image of Lewis Sherman (1924)
Image courtesy of
I recently went back to work on researching Sears mortgages in Yonkers, New York for the time period between 1918 - 1925. As I was reviewing the Westchester County mortgage records for Yonkers, I came across a handful of mortgages from other kit house companies including Lewis Homes and McClure. I've previously found mortgages for McClure but this is the first time I've found mortgages for Lewis Homes. Even better, those mortgages led me to some examples of Lewis homes that I was able to identify. I'll be sharing the houses that I've found starting with the Lewis Sherman.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sears Alhambras of Westchester County, New York

Catalog image of Sears Alhambra (1925)
Image courtesy of
The Sears Alhambra is one of the more interesting kit house models that Sears offered. First offered in the 1918 catalog, the Alhambra was Sears attempt to capture the flavor of the Mission Revival style architecture that enjoyed some popularity around the turn of the century. While the basic form of the Alhambra was the traditional foursquare house, the addition of Mission-style parapets to the dormers and porch paired with a stucco finish gave the house a much different flavor than most of the more traditional architectural styles offered by Sears.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Update on Sears Mortgages of Washington DC

A few months ago, I shared the results of the research I had done of Sears mortgages for houses in Washington DC. Recently, I've been able to add more houses to the list thanks to the discovery of another name for a trustee whose name appeared on Sears mortgages. These mortgages cover the time period from summer 1932 through late fall 1933. Sears stopped financing homes either in late 1933 or early 1934 so I believe that these are likely the last group of Sears mortgages yet to be discovered for Washington DC.

From this latest group of mortgages, I've been able to identify seven homes representing seven different models, four of which are new to the list of models found in Washington DC. This brings the number of identified Sears houses with mortgages in Washington DC to 230. These 230 houses represent 77 different models.
1717 34st St NW - Washington DC - Sears Worchester Photo courtesy of Catarina Bannier
The four new models are:
In addition to the models listed, there may be additional models or a possible Sears custom house in the houses that haven't been identified yet. Hopefully, additional research will reveal more information about these houses. I've also updated the original post to reflect these new discoveries. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sears Mortgages of Takoma Park, Maryland

Seal of the City of Takoma Park
In a recent post, I shared some numbers on Sears mortgages in Montgomery County, Maryland. The community with the most houses with mortgages financed by Sears Roebuck was Takoma Park, Maryland with 46. What I didn't know at the time is that for many years, a portion of Takoma Park was located in Prince George's County. It wasn't until 1997 that the border between the two counties was adjusted to place all of Takoma Park within Montgomery County. That meant that there were likely more houses with mortgages from Sears located in the portion of Takoma Park previously located in Prince George's County. Having completed a preliminary review of the Sears mortgages for Prince George's County, I now have been able to identify another 18 houses with mortgages from Sears in Takoma Park. The discovery of the name of another Sears trustee led to the discovery of some additional homes in Montgomery County too. In total, to date, I've been able to identity 64 Sears houses with mortgages in Takoma Park, Maryland. Let's check out the numbers and photos of some of the houses that have been authenticated.