Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sears Vallonia in South Whitley, Indiana

406 North State St - South Whitley, Indiana - Sears Vallonia
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Wendy and I spent a couple of days kit house hunting in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with two of the top experts in kit houses, Rebecca Hunter and Dale Wolicki (more on that soon!) After we all parted ways, Wendy and I made our way through the back roads of North Central Indiana on our way to Lake Michigan. Our route included a drive through South Whitley, Indiana where I had seen a real estate listing for a possible Sears house. South Whitley is your quintessential one stoplight, Midwestern farming community with a small "Main Street" downtown surrounded by neighborhoods of older homes and miles of farmland. You can often find at least one or two examples of kit houses in towns like this and South Whitley has at least one house we believe is from Sears Roebuck.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Curious Case of the Sears Claremont in Waterford, Michigan

61 Cristy - Waterford, Michigan
After first discovering the real estate listing for the Sears Hamilton in Waterford, Michigan, I drove over to Cristy Street to check it out. Just a few houses down on the same block, another house caught my eye. At first glance, it looked like a Sears Claremont. But something didn't look right. I realized that while the overall layout of the house matched the Claremont, the front entry did not. It was close. But the angles on the roofline of the front entry were off. While we know that changes can happen to the exterior of homes that will cause them to not match the catalog image, I just didn't feel confident that I could say that behind that slightly skewed entry was a Sears Claremont.

Kit House Reading List - May 2016

Sears Willard in Fort Mitchell, Kentcuky
Photo courtesy of Cindy Cantanzaro
If you haven't seen the latest posts from some of my favorite kit house bloggers, check them out!

Kit Houses of Fenton, Michigan

Historic Railroad Depot in Fenton
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Wendy and I did a presentation on "Michigan Kit Homes" at the Jack R. Winegarden Library in Fenton. As part of that presentation, we featured four possible kit houses that we located in Fenton. As we stated in the presentation, we haven't yet authenticated any of the houses. But the four houses all look to be good examples of the models offered by several kit house manufacturers. Let's take a quick tour of the four houses that we found. All four houses are located in the same area of town - north of the railroad tracks and east of North Leroy Street.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sears Hamilton in Waterford, Michigan

101 Cristy - Waterford, Michigan - Sears Hamilton
Recently, Wendy and I were driving home from doing a couple of presentations on kit houses when our drive home took us through Waterford, Michigan. I took a short detour to share with her a kit house I knew she would recognize immediately. Like our house, this kit house on Cristy Street in Waterford is a Sears Hamilton! Like our house, it still has many of the distinctive features of the Hamilton model. This Sears Hamilton in Waterford, Michigan was built around 1928 and is located in the "Crescent Lake Highlands" subdivision.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Custom Wardway House in Berkley, Michigan

Image from 1929 Wardway Homes Catalog
Back in November 2015, I shared the story about how I was able to authenticate a custom designed Wardway house in Ann Arbor, Michigan with the help of fellow kit house researcher Cindy Catanzaro. Once we put together the pieces of the puzzle that verified that the house was a custom design, I assumed that was the end of the story. But it turns out that there's another chapter to this house, or at least the design of the house. While the house in Ann Arbor matches the design shown in the 1929 Wardway catalog, it's not the only house that I've found that is based on this design. In Berkley, Michigan, I've found another house that also has a Wardway mortgage and also appears to match this design.