Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sears Worchester in East Lansing, Michigan

Catalog image of Sears Worchester (1929)
Image courtesy of Antique Home
I recently shared an example of the Sears Newark in White Plains, New York. As I noted, sightings of the Newark and its brick faced fraternal twin, the Worchester, have been few and far between. I recently came across a Sears mortgage that led me to this Sears Worchester in East Lansing, Michigan. During a recent trip to the Lansing area, we were able to get some good photos of the house. These photos should help you see several of the elements that will aid in identifying this model.

The Sears Worchester at 845 Touraine in East Lansing is located right off of Saginaw Street, one of the main east-west roads through the city. Many people in town have driven past this house and likely never realized that they were driving past a Sears catalog house. Let's take a look!
Unlike some of the brick faced models from Sears, the Worchester and the Newark have identical floor plans. That means that the primary difference between the two models is the exterior finish - wood shingles or siding on the Newark, face brick on the Worchester. Dimensionally, you may find slight differences between the 2 houses. Sears typically showed an extra foot of depth and width on the brick faced houses to account for the brick exterior.

845 Touraine - East Lansing, MI - Sears Worchester
As you can see by comparing the house in East Lansing to the catalog image, this house has the distinctive narrow second story window above the front door. However, this house doesn't have the diamond mutins in that window so the windows likely was replaced at some point. Unlike the Newark in White Plains, this Worchester has a front entrance that largely matches the design in the catalog.

This view of the house provides a better view of the brickwork around the windows that matches the design shown in the catalog view. You can also see how the design of the chimney matches the chimney as shown in the catalog image.

845 Touraine - East Lansing, MI - Sears Worchester
In our final view of the house, you can see how an addition was constructed onto the rear of the house. While this house isn't located in a historic district, the design of the addition, which maintains the integrity of the original exterior design and is differentiated from the original house by the use of different materials is the type of addition that would be recommended in a historic district.

845 Touraine - East Lansing, MI - Sears Worchester
Want to see more? There's a YouTube video from when this house was up for sale in 2011. If you watch closely, you'll be able to see some of the original door hardware from Sears. If you have a sharp eye, you may be able to see when the video transitions from the original house to the addition. The giveaway? The difference in the profiles of the original Sears millwork and the trim that was used in the addition.

Do you know of another Sears Worchester or any other kit houses in East Lansing, Michigan? Let us know in the comments!

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