Thursday, February 16, 2017

Where are the Sears Houses - February 2017 Edition

815 Loraine St - Ardmore, PA
Sears Alhambra
A few months ago, the national database of Sears houses passed the 5,500 house mark. On reaching that milestone, I took the opportunity to review some of the data available from the database including the locations, by state, where we are finding Sears houses. Today, the database passed the 6,500 house mark and I thought it would be a good time to revisit the breakdown by state to see if there had been any changes from the previous order or to see if we can spot we spot any new trends. Let's take a look!

As of this date, Sears houses have been located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Province of Ontario, Canada.

The following is a breakdown of the states that have the largest number of identified Sears homes.

1. Ohio (1400+ homes): Ohio continues to hold onto the top spot. To put it in perspective, one of out every 5 houses on the list is located in Ohio!

2. Illinois (1150+ homes): Illinois remains in the number two spot but it narrowed the gap with Ohio. Illinois's totals have been helped by the addition of a large number of homes from the lists of famed kit house researcher Rebecca Hunter. Rebecca has been graciously sharing some of the work from her decades of research to locate Sears houses in communities across Illinois. We're slowly adding the houses she has identified and authenticated to the database.

3. New York (750+ homes): New York has inched past Michigan to move into the number three spot. New York's totals saw a huge jump over the past 3 months thanks in large part to the addition of a significant number of authenticated homes in and around New York City and its suburbs. These houses were located through mortgage records, newspaper articles and building permit reports in old newspapers.

4. Michigan (750+ homes): Michigan and New York are both just a handful of homes shy of 800. Michigan's total hasn't been growing as quickly as New York but the number of communities where Sears houses have been located continues to grow.

5. Pennsylvania (650+): Like New York, Pennsylvania saw a surge in the number of homes located thanks in large part to the work of a couple of our researchers in the Pittsburgh area. Pittsburgh is turning out to be a hot bed of Sears houses and that's helped boost the totals.

6. Maryland (250+): Maryland's total continues to slowly grow as houses are located.

7. Washington DC (250+): DC's total hasn't grown much but that's not surprising as so many of the houses have already been identified thanks to a rich library of resources available publicly.

8. Indiana (200+)

9. Wisconsin (150+)

10. New Jersey (100+)

Although I didn't include them last time, I added Indiana, Wisconsin and New Jersey so that we can see that top 10 states by total number of houses. Currently, there are 12 states where at least 100 Sears houses have been located in the state - Kentucky and Virginia being the two not listed.

One thing that jumps out from those numbers is that fact that the top 10 states collectively represent around 90% of the total number of Sears houses found to date. You can see how geographically concentrated those states are in the map below with the top 10 states (including Washington DC) highlighted in a pale blue.

Top 10 States for Sears Houses - February 2017
Includes Washington DC
Also worth noting is that the national database now includes around 10% of the total number of homes sold by Sears through its Modern Homes Division. Since Sears Roebuck did not keep its sales records for the homes that it sold, researchers have had to estimate the total number of houses sold. The best estimates seem to be around 65,000 homes. That's quite an accomplishment but it also means there's a lot more houses still to find!

The national database of Sears Modern Homes is the collective work of a number of kit house researchers located across the country. The sources of the information in the database include the personal work of those researchers, the work of other kit house researchers, publicly available resources including newspapers and websites and information provided by home owners and other members of the public with an interest in kit houses.


  1. Love the data :)

  2. I own a Sears home in Rensselaer, Indiana. The property card states 1938. I know it is Modern Concord Home. I have found a piece of lumber confirming it is a Sears Home.

    1. Very cool! Feel free to e-mail us with more details. We would love to be able to document the house.