Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sears Elmhurst in Niskayuna, New York

Once upon a time, I thought the Sears Elmhurst was a super rare model offered by Sears Roebuck. It made sense that we wouldn't expect to find more than a handful of them. The Elmhurst is a fairly large house, pricier because it was finished in brick veneer and only offered for a handful of years at a time when home sales were in decline, all factors that would tend to keep the number of houses built down to a small number. But in fact, we've discovered through our research that if the Elmhurst was once considered a rare model, it's a rarity no more. With almost 20 examples located to date, there's more than a handful of them out there. Still, it's an interesting looking house and always fun to find one. So I want to share with you another example of the Elmhurst that I recently came across in Niskayuna, New York.

The location of the most recent Sears Elmhurst is in Niskayuna, New York, which lies directly east of Schenectady. We've found quite a few Sears houses in this area and I was on Regent Street in Niskayuna looking for Sears houses when I came across a nice example of a Sears Starlight. It's not unusual to find more than one Sears house in a neighborhood but when I looked across the street, I didn't expect to see an Elmhurst!

Sears Elmhurst - 1463 Regent St - Niskayuna, NY
Image courtesy of Google Maps
If you've read any of the previous posts about the Elmhurst, you know that there are some distinctive spotting features that help us identify this house as being from Sears Roebuck - this house has them all! On the front of the house, you can see the decorative half timbering with the stucco finish and the tall and narrow front stairway window.

Catalog Image of Sears Elmhurst (1929)
Image courtesy of Antique Home
From the view of the right hand side of the house, which matches the 1929 catalog view, you can see the distinctive pediment that stands in front of the side entrance to the house.

Sears Elmhurst - 1463 Regent St - Niskayuna, NY
Image courtesy of Google Maps
You can also see a small attached garage designed to match the rest of the house. It may be that this garage is original to the house. If not, it's been nicely designed to blend in with the rest of the house.

From the view of the left hand side of the house, you can see the triple dormers that are a unique feature of the Elmhurst model. All the windows on this side of the house match up perfectly with the floorplan for the Elmhurst. This house in Niskayuna may be the best match to the catalog plans that we've seen to date!

Sears Elmhurst - 1463 Regent St - Niskayuna, NY
Image courtesy of Google Maps
Unlike some of the other Elmhursts, I don't have any information that lets me authenticate this house. However, based on what we can see, I'm very confident that this is the real deal. Do you know of an example of the Elmhurst or any other local Sears houses? Let us know in the comments!


  1. The woman who recently bought the Elmhurst on Midland Drive, in St. Louis, wrote me the other day, after reading about Elmhursts on my blog. She wanted to be sure that we knew of that one:) Good buy, on her part!
    Sears House Seeker

  2. A friend sent me a link to this, because I'm an amateur house historian and I live in Niskayuna.

    If you're curious about the construction details, I can get the records from the town. I've had luck back to the early 30's with building permits and such. It does require a FOIA request, alas, if you're not the owner, but the town does eventually produce them.

    Contact me via email if you'd like them.

    Parenthetically, we have one of the odder Sears kits buildings on Union Street, just south of this house - it's the former St. Helen's Church, now encased in a bank facade. When they stood up this parrish in the 1920's, they bought a Sears brick kit for the first sanctuary, down the street from the current site.


    1. Matt,
      I have e-mail contact info at the bottom of this page. Please drop me a line as I would love to have more info on the house. Also, I'm going to blog about another Sears house in Niskayuna that's quite rare. I can also share with you a list of other Sears houses we've found in Niskayuna.