Thursday, November 15, 2018

Where are the Sears Houses - November 2018 Edition

2237 S 71st St - West Allis, WI
Sears Walton
Image courtesy of
It has been about five months since the last update of "Where are the Sears Houses?" In that time, the national database of Sears houses grew to over 10,500 houses, which means it's time for another update of "Where are the Sears Houses?" Here is the breakdown of the location of houses by state based on approximately 10,500 homes in the database. Let's take a look!

As of this date, Sears houses have been located in 44 states, the District of Columbia and the Provinces of Alberta and Ontario, Canada.

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

1. Ohio (2100+ homes): Ohio leads the way again with almost 2,200 homes. Ohio continues to account for over 20% of the houses on the list.

2. Illinois (2100+ homes): Illinois continues to hold onto second place on the list. Our researchers in Illinois have been busy finding and adding houses to the list. While they haven't caught up to Ohio yet, they closed the gap significantly. With this update, the number of homes from Illinois account for 20% of the houses on the list.

3. Pennsylvania (1400+ homes): Pennsylvania continues to stay in third place just a few homes shy of 1500. Notably, the number of homes located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has almost reached the 500 home mark!

4. New York (1200+ homes): New York moved past the 1200 home mark with the addition of a number of authenticated homes I located around the five boroughs of New York City. I hope to blog about some of these homes soon!

5. Michigan (800+ homes): Michigan sits just shy of 900 homes.

6. Indiana (400+): Since the last update, Indiana moved past the 400 home mark and remains in sixth place on the list.

7. New Jersey (375+): New Jersey made a big move up the list, jumping two states to take spot number seven on the list. This change was thanks in large part to the mortgage research that my fellow kit house researcher Judith Chabot did in a couple of New Jersey counties. That research helped Judith add a lot of new authenticated houses to the list. I firmly believe that there are a many more Sears houses to be found in New Jersey. I wouldn't be surprised to see New Jersey move further up the list in future updates.

8. Maryland (300+): With New Jersey's move up the list, Maryland bumped down a spot to number eight.

9. Washington DC (300): Washington DC continues to sit in ninth place at exactly 300 homes.

10. Wisconsin (200+): Since the last update, Wisconsin passed the 200 home mark,

11. Virginia (175+): Virginia continues to inch its way towards the 200 home mark.

11. Kentucky (175+): Kentucky had trailed Virginia by a single house at the last update. This time, they are tied for eleventh place with 181 homes each.

Currently, there are 12 states where at least 100 Sears houses have been located in the state but Massachusetts and Missouri are closing in on the 100 house total. The top 10 states account for about  90% of the total number of houses on the list.

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. In your KPL presentation, you claim that "as long as their money was green," black people could simply apply to Sears for a kit house and start building. Except that Kalamazoo was filled by lot/plat restrictions which prohibited black people from living in those areas. In 1945 it was estimated that between 85% to 95% of Kalamazoo homes were restricted to black people, either through lot restrictions or deed restrictions, which weren't officially prohibited until the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Have you considered that? If Kit houses were a good alternative option for black people facing local discrimination in mortgage lending, do you have several examples of black people getting Sears homes in Kalamazoo? Where are they located?

    1. Matt - You raise a good point that Sears policy alone wouldn't allow African-American families to overcome deed restrictions that were included in many subdivision plats. In those cases, those families would still need to seek property unencumbered by those kinds of restrictions. However, many families were still able to built by building in locations where such restrictions did not exist.

      There are only a handful of known Sears houses in Kalamazoo and I haven't had a chance to do research into which ones were funded through mortgages from Sears and whether any of those to African-American families. That would be a great project for someone local to Kalamazoo and I would be interested in finding out the results if someone did that.