Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Return to Yonkers, New York

42 Seminary Ave - Yonkers, New York
Sears Americus
Back in 2016, I spent quite a bit of time doing research into Sears mortgages for houses built in Yonkers, New York. I covered that research in several posts that I wrote detailing the number of mortgages, the number of houses located and a breakdown by model. Recently, I took some time to return to those mortgages in Yonkers that I had not yet pinned down to a location. Using some new resources, some tried-and-true favorites, and a couple of years of additional experience finding and identifying kit houses, I was able to locate quite a few more Sears houses in Yonkers, pushing the total number of identified Sears houses to over 100! Among the new finds are homes from some of the other kit house manufacturers including Aladdin, Lewis and Montgomery Ward (Wardway). Let's take a look at the updated numbers!

Sears Modern Homes

9 McCollum Pl - Yonkers, New York
Sears Haven
When I started looking for Sears houses in Yonkers, I had no idea that the number of Sears houses located would put Yonkers into the top 10 of cities nationwide with identified Sears houses. But with 109 houses identified to date, Yonkers has more identified Sears houses than some better known locations for Sears homes. Yonkers has a number of nice examples of Sears houses that largely look like the day they were built. It also has Sears houses that would be hard to identify today without a trained eye. Hopefully, as the Yonkers community becomes more aware of the number of Sears houses located there, more attention will be given to maintaining and restoring the homes that remain.

Here is the breakdown by model. As you can see, Yonkers has a great variety of models of Sears homes. Fifty seven different models are represented among the list of identified homes.

Alhambra: 1
Altona: 1
Americus: 6
Barrington: 3
Berwyn: 1
Betsy Ross: 1
Bridgeport: 1
Brookwood: 2
Cambridge: 1
Claremont: 1
Cornell: 3
Crafton: 2
Crescent: 1
Dover: 1
Fairy: 1
Fullerton: 2
Garfield: 3
Gladstone: 2
Grant: 1
Greenview: 1
Hathaway: 1
Haven: 4
Homewood: 1
Kilbourne: 1
Kimberly: 3
Kismet: 1
Lakecrest: 1
Langston: 5
LaSalle: 1
Lewiston: 1
Lynnhaven: 1
Manchester: 3
Maplewood: 2
Marina: 2
Mitchell: 1
Niota: 1
Norwood: 1
Oak Park: 1
Puritan: 5
Rembrandt: 1
Rodessa: 4
Solace: 3
Somers: 1
Stanford: 1
Starlight: 3
Stratford: 1
Vallonia: 6
Van Dorn: 1
Van Page: 1
Verona: 1
Wayne: 1
Wellington: 6
Westly: 1
Whitehall: 1
Willard: 3
Windsor: 1
Winona: 2

We've been able to authenticate 90 of the homes from Sears. Almost all of those homes were authenticated using mortgage records. But in one case, a house was authenticated by a reference to a building permit in the "Yonkers Statesman" newspaper. While searching for mortgage houses, we've identified some locations where Sears houses were lost to freeway construction or where homes have been replaced or modified to the point that they are unrecognizable. The historical photos that the city of Yonkers has for many of these homes has allowed us to identify the model built but those "lost" houses are not included in our totals. Thankfully, many of the houses that were financed with mortgages are still standing.

Here is a breakdown of when those authenticated houses were built, by year:

1920 - 1
1921 - 4
1922 - 3
1923 - 7
1924 - 9
1925 - 12
1926 - 11
1927 - 9
1928 - 4
1929 - 7
1930 - 6
1931 - 10
1932 - 6
1933 - 1

Because Sears stopped financing mortgages after 1933, we don't have any authenticated houses after 1933. But as Sears was mentioned in at least one building permit in the local newspaper, it's possible that with more research, we'll be able to authenticate additional houses in the years after Sears stopped offering mortgages.

Aladdin Homes
From the list of Aladdin sales records that Wendy compiled, for the years that we have, there are around a dozen houses listed as being sold to customers in Yonkers. However, most of the models sold were for modest houses or small cottages. From the list, I was able to track down exactly one house - an Aladdin Victory. It's likely that there are more houses from Aladdin yet to be identified including those from the years that have not yet been captured in the Aladdin sales record database.

Lewis Homes
There have been six homes from Lewis identified as being built in Yonkers. Five of the six have been authenticated. One of those was referenced as a testimonial in the Lewis catalogs. A company that incorporated in New York City in the early 1920s as "Bay City Lewis Homes" was, for a short time, selling Lewis homes and providing financing for those homes. While the company was not in business for a very long time, the mortgages that were financed by it helped lead us to four of the houses.

22 Bryn Mawr Pl - Yonkers, New York
Wardway Cedars
Wardway Homes
Montgomery Ward (Wardway) entered the mortgage business in the Yonkers area very late in the life of their kit house business. Just a handful of mortgages were recorded for homes from Wardway. Of those, I've been able to identify two Wardway houses including this Wardway "Cedars" on Bryn Mawr Place.

Additional Resources
To assist people researching kit houses in Yonkers, New York, I've created a resource page that includes a current list of all of the kit houses identified in Yonkers and whether they have been authenticated (most of them have!) I've also created an overview map showing the approximate location of the houses. That page also includes links to all of the posts I've done about research into houses in Yonkers.

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