Saturday, January 29, 2022

Solving the Mystery of the Sears Houses of Southbridge, Massachusetts?

A number of years ago, I came across a 1939 newspaper article with a reference to a new 200 home Sears development in Southbridge, Massachusetts. 200 homes! Wow! At the time, I hadn't learned to be skeptical of such reports. But after doing some searching online, I didn't have any luck finding any information about this development. A quick look on Zillow and some searching around town didn't turn up anything that looked like Sears houses circa 1939. The article had implied that the homes were one of Sears new "Home Club" developments but like a couple of the other "Home Club" developments, I couldn't find any other information about it. 

Fast forward to this past fall and while searching Zillow for Sears houses, I came across a possible 1930s era Sears house in Southbridge. As I like to do when I find one Sears house, I started looking around the neighborhood and to my surprise, within a block of this house, I found another half dozen Sears houses from the same era including a couple rare examples. Was this the missing 200 home Sears development that had been mentioned in that newspaper article way back when? Let take a look!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Biggest Little Sears House Communities

Certain communities are well known for the large number of Sears homes that can be found within their borders. Those places, like Carlinville and Elgin, Illinois, Washington DC and Cincinnati, Ohio, offer ample opportunities to see many Sears houses in person. Less well-known but just as worth the attention of kit house hunters are several communities that are smaller in size but just as chock-full of Sears houses. Some of these communities have far more Sears houses per square mile than their better known counterparts. So whether you're a resident looking to learn more about the Sears houses in your community or looking to take a road trip to view Sears houses, these communities should be on your kit house hunting radar. Let's take a look!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Where are the Sears Houses - January 2022 Edition

Sears Woodland - Albany, NY

Happy 2022! We're less than a month into the New Year and the National Database of Sears Homes has passed 14,000 documented homes. It took about nine months to go from 13,500 to 14,000 homes. But many of those 500 new homes added to the list were the result of a lot of hard work as my fellow kit house researchers did a lot of heavy lifting through mortgage records, some dating back more than 100 years, connecting those records to Sears houses. With that mark reached, it's time to post another update of "Where are the Sears Houses?"

Friday, January 7, 2022

ID this House! Sears Lynn

First appearing in late 1938, the Sears Lynn was one of the last new models added to the pages of the "Modern Homes" catalog. A modest house at less than 1,000 square feet in size, the Lynn's fairly plain design would - on first appearance - make it a difficult one to identify. To date, only a handful of examples of this house have been identified. But I'm going to show you that the Lynn's design includes some unique elements that will make it easy for you to identify once you know what to look for when searching for Sears houses. I also think that this model is much more common than the handful of examples would indicate which means there's likely more examples to be found. Let's learn to ID this house!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Sears Parkside in Ferndale, Michigan

I've had the good fortune to be able to document hundreds of Sears houses in southeast Michigan. But most of those houses date from the 1920s and 1930s. Even though we know that Sears was actively selling houses in the Detroit area through at least 1941, I've only been able to document a handful of houses from the final years of the Modern Homes program. Recently, I had a chance to get some photos of one of those houses - a Sears Parkside in Ferndale, Michigan. This example of the Parkside gives us a chance to review that model and some of the changes made over the years that can help us date when the house was built. Let's take a look!