People Used To Order Sears Home Kits From A Catalog In The Early 1900s And Some Are Still Standing Today

While these days we don’t think twice about ordering all kinds of things online, with giants like Amazon offering pretty much anything you could possibly imagine carried to your doorstep, the mail-order abstraction goes back much further than you are able to remember, and you could even get an entire residence to be presented by mail.

Image credits: Sears Repository

Sears, formerly the most difficult retailer in the U.S. but which recently filed for bankruptcy, changed home-ownership and kick-started the American dream for thousands by offering inexpensive’ kit residences, ’ arriving by railroad in pieces that people would put together themselves. With 400 sorts to choose from in a series of budgets, the mail-order residences proved to be a massive strike, with 75,000 built in all the regions of the USA between 1908 and 1940.

Image credits: Sears Archives

The scheme was an impressive foreshadow of today’s Amazon and Ikea, done on a massive magnitude and over a century ago. Sears’ iconic list was a culture phenomenon of the times, with a full one-fifth of the population signed up to the 1,400 -page tome, offering more than 100,000 components to be delivered to your opening.

Image credits: Sears Archive

After receiving and constructing your kit residence, which Sears promised could be done without a carpenter and with simply rudimentary knowledge in less than 90 periods, you could then furnish it with brand-new Sears goods, including modern conveniences like central heating, indoor plumbing, and electricity.

Image credits: Sears Archives

Image credits: Sears Archive

Image credits: Sears Archive

Image credits: Sears Repository

The accessibility of these dwellings changed the face of American life, creating independence for newlyweds and young families that were more accustomed to living in multi-generational homes. Many of them are still standing today, a testament to the quality of the materials as well as the DIY skills of numerous houses back then, and has now become structures of historic interest.

Image credits: Sears Archives

The quaint, early 20 th century layouts are reminiscent of the movie Pleasantville, and have been known to fetch as much as $ 1 million on the real estate market!

Image credits: Old House Online

But how do you know if you live in a Sears kit home? The records for where and when many of the houses were delivered have all along been disappeared, but there are a growing number of supporters that travel the country, searching them out. It is estimated that around 70% of the original Sears kit homes constructed are still standing today, many of which are located near to the rail grounds they were delivered to.

Image credits: Old House Online

Atlas Obscura acquainted Sears kit home hunters Wendy and Andrew Mutch, who rendered an insight into their hobby which they describe as’ a bit like birdwatching.’ They often begin their investigation in areas where Sears or its partners had large-scale mills, as the kit residences are specially common in these areas. Places like Cincinnati and Newark are particular goldmines.

Image credits: Sears Archive

Then they zoom in on railroad expanses, focusing on the kind of middle-class communities that remain relatively stable over the years. This means that the houses are less likely to either be renovated beyond recognition or crumbled away into disrepair.

Image credits: Old House Online

Then it’s a matter of driving around neighborhoods, with a transcript of Sears kit home bible Houses By Mail, which is a explanatory template to every model of Sears kit home ever made.

People are beginning to recognize the value of these parts of American record, faithfully restoring them to their original glory.

“In 1916 my great-grandfather constructed his home from a Sears home kit. 100 several years later we’ve rehabilitated it to its original beauty”- this person shared the renovation he did on a Sears’ kit home’( Image credits: RealHotSauceBoss )

Image credits: Old House Online

Interior of an original Sears home on Lamar Avenue in Elizabeth( Image credits: the charlotte observer )

Image credits: Sears Archives

Image credits: Sears Archives

Image credits: Sears Repository

Image credits: Sears Archive

Image credits: Sears Archives

Image credits: Sears Repository

Image credits: Sears Archives

Image credits: Sears Archive

How to know if your home is from Sears catalog:

The Artwork And Crafts Society lists the following tips-off to help you identify whether your residence might be a Sears kit home or not:

Look for stamped lumber on the exposed beams/ joists/ rafters in the cellar, crawl space or attic.

Image credits: arts-crafts[ info in the links ]

Inspect the back of millwork( moldings and decorate) for carrying labels.

Image credits: arts-crafts

Check the home’s floor plan, footprint( exterior aspects) and chamber sizing, utilizing a field guide to Sears Homes, such as “Finding The Mansion That Sears Built”( 2004, Gentle Beam Publications ).

Image credits: arts-crafts

Visit the courthouse and scrutinize age-old construct permissions and grantor records.

Inspect plumbing fixtures for markers, such as “R” or “SR”.

Look for distinguishes on back of sheet rock-and-roll.

Unique column arrangement on front porch and five-piece eave brackets.

Square block on moldings at staircase landings, where moldings satisfy at odd inclinations.

Verify your home’s structure date. If your home was not constructed between 1908 – 1940, it can not be a Sears Home.

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