Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Sears Catalog Homes in Detroit Previous Next
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Kimistree
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Username: Kimistree

Post Number: 43
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 9:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Our home was just recently added to the Sears modern homes catalog archives, and it has ocurred to me that since Sears estimates that they sold over 100000 thousand homes in the USA that there must be way more than the 2 that are listed currently in their archives. The modern house we live in is called the Cresent it was built in 1926 by a man named Mr. Hoffmeyer in EEV. We are the third owners.

When we bought the house is was advertised as a Sears Kit house which is why knew that is was. Here is a link to the History of Sears modern home page take a look at some of the houses and see if you recognize one or two. Maybe you grew up in one and didn't know it.

The first Sears kit homes are coming up on 100 years old next year. I think there is some talk among those in the Sears kit house circles to have them listed in the national archives.

http://www.searsarchives.com/h omes/byimage.htm

It would be great if more of these gems could be found and could add to the value of maybe preserving a house that is in disrepair.

Here is a short synopsis from the Sears archives website,it's rather long so I'm doing the ole cut and paste just so you get the idea.

Between 1908 and 1940, Modern Homes made an indelible mark on the history of American housing. A remarkable degree of variety marks the three-plus decades of house design by Sears. A skilled but mostly anonymous group of architects designed 447 different houses. Each of the designs, though, could be modified in numerous ways, including reversing floor plans, building with brick instead of wood siding, and many other options.

Sears had the customer in mind when it expanded its line of houses to three different expense levels to appeal to customers of differing means. While Honor Bilt was the highest-quality line of houses, with its clear-grade (no knots) flooring and cypress or cedar shingles, the Standard Built and Simplex Sectional lines were no less sturdy, yet were simpler designs and did not feature precut and fitted pieces. Simplex Sectional houses actually included farm buildings, outhouses, garages, and summer cottages.
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Bigjeff
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Username: Bigjeff

Post Number: 70
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 9:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow, I have been told that my parents house is a "Sears Catalog Home." That you could pick the layout of your house in a catalog. And if you go up into the attic you can look at the beams and see the letters and numbers telling the contractors the sequence on how to put the house together. But i'm way the hell out in Saint Clair Shores. I wonder what other subdivisions these houses are built in. If there were any stipulations on where you could build these houses?
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Karl
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Username: Karl

Post Number: 6964
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 9:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kim, I've read of these houses over the years. Of particular note to those who understand these things is the clear-grade wood, sometimes found throughout the attics as well as the flooring.

Try to find some at Home Depot and if you can, check the price - even for clear pine.

Those were the days.
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Kimistree
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Username: Kimistree

Post Number: 44
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 10:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bigjeff- I remember there being an article in the newspaper or the Free Press magazine (the name escapes me now) about Sears houses in Michigan and there were some in SCS and the Grosse Pointes.

At the time these houses would have been built it is probable that the subdivision layout weren't made, and at the time when subs were laid out the average person could buy one of the lots and build the house they wanted too.

If you know the year the house was made you can easily try and find it. Your parents house sounds to me like a Sears house from what you described. From my somewhat limited knowledge, Sears houses have numbers/letters stamped on the lumber that usually begin with a letter. Other kit homes ( Wards, Aladdin) have different markings.

Karl- Our house is made of southern pine cut from trees in Louisiana, there are no knots in any of the wood and even the kitchen and bath have hardwood floors.
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Oldredfordette
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Username: Oldredfordette

Post Number: 1564
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 11:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Royal Oak is full of them. So is Ferndale.
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6nois
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Username: 6nois

Post Number: 171
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 11:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There were no restrictions on where kit homes could be placed. 100,000 were built between 1908 and 1940. Aladdin Homes of Bay City was the first to come up with the idea in 1906, and Sears had the largest selling share.

http://www.lib.umd.edu/NTL/kit homes.html
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Eastsidedame
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Username: Eastsidedame

Post Number: 145
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 7:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kimistree: treasure those floors! Katrina messed up a lot of LA pines.
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Alexei289
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Username: Alexei289

Post Number: 1302
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 9:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The flooring at home depot is select and better grade. They dont have a clear, and all they have is red oak.. Red oak is garbage... and more commonly used as firewood. However, a clear grade white oak, 3" inch plank i can get from my suppliers fairly cheap.

Homedepot buys their stuff for 1.38 a square foot, and sells it for 3.09. The milling sux, and there are alotta pieces that are bent like hockey sticks, due to the wood not being in a moisture controlled environment.
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Kimistree
Member
Username: Kimistree

Post Number: 59
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 10:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We definitely treasure all the wood in the house. We are very lucky that the previous owners didn't paint over the window and door frames in the living room and dining room, although the frames in the bedrooms are painted.

I read this was the common practice for homes built during the arts and crafts era.

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