|Authenticated Sears Olivia • 1925 • 7072 Oleatha, Saint Louis, Missouri|
For one thing, the city of St. Louis has a huge number of homes that were built before the era of Sears homes. For another, the great, great majority of houses in the city of St. Louis, are made of brick, because brick manufacturing was a major economic force in the city, for many decades. A large portion of those old, brick homes, are solid brick... and Sears homes are never made of solid brick. But, they are sometimes made of face brick (brick veneer), and, I have discovered that many of the newer old homes in the city of St. Louis (1920s-40s) are actually brick veneer, not solid brick.
Because of all of this, I hadn't spent much time looking through the streets of the city, for kit homes. I have focused on areas of the nearby suburbs of St. Louis County. But, this summer, around June 19 (2015), I decided to move my Sears mortgage-deed searching to the big, beautiful building that is our city's City Hall (for images from that visit to city hall, read my most recent post). I netted about 18 names and locations related to mortgages from Sears: one signed by 1920s Sears trustee, Walker O. Lewis, in 1925, for a mortgage of $1, 800. I put off looking for the house for that one, figuring, at such a low price, it was probably a mortgage for a garage, or some little fluff of a standard-bilt house that had fallen down by now.
|June 20, 2015, in our Sears Homes and Plan Book Houses group, on FaceBook.|
So, I was really pleased to find that the mortgage that E. W. Boehme and his wife signed off on, on January 23, 1925 (listed in book 4184, on page 149!) turned out to be an Olivia model! My first ever!
|From page 43 of my 1925 catalog.|
|The house matches nicely, pas vrai?|
According to tax records, our Olivia on Oleatha, is only about 664 square feet. Yikes. That's tiny. The floor plan shows 2 bedrooms on the right side of the house, and a living room on the left, with the kitchen behind it. That's about it, folks! A bathroom, and a short hall, and a few closets finish it off.
|That screened-in porch is a nice addition.|
|All of the house images were accessed through Google maps.|
Well, you would think that the easy answer would be: E. W. Boehme and his wife, the folks who signed the mortgage with Walker O. Lewis.
However, digging and searching on Ancestry.com, did not net me anyone by that name, at this address, either through the 1930 census, or via St. Louis City directories from 1925 on. I found an Erwin Boehme, in St. Louis, who worked as a supervisor at Western Union, and his wife, Esther Boehme, who worked for Western Union, too (a company dear to my heart, because it's where my dad worked from age 16, through until his retirement many decades later.), but they weren't shown at this address. I think that I only found them through about 1920 at any address, anyway, so they're probably there somewhere, in some directory, but I didn't find them. I'm going to a Genealogy workshop at the Missouri History Museum Library in a few weeks -- maybe I'll work on tracking them down to connect them to living in this house.
|1905 New York State census, showing the Hofer family. Next to their ages, is the place of birth.|
|More legible summary of the Hofer family of Syracuse, NY, 1905.|
|1930 census for 7072 Oleatha Avenue (misspelled as Olathe). (Click to enlarge)|
|Here is the little Hofer family in 1940.|
The Origin of the Street Name, Oleatha
Today, in a group about Saint Louis history, a gentleman named Rick Murray told me that this street, Oleatha, was named after his great grandmother! Her name was Oleatha Didawick Rathell. Her husband, Mr. Murray's great grandfather, was a real-estate developer named Samuel T. Rathell. Another of the streets in the neighborhood is Mardel, named by Mr. Rathell after a well-known street in another area of Saint Louis, Delmar. The Rathells lived on Cabanne, just north of there. The neighborhood that Oleatha sits in is called Lindenwood Park -- named for the fact that Oleatha had attended Lindenwood College, in nearby St. Charles.
|Mr. Murray shared this photo of Oleatha Didawick Rathell, in the parlor at the Rathell home |
at 5618 Cabanne in St. Louis.
Oleatha was born in 1856, and passed away in 1922