Saturday, September 12, 2020

Montgomery Ward's Fairview Model In Ann Arbor Michigan

 

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 martin pl ann arbor mi
Montgomery Ward's Fairview model • 1135 Martin Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Montgomery Ward kit house Fairview 1917
Montgomery Ward Fairview, 1917 catalog
This model is just so fantastic. When one of our researchers pointed out the real estate listing, and mentioned that he and a few others had seen this before it was renovated, I had no idea that any of us had seen this model in person. I've seen it in the old Montgomery Ward house catalogs (before they adopted the moniker Wardway for their homes division), and wondered if we'd ever see one. Yes, in fact! And, here it is. So, today's blog post is just about showing it off.

According to the book, Montgomery Ward's Mail-Order Homes , a field guide to the Montgomery Ward houses, this model was offered from 1914-1921 (look on page 114... oddly, this field guide does not have an index). It was first marketed as model No. 168, and later changed to the Fairview. Neither as the No. 168, nor as the Fairview,  was this model ever offered ready-cut, meaning that you'd never find framing lumber stamped with a letter/number combo. Though we might consider it a kit, because you bought the plans and all of the supplies (except masonry products) from one source, Montgomery Ward, the framing lumber arrived in the same standard lengths that you would have gotten from the local lumber yard. You'd still have had to saw the pieces to fit, or have that done at a local sawmill.  All of the models offered in the 1917 Book Of Homes catalog from Montgomery Ward, from which I pulled the above image, were labeled "not Ready-Cut". I believe it wasn't for another year-ish that Montgomery Ward began offering Ready-Cut kits, and they began marketing them through their Wardway name, but, they didn't have their own lumber yards or factories for the kits. They contracted with the Gordon-Van Tine company, based in Davenport, Iowa, to supply their ready-cut kits. As a result, Wardway and GVT offered many of the same models in their catalogs, but at different prices. I imagine that going through GVT directly, you got a better deal, because you didn't have to pay for the Wardway middleman. Gordon-Van Tine owned a lumber company in St. Louis, Missouri, that they had re-tooled in 1916 to handle their ready-cut/plan-cut/pre-cut kits. I discuss this in a 2018 blog post of mine about a Wardway Florence model in the city of St. Louis, if you're interested.

Montgomery Ward Book of Homes field guide and 1917 catalog cover
The Thornton/Wolicki field guide to Montgomery Ward mail-order homes, is still available at a reasonable price from the authors, here (you can find it on Amazon or eBay for inflated prices). Though it's out of print, there are still copies available from the final printing. The 1917 Book of Homes catalog, from Montgomery Ward, shown here on the right, is viewable online, at this Archive.org link.

On page 54 of that 1917 Book of Homes catalog, you find the Fairview model, offered at $1,497 for the kit. Remember, a buyer had to already own a lot, and usually construction costs just about doubled the total house cost, so folks weren't getting the house for $1,497... just the plans and almost all of the supplies. Plumbing and heating systems were an additional cost, as were any masonry products, and I imagine that things like lighting fixtures were priced according to the buyer's choice of item -- I'm not sure if they were included in the base kit price.
Montgomery Ward kit house Fairview 1917

Montgomery Ward kit house Fairview 1917

Montgomery Ward kit house Fairview 1917

Montgomery Ward kit house Fairview 1917

1135 Martin Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thanks to a real estate listing when the house was last sold, in August of 2019, we have lots and lots of photos of this house. I'll start with the floor plan, and then just go with the photos. Now, this home in Ann Arbor, has had a small back and side addition put on, and expanded and modernized the kitchen, but they've been tasteful and gracious in their modernization, really keeping with the style of this Craftsman house.
Montgomery Ward kit house Fairview floor plan 1917

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI

Montgomery Ward Fairview 1135 Martin Pl Ann Arbor MI


If you're interested in seeing more Montgomery Ward and Wardway-era house catalogs, you'll find a list on this blog page of mine, where I've provided links to all of the online catalogs that we're aware of, for Sears, Montgomery Ward, Gordon-Van Tine, and other companies. Noted researcher Rebecca L. Hunter has a good little write-up on her Kithouse.org website, as well. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Sears Silverdale In Paris, Kentucky

Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Sears Silverdale model • 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd, Paris, Kentucky
black and white catalog image of Sears Silverdale
Sears Silverdale, in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalogue.
Every year, around this time, I like to feature a Sears Silverdale model, in memory of my mom, who grew up in the one that her grandparents built, in 1911. Back then, when this model was first offered, it was marketed as the No. 110. 

This year, I have a really lovely example, in Paris, Kentucky, that was in the real estate listings in 2019. It sold, ironically, for $110,000. Since I'm not sure when this Paris, Kentucky house was built, I don't know whether it was bought during the No. 110 years, or during the Silverdale years. But, it does seem to follow the floor plan of this model very well, and the real estate listing even mentions it being a Sears kit house... though, as we (should have) all learned by now, those aren't always accurate statements. In this case, I think it is, though.

This style farm house (called a Gabled-Ell) probably looks pretty common to most folks. And, in general, it really is. But, I've studied the Sears version of this model quite a bit, and there are things about it that distinguish it from non-Sears, non-kit houses. For one thing, this style farm house, when not a kit, always seems to be much taller. Usually, the roofline doesn't start until about the top edge of the upper windows. But, the kit versions always seem to be more like this (for all of the kit companies)... see how the upper windows sit up pretty high into the roof line? The start of the roof line is practically half way down into the height of the window. Here's what I mean:
black and white catalog image of Sears Silverdale

blue gabled ell house in Indiana
Indiana example of a Gabled-Ell house (source).
Now, please don't start thinking that any farm house that you see, that has the roofline starting where the Silverdale's does, is a Sears house. I'm just pointing out that when I see a gabled-ell farmhouse out in the wild, that is tall, like the blue Indiana house in the second photo -- and most of them are -- I know that it isn't one of the kit houses. 

There were two other kit companies that sold a lookalike version to the Silverdale. Their versions are almost identical to the Silverdale, but there are some small differences inside, and one definite difference on the outside: the shape of the front porch roof:
3 kit house lookalikes compared

The Silverdale's front porch roof has a sort of notch out of the corner, so that the two sections of the roof don't meet at a right angle. The lookalikes by the Gordon-Van Tine kit company,  and Chicago Millwork Supply Company, don't have that notch. I wrote all about this, in a blog post, here, from 2015. 

The Paris, Kentucky Silverdale
Here is the floor plan of the Silverdale, from the 1921 catalogue. After that, I'll just post the many interior photos of the Kentucky Silverdale, and let you take a look. The kitchen is nicely remodeled, and in the same spot, but a bit re-designed, I would say. 

black and white catalog image of Sears Silverdale floor plan
Sears Silverdale floor plan, from the 1921 catalogue.
Just to get you oriented, let me show you a few photos, compared to the floor plan. Because of the perspective of the interior photos of the Kentucky house, we need to compare to a flipped image of the floor plan, so that's what I've used here. Normally, the front entry vestibule (labeled as "hall"), is supposed to have an entrance into the dining room, and one into the living room. This house has eliminated the entry door into the dining room, but does have the one that leads you into the living room. My mom's house, had the opposite... no entry into the LR from the vestibule... it just leads you into the DR.
dining room of Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

dining room in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

interior view of living room and entry vestibule of Sears Silverdale
Here is the Living Room, with entry vestibule to the right, of my Mom's Silverdale. Those are other family members, in the photo. So, I took this photo, standing in the dining room, facing the living room, and the front entry vestibule, and there is a doorway into that entry vestibule... though there is not one there, in the Paris, Kentucky Silverdale.

entry vestibule in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Here, we are standing in the entry vestibule of the Kentucky Silverdale, and this is the front door.
The door hardware is the Sears Stratford design, and notice the little round bell? That's the front door turn bell -- my mom's house originally had one of those, too. On the outside, on the other side of where this bell is, was a little turn knob, to ring the bell.
vintage door hardware on Sears house
Here is the Stratford door handle hardware, including the front door bell, with a turner that would be on the outside of the door. This is from my 1918 Sears Sears Building Supplies catalog.
dining room in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
This is the dining room. If we turn ourselves around, this is the natural layout of the house, so now the living room is behind us, the kitchen is in front of us (which is the back of the house), the two windows, here, are on the side of the house, and here is the entry into the staircase, that is in the back of the dining room. (On my mom's house, the upstairs staircase is not accessed here, because they enlarged the house, to make it accommodate another family, upstairs, so they changed the direction of the staircase, to be accessed from an exterior door at the right side of the house.)
Returning to the front of the house, below, we are in the living room, looking back, through the French doors, into the dining room (the ceiling fixtures can help you recognize which room you are in).


living room in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

living room in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

This first view, below, is the left side of the house. The double windows are those of the dining room. Behind that, is the now-enclosed back porch. Inside, the kitchen is just on the other side of the interior wall of that enclosed back porch (when you see the kitchen photos, it's the wall that has the refrigerator).

outside side view of Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Left side of the house... front is closest to the big tree, back is closest to the garage.
Below, we're going back to the front of the house, looking straight at it, this space is the ride side of the house. The window is the right side window of the living room, and that extended part of the house, is the little side bedroom on the first floor.
front and right side view of exterior of Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Front and right sides of the house.

This view, is the full-on view of the right side. Those two upper windows are for, on the left side, one of the small bedrooms upstairs, and, next to it, the window at the top of the staircase. Behind that, is an extension to the kitchen area, that this house has had added on to it, that's not on the original floor plan.

right side view of Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Right side of the house...Front porch (glass enclosed), living room window, side bedroom window, then added sunroom that has the kitchen on the other side of it, inside. 
Here, looking from the back of the house, is that added sunroom/porch:
back exterior view of Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
This is the back of the house. The double windows on the first floor, are the kitchen windows that are over the sink.
added sun porch in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
The inside of that added sunroom/porch. The back end of the kitchen is on the other side of the right wall, here.

The back wall of the kitchen, here has the sunroom/porch off of it.
remodeled kitchen in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
You can see that sun room / enclosed porch, here, at the back of the kitchen.
These two windows look out on the back of the house.

remodeled kitchen in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
This wall, where the refrigerator is, 
So, the kitchen now spans the back of the house. The refrigerator is indicated, on the floor plan, with a star, and I've shown, in blue, where the new sunroom/porch was added. They took over the original bathroom space, to enlarge the kitchen. I think that they turned the small pantry space, into a small bathroom.
annotated floor plan image of Sears Silverdale
added bathroom in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
I believe that this is the space that was, originally, the pantry. That's the door that leads to the basement!
Upstairs In The Kentucky Silverdale
Here, in no particular order, are the upstairs rooms.
upstairs floor plan of Sears Silverdale No 110

upstairs hallway and stairs in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

bedroom in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

bedroom in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

remodeled upstairs bathroom in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
I'm not quite sure where this new bathroom is. It's nice, though! Not on the original floor plan, which only had one bathroom, and it was off of the kitchen.

upstairs bedroom in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

upstairs bedroom in Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

Front Of The House
Here is the front of the house, as seen from the now-enclosed front porch. The door we see, is the one into the entry vestibule. The two windows here, are into the living room.
enclosed front porch on Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky

glass-enclosed front porch on Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Here is the angled front porch entrance. The whole porch as been enclosed in glass.
exterior view in yard of Sears Silverdale kit house at 1793 Ruddles Mills Rd Paris Kentucky
Our final view: The view from the front, looking at the now glass-enclosed front porch, with its angled entry area.
Other Blog Posts About The Silverdale
Here are my other blog posts about this model:

The photos of this house, are from the original real estate listing, which you can see here, on Realtor.com.