Saturday, April 11, 2015

St. Joseph, MO: Radford Planbook House, No. 564 and Similar Models

Radford model No. 564 •  2702 Sacramento, St. Joseph, MO • 1912
Historic St. Joseph, Missouri, looks to be home to a number of homes built from Radford Architectural Company's plan-book house plans.  These are not kits -- these homes were built after the owner bought only the house plans / blueprints from the Radford company.  It was up to the owner to hire a contractor and builder to figure out the lumber needed, order everything, and build the house.

This beautifully-kept-up 1912 home looks a perfect match for the Radford Homes No. 564 (even down to the little upper ornamentation along the edges of the front porch).

Okay, it's true that I wish it had the double windows on the front part of the middle section of windows,
but, surely, it's still a 564.

You can see this house plan for yourself on 

About Design No. 564

The No. 564 was known as the No. 1564 in later plan books, as seems to be the case with Radford. I haven't figured out the reason for this change in numbering, but I've noticed this addition of the 1 or of a 2 in front of the original number, in books after 1903.

These are the floorplans for the No. 1564 in a 1907 book of Radford plans (seen HERE).
They are identical to the floorplans shown in the 1903 book.

The side windows go well with the layout of windows on the house plans of the No. 564.
As I traveled around the streets near this house, via Google maps, I ran across a yellow version of this same house.  Unfortunately, I did not note the street, so I don't have the address, but I did snag a photo:

This home does have the second set of double windows on the second floor of this side of the house.
There is no way for me to verify the size and footprint of this house against the floorplans, as would be needed to help document it as a likely Radford No. 564, because Buchanan County, Missouri does not have free online access to its public records information for real estate. They charge 25¢ per minute, or $250 for a month's access to their detailed records.  Documentation is interesting, but not necessary at those prices :) I found the year from a Trulia listing. 

This is from the Public Record Search page of the Buchanan County, Missouri, assessor's page.

Other Small-Turret-Style-Dormer Houses

When you're first noticing different kinds of house designs, you sometimes only retain a vague recollection of a major feature or two of a house, once you've run across its design somewhere. For this house, surely, the major feature would be that unusual little turret-style dormer.  In fact, when I first saw this house on Sacramento Street, I thought immediately of a Sears house I knew that I had seen, with some kind of rounded dormer sticking out of the center of its front roof.  Since I don't have every aspect of every house's design engraved on my brain, I rushed to look through my Houses By Mail guide, to check this house against that one. 

Heavens. Not at all alike. But, the Sears No. 190 (available only for a few years in the early 19-teens) does have a curved turret-style dormer.  In fact, this feature is carried through from the first floor, where you see a bay window the same size as the dormer's bay shape.  

A quick Google image search of the Sears No. 190, brings me an image from Sears house researcher Rosemary Thornton's May 25, 2012 blog post about this model.  Click HERE to read her post and see the image of a No. 190 out in the world (I believe it's in Richmond, Virginia).  Here is a 1912 catalogue image of the No. 190, taken from Rose's blog post:

Click to enlarge. But, do go to Rose's blog post to read more. This is her image, not mine.

Interestingly, Rose shows a house in that blog post that looks almost exactly like the Sears No. 190, but it sports a slightly different style porch roof and front porch posts.  Sometimes, this could be explained away as unimportant and a probable simple design change at time of purchase of the home package from Sears.  But, in this case, it turns out that another company, Chicago House Wrecking Company (later known as Harris Brothers), had a version of this house -- the No. 84 -- that has those exact differences from the Sears No. 190.  

catalog image of chicago house wrecking co no 84
This image is from the April 7, 2015 blog post of Sears Homes of Chicagoland.

In an excellent entry on her Sears Homes of Chicagoland  blog,  Lara S. provides interesting background information on Harris Brothers and the Model No. 84 house.  She shows two homes in Maywood, Illinois, that have apparently been mis-identified as possible Sears No. 190 houses. 

Her entry is really worth the read, and you can access it HERE.

Chicago Millwork Supply Co. Clone of the Sears No. 190

But... to confuse matters more, another company had an almost exact lookalike to the Sears No. 190: Chicago Millwork Supply Company's Design A-119, shown here:

catalog image of chicago millwork supply co lookalike for sears no 190
Chicago Millwork Supply Company's Design A-119.
This image comes from their 1912 catalogue, accessed HERE.

catalog image comparisons sears no 190 vs lookalike
Click to enlarge.
There's really no way to distinguish these two models from each other, from the outside.  Even from the inside, it would be a challenge. Since they were offered in years before the pre-cut era, there would therefore be no markings on the lumber. I suppose that you might find shipping labels attached under millwork, but the layout is just the same. The biggest difference looks to be the size of the upstairs front bedroom, which C-M lists as being 12 x 13'6", and Sears lists as being 12 X 10'10":
catalog image of floor plan sears 190
Click to enlarge.
Read Rose Thornton's blog post HERE.

Other Radford Models

Radford has another house plan with a kind of crazy-looking large rounded turret-style section in the center of the top half of the house.  It's design No. 102.  Here it is from the 1903 book on
You can see this image HERE, on
I am pretty sure that I saw one of these on one of the streets of St. Joseph, but I didn't note where. Look around, maybe you'll find it! UPDATE: I found it! You can see it in this new blog post.

I have also noticed that there is another Radford design similar to the No. 564: the No. 9053.  The centered front turret-style dormer seems to be a bit larger than on the No. 564, and there is only a half-porch in the front.  This design was shown in the 1908 Radford's Artistic Homes- 250 Designs catalogue.

You can see it in the catalogue online, HERE.

a 1908 Radford catalogue

Or, what looks like an earlier version of the No. 9053, the "Design No. 4" from the 1902 Ideal Homes--100 House Plans Radford catalogue:
Access this image online, HERE
Click HERE to go to the opening page of this catalogue.

St. Joseph, Missouri

St. Joseph is a historically significant town.  The Pony Express took off from St. Joe, and, during the time of Westward Expansion in the United States, it was the last railroad stop on the route toward the Oregon Territory. After St. Joe, it was horses and covered wagons for the rest of the trip. 

To learn a bit more about St. Joseph, Missouri, and also a bit more about buying Radford house designs, you can read my previous post about Radford design No. 121 (a double-gambrel house design seen all over the streets of St. Joseph).  

If you know of the location of that Radford No. 102 in St. Joe, please feel free to let me know in a comment, below.  If you have a Radford design home, I'd love to know about it!


  1. Another impeccably researched posting, Ms. Chabot. It's so interesting to compare the similar models, mostly (as you show) for their differences; I have to say that I prefer the 'original' model that you posted at the top -- the Radford 564. Who can resist the sweep of that roof?! And it does an elegant job of incorporating the front porch into the mass of the building. It creates a simple, economical squared shape without sacrificing interest. By contrast, I think the Sears 190 looks a bit choppy in front and that roof is much more complicated to build. Remarkable that their second floor layouts are almost identical even though the first floors are completely different! Thanks for all the information!

    1. Thanks, Bets! I really love the look of the Radford 564, too. I especially love that little strip of hanging balustrade across the top of the porch (ummm.... what would you actually call that??). And, I love that it is still there on the two examples that I show here. I've seen that kind of porch top-decoration on other Radford house designs, but not really on any others.

      Thanks for reading! (p.s. I found the No. 102.... blog about that one -- a really cool 1911 house!-- will post next Friday, April 17.)

  2. I live there. No joke. Its cool to see my home in 1912. I looks different on the 2nd floor. It is nice to see this house has survived for so long. Thanks.

    1. Which one of the houses, the blue one, or the yellow one? :)

  3. I live in what I believe is a 564 in St. Joseph County, IN. The roof line, porch, windows,etc all match. However, the interior does not. It is similar to a mirror of the original plans, and there has been at least one addition and the front porch rebuilt. It also had the single window on the left side towards the front. I am trying to find a copy of the original plans to be able to tell what has been changed. Built in 1900.

    1. That build year of 1900 may be an approximation. Sometimes, when we see a tax report that says a house was built in 1900, it means that they no longer have the original information (maybe there was a fire in the archives, for example), and they're approximating.

      I'd love to see an image of your house! If you'd like to message me an address, I'll look it up on Google maps. If the interior is different, it could be a different company's model, of course, or it could be that it was extensively re-done at some point. But, Radford did not offer the service of providing reversed floor plans.


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