Monday, July 20, 2015

Sears Randolph in Webster Groves, Missouri

sears randolph sears willard webster groves missouri
Authenticated Sears Randolph • 1932 • 651 W. Frisco, Webster Groves, Missouri
This is the third of three Sears homes that I ran across in Glendale Park, a little neighborhood in Webster Groves, Missouri, when I turned right on a street I normally turn left on.  I first blogged about the Clifton, and then the Stanford, both on Oakland Avenue, which is the street behind W. Frisco. In fact, those two lots are right behind this one. I have, since then, also found mortgage deeds for each of them, signed in 1932 by Sears trustee E. Harrison Powell, which makes all three of them authenticated Sears homes.

sears willard sears randolph webster groves missouri catalog
Here is The Randolph as shown in my January 1931 catalog. Notice how the side windows match.
The Randolph, which was only offered for a year or two* (Houses By Mail, p. 155), is the brick (veneer) and stucco version of The Willard.  The Willard was offered earlier (1928), and continued on in the Sears catalog until 1938 or possibly 1939. (*According to Lara, of Sears Homes of Chicagoland, the Randolph was actually offered as early as 1929, as shown with a 1929 catalog image in this blog post from June of 2015).

sears catalog image sears house willard
The Willard -- the frame version of The Randolph.  The floor plans and footprint are exactly the same, it's just the outer material that differs.
webster groves sears house randolph model
Showing the right side of the house -- a double window in the second floor bedroom, as expected per the floor plan,
and a nice set of triple windows are hiding behind the bushes on the first floor.
sears catalog randolph floor plan
Second floor-- Double windows in each of the bedrooms
sears house randolph catalog floor plan same as willard
First floor ... there are the triple windows of the living room.
Notice the corner fireplace in the living room.
I took this photo to get the house number, but I really like this beautiful front door.
Who Lived at 651 W. Frisco?
Well, that depends on the year... obviously.  Usually, when we find a mortgage for a Sears house, the folks who are listed on that mortgage can be traced as living there for a good long while after the construction of the house.  If you went to all of the trouble to buy a kit home from Sears, with every bit of lumber and framing and all of the nuts and screws and bolts and light fixtures and doors and shutters and shingles shipped to you in one big shipment, wouldn't you probably be intending to hang around and live there for many years to come? That's what I usually find. If someone buys a Sears house in 1929 or 1930 or 1932, I see them in that same house in the 1940 census. Usually.

But, in this case, this home was built in 1932 by Albert E. Lazier, who first lived in nearby Kirkwood, Missouri, from the time he came to the U.S. from Canada in 1889.  In 1890, he married native Missourian Frances Doerr, and together they had five children.  By 1930, the Lazier family was living at 733 Berry Road, in Oakland, Missouri (a tiny municipality just between Kirkwood and Webster Groves) -- a residence which is no longer standing.  Albert worked as a carpenter.

This map shows you how close S. Berry Rd -- the location of the home of Albert E. Lazier and family -- is to the home Albert had built in 1932.
The two other Sears homes I mentioned earlier, are on Oakland Avenue, just behind 651 W. Frisco.
Adolphus Harris, the later owner of The Randolph,  also lived, previously, at an address on S. Berry Road, near the Laziers.
However, it's hard to say whether or not Albert and Frances ever lived in their new Randolph at 651 W. Frisco, as Frances passed away in November of 1933, and Albert is not listed at this address in the 1940 census -- he is listed as living with his son Leroy, in nearby Kirkwood.  No city directory listing exists showing where Albert lived between 1930 and 1940, either.

Here are Frances (seated) and Albert, with someone named Nina, sometime late in their lives.
(Source: Finch/Chappee family tree on 

But, what does exist, is a 1940 census listing that shows that a young couple -- Adolphus and Idella Harris-- lived in the Randolph in Webster Groves, with their little baby girl, Gloria Jean. Adolphus worked as a painter and decorator, and he and Idella can't have lived in the house for very long at that point -- they were only 21 and 22 at the time of the 1940 census.  Interestingly, Adolphus had grown up right down the street from the Laziers, on S. Berry Road in Oakland, he at 633, and they at 733.  I wonder if Albert -- who was already close to 70 when the Randolph was built-- chose not to stay there for long after Frances passed away, and sold it to Adolphus around the time that he married Idella.  They may well have been families who knew each other, working in similar trades, and living only houses away from each other.  In any case, Albert Lazier ended his days living with his son, and passed away in 1942, at age 78.

The 1940 census showing the young Harris family living at 651 W. Frisco.
More About the Willard and the Randolph
I have been working with a group of dedicated, hard-working researchers to help find, authenticate, and add homes to The National Database of Sears Homes -- a project begun by Lara Solonickne of the blog Sears Homes of Chicagoland, which I mention here often (in fact, here is a post that Lara did in June of 2015, showing another Randolph, and a Willard).   The database is a thorough, well-researched list of Sears homes in the U. S., listing homes by model name (or number) and address, while also noting whether or not the home has been authenticated, how it has been authenticated, and often including a link to images or further information about many of the homes. Thanks to our list, I was able to look for a few more examples of probable and authenticated Randolphs and Willards, and even found a real estate listing for one. I love to see interiors of these homes, so I'll include a number of them as I wrap up this post.

None of the Willards shown here are authenticated, but they are all highly probable as Sears homes. Click on any of the images to enlarge. The Cincinnati Willards below were originally identified by Beatrice Lask, who did a Masters Thesis on Sears Houses in Cincinnati. Thanks to Cindy Catanzaro and Andrew Mutch for that information.  To read a summary of Bea's thesis, click here. To view the entire document, find the link to the right of this post.


sears randolph glenside avenue cincinnati ohio
Randolph at 2215 Glenside Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio
(To read about clarification of the mis-identifying of this home, click here,
and scroll down to Cindy Catanzaro's comment.)

sears willard cincinnati ohio
1929 Willard at 6033 Graceland, Cincinnati, Ohio
( From Bea Lask's Masters Thesis)
sears archives willard
Sears Willard, at 22919 Oxford St., Dearborn, MI • 1929
(from the Sears Archives list, address found by Nigel T.)
sears willard indianview in cincinnati ohio
1929 Willard at 3828 Indianview, Cincinnati, Ohio
(From Bea Lask's Masters Thesis)
sears willard on forest avenue milford ohio
943 Forest Avenue, Milford, Ohio
This home was identified by the late Laraine Shape, an avid Sears researcher.
This photo is property of Cindy Catanzaro [Sears Houses In Ohio]
and may not be used without permission.
This shot (from a Trulia listing for the Milford, Ohio house) shows
what looks surely to be a Sears door.
sears house willard model kentucky
1929 Willard at 4 Alpine Drive, Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky
As Lara points out in her blog post, some Willards and Randolphs have a straight edge to their "cat slide" entry gable,
while others have a more gently-curved look.
The probable Willard on Alpine Drive in Kentucky, was up for sale in February of 2015, so I was able to find a listing on Trulia with a number of good interior photos. The layout you see in these photos will be what would be found inside the Lazier-Harris Randolph in Webster Groves. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

Living Room, with its triple windows,
and entry to stairway leading to the upstairs bedrooms.

Looking from the LR into the DR and a bit of the kitchen.

You can see the entry alcove with the curved front door,
as well as the corner fireplace.

Not a typical Sears-pattern brick fireplace, I believe. 
Seeing a bit into the kitchen, on the left, and directly into the LR.

The kitchen with its two nice windows.
Obviously these wouldn't be the original fittings for the kitchen,
but it does look to be the original size and layout.
Here you can see the back door from the kitchen,
that leads to the sunporch,
next to the door that heads to the stairway for the basement
 -- both just as they should be from the catalog image.
Looks like a lovely, added sunporch in the back--
not a standard feature of the Willard model.
Expected double windows in one of the two upstairs bedrooms.
Nice solid doors with what look like
typical Sears hinges and door hardware.
Lovely wide floor moldings, and window frames,
so typical of the quality of Sears homes.
The Willard in Milford, Ohio, was recently for sale, as well.
This shot (on Trulia listing) shows more of the quality window
and floor trim that you find in Sears homes.
This shot from the kitchen of the Willard in Milford, Ohio,
shows what is probably an original built-in, in the kitchen.
EDIT, May 8, 2016: Thanks to photos taken personally by fellow researcher and blogger, Cindy Catanzaro, we have a couple of great photos of this Fort Mitchell, Kentucky Willard. See her blog posts about her  finds there, right here, and right here.
sears willard 4 alpine drive
May 2016 photo of the Alpine Drive home, by Cindy Catanzaro, Sears Houses in Ohio.

Probable Willard in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.
(Photo courtesy of Cindy Catanzaro, Sears Houses in Ohio)
Other House Models With the A-shaped "catslide" Entry Gable
The "swoopy" (as I like to call it) entry gable that we see for the Randolph/Willard model, is seen on many Sears models from the late 1920s and through the 1930s.  It was a common design feature in homes from many companies, including other kit-home companies (like Gordon-Van Tine and Lewis and Sterling), but also with most all plan-book patterns of that era.  To see more about what other features to look for, and see images of a few different models with this feature, see my recent blog post, here, about the Sears Clifton located behind the Randolph at 651 W. Frisco.

Other Authenticated Kit Houses in Webster Groves, Missouri
Sears Stanford in the same neighborhood as this lovely Randolph
Sears Clifton, right next door to the Sears Stanford
Sears Lewiston on N. Laclede Station Road
• A custom-design Sears home on Westborough Place
• A wonderful Gordon-Van Tine Company's Model No. 535, on Oakwood Avenue
• A beautiful Lewis Homes' Marlboro on W. Lockwood
• A Lewis Homes Ardmore model, on Lee Avenue

For other authenticated Sears homes in the surrounding towns of Kirkwood, Glendale, and other areas of St. Louis City and County, please use the SEARCH function on the right-hand side of my blog.

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  1. Judith in my opinion the house is very spacious and so big and comfortable for family. Especiallythe kitchen with two windows is a great idea... The kitchen is light. Are those houses were made from brick or wood? or both materails are possible..

    1. Gosia, most were of wood, but some models (like this one) could also have a brick veneer (a thinner layer of brick, attached to the exterior... decorative, not as part of the support of the house). Many older homes in the U.S., though, are solid brick, meaning that the brick is the actual structure and support of the house, but no Sears homes were ever made of full brick like that. :)

  2. I recently inherited a Willard in Montrose NY, cute place that I am redoing over.

    1. No kidding! I would love to see photos, and learn more about how you knew it was a Willard! Do you have blueprints, or family history, or have you seen marked lumber or shipping labels? I would love to know more! Please feel free to email me at searsHouseSeeker/gmail .

  3. I know where a couple are, I think.
    Dennistruckdriver@yahoo. com

    1. Thanks for you comment, Dennis!
      I'd be happy to hear about any leads you have -- addresses are best, of course, but street names and towns, especially with the closest cross street, would be great. You can leave your comment here, and it will go directly to my email, and won't be automatically posted here. Thanks!

  4. I believe I live in a 1927 Willard


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