Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sears Milford in St. Louis Suburb of Glendale, Missouri

sears milford st louis glendale missouri authenticated 1933
Authenticated 1933 Sears Milford • Glendale, Missouri (St. Louis area)
296 Edwin Avenue, Glendale, Missouri
The Sears Milford model, a double-window Cape Cod style, is not found everyday.  And, by the current looks of this one, you'd never have found it by driving by!

During my mortgage searching for St. Louis Sears homes (in June of 2015), I found a 1933 mortgage taken out by C. William Schemm and his wife, signed by Sears trustee E. Harrison Powell.  Oh, I just love seeing that name in the grantee listings!  It was for lot 23, block 4 of Dickson Place subdivision of Glendale, Missouri, in the St. Louis area.  That didn't ring a bell, so I searched for C. William Schemm in the census records for 1940.  I was excited when I found him listed at an address on Edwin, in Glendale, because it's another street near me, parallel to Elm Avenue, where I had found a mortgage for a brick Sears Maplewood (read about it here).  When I checked the address in the St. Louis Department of Revenue real estate listings, I found that, sure enough, 296 Edwin sat at lot 23, block 4 of Dickson Place. Bingo!

sears house in st louis glendale missouri sears milford
Sears Milford as shown in the 1936 catalog (at, compared to the re-constructed versions in 2012 and 2014.
Notice the chimney placement: the Milford's chimney sits near the center of the house, off a bit to one side, facing the side of the house, rather than the front.  That's a tell-tale feature for the Milford.  You can see that on the catalog image, as well as on the real-life images here.
So, I took a ride up there on Google maps, and lo-and-behold, I spied this grayish-blue house.  And a dinger went off in my head, because I remembered walking by it while they were doing construction on it last summer.  I remembered noticing the front porch, and the fresh, new cedar shingle (look?) siding on the two big dormers. But, when I looked at the older Google view, from 2012 and 2007, I saw the yellow version shown above, and below,... and, I then remembered noticing that house during walks the previous year.  I thought that big added shed dormer looked cumbersome, with those three pointy dormers sticking up.  I never had liked the look of that yellow house, and I hadn't realized that the new version was the same house.  I like it much, much better in its latest version.

st louis sears house milford
2012: Notice the heavy overhang in the front of the awkwardly-placed shed dormer, with its three little pointy peaks.  There is also a substantial addition on the back of the house. 
sears milford cape cod with renovations
2015: Major changes to the house when I photographed it after finding the mortgage earlier this summer.
Hats off to the architect responsible for re-configuring the front elevation.  The house looks much more balanced now.

Original first-floor floor plan of the Milford, from the 1936 Sears Modern Homes catalog.  An addition was added to the back of the house, and something was added upstairs to enlarge the upstairs bedroom spaces with those larger dormers.
When the house was up for sale, in 2013, they marketed it as being ready for you to "bring your personal touches" to "add instant equity".  And that's what someone did. Here are the rather poor quality photos from the listing, on Zillow.

You can see the expected hall closet, and the dining room to the right.
(Taken from the Zillow listing, here.)
The current footprint (from the St. Louis County Department of Revenue website).
sears catalog 1936 milford floor plan
1936 catalog (from, here): two floor plans available.
Our Milford on Edwin Avenue, is the 3385, on the left, which you can tell by looking at the placement of the staircase and closet next to it.
Who Lived Here?
C. William Schemm was an electrical engineer, with four years of college.  He and his wife moved into their little Milford cape cod when he was 28, and she was 24.  By 1940, they had their two little children with them, as well as the services of a live-in maid, Frieda Schneider. Their mortgage was for $4,650.

1940 census for C. William Schemm.

1940 census listing for the Schemm family.
To read about another 1933 Milford, in Wilmette, Illinois, click here to go to the March 2015 blog post by Lara Solonickne, on her blog,  Sears Homes of Chicagoland.

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