Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wardway Devonshire and Sears Kilbourne Models in Delmar, New York

wardway model home devonshire
Authenticated Wardway Devonshire • 24 Lincoln Avenue, Delmar (Elsmere), New York • 1930
(This view seems always to be shown as the side entrance of the Devonshire, but the Wardway folks listed this house as being at 24 Lincoln Avenue... and that's the side of the house we see here. That is its official address.)
While doing some newspaper research this summer, looking for mentions of real estate transactions for Sears or Wardway homes, I came upon this ad for a Wardway model home, in an area outside of Albany, New York:

From the Albany Evening News, June 14, 1930, page 5
A similar ad ran the same day in the Albany Times-Union.
Through newspaper searching, my fellow researchers and I have discovered that both Sears and Montgomery Ward (Wardway Homes) built model homes to open to the public for "inspection", in the hopes, of course, of spurring on new home purchases.  Cindy Catanzaro recently wrote about one such home in Cincinnati, Ohio -- a beautiful Sears Elmhurst model which she visited and photographed, enjoying a chat with the owner, who was unaware that her home had been all the rage in May of 1930, with folks streaming through it to see what they thought about building their own Sears home.

The Wardway Devonshire on Lincoln Avenue in Delmar/Elsmere (hamlets in the township of Bethlehem, outside of Albany, New York) was not only a newly-constructed model home in June of 1930, it was the first Wardway home ever built in the Albany area.  For the purposes of showing Montgomery Ward to its full advantage (because they also had just recently opened a department store nearby), Montgomery Ward provided a designer, Mr. Ed Sauter, to furnish the home completely with Montgomery Ward furnishings.

From the Albany Times-Union, July 13, 1930

wardway devonshire delmar ny interior
Though this image is horrendous quality, it gives you an idea of the kind of
Montgomery Ward furnishings that Mr. Ed Sauter chose for the home.
Click to enlarge --(source)
wardway devonshire model home in newspaper albany ny
Here is the actual house, shown in the June 15th issue of the Times-Union.
(click to enlarge)
wardway devonshire model home
Difficult to get a good Google maps shot with all of these lovely trees!
The house sits on a spacious corner lot.
And... more lovely trees!  This is the side of the house that most people tend to show as the main entry.
The Wardway Devonshire was shown as the cover of the 1931 catalog, shown here in an article  from Lake Erie Lifestyle about a Lake Erie area Devonshire (page 12 of the November 2014 issue).

wardway devonshire
This image from the 1929 catalog clearly shows the two entries, both with corner porches.
(courtesy of the excellent resource, Daily Bungalow-- friends-only content)
wardway 1929 devonshire floor plan
Devonshire floor-plan
(Courtesy of Daily Bungalow, 1929 catalog, friends-only content)
Who Lived Here?
The newspaper articles about the Lincoln Avenue model home, all mention that the home was built by Mr. Earnest C. Haswell and his wife, and he was allowing Wardway to show off his home before moving in (surely for some kind of recompense).  Mr. Haswell was a carpenter, and one of the articles mentions that he, like many buyers of Wardway homes, chose to do some of the construction himself, but they quote him as saying that the pre-cut method of the Wardway kit made it easy to construct.

In 1930, Earnest Haswell lived in the Devonshire on Lincoln Avenue, with his wife Marion, and their three children, according to the 1930 census:

However, for some reason, by 1932, the Haswell family was living in Alexandria, Virginia. Earnest is listed as working as a carpenter, so perhaps they simply had to go where the work was.   But, according to the 1940 census, Earnest was back in a Lincoln Avenue house ... but he is listed as living at 22 Lincoln Avenue, not at 24... and, he is with a new wife, whose name was Ethel ... and Marion -- listed as "divorced" -- was living just down the street, at 7 Lincoln Avenue, in a cute little blue bungalow, with the three kids.  The residents of the 24 Lincoln Avenue Wardway Devonshire were listed as Arthur Ceas and his wife, Rena, and their son. They are shown as renters, so perhaps Earnest still owned the house, but could no longer afford that larger, more expensive home, having a second house to provide for, for his children and now-ex wife.

Marion Haswell's 1940 census listing. Notice the "D" next to her age (40). 
Here is Marion Haswell's cute little bungalow at 7 Lincoln Avenue.
The 1940 census shows that she lived at this same address in 1935.
Ernest (he dropped the a?) and his new wife, Ethel, as listed in the 1940 census.
Arthur Ceas and Rena Ceas, and little Arthur, Jr., now the
residents of the Wardway Devonshire, as shown in 1940.
(Census information from
wardway devonshire model home
Great set of French doors, and a fireplace in the living room.
Another Devonshire
Andrew Mutch and Nigel Tate, fellow researchers in our group, have come across a number of possible Wardway Devonshires, especially in Michigan.  Not all are authenticated, and a few look to be a bit short, and the interior shots from a real-estate posting put in question whether or not some of those shorter homes are truly Wardway Devonshires. If they aren't, then there is a close lookalike out there. However, these two, both in Pontiac, Michigan, were authenticated by Andrew Mutch, via mortgage records (I think?):

wardway devonshire pontiac michigan
Wardway Devonshire, Pontiac, Michigan
Google maps shot, located by Andrew Mutch
(click to enlarge) 
wardway devonshire
Shown from the other side.
(click to enlarge)
wardway devonshire enclosed porch
This Devonshire in Pontiac, Michigan, is from a blog post
at Kit House Hunters, by Andrew Mutch.
Another Wardway Model Home
In my last blog post, I mentioned the great digging that our friend Sarah Mullane has been doing, finding homes especially in the northern New York area. Well, as I was going through newspaper searches tonight, I found another Wardway model home, this time in the Buffalo area: a little Spanish-style Wardway Barcelona!  When I looked up the address, I realized that I remembered seeing that same house in our private research-based Facebook group... and here it is! Sarah Mullane posted about finding this model home, back in July of 2015:

Sarah's post, showing us the article with the little Barcelona model home.
wardway barcelona buffalo ny
(I grabbed the image off of Google maps street view.) 
wardway model home buffalo ny
From the Buffalo Courier-Express,
October 6, 1930
Here is the floor plan of the Barcelona, as shown in that same article that Sarah found.
(Click to enlarge)
And, here is the catalog page from the 1930 Wardway catalog, showing the Barcelona, inspired by "Sunny Spain":
One of our researchers also found, and authenticated, this little Wardway Barcelona in Woodstock, Illinois, and you can see its Zillow real-estate listing here. It's a pretty simple little home inside, so there's not much to see... but, those hostas are nice!
wardway barcelona woodstock illinois
1014 Wheeler St, Woodstock, IL • 1930
Authenticated through a mortgage foreclosure listing, through Thomas P. Riordan
wardway 1929 catalog barcelona
The Barcelona as shown in the 1929 Wardway Homes catalog.
Image courtesy Daily Bungalow 1929 catalog, friends-only content.
A Nearby Sears Kilbourne
Of course, as I mentioned in my last post, when we find one kit house, we must must must drive around and look for more. And, I did.

I only remember running across this home, which looks to have all the markings of a Sears Kilbourne!  It's on a street not too far away from the Lincoln Avenue Devonshire, at 28 Snowden Avenue, Delmar, New York.

sears kilbourne snowden avenue
Probable Sears Kilbourne, at 28 Snowden Avenue, Delmar, NY.
sears kilbourne snowden avenue delmar ny
That front sure matches the catalog image, below!
sears kilbourne sears catalog image
From the 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog,
available on
I think I'll leave the rest that I have to say about the Sears Kilbourne, for my next blog post, as I've recently found another. I've found the North Tonawanda Wardway model home -- a Cranford-- that Sarah Mullane mentions in a comment below, so I'll add that, too. See you then!


  1. Wonderful article! Thanks for the mention. The Wardway Barcelona in Buffalo was one of the Buffalo Courier-Express sponsored homes. There was another newspaper-sponsored model Wardway in North Tonawanda, NY (in Niagara county). A Cranford sponsored by the Niagara Falls Gazette, I believe.

    1. Great! I looked up a different street and found it. Thanks!

  2. I love finding these homes in the newspapers. Especially when they have interior photos or details. It makes the house come to life!

    1. It's like a little adventure, with a prize at the end :)

  3. I love your white houses at my place are not popular here. And the architecture is very interesting

  4. Ethel Haswell was my great aunt--my grandfather's sister. Thanks for sharing.

    1. How interesting! I love when family members find my blog posts :) Thanks for leaving a comment!


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