Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sears Belmont: The Brick Lynnhaven

sears belmont sears brick lynnhaven
45 172nd Place, Hammond, Indiana • Authenticated Sears Belmont • circa 1932 
Around 1930, Sears started really marketing their brick-face models.  Many were brick-face versions of established models, such as the Lynnhaven's brick-face counterpart, the Belmont. The Lynnhaven was introduced in 1930, and the Belmont, in 1931 or 32. 

sears brick lynnhaven sears belmont
Here is the Belmont as it appears in my September, 1931 catalog.
We think of this as a 1932 catalog, however.
This Belmont in Hammond, Indiana, was authenticated by a mortgage release record I found listed in a 1937 issue of a Hammond newspaper. Using, I was able to track down Edward A. Eidem to this address, thanks to a 1935 City Directory for Hammond:
From the 1935 City Directory for Hammond, Indiana
I don't have a record of when the mortgage was taken out, and the house built (nor is it listed in the tax records) but I would hazard a guess that it was 1932.  It is more likely that the mortgage was a 5 year loan, than, say, a 6-year, or a 4 year. Also, Mr. Eidem and Miss Ann Krall were married in 1931, so it seems likely that the house might have been built by them sometime after their marriage.  I know about their marriage date, because I ran across this cute snippet in the newspaper, describing a lovely little shower given in honor of Miss Krall, just before her wedding:
This appeared on Friday, February 13, 1931,
so that means that they were married on Valentine's Day!
Besides being in brick face, the Belmont differs from the Lynnhaven by having the reversed floor plan. But, to me, this barely even warrants mentioning, because anyone ordering either model -- the Lynnhaven or the Belmont -- could order it with the floor plan reversed from what it was in the catalog.
sears belmont sears lynnhaven in brick
Notice where that dormer's roof hits the main roof.
The Lynnhaven and the Belmont have many lookalikes
from other companies, with one of the differences being that
the dormer on those usually starts up much higher on the roof.
Some lookalikes also have a wider dormer,
that connects to the roof of the entry gable.
sears lynnhaven
Sears Lynnhaven, in the 1930 catalog.
sears lynnhaven label 1932
The Lynnhaven and the Belmont came "Already Cut" & fitted. 
45 172nd place hammond indiana
This side elevation is the same in both the Lynnhaven,
and the Belmont, with this unusual window pattern,
and the side entrance.  This stair-step window pattern
 indicates that there is a stairway right there,
and that is what is shown on the floor plan.
sears belmont first floor layout
Notice the side entrance, and the stairway, on the right.
sears belmont 2nd floor layout
Two very nice size bedrooms, and a third, smaller one.
The Early Belmont
Sears sometimes used the same name for different models, if they had discontinued the first model far enough ago in the past.  Such is the case with the Belmont.  According to this blog post at Sears Modern Home Junkie, written by Dale Haynes, the earlier Belmont model was offered from 1914 to 1921. 
sears belmont 1920
Here is the first Belmont that Sears offered, as advertised in my 1920 catalog.
Other Brick-Face Models
Here are some of the other brick-face versions of non-brick models, offered beginning around 1930:

sears westwood sears collingwood in brick

Non-brick version: The Collingwood

You can see a Westwood in Highland Park, Illinois, in this blog post of Sears Homes of Chicagoland, by Lara Solonickne.
sears pendleton sears sheffield in brick

Non-brick version: The Sheffield
sears worchester sears newark in brick

Non-brick version: The Newark
You can read further about this model, and see an example of a Worchester in East Lansing, Michigan, here in this blog post by Andrew Mutch, at Kit House Hunters
sears colchester sears lewiston in brick

Non-brick version: The Lewiston

See a Colchester in this blog post by Lara Solonickne, at Sears Homes of Chicagoland.
sears randolph sears willard in brick

Non-brick version: The Willard

Click here to see a Randolph in Webster Groves, Missouri (St. Louis area).
sears mansfield sears dover in brick

Non-brick version: The Dover

Click here to see a Sears Mansfield in Palatine, Illinois, presented on Lara Solonickne's blog, Sears Homes of Chicagoland.
sears cambridge sears barrington in brick

Non-brick version: The Barrington

Click here to see a Cambridge in Eastchester, New York, on the blog Kit House Hunters, by Andrew Mutch.
sears kendale sears claremont in brick

Non-brick version: The Claremont
sears stratford sears mitchell in brick

Non-brick version: The Mitchell

Click here to see a Sears Homes of Chicagoland blog post about a Stratford in Mount Prospect, Illinois.
sears galewood sears berwyn in brick

Non-brick version: The Berwyn
Click here to see a Galewood in Chicago, presented by Lara Solonickne, at Sears Homes of Chicagoland.

Other Models In Brick
Other Sears models were available in brick veneer, but did not have a name change for that version. For example: 

Remember: Sears pre-cut kit homes were never made in solid brick... only with the offer of brick veneer for the finish layer. That means that the brick did not serve a support role in the structure of the building, as it does when there are two or three layers of full-size brick (common in much older brick homes in many U.S. cities, I would say, pre-1920s), instead of a wooden frame structure . The homes shown here are all brick-veneer, using "face brick" as the outer veneer. Stay tuned for an upcoming post, however, on all-brick, non-kit homes built by Sears.
brick homes in 1930 sears modern homes catalog page 2
This is the second page of the 1930 catalog --
they were sure ready to start selling brick-face homes!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Look Inside the Sears No. 178

stonekote version of sears no 178
901 State Street, Guthrie Center, IA • Sears model No. 178 • circa 1910
It's always so great when we find a Sears house real estate listing, especially when it is chock full of beautiful interior photos. Such is the case with this amazing home that I found and blogged about last July (read that post here).  It is a pretty-much-perfect match for a Sears No. 178. 

sears 178 guthrie center iowa
This comparison is from my previous blog post. Check out that post if you're interested in seeing how the exterior of this house compares to the catalog image of the No. 178.
I don't have any authenticating materials for this house in Guthrie Center, Iowa, such as a mortgage record or blue prints, and this house was built before the pre-cut-and-labeled era for Sears homes, so there would be no marked lumber. But, it almost perfectly follows the floor plan (with just one exception -- I'll explain when we get there), as we see from the photos that follow. You can click images to enlarge them; all photos come from either the Zillow or Trulia listings for this house, which is currently for sale for $89,900. Let's take a look:

sears 178
Notice the two stories of bay windows.
This house is coated in StoneKote. You can read about that on my earlier blog post.
sears 178
Come on in!
(This actually is not an original Sears doorway,
but we've seen that changed in other authenticated Sears houses.)
As you can see from this catalog image of the floor plan, from my 1912 catalog, the living room and dining room both have indications for placement of decorative ceiling beams ... and you'll notice those in the photos of those rooms. I'm sure that these are just decorative beams, not the actual exposed structural supports we see in homes from the 1800s or before (interesting fact of the week: exposed rafter beams are called poutres, in French, and vigas, in Spanish).

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan
See the dotted lines in the living room and dining room?
First Floor
I'll start with the first floor rooms. What a gorgeous house this is! I've provided catalog floor plan images along the way, to direct you to what area of the house the photo is showing. These photos perfectly match up to the layout shown in the catalog. Remember, you can click any photo to get a larger image.

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan
Here is one concern: These stair newels do not look like what was offered in the 1912 Sears Building Materials catalog (the earliest I have access to). This house is said to have been built in 1910 -- and, the No. 178 didn't appear in Sears catalogs until 1911. However... year-of-build dates are notoriously off (sometimes by decades!), and, sometimes they reflect when a lot was bought, and not when the house was built.  If this house was really built in 1910, we may not have a Sears No. 178.   
sears stair newels 1912 building materials catalog
Here are the stair newels offered in the 1912 Sears Building Materials catalog.
(Click here to see them in the catalog on
sears 178 and sears milton floor plan
sears 178 and sears milton floor plan
sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

sears no 178 sears milton floor plan
Note those previously-mentioned decorative ceiling beams.
sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

Here's another concern: This built-in buffet does not match what is shown in the 1912 building materials catalog. I don't see this pattern of art-glass windows in that catalog, either.
(Click here, and here, to see three styles that were offered.)
However... this built-in buffet is from a very early authenticated Sears house, in West Chazy, NY. This buffet does not match any of the three offered in the 1912 building materials catalog, either, yet this is an authenticated Sears house.
(See the real estate listing from which this photo came, here.)
And, here is the entry from the dining room, into the kitchen, a view of the small kitchen, and the butler's pantry after that. A powder room has been added to the end of the butler's pantry area.

sears no 178 sears milton floor plan

sears no 178 sears milton floor plan

sears no 178 sears milton floor plan
The butler's pantry, with its added powder room.
The catalog image below shows where this is, in relation to the kitchen.
sears 178 and sears milton floor plan

2nd Floor
I have just a few photos to show of the second floor.  I looked for a good while at the doorway configuration that you see in the photos of this area of the upper hall -- there is one doorway into a bedroom, and one into the bathroom. However, the floor plan shows two bedrooms up on that side of the house, and, therefore, two entry doors. I then realized that the house is listed as a three-bedroom, not a four-bedroom (as the catalog floor plan shows). I believe that what happened here, is that, either at the time of build, or at some point in its 100+ years of existence, those two bedrooms were merged into one large, spacious room that spans the depth of the house. I'll point that out when we get to the photo of that bedroom.

Let's look at the upper hallway, a few bedrooms, and the bathroom:

sears 178 sears milton floor plan
Here we see the triple windows above the staircase area.
In my previous blog post, I indicated where you could see these
on the back exterior of the house.
sears 178 sears milton floor plan

sears 178
And, here they are, on the back of the house.
Now, here are the two doors, that should be three.  I've indicated on the floor plan, what you should be seeing.  However, I believe that the two bedrooms that were here, on the floor plan, were merged to make one nice, spacious master (see photo a few images down).
sears 178 sears milton floor plan

sears 178 sears milton floor plan

sears 178 sears milton pre 1914 bathroom layout
You can see that the orientation of the bathroom is the same as that shown in the 1913 catalog. Note the orientation of the bathtub, in relation to the window.  In the 1914 catalog, the bathtub is shown to be oriented horizontally, across the area that has the entry door in the 1913 catalog, and the entry door is moved down slightly in 1914.  Further support that this home was built closer to 1910 than 1914.
sears 178 sears milton floor plan
This is the now-spacious, enlarged master bedroom,
made by merging the two bedrooms on this side of the house.
sears 178 sears milton floor plan
The original 1913 floor plan, showing 2 bedrooms here.
sears 178 sears milton floor plan
The bedroom straight down the hall from the master.
Note the door to the closet, that you also see on the catalog floor plan above.
sears 178 sears milton floor plan
And, here is the third bedroom, with its two windows.
The Sears Milton & Another Sears No. 178
As I described in detail in my earlier blog post about this house, the No. 178 is the exact same floor plan as the Sears Milton, which was introduced in 1913. The look of the front elevation got a drastic makeover, but both models were offered for a couple of years, shown on the same catalog page.
For more information, see my earlier blog post.
New Bern, North Carolina
There is a beautiful Sears No. 178, across the street from a beautiful Sears Milton, in the Ghent historic district of beautiful New Bern, North Carolina. If you're interested in seeing these two houses -- and several other Sears homes there -- see my November 2, 2015 blog post about them. Great town for a second honeymoon, if you're a Sears house lover (no pun intended).  I can't take credit for discovering them -- in fact, no one can take credit for discovering them in the 2000s (not that anyone with scruples would, of course) because, as my blog post discusses, decades ago, a thorough study was done of historic homes in the Ghent historic district of New Bern, including a 1988 book  by Peter B. Sandbeck, which includes them (see my blog post for more information). 
Sears Milton at 1601 Spencer, New Bern, NC
Sears No. 178 at 1602 Spencer Avenue, New Bern, NC
Presenting Two New Blogs & A New Reference Source 
As a side note, I'd like to point out that a couple of new blogs have been begun recently, written by two of our fellow researchers.  I've mentioned Nigel Tate in previous blog posts -- he has begun to delve into the world of blogging about kit homes. He's still in high school (you'll never believe that when you see the quality of his writing!), and he's a very busy researcher, so he doesn't have time to blog frequently, but every one of his posts will be informative and worth the wait, I guarantee. He occasionally blogs about other topics, too, and his entries can be seen sometimes on Curbside Classic.

• Read Nigel's kit-house blog, American Kit Homes, here
• Read Nigel's post about a car marketed by Sears, here.

Dale Haynes, who lives in a Sears Roseberry, in Carlinville, Illinois, has given us two excellent new resources of late. For one, he has put together an extensive Pinterest page, modeled after the information provided in Houses By Mail: catalog pages of all of the Sears modern home models, organized for research by house and roof style. For another, he has begun a blog related to that research.  His first posts have pointed out numerous models that changed names and/or style over the years; numerous names that were given to two different models, in different eras; and several models that were left out of Houses By Mail.

• Consult Dale's Pinterest page, here
• Read Dale's new blog, Sears Modern Home Junkie, here