Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sears Bandon: Two In Pittsburgh!

Authenticated Sears Bandon • 700 Bellaire, Pittsburgh, PA • 1922
The bumpout on this side is for what is labeled as "dining porch".
One of the options for the Bandon, was to finish off two bedrooms in the attic area, and, by the looks of the upper-level windows on both sides of the house, this Bandon's owner chose that option.
Many thanks to Karen DeJeet for this photo.
Up until a few months ago, we only had one known example of the Sears Bandon, but we now have three: I just recently found mortgages for two Bandons in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Google Maps images of this one, at 700 Bellaire (in the Brookline area of Pittsburgh) were miserable, because of a big tree right in front of the house, but, thanks to fellow researcher, Karen DeJeet, and her good guy, Dan, we have some very nice shots of this one at 700 Bellaire.

The Bandon was only offered from 1920-23, and the price varied greatly. The years closest to WWI saw a great rise in kit house prices, due, no doubt, to the high cost of wood and other building materials. The Bandon's price in its first year, 1920, was $685 more than its lowest price, in 1922, and the years in between saw greatly varied prices, as well.

sears bandon price comparison
The 1921 price was $2,828, and the Bandon finished its career in the catalog at $3,176 in 1923.
The Bandon on Bellaire is a reverse plan of the catalog version:
sears bandon pittsburgh
The Bandon has a dormer similar to the Hollywood, with a recessed area for the window.
In this reversed floor plan, the area to the right of the front door is labeled as "dining porch" on the catalog floor plan, and should have one additional window.  The catalog also shows flared porch posts, but the house on Bellaire has straight ones.
Many thanks to Karen DeJeet for this photo.
sears bandon catalog
The Bandon as it was shown in the 1920-23 catalogs.  Click here to see it in the 1921 catalog, on
sears bandon bellaire pittsburgh
Typical Sears 5-piece brackets, and, in this photo, we see the bumpout for the dining room, with its three windows, and its window on the side of the bumpout.  The fireplace chimney and one of the two windows flanking it, are shown, as well.  The full-size windows in the attic area lead us to believe that the buyer opted for two more finished bedrooms in that space.
Thanks, again, to Karen DeJeet for this photo.
sears bandon floor plan
The Bandon included an option of finishing off the attic space to add two more bedrooms.
The buyer of a Bandon had several options for upgrades, at a cost.  Notice the difference in prices between 1920 and 1922! Again, the prices for wood during the years just after WWI were sky-high, with oak doors, trim, and floors costing $215 in 1920, compared to $132 in 1922.  The price for finishing off the attic with two bedrooms was also significantly less in 1922 ($241), than in 1920 ($316).

sears bandon options catalog

sears bandon options catalog
The catalog described the standard features of the Bandon:
sears bandon description catalog

Here is the Chicago design hardware, as shown in the 1921 catalog:
The three-part hinges shown here are found on many Sears homes.
Note the round doorbell in the center of the page: this doorbell was attached to the center of the front door, with the bell on the inside of the door, and the ringer on the outside. My mother's family's Silverdale had Chicago hardware, and originally had this door bell.
Sears doorbell, and Chicago door hardware.
 (Image from my 2014 blog post about our family's Sears No. 110/Silverdale. )
sears bandon description catalogsears bandon description catalog

Merrill R. Naftzger
The buyer of this Bandon at 700 Bellaire, was Merrill Rudolf Naftzger, who took out a $6,100 mortgage through Sears trustee William C. Reed, in 1922. Though Mr. Naftzger was listed as a salesman in the 1930 census, he appears to have been a popular tenor in Pittsburgh in the 1920s, as well, as noted in numerous newspaper listings naming him as a performer at one event or another.
mortgage with wiliam c reed as sears trustee
We used to think that Walker O. Lewis was the only Sears trustee on mortgages prior to 1930, but we have recently found that, in the east coast states, around 1921-22, this job was taken over by William C. Reed, and he continued in that capacity until 1929.  In the midwest, however, Walker O. Lewis remained in charge of mortgages until 1929. From 1930-33, there are about 6 other trustee names that appear on mortgages for Sears.  For a breakdown of names of Sears trustees for mortgages by geographic location, see this informative blog post by Andrew Mutch,  at Kit House Hunters.
merrill r naftzger choral leader
1921 newspaper mention of performer M.R. Naftzger as choral leader.
merrill r naftzger tenor
1922 mention of tenor, Merril R. Naftzger.
The Naftzgers also opted for a coordinated Sears garage, complete with 5-piece backets, and a clipped front gable.  A good side and back view of the house, thanks to Google maps, also shows a large dormer in the back, presumably for the two finished bedrooms on the attic level.
sears bandon
This side view shows the side entry, as well as the large upper-level back dormer.
sears bandon garage
The Naftzgers' Sears garage.
sears bandon
A tree-obstructed front view, thanks to Bing Maps.
The 1922 catalog said that the Bandon could be built, including all material and all labor, for $6,113, and Mr. Naftzger's mortgage was for just shy of that full amount.

Sadly, a 1931 newspaper clipping shows that Mr. and Mrs. Naftzger's house was sold in a sheriff's sale that year.

Another authenticated Bandon can be found at 836 Wall Avenue, in the town of Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, bought in 1921 by Joseph and Persis Cook. Joseph worked as a locomotive engineer, working for the steam railroad, as did one of their sons, Charles, a brakesman for the railroad.
walker o lewis sears trustee
Walker O. Lewis served as Sears trustee for this 1921 mortgage. In the midwest, his is the name we most often see in pre-1930 Sears mortgages, but in the east, William C. Reed's name is common post-1921/22, until 1929.
joseph and persis cook pittsburgh pa
The Cook family in the 1930 census.
joseph and persis cook pittsburgh pa
The Cook family in the 1930 census.
Unfortunately, the Wall Avenue Bandon appears to be covered over in vinyl siding, and the images from Bing Maps are a bit dim and dull, but it's so great to find a Bandon (and an authenticated one, at that), that it's certainly worth a look:

sears bandon 836 wall avenue pittsburgh
The Wall Avenue Bandon is not the reversed floor plan from the catalog, so we see, on the left side of the house, the dining porch bumpout, as well as a side entry.  Note the recessed window area of the dormer, typical of the Bandon and the Hollywood.
sears bandon 836 wall avenue pittsburgh
Here we see the dining room bumpout, again with the nice, full-size side windows, and a fireplace chimney.
sears bandon 836 wall avenue pittsburgh
Note the expected flared shape of the front porch pillars.
We would love to hear about more Bandons. If you happen to know of one, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me directly through the "contact me" section of the blog. As always, thanks for reading!

Let's finish off with a look at the interior of the only other Bandon we know of: a house in Pulaski, Illinois, recently for sale, along with a beautiful Sears barn. You can see the Zillow listing here. Click any image to enlarge.


  1. That's funny about the doorbell! Very nice examples! Lara

  2. What a great old bungalow. Nice finds for you and Karen. And I love the garage, too!

    1. I was so grateful that Karen was able to go take photos of the blue Bandon for me! I sure wish that we had interior photos of either of these.

  3. I currently own this home and if you have any interest in photos of what we’ve done to renovate the house let me know. It was three apartments when we purchased it and we turned it back into a single family home with ms y updates. My husband is a restoration carpenter and it’s simply stunning inside.

    1. Anna, I would LOVE to see some interior photos! Unfortunately, I didn't find an email address to contact you with, so I hope you see my comment here. Please email me at Thanks!

  4. I actually used to live in the 700 Bellaire home as a child.

    1. Susie, that's very interesting! I would love to see older photos of the house. Do you happen to have any interior photos you would share with me? Thanks! You can email me at SearsHouseSeeker (that's gmail).


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