Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sears Elsmore in St. Louis, Missouri

8804 Olden, Overland, Missouri • Authenticated 1924 Sears Elsmore
This is the first Sears Elsmore that I have ever seen in person, in real life, and it's right here in Saint Louis.

With summer vacation upon us, I decided to go back to the St. Louis County mortgage records, to re-check the 1920s listings for Sears Trustee Walker O. Lewis.  I researched them last year, but remembered, recently, that I had skipped a few years, because I was finding so few hits for Walker O. Lewis. So, I finished looking through the 1924-1929 records, and the very first mortgage that I found that day, led me to this beautiful Sears Elsmore, in Overland, a suburb in the north-western part of St. Louis County.

The Elsmore was first offered in 1913 as a companion model to the beautiful Sears No. 126, and was listed in the catalog as the No. 208.  The No. 126 and the No. 208 shared the same floor plan, with a long living/dining room combo stretching the length of the right side of the house, with the two bedrooms on the left side of the house, though the two models had a very different look to the front elevation.
sears 1914 catalog sears 126 sears 208 sears elsmore
1914 Sears Modern Homes catalog, page 12 
Beginning in 1916, the Elsmore earned its own spot in the catalog (the No. 126 model was discontinued), listed as the No. 2013.  Beginning 1921, a second floor plan option was made available (No. 3192), and by 1925, that second floor plan became the only one offered for the Elsmore, which was discontinued after 1927 (thanks for the date correction, Cindy Catanzaro!)

sears elsmore two floor plans 1923
The Elsmore's two floor plans, as shown in the 1923 catalog, available on  
The Elsmore at 8804 Olden, in St. Louis, has the original floor plan, with the inset front entry in the center of the porch.  You can see, as well, that the placement of the chimney on the right side of the house, shows that the house has the long living/dining room that spans the depth of the house, with the fireplace in the center.

sears elsmore original floor plan
Those look to be the original porch railings -- see how they match the catalog image?
sears elsmore original version
The Elsmore as shown in the 1923 catalog, available here
Let's take a look at the left side of the house, the back side, and a close up of those 5-piece brackets, and typical Sears porch pillars:

sears 5-piece bracket
Note the Sears 5-piece porch roof brackets.
sears elsmore original floor plan
The left side of the house.
It's so great the the original tracery on the front gable peak is still intact,
and the house retains its original wood clapboard, and has not been covered over in vinyl siding.
sears elsmore porch pillars
Sears porch pillars, and another look at a 5-piece bracket.
sears elsmore original floor plan
Notice the inset front entry, indicative of the original floor plan of the No. 208 and No. 2013,
as well as the original porch railing, just as shown in the catalog image. 
sears elsmore original floor plan
We so rarely get to see the back of our Sears houses, but this one sits on a spacious corner lot.
The Elsmore at 8804 Olden, was built by Peter M. Jaeger, who, according to the 1930 census, was a foreman in an electric plant in St. Louis.  A listing in an October 1924 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shows a Peter Jaeger taking out a marriage license to marry Emma Eisele:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 11, 1924
However, the 1930 census shows that the Peter M. Jaeger who lived here at this address, was married to a woman named Margaret... and, they had, living with them, two of her children from a previous marriage, along with two other Jaeger children. So, I don't know whether Emma Eisele Jaeger ever lived in this house, or if she was married to a different Peter Jaeger.
The Jaeger family in 1930.
And... one last look at this lovely little home:
sears elsmore original floor plan

I just found a 1992 St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper article (October 7, page 142, in the "Home" section), written by Darcy O'Neill, called, "Home Sweet Home by Sears", that showcases this wonderful Elsmore. Here is the portion of the article that deals with this house, bit by bit (if you have a subscription, you can access the article here.)

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  1. Wow...just wow. Today, $2500 isn't enough to make a lot of people's house payment for a single month, and a century ago you could buy a pretty nice house for that much.

    1. That's an incredible amount of inflation, all right! Even given that the land on which the house was built, had already been bought and paid for, just the cost of the house alone, as shown in the catalog, WITHOUT electrical wiring and the installation, plus the associated light fixtures, and "convenience outlets;" planning pipes and their bath and kitchen fixtures, and the pipe runs to connect to city utilities;" OR the heating system, whatever it was that was chosen and installed - from the least expensive kind, the "pipeless," and on up to the ducted type warm air, or radiator type hot water or the most expensive steam radiator heat - and the other many items of furnishings that always accompany the building and occupation of any new home - but just the catalog cost of the new home in 1923, $2266.00, adjusted to inflation for now, comes to a grand total of $33,990.81!
      But, since the catalog's usual advice to double the catalog price to come to a closer complete cost of the home, doubling the inflated price generates a closer completed cost of $67,098.
      Considering the things that still leaves out, such as land cost, which is such a variable now it can't really be even guessed at, unless you know precisely where you're going to put it! For conversation's sake, call it $33,000 and you've got about $100,000 already! And that's a very nicely built, but fairly basic home, with hardwood floors in all rooms, very small closets, a built-in china cabinet for one floor plan but not the other, and maybe one set of cabinets in the kitchen, but likely just space for your own personally owned "Hoosier" type Cabinet, since I didn't see one listed with the specs - but without a fancy "open floorplan," or lots of kitchen cabinets, fixtures or an island; very much insulation (if ANY!) or more than two bedrooms and only ONE very basic maple floored bathroom!

  2. Love this one! Just like the catalog image. The Elsmore was offered in the 1927 catalog as well. It's in the one they have in the Archives at the Ohio History Center.


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