|Authenticated Sears Elmwood • 901 E. Indiana Avenue, Elkhart, Indiana • c. 1912|
|The Elmwood, as shown in the 1914 catalog.|
It was marketed as the No. 162 at that point.
Wow. This is a beautiful house, isn't it?
I was pretty excited today when I connected this house to a lot number in the Hudson-Sterling neighborhood of Elkhart, Indiana, that I had seen mentioned in a 1914 newspaper snippet. The house was being foreclosed on by Sears, and Sears trustee Walker O. Lewis was named in the suit against Hudson-Sterling properties. They seem to have built a number of houses on spec, probably around 1912, or to use as rental properties, because there were a number of notices of foreclosure against them. In this case, Sears was asking that a Receiver be put in place to be sure that rents continued to be collected, and that the property continued to be kept up.
|Here is the newspaper clipping, from the Elkhart Truth, September 8, 1914.|
I don't know much about the Hudson-Sterling neighborhood, but I did find mention of there being a big whip factory there (The Sterling whip factory), built in 1908, and a big wheel company (The American Wheel Company), builit in 1909. However, in 1915, the Sun Motor Car Company was taking over what they referred to as "the old Hudson-Sterling factory buildings" in south Elkhart... I'm wondering if that was the Sterling whip factory? Already gone out of business?
|December 31, 1915, page 3 of the Bristol Banner (Bristol, Indiana).|
In any case, someone built this beautiful Elmwood, mortgaging it through Sears, and was then unable to continue to pay for it. And that's why we know about it today.
We have very few authenticated Elmwoods on our National Database of Sears Houses, so I'm excited to add this one to the list. Another aspect that I'm happy about, is that this is one of the very few Elmwoods we've seen that retains the original design of an open sleeping porch up in that dormer. Most that we find have had that dormer enclosed, to give a nice little extra bit of interior living space.
|The Elmwood as listed in the 1914 catalog.|
|Here is the floor plan of the Sears Elmwood, as shown in my 1914 catalog.|
If you wanted the upgraded wood choices, you specified plan No. 264P153, and you then would have the following wood finishes throughout the house:
The 1911 catalog shows interior views of what your living room and dining room would look like:
|Source: Arts & Crafts Society web page|
Here is the living room of a home in Wheaton, Illinois, that we originally believed to be a Sears Elmwood from 1918. However, we now believe that this must be a Sunbeam, which would mean that it would date from 1922 or later. This is based on the number of steps entering into the staircase, shown in the photo below. If you look closely, you see that there are two steps entering the first section of the staircase. During the Elmwood years, there was only one step there. Sunbeam-era floor plans show two steps there. So, we think this must be an early Sunbeam. I detail these differences in this blog post, about another Elmwood, in Normal, Illinois.
|224 Kellogg Place, Wheaton, Illinois • Source|
Heating, plumbing, and lighting ("Acetylene Lighting Plant") were an additional cost, as well, and you had a few options there, too:
Sears eventually made a few modifications to the Elmwood model, and re-named it the Sunbeam, for the 1922 catalog. The most obvious difference, on first glance, is the enclosure of the sleeping balcony, but there were a few changes inside as well... that staircase issue, and also the placement of some doorways, and of the chimney vent. I wrote about an authenticated Sunbeam in Orlando, Florida, a little while back, and included a comparison of the Elmwood and Sunbeam floor plans. You can read that blog post here. In the mean time, here is a snippet from that post, showing you what the Sunbeam looked like:
|Sears Sunbeam in 1925.|
Here are two more views of our wonderful Sears Elmwood in Elkhart, Indiana:
|901 E. Indiana Avenue, Elkhart, Indiana|