Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sears Haven vs. Cornell vs. Davenport

Images side-by-side of Sears Haven Sears Cornell Sears Davenport
Three Sears houses of an almost identical exterior design: the Haven, the Cornell, and the Davenport
Sears had three houses that, on the exterior, look almost identical: The Haven, the Cornell, and the Davenport. Let's see what to look for to distinguish these houses, if you run across one in the wild, and what is different inside.

The Haven
The Haven model was the first of these to be offered in the catalogs. It was available in the 1922, 1923, and 1924 catalogs. 
Sears Haven 1923 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Here is the Haven, in the 1923 catalog, available here on
The Cornell
The Cornell came along in 1925, was not available in some editions from 1931 and 1932*, came back in 1933, looks to be absent from the 1934 catalog, and then continued to be available until the 1938 catalog. However, in those years, there were changes made to the floor plan. 
Sears Cornell 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Here is the Cornell in its first year, 1925 (available here, on
As you can see, the only thing that looks different, from this view, is the style of the porch columns. But, my research mentors pointed out to me, early on, that there was also a change made to the number of windows on the other side of the house: the living room and the dining room had only one window in the Haven, but there are two in each of those rooms in the Cornell.

So, when we run across these homes out "in the wild", the first things we look at, are the porch columns, and then the first-floor windows on the side that doesn't have the side-entry door.

exterior of real examples of Sears Haven compared to Sears Cornell
Haven and Cornell examples, with porch column difference, and LR & DR windows different.
There is a customized Sears Cornell currently for sale in the lovely Glenshaw area of greater Pittsburgh, and the owner shared blueprints with our research team.  Here is the page showing the double windows and three upper windows of this side of a Cornell:
Sears blueprints Cornell model side elevation with double windows first floor
That's a Cornell
Here is what those big, beautiful double windows look like from the inside of the house:
Interior of the Glenshaw Cornell : living room, with its double windows

Interior of the Glenshaw Cornell : Dining Room with its double windows

On occasion, the house you find has had the front porch columns changed, or they're made of brick, so you can't go by that. In that case, you have to try to get a look at those side windows.  Again, though, occasionally, there is no way to see that side. This model was very popular in cities -- we have found dozens of them in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh -- and houses are sometimes very close to each other on those city lots, so you can't see the side windows.  Here's an example in Pittsburgh, of a Haven with both of those issues:

This house in Pittsburgh, has neither of the original Haven or Cornell porch column designs.  And, viewing the left side elevation was impossible -- trees galore! But, fortunately, for this one, I had a 1922 mortgage tied to it, so I knew that it was a Haven.
1232 woodbourne avenue pittsburgh pa Sears Haven in PIttsburgh PA
1232 Woodbourne Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA,
An authenticated Haven, thanks to a 1922 mortgage record.
 Here's the oh-so-helpful view of the left side!

And, here's an example of an authenticated, but customized (enlarged) Sears Cornell, that also has different front porch columns.  It has the columns that we usually see on a Sears Fullerton:
Sears Cornell front elevation blueprints
The left side shows the standard Sears Cornell front elevation.  The right side shows the customized Sears Cornell in Glenshaw, that has been widened by four feet, has a reverse floor plan (see how the door and window are switched), and a different style porch column.  
This close up of the porch area, shows where editing was made to indicate the new porch column style:

This was also stamped on those blueprints, to indicate that the house was to be built using the reverse floor plan:
seras blueprints with stamp indicating reverse floor plan
"This house to be built reversed to this plan."
First-Floor Floor Plan
Sears Haven first floor plan vs Sears Cornell first floor plan
First-floor layouts for the Haven (1923) and Cornell (1925). 
We normally don't even need to look at the inside of these houses to know which is a Haven, and which is a Cornell.  But, sometimes, it happens that those exterior features are missing, windows are closed over during a siding job or renovation, and we have a little mystery on our hands. Then, if we have the opportunity to explore the interior, we know what to look for.  In that case, it's interesting to note these changes:

  • The Haven is 2-feet shorter in depth, at 20 X 24 (the Cornell is 20 X 26)
  • The back wall of the dining room of the Haven has two windows, whereas the Cornell has one wide one (which is probably a shorter-in-height window, meant to be above a sideboard).
  • The very center of the first floor, is slightly different, causing one corner of the dining room to be notched in a little bit, only on the Haven.
  • The entry area and first step of the stairway, are slightly different.  The Haven enters into an open space, and there is a curved first step on the staircase.  The Cornell, however, has a wall to the right, as soon as you step into the house, because there is a closet there at the base of the landing. The first step to the staircase is just a straight step.
Here are three real estate photos from a Cornell in Pittsburgh, that illustrate a few of these points:
Sears Cornell entry area 5935 Rodgers St. Pittsburgh PA
5935 Rodgers Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Trulia listing here)
Sears Cornell dining area 5935 Rodgers St. Pittsburgh PA
dining room of Cornell
back of Sears Cornell 5935 Rodgers St. Pittsburgh PA

Here is the page of blueprints for the Cornell in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, showing this back elevation on the Cornell:
sears cornell blueprints back elevation
This home is currently for sale, actually -- here is the Zillow listing
And here is an interior photo of the entryway of a Haven, in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.  It shows a more open area, with no closet, and the first tread of the staircase is rounded off to the side, projecting a little bit into the living room.  

Sears Haven base of staircase showing no closet and rounded edge of first tread
This probable Haven at 4 Floral Avenue, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, has the reverse floor plan to the standard catalog offering.

And, another Haven... this one shows the curved edge of the first step, and also shows the notched area of the corner of the dining room (click images to enlarge):

Sears Haven entry area 5405 Hunter Ave Norwood Ohio

Sears Haven dining area 5405 Hunter Ave Norwood Ohio
5405 Hunter Avenue, Norwood, Ohio (Estately listing)
Again, the probable Haven in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, showing the little bumped-out corner of the dining room:
Sears Haven dining room corner bump out depicted
Remember that this is the reverse floor plan to the catalog image. (source)
The same Haven's dining room windows: two full-sized windows on the back wall (back side of the house), instead of one short one in the center of that wall on the Cornell; one single window on the side wall, instead of the double windows there, on the Cornell :

Sears Haven dining room windows depicted
That entry doorway to the kitchen, on the left, is actually just a standard door size, though the angle of this photo makes it look wider. (Source)
Upper-floor Side Windows
exterior of real examples of Sears Haven compared to Sears Cornell

You can see that, up at the top on that LR/DR side of the house, where I have circled, both models have the same window pattern: three windows.  The middle one is for a bathroom, so that one usually is a little smaller. The other two are for the two bedrooms up on that side of the house. Both models have four upstairs bedrooms -- to start off with. But, starting in 1927, the Cornell had an additional floor plan option for upstairs.  That changes the window pattern slightly -- the upper area on this side elevation, will show only two windows, because the bathroom has been moved to the front corner of the house.

Original plans for second floor, show a very similar layout between the Haven and the Cornell, but I've indicated some areas of change in the Cornell model:
second floor comparison Sears Haven vs Sears Cornell
Very similar placement of rooms.  I've circled and squared-in the areas where some changes were made in the Cornell.
Cornell's New 2nd-Floor Plan
Starting in 1927, and shown in 1928, 1929, 1930, and 1933 (it wasn't offered in some editions of the 1931, 1932 , or 1934 catalogs), the Cornell had a second option for the second floor:

second floor comparison plans A and B Sears Cornell
Big changes in the entry areas to the 2nd-floor rooms, elimination of a bedroom, and bathroom moved.
That new option cut out one of the bedrooms, and moved the bathroom to the front of the house... resulting in a change to the look of the upstairs windows.  If you find a Cornell with this upstairs layout, you'll only have two windows upstairs on that non-entry side.  Beginning in 1935, and continuing through 1938 (the last year for the Cornell )  this new-option layout became the only layout available for the 2nd floor.

sears Corneall A plan upstairs layout
The original, 3226A floor plan for upstairs, has the bathroom straight across from the staircase.  Here is a view of how you see the bathroom straight ahead of you, as soon as you get to the top of the stairs.  This is as (blurry--sorry!) screen shot from a short video sent to me by the owner of the Cornell in Glenshaw.
We sometimes notice, though, these anomalies in the catalog.  The 1935 and 1936 catalogs show an image of the Cornell with the older window pattern (3 windows) up on the side elevation, 2nd floor, but the only floor plan actually offered, is the newer plan, that has no window there!
Sears Cornell 1935 Sears Modern Homes Catalog & Daily Bungalow
You can see this catalog here, on Daily Bungalow's Flickr album, or here, on Antique Home's web page.
Here, though, is the 1938 catalog, which finally has an accurate image of the only version offered at that point, of the Cornell:
Sears Cornell 1938 Sears Modern Homes Catalog
Here is the Cornell in the 1938 catalog, on
The owner of the Cornell in Glenshaw has 22 pages of blueprints for his house.  For some reason, Sears sent plans for both the A and the B floor plans -- though, actually, the house is customized a bit, and didn't follow the plans exactly, downstairs, anyway.  Here is that corner of the blueprints that shows the model number.  You can just barely make out "3226A" and "3226B":
sears blueprints cornell corner with model number
I think this will enlarge a bit, if you click.

The Short-Lived Davenport Model
Sears Davenport catalog image 1931 catalog
1931 catalog only: The Davenport
In the 1931 catalog, only, Sears decided to replace the Cornell with a new variation: The Davenport. But, it looks like they re-purposed a drawing of the Cornell, because the house image shows a middle window up on the side elevation, 2nd floor (above the LR and DR), but, the floor plan does not have one there.  Also, the Davenport's floor plan eliminates the double window of the dining room, on that same side, replacing it with a single window, and the catalog image of the house has a cleverly-placed little tree covering that area.

Houses By Mail shows the Davenport on page 295, but, it shows no floor plan. We've not paid it much mind, honestly, and I think we've all figured it was about the same model as the Cornell, just with some shutters added. But, the 1931 catalog actually shows that this is a significantly different model from the Cornell.  It is bigger, at 22 X 28 (Cornell's footprint is 20 X 26), and the interior layout is quite different from either of the Cornell's plans. Let's take a look.

Sears Cornell vs Sears Davenport catalog images
Cornell vs Davenport: Exterior.
Notice, too, that the upper floor windows on the side, here, should not include that middle window! It was not part of the Davenport's floor plan upstairs.

Sears Cornell vs Sears Davenport catalog images first floor plan
Cornell vs Davenport: First Floor
The dining room has been greatly reduced in size; the living room made longer, but not as wide; and the whole entry area now provides a straight shot down the hall, to get to the kitchen.  The coat closet has been moved from the base of the stairway, to the space under the stairway, accessible from the new hallway there.  Also, the front window, next to the front door, is now a pair of slim windows, instead of one big wide window.
We have only one Davenport on our National Database of Sears Homes, and it's a beauty, in Arlington, Virginia.  We know it's most likely a Sears house, because it has  Sears La Tosca hardware, and it pretty much follows the plan of our Sears Davenport.
Sears Davenport model in brick 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
3213 4th St. N., Arlington, Virginia  (photos from Zillow listing)
This image shows the new placement of the closet, under the staircase, and the long entry hall, as well as a tiny view of the La Tosca hardware on the door handle.
entry area Sears Davenport model in brick 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
Sears La Tosca door hardware
La Tosca door hardware was only offered by Sears.

Sears Davenport model LaTosca door hardware 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
Another of the several doors in the house, showing La Tosca door hardware.
Sears Davenport model living room and entry area 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
This shows the correct entry area, as well as the newly-added
wall, with large opening, between the living room and the entry hall.

Sears Davenport model living room and entry area and dining room 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
Again, the long entry hall, and the new wall between that area, and the living room.
Also, we can see the correct placement of the dining room and kitchen.
This does not have the bay window shown in the floor plan, for the back window of the dining room.

Sears Davenport model dining room and kitchen and living room 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
Correct placement of LR, DR, and kitchen -- rooms, as well as entry openings.
2nd Floor: Cornell versions VS Davenport

Sears Cornell vs Davenport second floor plans
The Cornell's two upper-floor layouts, vs the Davenport's 2nd floor.
The second floor shows some big changes to the floor plan. It's really nothing like the Cornell at all. The long, narrow hall is new, the bathroom has really been downsized from what it was in Cornell B, and that back bedroom is a small one.

This view of the Arlington Davenport's second floor, shows that it doesn't quite follow what was offered in the catalog. They must have asked for some customization, because this image shows the stairway as a straight one, with no turn, yet the catalog image for the second floor clearly shows a turned staircase. We do see La Tosca hardware again, though!
Sears Davenport model upstairs hall 3213 4th St. N. Arlington VA
That's clearly a single, straight stairway -- no turn involved.  Looks like a Sears newel, though.
Here's a quick summary of what was offered, when:

  • Haven: 1922, 1923, 1924 
  • Cornell:  First appeared in 1925 
    • only one 2nd-floor plan offered in 1925 & 1926
    • additional 2nd-floor plan offered in 1927, 1928, 1929, & 1930
    • * not offered in 1931, 1932, or 1934 (one researcher has a 1931 catalog with the Cornell, but no Davenport; others have a 1931 with no Cornell, but with the Davenport)
    • 1935-1938 have only the B 2nd-floor plan available
    • not offered in 1939 or 1940
  • Davenport
    • Only offered in the 1931 catalog -- but not every edition
We have seen regional differences sometimes, in the catalogs, or slight changes from one edition of a year, to another, so it's possible that someone might have a 1934 catalog that shows the Cornell, or a catalog showing the Davenport in another year, but, this is what our team of researchers has in their catalog collections.  If you know of any differences from what I have listed above, please let me know!

The Aladdin Liberty model
To add a bit more confusion to the matter, the Aladdin Homes kit company offered a model that, on the exterior, looked pretty much just like the Sears Haven... except for the front porch rails and columns. Their model was called the Liberty, and had two floorplans:
Aladdin Liberty house kit model, a lookalike to Sears Haven and Sears Cornell
Aladdin Homes Liberty model, 1926 Aladdin catalog
comparison of floorplans and exterior of Aladdin Liberty and Sears Haven and Sears Cornell
Aladdin's 1926 Liberty model, against the Sears Haven and Sears Cornell floorplans

The Customized Cornell in Glenshaw: One Last Look

And, if you're interested in living in an enlarged and customized Sears Cornell, in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, here again is the listing for that house, at 904 S. Park Avenue, so you can see more photos. This house has had a bit of an addition put on the back, to add more kitchen space, and they've pretty faithfully kept the Craftsman style, including some of the original cabinets:
904 S. Park Avenue Pittsburgh PA

904 S. Park Avenue Glenshaw PA
They also expanded the master bedroom, to make a master suite, with walk-in closet, and a nice-sized master bathroom, that also faithfully keeps with the Craftsman-era style of the house (click any photo to enlarge):
904 S. Park Avenue Glenshaw PA

904 S. Park Avenue Glenshaw PA

904 S. Park Avenue Glenshaw PA

For more information on who we are, and what we do, visit our website:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sears Elmwood in Normal, Illinois

creamy yellow Sears Elmwood bungalow front view
Sears Elmwood • 1911 • 101 S. Grove Street, Normal, Illinois
We do love the Sears Elmwood ! Any chance we get to highlight this model, we take. So, today I present to you Evie and Josh Leichtenberg's beautiful creamy-yellow Sears Elmwood in Normal, Illinois.  I have uncovered lots of good documentation for this house's history, and Evie has taken some good interior photos for us, so sit back and enjoy.

First, the obligatory "money shot", kind of matching the catalog view to the house:
Sears Elmwood
101 S. Grove Street next to the 1911 catalog image, when the house was called the No. 162.
(Source: Arts & Crafts Society)
If you've been a somewhat regular reader of this blog, you may know that Sears first offered the Elmwood, and then made some minor changes, and re-packaged the model as the Sunbeam.  That change happened in 1922.  The most obvious difference, is that the big, upstairs sleeping porch in the front of the house, was enclosed on the Sunbeam, as you can see here:
Sears Sunbeam 3/4 view pale green and white
An authenticated 1926 Sears Sunbeam, that I wrote about here.
 And here it is in the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog:
Sears Sunbeam shown in 1925 Sears catalog

Looking at the Leichtenbergs' house, with its enclosed sleeping porch, why aren't we calling it a Sunbeam ?

Well, first of all, the county assessor gives it a build date of 1908.  But, I was suspicious of that, because that's too early for even the Elmwood, which wasn't introduced until 1911.  These older records tend to be off by a few years -- sometimes they are guesses within 5-20 years or more. In fact-if the build date says, "1900", that almost surely means that there is no record, and the best guess is that the house was built just sometime in the first decades of the 1900s. Sometimes, the date reflects when the land was purchased, but the structure wasn't built on it for a few more years.  Also, we had already found that the Sears #200 version of the Ivanhoe, in Normal, Illinois, had a build date that was off by a few years. 

But, the most conclusive evidence was this great photo that has been handed down from owner to owner: an old photo showing utility poles being installed in the neighborhood, right in front of the house, and there it is! The house, with its sleeping porch still un-enclosed.  So, definitive evidence that the house was bought as the Elmwood model, and therefore also dates to before 1922.
vintage photo of S Grove Street Normal Illinois getting utility pole
No date on the photo, but it's clearly from the 19-teens to 1930s, and there's the house, with its un-enclosed porch upstairs!
Tonight, I also found that the assessor's website has several great photos, and here is the house, in 1999, with the upper sleeping porch still un-enclosed:
creamy yellow open-porch bungalow Sears Elmwood
Sears Elmwood

Evie sent this photo, of the other side, too. Below it, is a Sears Elmwood in Elkhart, Indiana, from 1912.

You can read about this one in this earlier blog post of mine..
Elmwood vs Sunbeam: The Staircase Issue
Since we researchers so often see this Sears house with the upper sleeping porch enclosed, we usually just can't tell whether or not the house was an Elmwood originally, or a Sunbeam , if we can only see the outside.  Even if we see the inside, we can't always see all of the little elements that we have come to learn were particular to the Elmwood, vs the Sunbeam (you can read about those things in this earlier blog post of mine-- issues like where the back door is placed, and where the entry door to the bathroom is, for example).

But, here is one that I only just recently noticed: the Elmwood had only one tread leading up to that staircase that is in the corner of the living room.  But, the Sunbeam has two treads there! So, if we are able to see that room, we can now judge Elmwood vs Sunbeam by that spot on the staircase.  Here's what I mean:

Sears Elmwood vs Sears Sunbeam comparing staircase entry step
So, look at where the red outlined boxes are-- that's the staircase issue! This image also points to the location of the back entry door, and the location of the vent chimney... on the Elmwood, it's not visible outside, but on the Sunbeam, it is.
Here is an interior photo of that part of the living room, that Evie sent me, and you can see the step:
Sears Elmwood living room staircase
1911 Elmwood living room at 101. S. Grove Street, Normal, Illinois
The Living Room Closet 
Evie also told me that their living room doesn't have a closet, as we would expect it to have. The Elmwood and Sunbeam both show closets accessible from the living room, but I now realize that the earlier Elmwood has that closet in a different space than where it is in the later Elmwood, and in the Sunbeam.  Look at the circled area, and where the green arrow points out the closet placement:
Sears Elmwood living room closet
Closet placement differs in 1912 vs 1921 Elmwood.
Here's a catalog image showing the interior of the Elmwood, and you can see that there is a closet door there on the same wall where the staircase is.  This image first appeared in the 1918 catalog, but was also in the 1921 catalog... though, by then, the closet had moved to the other wall, and... I guess that opening under the stairs was still a closet, too?

Sears Elmwood living room closet
Green arrow pointing out closet door from Elmwood-only era, and pink arrow showing Elmwood-only single-tread staircase entry step.
But, by the time of the Sunbeam, that doorway had moved to ONLY over on the same wall that separates the living room from the dining room and kitchen. So...

• If you see a door ONLY there, and NOT under the stairs at all, then you have a Sunbeam.
• If you see NO closet at all on the wall shared with the DR and kitchen, then you have an early-years Elmwood.
• If you have a closet door in both spaces, you have a later-years Elmwood.

You can see the Sunbeam closet layout here, in the catalog image from 1925, and in the living room of this authenticated 1926 Sunbeam in Florida:
Sears Sunbeam living room closet

Sears Sunbeam living room closet
Living Room of authenticated 1926 Sunbeam in Florida, showing the double-tread entry to the staircase, and the green arrow pointing to the closet location we only see in the floor plan of the last years of the Elmwood, and for the Sunbeam.
The Back Door and the Pantry
The back door is another issue that is different in the two models. Normally, the Elmwood's back door is off to one side on the back of the house, and the Sunbeam's back door is pretty well centered back there -- that helps us, on the rare occasion that we can see the back of the house.  Here's a catalog comparison-- note the areas indicated in blue:
Sears Elmwood vs Sunbeam back door placement shown in catalog
Blue box and blue arrow, showing where the back door is on the two different models.
But, on Evie and Josh's house, the back door is centered. Geeze! This is the kind of thing that really throws us off when we are trying to pin-point the era and the model of the house.  But, Evie pointed out that earlier owners had a sort of mud room put in, and must have moved the back door to the center. She said that you can tell that the siding is newer on the section of the back of the house where the door must have been originally, and the trim around the new door is different than trim in the rest of the house. That makes sense, because also, at some point, the kitchen was slightly re-designed and enlarged to take over that pantry space (see it in the red circle) to put floor-to-ceiling cabinets, and the refrigerator, there.  They took over the space where the back door HAD been, and closed that off (like it is in the Sunbeam) to make a U-shaped kitchen counter area.  It's possible that this was even re-designed at the time of build -- no way to know, but these are obviously newer cabinets and counter, so the change was made at some point.

Here's an image with the floor-plan turned, so you can see how that area of the kitchen is now-- the window orients you. Notice, too, the boxed-in area where the furnace-vent chimney is... just as it should be, for the Elmwood.  See why I would be confused, here, though, when originally looking at this house? Because the Sunbeam's kitchen has a solid wall there in the corner where the Elmwood would normally have the back door... but the Sunbeam's chimney is outside of the house... I looked at this kitchen and thought, "What???".

Sears Elmwood kitchen
Elmwood furnace chimney location + window + no more back door.
Here, then, is the former pantry space (or part of it, anyway).  You can see from the section of the catalog floor plan, that the wall where the entry to the dining room is, would normally be only a tiny little space of wall, because it would be sticking out a teeny bit into the kitchen, to form the doorway into the pantry.  But all of that doorway and wall separating the pantry from the kitchen, has been removed, and a big section of the original pantry space now has kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator:
Sears Elmwood kitchen
The former pantry space of the Elmwood's floor plan, taken over to incorporate it into the kitchen.
Here's that mud room, centered on the back of the house!
Sears Elmwood back door moved to center
This is from the real estate listing, available here.
So... maybe you didn't need to see all of this... but I needed to see all of this to understand why Sunbeam elements seemed to be in an Elmwood. Ha! It all makes sense, now!  And, I've learned some more little details that distinguish the two models, and maybe all of this will help you, if you're ever trying to decide whether your house is an Elmwood or a Sunbeam, eh?

From The Catalog
We always love when we get to see things on the interior of a house we hope is a Sears house, that are found in the Sears Building Supplies or Modern Homes catalogs.  Here are some of those finds in Evie and Josh's house.

The doors are the Craftsman R and H models:
1912 Sears building supplies catalog Craftsman doors
Notice how they refer to the "new" Craftsman style!
These two pages are from the 1912 Sears Building Supplies catalog (here).
1912 Sears building supplies catalog Craftsman doors

Here they are shown in a real estate photo (sorry, it's kind of grainy) of one of the two bedrooms upstairs. The door with glass panes leads out to the sleeping "balcony", and there is one of these doors in each of the two bedrooms.  Another door is to a closet, and the door you can only partially see, is to the hallway.
Sears Elmwood door from bedroom to sleeping balcony

 Here's the 2nd-floor layout:
Sears Elmwood door from bedroom to sleeping balcony on floor plan

Here is that Craftsman R door used as the front door (again, real estate photo):
black Sears Elmwood Craftsman front door

Did you notice the big hinges on those doors in the bedroom? And the door handle hardware? Here are nice close-ups that Evie sent me. That's a well-known Sears hinge that we often see on the models from the early years... 19-teens and 1920s.  And, the door handle hardware is a pattern Sears called, Stratford .

Hinge on Sears modern home Sears Elmwood

Sears hinge

Sears Stratford design door hardware
Sears Stratford design door hardware

Sears Stratford design door hardware in 1912 Sears building supplies catalog

But, the best part, is this fabulous Villa Sideboard:
Sears side board in Sears Elmwood

Sears Craftsman style oak Villa Sideboard in 1912 building supplies catalog

And, it's not just shown as an element for sale in the catalog... it's also shown as part of the interior of the Elmwood, in the 1918 catalog! There it is, with that diamond-patterned leaded glass in the windows on the wall around it.
Sears Elmwood interior Living Room and Dining Room 1918 catalog
Let's get a closer look:

Sears Elmwood interior Dining Room 1918 catalog

Who Lived Here?
Well, this took some serious digging.  But, thanks to old names on deeds, that Evie and Josh shared with me, we had a starting point.

I believe that 1911 is the build year of this house, even though the city assessor gives 1908 as the build year. Here's why:

In 1908, the owner of the greater area of land there, was Caleb D. Pierce (C.D. Pierce), and his wife, the former Hattie Dunmire (or Dunmeyer).  C.D. Pierce ran a large fruit farm there, and also owned hundreds of acres of fruit farmland in Oklahoma.  

In July of 1911, C. D. Pierce sold a large portion of his fruit farm -- 20 acres -- at the northwest corner of Sudduth Road (now College Avenue) and Grove Street.  A newspaper account of the sale, states that Pierce still owned "12 acres across the road, south of the piece sold" (that would be the area where 101 S. Grove Street sits), and adds, "he will at once begin the erection of a modern house on this place, to be used by his son and family".  His son was Floyd Pierce.
c. d. pierce normal Illinois 1911 sells 20 acres of fruit farm

Normal City Directories show C.D. Pierce, and his son, Floyd, living at 103 N. Grove, in 1911. Floyd and his wife, Edith, had just married in 1909.  
1911 Normal Illinois city directory C. D. Pierce and Floyd and Edith Pierce

However, in 1912, Floyd has advertised his home for sale, describing it as a "new modern house", 1/2 mile from the university, on 12 acres -- this must surely be the house at 101 S. Grove Street, that Floyd's father, C. D. Pierce, was just beginning to build for his son, in 1911.

1912 Normal Illinois Floyd and Edith Pierce sell 12 acres and modern home

Here are Floyd and Edith Pierce, still owning their house at 101 S. Grove Street, in 1913.
1913 Normal Illinois city directory Floyd and Edith Pierce

In May of 1914, Floyd and Edith Pierce are back in Normal, according to Bloomington's paper, The Pantagraph, after living in Springfield for a while.

1914 Floyd Pierce and Edith Pierce return to Normal Illinois

I'm not sure who lived in the house once Floyd Pierce put it up for sale in 1912.  Though Floyd and Edith returned to Normal in 1914, it doesn't look like they returned to to live at 101 S. Grove Street.

1922-1979 • Frank Hersman
Surely the resident to live longest at 101 S. Grove Street, was the very interesting Frank Hersman.  In 1978, when Frank was 92 years old, the Bloomington, Illinois newspaper, The Pantagraph, did a newspaper story on him.  It appeared in the March 6 edition, and was entitled, "Hotline to heaven keeps man in balance". I'll let that interview tell his story:
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article

Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article

Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 1978 newspaper article

In 1979, Frank sold the house for $40,000.  

Though no longer living at 101 S. Grove Street, Frank enjoyed a special celebration for his 100th birthday:
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois 100th birthday 1985
Frank passed away at age 102:
Frank Hersman Normal Illinois dies at age 102 1988


101 s gore normal illinois for sale 1999
A 1999 listing in The Pantagraph.

In 1999, the house was bought by Alan and Wilma McLaughlin, who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2000, in their home at 101 S. Grove Street:

2000 owners of 101 s gore normal illinois celebrate 25th wedding anniversary alan and wilma mclaughlin

And, in 2012, they sold their Sears Elmwood to Evie and Josh, who later held their wedding ceremony at the house. 
Evie and Josh Leichtenberg wedding photo on front steps of their Sears Elmwood
Beautiful photo! Josh and Evie Leichtenberg on their wedding day.
(Photographer: )

Evie and Josh Leichtenberg wedding photo on front steps of their Sears Elmwood
 But, wait! Here's the BEST part... Josh made a Lego version of their Elmwood, for wedding day!
Josh Leichtenberg lego version of Sears Elmwood

Thanks a million to Evie and Josh for sharing their  1911 Sears Elmwood with me!
Evie and Josh Leichtenberg lego version of Sears Elmwood

To see another Sears house in Normal, Illinois, click here, and you'll get to read about a big Sears No. 200, the Sears Ivanhoe model with a front porch.