|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 model was the first of these to be offered in the catalogs. It was available in the 1922, 1923, and 1924 catalogs.
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.
|Here is the Cornell in its first year, 1925 (available here, on Archive.org).|
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.
|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:
|That's a Cornell ! |
Here is what those big, beautiful double windows look like from the inside of the house:
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
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, |
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:
This close up of the porch area, shows where editing was made to indicate the new porch column style:
|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 was also stamped on those blueprints, to indicate that the house was to be built using the reverse floor plan:
First-Floor Floor Plan
|"This house to be built reversed to this plan."|
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:
|First-floor layouts for the Haven (1923) and Cornell (1925). |
- 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:
|5935 Rodgers Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Trulia listing here)|
Here is the page of blueprints for the Cornell in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, showing this back elevation on the Cornell:
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.
|dining room of Cornell|
|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):
Again, the probable Haven in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, showing the little bumped-out corner of the dining room:
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 :
|Remember that this is the reverse floor plan to the catalog image. (source)|
Upper-floor Side Windows
|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)|
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
Cornell's New 2nd-Floor Plan
|Very similar placement of rooms. I've circled and squared-in the areas where some changes were made in the Cornell.|
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:
|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.
|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!
|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
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":
|Here is the Cornell in the 1938 catalog, on Archive.org.|
|I think this will enlarge a bit, if you click.|
The Short-Lived Davenport Model
|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.
|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.
|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.
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.
|La Tosca door hardware was only offered by Sears.|
|Another of the several doors in the house, showing La Tosca door hardware.|
|This shows the correct entry area, as well as the newly-added|
wall, with large opening, between the living room and the entry hall.
|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.
2nd Floor: Cornell versions VS Davenport
|Correct placement of LR, DR, and kitchen -- rooms, as well as entry openings.|
|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!
|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
- 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 Homes Liberty model, 1926 Aladdin catalog|
The Customized Cornell in Glenshaw: One Last Look
|Aladdin's 1926 Liberty model, against the Sears Haven and Sears Cornell floorplans|
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:
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):
For more information on who we are, and what we do, visit our website: SearsHouses.com
Thanks for the detail, Judith. My Cornells around the Chicago area look consistent with this assessment.ReplyDelete
I have an American foursquare, built 1937 (pretty sure, may have been 35, but almost positive it was 37). It's very similar to the Cornell, but withOUT double Windows and the upstairs hall is not angled, no side entry stairs. I'm wondering if it was a "knock off" of a kit house, or a model not recorded yet. I'd love to send pictures to someone in the know who can help me settle what I have. Also, the chimney ran through the center of the house, not the back corner.ReplyDelete
The house is in Highland Springs, VA (East Richmond).
Hi Anonymous :) I'd love to help you figure out your American foursquare. First point to make, though, is that variations of the American foursquare are all over the country, made by every kit company and plan company (and there aren't any Sears models not recorded yet!). The Cornell is just one that Sears made. Please feel free to send pictures to my email, SearsHouseSeeker (that's gmail).Delete
i live in a cornell in king of prussia pa. think its pretty much a sears catalog neighborhood. not exactly sure what year, but has the 2nd option bathroom, at the end of the hall. i love my sears house!!!!ReplyDelete
Hi there, Id! I'd love to add your house (and those in your neighborhood) to our national database of Sears homes. We would greatly appreciate it if you would message me (use the Contact Me spot) with your address. Thanks!Delete
HI, i would love to help... think its fascinating that my house came out of a catalog. how can i help. not sure if i answered correctly, not sure what the 'contact me' spot means :)Delete
If you look on the right-hand side of my blog, and scroll alllll the way down, you'll see a "Contact Me" spot. You can write me there, with your address, so that I can look up your house on Google Streetview. Or, you can simply comment here again-- I'll see the comment, but I won't publish it, so that we can keep your address private.Delete
HI, dont think i ever responded to this post... still follow the page tho. my address is 227 crooked lane 19406. think you can get a good view on google maps.Delete
Hi, Id! Thanks for the info :) Actually, your house is a Sears Haven model, not a Cornell (the single windows on the left side, bottom, make it a Haven-- the Cornell has double windows at each of the two window spots). We have your house on our national database!Delete
i am trying to find the house I owned..it resembles a Cornell but the bathroom was over the kitchen....is that still a Cornell? (7 Drummond ave, worcester MA)ReplyDelete
Hi jpm01609 -- I looked at your house in Worcester... do you have reason to believe that it is a model from Sears? It has other issues that distinguish it from a Cornell or Haven or Davenport (the dormer, and the spacing between the top front windows, for example).Delete
We purchased a Sears kit house last summer in Cape Charles, VA. We believe it is a 1927 Cornell model. Thank you for the information regarding the Cornell model.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Betty! We noticed that house, when it was on the Real Estate listings... it sure does look like a Cornell. We added it to our national database. Congratulations!Delete
Hi! We are trying to figure out if our house is a kit house (320 Hume Ave, Alexandria VA). It was built in 1925 by a gentleman who was a brakeman for the Potomac Yard train yard. Can you help us? Thanks!!ReplyDelete
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Hi Jenn! I found a real estate listing for your house, so I was able to see interior photos. Although your house has the window pattern on the left side, of the Sears Cornell, the back windows and the front windows are set in place a little differently, and the floorplan isn't a great match for Cornell, Haven, or Davenport. Without evidence of stamped lumber, blueprints, a mortgage record, or a shipping label from Sears, we wouldn't have any way of concluding that it's a kit house. Local builders often offered similar plans to those offered by kit companies, so that may be the case with yours. Also, the Aladdin kit company had the Liberty model, that was very similar to the Sears Haven. Yours has similarities to the floorplan K that they offered, but the left side windows are doubles (they should be singles), and the front porch railings and posts are different and the front window... check it against your floorplan, though. I've added a comparison photo to the blog post.Delete
I’m looking at a house 708 20th St S in Arlington, VA just came on the market and the listing says it’s a Cornell....but it also says it was built in 1920. Idk what to think.ReplyDelete
Crazy, right? That's surely an issue of the county tax assessor having incorrect records for the build date.We have been surprised, in our research, to see how many times the given build date does not jive with primary source records of the era (like an original mortgage, building permit, or transfer of property record).Delete
I thought I had a Cornell… but turns out it’s a haven. Only a couple small changes done to the house. Love my sears houseReplyDelete
Lots of sears homes in my neighborhood. King of Prussia PA.