Friday, December 8, 2017

A Clutch Of Columbines

Today, I'm going to present a small group of Columbines. A clutch... of Columbines.

Not this Columbine:
collection of various varieties of columbine flower

Which, according to Martha Stewart Weddings, looks nice in a bohemian clutch, with pansies and brodiaea....

clutch of small flowers, including columbine, by Martha Stewart Weddings
But, rather, the Sears Columbine... a nice little house that they offered from about 1918-1929:
Sears Columbine house model
The Sears Columbine, as shown in the 1929 Sears Modern Homes catalog.
Bedrooms on the upper floor were an available option, for about $220 more, in 1925.
I've been doing a good bit of mortgage research in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania of late. I've run across a couple of examples of a model that I really like, and then my co-researcher, Andrew, ran across one, too... and then I realized that we've found a good number of this little model, especially in Pennsylvania. This model is the Sears Columbine, offered in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs from about 1918-1929.

So, let's take a look:

We've found them in stucco:
Sears Columbine house model
40 W. Wissahickon Avenue, Flourtown, Pennsylvania (Springfield Township).
This house is authenticated. Frank and Emily Sanson took out a $4,800 mortgage with Sears, in 1924, to build this house. 

Sears Columbine house model
same house, at 40 W. Wissahickon Avenue -- The wrought iron eagle may have been added in the 1960s, when Early American design elements were very popular in the east. My family had one over the fireplace.

Sears Columbine house model
Another authenticated Columbine in Flourtown, Pennsylvania: 6332 Arlingham Road (located by Andrew Mutch)
 We've found them in wood:
Sears Columbine house model
This one is in Delaware, Ohio, at 248 West Lincoln Avenue, and is also authenticated. The earliest catalog examples included the dentil trim along the curved roof of the porch.  Both Andrew Mutch and Cindy Catanzaro brought this beauty to my attention.

Sears Columbine house model
This one is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 205 Irene Street, found for us by Karen DeJeet.
 We've found them with wings:
Sears Columbine house model
Karen located this Columbine, as well: 921 Fawcett Avenue, McKeesport, Pennsylvania

Sears Columbine house model
another view
...and without:
Sears Columbine house model
Another example with the triptych window upstairs, in the front gable: 849 Edkin, West Chester, Pennsylvania
And, we've even found them in brick (veneer, that is):
Sears Columbine house model
Sears Columbine at 205 Parkside Avenue, Reading, Pennsylvania

Sears Columbine house model
Another view of that same house, and, again, this house was located by Andrew Mutch.
Inside The Columbine
Here is the floor plan, which didn't change over the 11 years that the Columbine was offered:
Sears Columbine house model
And, bedrooms could be finished off upstairs, for an extra fee:
Sears Columbine house model
Sears Columbine house model
This is from the 1925 catalog. This option cost $236 in 1929.
And, here's what the standard price included:
Sears Columbine house model

Sears Columbine house model
This is the base price that the Sansons would probably have paid for their Flourtown, PA, Columbine, in 1924. Their mortgage of $4,800 probably included the extra cost for stucco, and the price of construction labor. I believe that wiring and bathroom fixtures were an extra fee, as well.
The Other Porch Option
The Columbine is one of the few Sears houses that offered a different style porch as a standard option, not a specialized customization. If you ordered the B model of the Columbine, you got this look to your front porch:
Sears Columbine house model
This is from my 1929 catalog (actually, it's Cindy Catanazaro's catalog, scanned for me by Lauren, of Daily Bungalow ).
The catalog shows an off-set gabled porch roof for option B. But, we've found an authenticated, 1925 Columbine, in Maryland, with a wide, centered gabled front porch roof. It looks great:
Sears Columbine house model with option B porch roof
7719 Carroll, Takoma Park, MD • 1925
This house was located through mortgage research by Andrew Mutch, and is an authenticated Sears house.
To close up, here's the view of the Columbine that was shown in the earliest years that it was offered. This is from the 1922 catalog:
Sears Columbine house model

As Cindy always says: Thanks for following along!

And, if you're interested in seeing a collection of Sears Clyde examples, check out her latest blog post, here, at Sears Homes in Ohio.


  1. The Columbine in Delaware, Ohio is lovely. I have photos of it when it was under restoration, and when it was finished. The owners have the original Sears documents, too, which is so cool! We can go see it when you come to visit. :)

  2. Thanks for this bouquet of Columbines ;) I love a nice porch, so this model is very sweet with its different porch offerings. The 'A' model with the pergolas on either side of the front door is just lovely, especially for a warmer, sunnier climate or location... I can see why some might choose the expanded roof version for more protection from the elements, though.

  3. I live in a columbine in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania.

    1. I think we have your house on our National Database, Brian! Lovely house :)
      Do you have any authenticating materials you could tell us about? (shipping labels found on the back of window or door trim, bill of materials from Sears, paperwork from Sears, mortgage or deed related to Sears, letters/numbers stamped on wood in the house somewhere)?

  4. I'm trying to figure out if mine is a Columbine! It's brick and has brick arched porch, but otherwise looks much the same with some interior changes.


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