Thursday, July 15, 2021

Sears Houses In The Pittsburgh Area (and the Leanne Ford Kit House Project)

Here is a link to this article in the Trib Live, by Tony Larussa.

It is not my usual practice to re-post previous blog posts, but I just had a chat with Trib Live writer Tony Larussa, about his recent article (published July 14, 2021) about Sears houses, focusing on a wonderful Sears Osborn in McCandless, PA. Tony mentioned that he had had a good bit of response to the article, so we thought it might be of interest to those readers, to point out some more of the history of Sears houses in the greater Pittsburgh area. We have logged almost 540 houses in Pittsburgh (though actually about 1000 in the greater Pittsburgh area) and we're just about 20 houses shy of listing 2,000 Sears homes in Pennsylvania. (EDIT: Tony wrote a follow-up article, published July 20, 2021, which you can read here .)

A great majority of the Pittsburgh area houses, have been found by researcher Karen DeJeet, who lives in a Sears Hamilton bungalow, in Pittsburgh. In 2017, Karen was interviewed for a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, so, at that time, I put together a companion blog post for those readers, highlighting a few of the interesting Sears houses that we have found in the Pittsburgh area. I'm re-posting that, below, along with some information about a Pittsburgh-area kit house that Leanne Ford Interiors is renovating (is it a Sears house? Answer, below! ), and information on what our research team is all about, and where to find out more about what a Sears house is (and isn't). Enjoy!


Welcome Pittsburgh Post-Gazette readers!
This isn't me! It's my friend, and fellow kit house researcher, Karen (and her little pup, Pippi!), whose Sears Hamilton in Pittsburgh, was featured in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article today, written by Stephanie Ritenbaugh, with photographer Stephanie Strasburg.
My blog and comments were included in the article, as well.

If you're interested in seeing more kit homes in Pennsylvania, I've showcased a few -- though we have found over 800 in Pennsylvania, the bulk of them in the greater Pittsburgh area.

• To read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article (and see photos of Karen's Sears Hamilton), click here.

• To see a Sears Americus in Pittsburgh, click here.
• And, here's another Sears Americus in Pittsburgh, with an Americus dollhouse made by the original owner, for his daughters.

Sears No. 145, later known as the Arlington.

Aladdin Homes' Pomona model
• I featured a Sears Arlington, and an Aladdin Pomona model, both in Pittsburgh, in this blog post.

Sears Bandon

• I featured two Sears Bandons in the Pittsburgh area, in this blog post.











Not a Sears house, but a kit house nonetheless:
A Wardway Winthrop.
This blog post features a kit house by the Montgomery Ward company, who called their kit homes Wardway Homes. This model was called the Winthrop, and was offered as a model home for a short while.
















catalog images of Sears Hillsboro, Sears Osborn, Sears Wilmore

• Further afield in Pennsylvania, you can find the Sears Hillsboro, Sears Osborn, and Sears Wilmore, that I featured in this blog post.


catalog images of Sears Yates, Sears Avondale, Sears Avalon
• These three Sears models -- Sears Yates, Sears Avondale, and Sears Avalon --were found on Third Street in Penn Hills (Verona), and were featured in this blog post.


Sears Cornell blueprints, and home in Glenshaw.
• The customized Sears Cornell model (with blueprints!) in the Glenshaw area of Pittsburgh, was part of this blog post, about the Haven, Cornell, and Davenport, three very similar Sears models.


color catalog images of Sears Alhambra, Sears Elsmore, Aladdin Shadow Lawn

• These three kit homes -- a Sears Alhambra, a Sears Elsmore, and an Aladdin Homes Shadow Lawn, are located in Ben Avon PA, Indiana PA, and Pittsburgh PA, and you can read more about them, here.

• My recent blog post about an Elmhurst  in Sewickley, Pennsylvania


Since that September 2017 blog post, we also discovered a Sears Lorne model in Glenshaw, and I was lucky to learn all about the history of the original family -- the DeHaven family, of Shaler Township. All of that is presented in this 2018 blog post.
The DeHaven family originally had a large farm in Shaler Township, that was subdivided for the children of the family, and two of those children, built Sears houses on their lots.

Leanne Ford's Pittsburgh Bungalow Project: Is It A Sears House?
The answer is.... no, we don't think so. But, we do believe that it is a kit house... by a competitor kit-house company of the era, Gordon-Van Tine. We learned about this project, from an Instagram post on the @HouseBeautiful Instagram page, and @LeanneFordInteriors posted about the project on her Instagram page. We followed along as Leanne Ford's 5-minute video introduced us to the house in question, and realized that the floor plan did not follow that of the Sears Hazelton that we are sure that she thinks that the house must be... a very understandable error, as, from the outside, the Sears Hazelton and the Gordon-Van Tine model No. 573 look almost exactly alike. But, the key difference is in the hallway, and in the location of the staircase leading upstairs. The floor plan of Leanne's house perfectly follows that of the Gordon-Van Tine kit house model No. 573, with the attic space turned into bedrooms. (Note that GVT often changed their model numbers-- this house was marketed as the No. 517 in 1921, but as the No. 573 when it was first offered in this 1916 catalog-- however, the No 517 had only double windows in front, not triples). We LOVE that Pittsburgh's own Leanne Ford is interested in Sears kit homes, and we love that she is showcasing a kit home! We just hope to get the correct information to her.

color image of Leanne Ford presenting her Craftsman bungalow on the House Beautiful Instagram page

color photo of Leanne Ford Interiors: kit house project is not a Sears house, but is a kit from the Gordon-Van Tine company
Cindy, a founding member of our research team, did a bit of digging in the real estate listings, and realized that this house, in a southern suburb of Pittsburgh, is the house that Leanne Ford has bought, and is renovating to re-sell.


Gordon-Van Tine catalog image from 1921 of lookalike model to the Sears Hazelton--model No 517
Here is the Gordon-Van Tine company's model No. 517, in the 1921 Gordon-Van Tine Homes catalog -- see how the floor plan shows only 2 windows on each side of the front door... the earlier version, No. 573, had 3 windows on each side of the front door, like the Sears Hazelton.

Here is the Gordon-Van Tine model No. 573, from the 1916 catalogLike the Sears Hazelton, 3 windows on each side of the front door, and 3 small windows on the side wall of the living room:
Gordon-Van Tine catalog image from 1916 of lookalike model to the Sears Hazelton--model No 573
Gordon-Van Tine No. 573, in the 1916 catalog. On the outside, almost an exact clone to the Sears Hazelton, but a few window changes were made for the 1921 version, offered as the No. 517.

Floor plan of Gordon-Van Tine catalog image from 1916 of lookalike model to the Sears Hazelton--model No 573
Gordon-Van Tine model No. 573 floor plan, from the 1916 catalog... 3 windows on each side of the front door, and 3 small windows on the side wall of the living room, like the Sears Hazelton.

And, here is the Sears Hazelton, in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog (it was also offered much earlier, starting off as the No. 172) : 

catalog image of the Sears Hazelton, 1921 catalog
Click here to see the Sears Hazelton in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog


I have pretty extensively studied this Sears model, the Hazelton, and have written about it in these three blog posts:

Learn More

image showing What is a Sears house?
To learn more about Sears houses, in general, please see this blog post, which answers many common questions (and misconceptions), and also presents a list of Sears houses in the greater St. Louis (Missouri) area.
who are the Sears House Hunters
click here for that answer, and to see Sears houses in the Philadelphia area 

To learn more about what our research group does, and how we can help you learn more about your own Sears house, please read this June 6, 2021 blog post. This blog post also features many examples of Sears houses in the Philadelphia area, and links to a wonderful article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, written by Kevin Riordan.

To learn more about kit homes around the country, browse the "ID This House" section of my blog, or peruse the many blog posts in the archives of my blog (links on the right side of my blog-- only visible in "Web Browser View").

If you'd like to see authentic Sears Modern Homes catalogs, you can find links to see many of those, here (and catalogs from other kit-house companies).

FaceBook: We maintain the Sears Modern Homes page on FaceBook, featuring a new kit house every few days.

If you have reason to suspect that you have a Sears house (or a kit by another company), please leave a comment (or contact me at SearsHouseSeeker@gmail.com) and tell me about it (be sure to provide an email address for response)!

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