Saturday, April 30, 2022

Supersized Sears Houses in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia: Part 1

 

color front and right side photo of Sears Hamilton, 3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia
This was originally a one-story bungalow, a Sears Hamilton model 
3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia (originally 354 Marconi Avenue)

sepia toned image of the Sears Hamilton shown in the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Hamilton1925 catalog
When we say, supersized, we mean it! 

In my last blog post, I shared the many months of research that we had done, finding and documenting the Sears houses in Arlington County, Virginia. We found that 162 Sears houses are still standing in Arlington County, but, sadly, that an additional 43 used to be found on the streets of the County, but have since been demolished. 

For some owners wanting a larger house, instead of demolition, a different approach is taken, allowing them to expand, but avoid demolishing the original house: adding on to the original structure. When we find a Sears house with an additional story, or a big addition in back, or to the side (or both!), we refer to it as a supersized Sears house. It's not an official title, of course, but it works for our purposes :)  

This approach varies in success, aesthetically, in our opinion, but, we are always glad to find that a house is, at least, still physically there, often with much of the original flooring and millwork from Sears. Sometimes, we can clearly see the original house as part of the new design. Sometimes, the only way that we can know that there is a Sears house buried in the newer structure, is from our primary-source research (in Arlington County, that usually means an original Trust Deed/Mortgage through Sears), that led us to that lot. If we can still see windows and doors and bump outs in the original spots, and the county still gives the build year as the original 1920s-era build year, we know that the original Sears house is still there. During my mortgage research in Arlington County, I found over 20 of these supersized Sears houses still standing, so today's blog post will show you a few of those. 

Sears Hamilton at 3918 8th Street South: This is the house shown at the top of my post today. It was originally a one-story bungalow, as you can see from the catalog image taken from the 1926 Sears Modern Homes catalog. The original owners of this house, were Ernest C. Wark and his wife, Ethelyn Webster Wark, who ordered the house from Sears in 1926, taking out a $4,800 mortgage. The basic cost of the Hamilton kit was $2,124 in 1926, so the additional mortgage amount would have included the small extra costs for plumbing, heating, wiring, and electric fixtures (there were a few options for these, so they weren't included in the base package price), as well as construction costs (which could have been arranged through Sears, or through the owners' choice of a local construction team). We're not sure at what point this house was supersized, but sales records show that it was sold in 2003 for $500,000, and then in 2010 for $890,000. The next sale was in 2019, for $925, 000, so I imagine that the addition was added between 2003 and 2010. I had assumed that it was now a 2-family structure, but, no! It's just a double-sized single-family home, based on the original Sears Hamilton layout.. You can see some really nice interior photos of both levels, in this Redfin Sales listing, or this Compass listing.

sepia toned catalog page: Sears Hamilton floor plan image and information from the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Catalog description of the Sears Hamilton's rooms and materials, 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog.
In my opinion, the supersizing was very nicely done -- and the two members of our research group who live in Hamilton bungalows, agree, I think. I can't even tell for certain which level was the original, and the floors on both levels are really beautiful, as is the trim (some of it is probably original, and other trim was fabricated to match, which is really nice attention to detail). The distinctive brickwork design of the chimney, there on the right side, matches what we usually see on the Hamilton, and what we see on the catalog image, so maybe the first floor is the original floor? In any case, here are just a few photos from the real estate listing:

interior photo, in color, of Sears Hamilton, 3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia

interior photo, in color, of Sears Hamilton, 3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia

interior photo, in color, of Sears Hamilton, 3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia

color front photo of exterior of Sears Hamilton, 3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia
Sears Hamilton, 3918 8th Street South, Arlington, Virginia

If anyone out there has any information on when the house was enlarged, and which floor is the original house (and, if we're really luck, has a photo!), please feel free to contact me (SearsHouses@gmail.com).

Four Supersized Sears Crescent Models
We found seven examples of the Sears Crescent, still standing. Of those, four have been supersized to varying degrees. Let's take a look, first, at the image of the Crescent in the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog:
sepia toned image of Sears Crescent in the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Crescent, 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog. The Crescent had two different sizes, but both looked the same across the front, except for the existence of a third porch column on each side, on the larger model. The three windows on the right side, of this image, tell us that the image is showing us the larger version, as well.

901 19th Street South: Our first Crescent example, was bought in 1927, by James Lawrence Endicott and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, with a $5,000 mortgage through Sears. It's a pretty straightforward enlargement, that works pretty well. There's a Sears Rodessa next door, built in 1922.
color photo from street, of  Sears Crescent, 901 19th Street South, Arlington, Virginia
Sears Crescent, 901 19th Street South, Arlington, Virginia

1712 N Wayne Street: This next Crescent was also bought in 1927, with a $4,800 mortgage through Sears. The mortgagors were John E Merritt and his wife, Sarah J. Merritt. Unfortunately, they lost it back to Sears the very next year.
front color photo of Sears Crescent at 1712 N Wayne Street, Arlington, Virginia
Sorry, images taken from Google Streetview are sometimes skewed like this.
Sears Crescent at 1712 N Wayne Street, Arlington, Virginia

Here's a straight-on front view:
front color photo of Sears Crescent at 1712 N Wayne Street, Arlington, Virginia
Sears Crescent at 1712 N Wayne Street, Arlington, Virginia

1885 N Highland Street: This Crescent was bought in 1925, by widow Ida Andre, with a $4,600 mortgage through Sears. It would have been hidden from us, if it hadn't been for historic Google Maps Streetview's earlier versions-- because, in 2021 Streetview, the house is fully hidden behind foliage . I had to slide around the corner, to Lee Hwy, and go back to 2012 Streetview, to catch a glimpse of the house, but, still, because of the demolition of the house near it, and the construction of a high-rise building in its place, there's not one great view... however, what we do see is amazing. Take a look at how this 1925 Crescent has been transformed:
color exterior photo: Sears Crescent at 1885 N Highland Street, Arlington, Virginia
Sears Crescent at 1885 N Highland Street, Arlington, Virginia

color rear view: Sears Crescent at 1885 N Highland Street, Arlington, Virginia
And, here's what the back of that upper addition looks like.

2271 N. Upton Street: Our final supersized Crescent, has had quite a transformation, with an addition to the right side, a complete re-looking of the trademark Sears Crescent front porch, and an addition to the back that also incorporated the addition of extra height to the house. The interior looks to have been completely gutted down to the joists, with walls removed to make an extremely open floor plan, and the staircase re-located. Something of the original house is still there, but I'm not sure what.  This Crescent was originally bought in 1925, with a $4,600 mortgage through Sears, by J. Dwight Sill and his wife, Olga. 

In 2009 Streetview, only some changes had been made... new siding, and enclosure of the porch pillars and the arch of the porch roof:

color photo from Streetview, Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, as it looked in 2009
Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, as it looked in 2009

Here's the left side, which shows us that this was the larger of the two floor plans that was offered in 1925, and it was the reverse of the layout shown in the catalog (a common change). The larger plan had a small amount of extension to the back of the house, but that extension was only on the first floor, and the main roof was not over that section... it had its own roof:

sepia toned image from catalog: Sears Crescent larger floor plan, flipped, from 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Reversed floor plan image of the Crescent's larger floor plan, 1925 catalog

color side view photo of Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, as it looked in 2009
Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, as it looked in 2009

Here is the final look of the house, after all of the transformations put in place after 2009... this is the current look, in 2022, from a 2021 real estate listing:

color photo of the front of the transformed Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, as it looked in 2021

Here is the left side, next to the original left side:

color photo of the side views of the transformed Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, as it looked in 2021 next to the side view of the same house in 2009
You can see that there is now additional height, and the roof covers even the extension in the back of the house, with the addition of a dormer in the back, and in the front. (Click to enlarge.)

Here is the new layout, as shown in the real estate listing, with the Crescent's catalog floor plan below. You can see that the staircase is now all the way over to the left side of the house, while it had been right in the middle of the house, originally. All of that area was completely opened up, so the staircase was re-located:

designer drawing of Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia

sepia toned image from catalog: Sears Crescent floor plan, larger plan, flipped
Sears Crescent floor plan from the Sears Modern Homes catalog, flipped

Here are some images of the interior, now:

interior view of entry Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia
Here's the new location of the staircase.

interior view of living room Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia
The front door opens into a completely open space.

interior view of living room and kitchen Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia
That living room follows into a completely open kitchen and dining area that includes a good amount of space that was added behind the original dining room area. 

color image of interior of Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia, new side addition
This is the new added space on the right side of the house, running the full depth of the house.
                                                              
blue bedroom, interior view: Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia
This is the first-floor bedroom, on the left side, back of the house. All of this wood flooring throughout the first floor, is new. It's not a refinish of the original flooring from Sears.

color photo of new bedroom in Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia
This is one of the bedrooms in the new section of the back of the house, I believe.

color interior photo showing new bedroom added to Sears Crescent at 2271 N Upton Street, Arlington, Virginia
This is probably the bedroom that is now under the new back dormer, on the back of the house.
This house sold in 2015 for $825,000. I imagine that all of the renovations were done after that, and the house was listed again, in July 2020, for $1,725,000. After several months on the market, it was removed, and was then re-listed in February 2021. It sold in March 2021 for $1,500,000.

Three Supersized Sears Clyde Models
I'll close with three of the remaining Clyde models that we found still standing in Arlington County. We know that there were at least three more, that, instead of being supersized, were simply demolished. The Clyde bungalow was a popular small model offered by Sears -- we've got over 130 of them on our national database. In Arlington, though, this is one of the models that seems to have been frequently chosen to be torn down. So much so, that I once commented, "It's not safe to be a Clyde in Arlington, Virginia!" We have 21 "unknown" models that were demolished, too (meaning that we know that there was a Sears house on a particular lot, but it is now either a new build, or a commercial build location, so we can't know what model was there, originally), so it's possible that some of those were Clydes, as well. 

The Clyde bungalow was offered between 1920 and 1929. There was a little bit of a design change in the last five years, visible in the look of the chimney, and the streamlined look of the front porch, and the removal of the decorative elements on the gables :
side by side image of Sears Clyde in the 1921 vs 1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Clyde bungalow style changes (click to enlarge)

black and white image of Sears Clyde in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Clyde in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog

sepia toned image of Sears Clyde in the 1926 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Clyde in my 1926 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Here's the information section and floor plan of the Clyde, in the 1926 catalog:
sepia toned image of information section of Sears Clyde in my 1926 Sears Modern Homes catalog

Sears Clyde at 709 N Edgewood Street
This one is a really big house, now. Take a look, and see if you see the front of a Clyde in this house. I had noticed this house on the street, as I "drove" up and down the street during searches for mortgaged lots, and then finally found that I actually had a mortgage for the house. What's interesting is that this house, though purchased in August 1927, when the Clyde was offered with the look you see in the 1928 example, above, was given elements more like what you see in the pre-1925 version of the house, when it was given its re-looking.
color photo from the street, of Sears Clyde bungalow, now greatly expanded, at 709 N Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia
Sears Clyde bungalow, now greatly expanded, at 709 N Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia

color photo from the street, of Sears Clyde bungalow, now greatly expanded, at 709 N Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia

color photo from the street, of Sears Clyde bungalow, now greatly expanded, at 709 N Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia

color photo from the street, of Sears Clyde bungalow, now greatly expanded, at 709 N Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia

Here is the front, next to the two versions of the Clyde that we see in the catalogs. You can see that there was an effort to keep some of the Clyde elements, and the porch piers and railing look like what we see in the pre-1925 catalog images:
color photo from the street, of Sears Clyde bungalow, now greatly expanded, at 709 N Edgewood Street, Arlington, Virginia, compared to vintage catalog images

This Clyde was purchased in August of 1927 with a $3900 mortgage, for bachelor James E Mackley, who was a clerk for the U.S. Government. He later married Virginia, also a clerk for the U.S. Government.

Sears Clyde bungalow at 409 S Barton Street
This Clyde has a big addition, but it is more keeping with the style of the original house. It was bought in February 1926, with a $3900 mortgage through Sears, by Lawrence Clyde Heishman and wife Mabel Helen Heishman. Lawrence was an electrician for the U. S. Government. Interestingly, this 1926 Clyde has the boxy porch piers of the later look of the Clyde, but it actually has the porch columns and soffit of the earlier style.
color photo of front view of Sears Clyde 409 S Barton Street Arlington Virginia
1926 Sears Clyde at 409 S Barton Street, Arlington, Virginia

Sears Clyde bungalow at 12 E Alexandria Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia
Here is the greatly expanded, silvery grey Clyde that we found in Alexandria, Virginia (I should point out, again, that though Alexandria is now its own entity, its historic land records are found through accessing the Arlington County government website). It's hard to get a feel for the whole house, and it took me a minute or two to figure out which Sears model this was, when I pinpointed this lot as the one with a mortgage. The house was bought in September of 1927 by Claude H Wolford and wife Evelyn Wolford, with a $4200 mortgage.
color photo of silver grey house: Sears Clyde 12 E Alexandria Avenue Alexandria Virginia
12 E Alexandria Avenue, Alexandria, Virgina (image from this Redfin listing)

color photo of silver grey house: Sears Clyde 12 E Alexandria Avenue Alexandria Virginia
Image from this real estate listing by the Goodhart Group


That's it for today's display of supersized Sears models in Arlington, Virginia! I have several other interesting supersized Sears houses that I expect to show in a follow-up blog post. 

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

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Sears Houses In Arlington, Virginia: A Comprehensive List

color photo front image of Sears avalon model at 2262 N Wakefield St, Arlington, Virginia
Authenticated Sears Avalon • 2262 N Wakefield St, Arlington, Virginia
Alfred and Annie Davis ordered this house in 1925, with a $5,800 mortgage through Sears, that would have also covered construction costs.

We've heard the stories, and we've read the stories, but we were eager to find out for ourselves: Where are the Sears houses in Arlington County, Virginia?

We appreciate that work that has been done up to now, to try to locate all of the Sears kit houses in Arlington, but we wondered, "Where is the list?" As I mentioned in my last blog post, we had read the respected Masters thesis of Cynthia Liccese-Torres, and learned that she had discovered Sears trustee William C. Reed, during that research (he was the Sears trustee who signed off on the great majority of the mortgages in Arlington County). We had read the Darline Hannabass article, written for the Arlington Historical Society in 1993. It mentioned a number of specific houses, with just a general location, and showed a hand full of nice photos. In it, she made reference to a research project done in 1986, looking for, and photographing Sears houses around Arlington, because The Historical Society was to be giving a tour, organized by Catharine T. Saulmon, that year. I believe that group had found close to 200 houses that they believed to be Sears houses. 

When our group read about all of this, we tried to get in contact with someone who might have a list of the Sears houses that these researchers had found. Unfortunately, no one whom we contacted had any information to share with us. As I've mentioned many times, our research group maintains the National Database of Sears Houses in the U.S., so we are always eager to collaborate with other researchers, and add houses to the national list.  We knew that someone who had been, at one time, connected with the historical society, was now giving occasional presentations about Sears houses, but she was unwilling, for some reason, to respond to our requests for information, over the past few years. 

So, this year, as other members of our group were busy with mortgage and newspaper research in various states, Andrew Mutch (Kit House Hunters) sat down with Google Streetview, and toured around just about every street of Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria. He has an excellent eye for recognizing Sears models (having found thousands of examples that make up part of the over 14,000 houses on our national database), and he added about 50 models to our list of Sears houses in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, through this method. Note that, though the current City of Alexandria is not in a county, its land records (deeds, not property records) are found through either the Arlington County database, or through the Fairfax County database. Additionally, Arlington County was originally known as Alexandria County. Since our research was in the Arlington County historic database, I'm referring to our finds as being in Arlington County.

Then... he did some digging and realized that we had not realized that the Arlington County, Virginia historic mortgage records, were available online.  I absolutely love doing mortgage research, and was fortunate to be handed the task of seeing what else we could find, via the online records. Well... we found a gold mine. 

color front photo of Sears Kilbourne model at 4838 24th Road N, Arlington, VA
Sears Kilbourne • 4838 24th Road N, Arlington, VA
This is one of the houses that Andrew found, that I later authenticated through mortgage records.
The house was bought in 1928 by Louise and Charles Jennings, with a $6700 mortgage from Sears.

So, for the last three months, I have immersed myself in Trust Deeds and plat maps in Arlington County, Virginia. The earliest mortgage that I found, was from 1911 (just empty lots, now), but the bulk of the houses that I found mortgages for, were built throughout the 1920s, with a few extending into the very early 1930s. I'm not the big number cruncher of our group, but I think the results we have now, are something like this:
  • 162 Sears houses found to be still standing, in the whole of Arlington County, including the City of Alexandria
Of those:
  • 138 Sears houses found in Arlington County (not counting Alexandria)
    • 114 of those Sears houses are now fully authenticated through primary sources
  •   24 Sears houses found in the City of Alexandria
    • 11 of those Alexandria houses are fully authenticated through primary sources
In addition to "still standing" houses, we found the frustrating reality that many of our historic Sears houses, have been demolished, having fallen prey, as soon as they went up for sale, to the eagerness to build bigger, newer, and more expensive houses:
  • 43 Sears houses in the whole of Arlington County, including the City of Alexandria, have been demolished.
    • 39 of those were fully authenticated through primary sources
Finally, we have a list of about 20 more houses that we label as "possibles". Some of these are more possible than others :). While I can't stress enough how thorough this research has been (with several sets of eyes on every house, and a multi-faceted approach to locating the houses, along with an exacting list of requirements for us to "okay" a house as the Sears model it looks like), we still sometimes find houses that are just "off" enough to be kept off of our main list. We expect to see all windows and doors in all of the right places, the furnace chimney to be in just the right spot, and the dimensions of the house to be spot on. We are concerned if an expected bumpout is missing, and just as concerned if an unexpected bumpout is present. When we can't meet those criteria, absent an authenticating resource, we place the house on our "possibles" list. So, in this case, there are about 20 more houses that we are wondering about, and a few of those might actually be Sears houses.

front photo of now-gone sears betsy ross model 313 n fillmore st arlington va
A Sears Betsy Ross model that had stood at 313 N Fillmore St, Arlington, VA

side photo of sears betsy ross model 313 n fillmore st arlington va
This home had been bought in 1923 by widow Rebecca Sudduth, with a $3400 mortgage through Sears.
The Betsy Ross has this special brick pattern in the side chimney, where we often see a flower box.


sepia toned 1925 catalog image of sears betsy ross model
The Betsy Ross in the 1925 catalog. Read more about this model, and see other examples, at this Sears Homes Of Chicagoland blog post by our fellow researcher, Lara Solonickne.

image of proposed new construction on the site of a former Sears house
Here is what is to be built here, now. 
Here is the list!
Without further ado, let me show you the lists of what we have found. I have put a link to take you to see the house in situ, via Google Maps Streetview. Additionally, Andrew Mutch has put together 2 full, interactive Google maps of all of the locations of each house, including the model name, address, and year of construction (links to those maps are at the end of this blog post). Both my list, and Andrew's interactive maps, also tell you whether or not we have authenticated the house. Further, rather than providing a catalog image for each of these houses (as the list is so extensive), let me share with you my blog page of links to many of the Sears catalogs, online.  For further information, note that Andrew Mutch has pulled together data on the authenticated Sears houses in the greater DC area, including counties in Maryland, and presented that in this blog post.

Arlington County, Virginia • Sears Houses
Sears ModelAddressAuth?Link
Americus2612 N Pershing AveNoTrulia listing
Americus1903 N Quebec StYesWashington Times
Americus114 N Jackson StYes2012 Streetview
Americus500 N Fillmore StYesStreetview
Argyle558 23rd St SYesStreetview
Avalon2262 N Wakefield StYesStreetview
Custom214 N Irving StYesStreetview 2009
Barrington650 N Jackson StYesStreetview
Barrington912 S Quincy StYesStreetview
Bedford237 N Bryan StYesStreetview
Bedford116 S Garfield StYesStreetview
Bellewood628 24th St SYesRedfin listing
Berwyn612 N Fillmore StYesStreetview
Betsy Ross508 N Fillmore StYesStreetview
Betsy Ross610 25th St SYesRealtor site
Betsy Ross3007 3rd St NYesStreetview
Brookside821 23rd St SYesStreetview
Clifton2114 N Oakland StNoStreetview
Clyde409 S Barton StYesStreetview
Clyde709 N Edgewood StYesStreetview 2009
Conway1703 N Randolph StYesRedfin listing
Conway1507 N McKinley RdYesRedfin listing
Conway1216 S Monroe StYesRedfin listing
Cornell5706 4th Street NorthYesReal estate listing
Cornell708 20th St SYesRedfin listing
Crafton806 18th St SouthYesStreetview
Crescent901 19th St SYesStreetview
Crescent1712 N Wayne StYesStreetview
Crescent2343 S Arlington Ridge RdYesStreetview
Crescent2507 N Pershing DrYesStreetview
Crescent1885 N Highland StYesStreetview
Crescent2271 N Upton StYesTrulia listing
Crescent4413 8th St SNoStreetview
Custom2255 N Powhatan StYesRedfin listing
Custom1601 S Arlington Ridge RdYesStreetview
Custom2250 S Kent StYesRedfin listing
Davenport3213 4th St NYesRedfin listing
Del Rey2707 Key BlvdYesStreetview
Del Rey5657 8th St NYesStreetview
Elsmore3320 3rd St NYesStreetview
Elsmore803 N Highland StYesStreetview
Elsmore2332 N Tuckahoe StNoRedfin listing
Fairy3908 8th St SYesStreetview
Fullerton518 24th St SYesStreetview
Gladstone1818 N Taylor StYesStreetview
Hamilton3918 8th St SYesStreetview
Hamilton411 N Cleveland StNoRedfin listing
Hamilton310 N Barton StYesStreetview
Hamilton308 N Edgewood StYesStreetview
Hamilton524 N Edison StYesStreetview
Hammond2401 S June StYesStreetview
Hampton3809 8th St SYesStreetview
Hathaway918 S Monroe StYesStreetview
Hathaway645 24th St SYesStreetview
Hathaway709 N Wakefield StYesStreetview
Hazelton1900 S Joyce StYesRedfin listing
Homestead2701 2nd St SYesStreetview
Homeville513 24th St SYesStreetview
Homewood1013 18th St SYesStreetview
Hudson209 S Edgewood StYesStreetview
Jewel3304 23rd St NYesRealtor site
Josephine2805 2nd St SNoStreetview
Josephine3905 Washington BlvdYesStreetview
Kilbourne3600 14th St NNoStreetview
Kilbourne858 N Frederick StNoStreetview
Kilbourne4838 24th Rd NYesStreetview
Langston3107 4th St NorthYesStreetview
Langston2206 S Grant StYesStreetview
Lexington1805 Army Navy DrYesRedfin listing
Madelia302 N Bryan StNoStreetview
Maplewood5017 13th St NYesRedfin listing
Marina216 N Barton StNoRedfin listing
Marina (2024)800 N Highland StYesStreetview
Maytown1639 N Randolph StNoStreetview
Mitchell402 N Jackson StNoStreetview
Montrose2810 Key BlvdNoTrulia listing
Montrose2629 Washington BlvdYesZillow listing
No. 2154767 24th St NNoRedfin listing
Oakdale3321 3rd St NYesRedfin listing
Olivia512 N Kensington StYesRedfin listing
Olivia417 S Fillmore StYesTrulia listing
Olivia2610 11th St SYesStreetview
Puritan733 24th St SNoStreetview
Rembrandt202 North Irving StNoStreetview
Rembrandt315 N Garfield StYesStreetview
Rodessa604 21st St SYesStreetview
Rodessa905 19th St SYesStreetview
Rodessa1019 Edgewood StYesStreetview
Rodessa807 N Daniel StYesStreetview
Roseberry637 24th St SYesRental listing
Sheridan728 21st StYesStreetview
Sheridan812 N Kenmore StYesrental listing
Sheridan3407 N Pershing DrYesStreetview
Starlight307 N Barton StYesRedfin listing
Starlight504 S Highland StYesStreetview
Starlight812 N Lincoln StYesStreetview
Sunbeam136 N Irving StNoStreetview
Sunbeam3015 2nd St NorthYesStreetview
Sunbeam430 N Jackson StYesRedfin listing
Sunbeam718 Highland St NYesRedfin listing
Sunlight3723 7th St SYesRedfin listing
Sunlight1815 N Stafford StYes2014 streetview
Sunlight3309 22nd St NYesBing streetview
Unknown model3116 N 7th StYesRedfin listing
Unknown model5602 1st St SYesStreetview
Uriel1808 N Randolph StYesStreetview
Uriel2906 4th St NYesStreetview
Uriel4713 22nd St NYesStreetview
Vallonia920 N Garfield StYesTrulia listing
Vallonia3512 8th St SYesStreetview
Vallonia817 N Highland StYesStreetview
Vallonia3903 9th St SouthYesStreetview
Vallonia502 N Jefferson STYesStreetview
Vallonia2020 N Kenmore StYesStreetview
Vallonia2506 S Fern StYesStreetview
Vallonia3203 4th St NYesRedfin listing
Van Dorn3020 N Nottingham StYesStreetview 2009
Van Page415 N Monroe StNoStreetview
Walton1518 N GarfieldNoStreetview
Walton2207 Columbia PikeYesStreetview
Walton2436 N Glebe RdYesWashington Times
Wellington219 N FillmoreYesStreetview
Westly812 S Taylor StYesStreetview
Westly1718 N Adams StYesStreetview
Westly614 23rd St SouthYesrealtor site
Westly700 N Lincoln StYesStreetview
Wexford3421 21st Ave NYesstreetview
Whitehall3006 N Pershing DrNoStreetview
Willard2424 N Custis RdNoStreetview
Windsor1914 N Underwood StNoStreetview
Winona1241 N Utah StNoStreetview
Winona1806 N Cleveland StYesStreetview
Winona252 N Bryan StYesStreetview
Winona800 N Cleveland StYesStreetview
Winona601 S Highland StYesStreetview
Winona2105 N Stafford StYesRedfin listing
Woodland1714 N Bryan StNoStreetview
Woodland322 S Adams StYesStreetview

 

color front photo of Sears Conway at 1216 Monroe St S, Arlington VA
A beautiful, authenticated Sears Conway at 1216 Monroe St S, Arlington VA
This home was bought in February of 1929 by Starley A Shelton and his wife, Mollie. The Sheltons had 7 children, 4 daughters and 3 sons. Mr. Shelton was an auditor for the U.S. Government. As is often the case in the later mortgages through Sears, there were two mortgages, a primary mortgage for $4400, and a junior mortgage, for $1100.  

sepia toned catalog image of sears conway catalog image from 1928 sears modern homes catalog
The Sears Conway in the 1928 catalog. This model was earlier marketed as the Uriel.

 
sepia toned floor plan image sears conway from 1928 sears modern homes catalog
There were several floor plan options for the Conway. We can tell by the presence of a side door, that this is the floor plan that the Sheltons must have chosen. We can tell by the number of children, that they must have chosen the floorplan that had the extra bedrooms upstairs!

City of Alexandria, VA • Arlington County • Sears Houses
ModelAddressAuth?Link
Belmont209 E Bellefonte AveNoStreetview
Claremont3 W Oak StNoStreetview
Clyde12 Alexandria Ave EastYesReal estate listing
Collingwood210 E Mason AveYesStreetview
Conway302 E Windsor AveYesStreetview
Crescent7 W Braddock RdNoRedfin listing
Dundee109 Stewart AveYesStreetview
Elmhurst608 Woodland TerNoStreetview
Gladstone113 Stewart AveYesStreetview
Kismet400 E Windsor AveYesStreetview
Lynnhaven2715 Sycamore StNoStreetview
Mitchell1 W Oak StNoRedfin listing
No. 181312 E Raymond AveNoReal estate video
Oakdale217 E Bellefonte AveYesListing on Compass
Oakdale2412 Leslie AveNoStreetview
Starlight18 W Custis AveNoStreetview
Vallonia2403 Ridge Rd DrYesStreetview
Verona713 Timber Branch DrYesStreetview
Walton17 W Del Ray AveNoStreetview
Walton220 E Custis AveNoStreetview
Walton101 W Bellefonte AveNoReal estate listing
Westly2710 Sycamore StYesStreetview
Winona7 W Myrtle StNoRealtor.com listing
Woodland116 Stewart AveYesStreetview

front color photo of Sears walton model 17 W Del Ray Avenue, City of Alexandria VA
Probable Sears Walton • 17 W Del Ray Avenue, City of Alexandria VA
sepia tone image Sears Walton model shown in the 1925 sears modern homes catalog
The Sears Walton in the 1925 Sears Modern Homes catalog.
Though this home is not connected to a mortgage with Sears, it is likely from 1925 or a little later, as the porch railing style was different, prior to that. 

color front photo of Sears Lynnhaven model at 2715 Sycamore St, City of Alexandria, VA
Sears Lynnhaven model, 2715 Sycamore St, City of Alexandria, VA
Andrew Mutch recently found this, just "driving" around the streets of Alexandria. There are many "lookalikes" to the Sears Lynnhaven, making us always wary of examples that we find that don't have a mortgage. However, this one has what we call, "the Sears curlicues"... the curled edges of the black decorative iron strapping on the door. Many companies of the era, included decorative iron strapping on their doors, but only Sears' strapping has this kind of curlicue. You can read more about the Sears Lynnhaven, and see interiors, in this Sears Homes of Chicagoland blog post by Lara Solonickne, featuring a Sears Lynnhaven in Barrington, Illinois, that was bought be a man who was later killed in Iwo Jima.

Additionally, we have three Sears houses found with mailing addresses in Arlington, Virginia, but that are not in Arlington County. These three are in Fairfax County, Virginia. There are surely many more to be found in Fairfax County.

Alexandria, VA • Fairfax County • Sears Houses
ModelAddressAuth?
Roseberry2060 Huntington AveNo
Sunlight2616 E Maple StNo
Wellington2903 Groveton StNo

front color photo of sears wellington model at 2903 Groveton Street, in Alexandria, Fairfax County, VA
You can see more of this darling Sears Wellington model, in this Trulia listing. It's at 2903 Groveton Street, in Alexandria, Fairfax County, VA.

side color photo of sears wellington model at 2903 Groveton Street, in Alexandria, Fairfax County, VA

Interior photo of sears wellington model at 2903 Groveton Street, in Alexandria, Fairfax County, VA


Other Kit-House Companies

We really specialize in, and focus on, Sears kit houses. But in our travels, we often come across kit houses by some of the other kit-house companies of the era, such as Aladdin Homes, Lewis Homes, Wardway Homes, and, in this case, even McClure Homes (a smaller company, that was based in Saginaw, Michigan). We maintain lists of houses from these companies, as well, though they are not as extensive, by any means, as our national list of Sears houses. The kits of these companies are definitely out there to be found, but they are just not what we focus on. Andrew has included those that we have found, on his interactive maps, so I will provide these short lists:

Possible Aladdin Kit Houses
ModelStreet AddressCityAuth?
Detroit405 Hume AveAlexandriaNo
Pomona2804 King StAlexandriaNo
Capitol1617 N Garfield StArlingtonNo
Plaza1713 N Bryan StArlingtonNo
Pomona612 24th St SArlingtonNo
Pomona2008 N Kenmore StArlingtonNo

 

Color front photo of Aladdin Plaza model at 1713 N Bryan St, Arlington, VA
Probable Aladdin Plaza • 1713 N Bryan St, Arlington, VA
There is a Sears Woodland model across the street, not authenticated, but highly likely
We do know that an E. Cassidy bought an Aladdin Plaza in 1919, in Alexandria. Considering that Arlington County was called Alexandria County in that era, this could be that Plaza, but I was not able to link it E. Cassidy through city directories or census records.

color drawing of Aladdin Plaza model in the 1918 Aladdin Homes catalog
The Aladdin Plaza in the 1918 Aladdin Homes catalog (here)



Lewis Homes • Arlington VA
ModelAddressAuth?
Alameda639 20th St SYes
Ardmore130 N Jackson StNo

 

front color photo of Probable Lewis Homes Ardmore • 130 N Jackson St, Arlington VA
Probable Lewis Homes Ardmore • 130 N Jackson St, Arlington VA
I feel very confident about this home being a Lewis Ardmore, because it has the needed differences to distinguish it from the close lookalike by a plans-only company. 

black and white image of Lewis Ardmore model in the Lewis Homes 1924 catalog
Lewis Homes Ardmore in the 1924 Lewis Homes catalog
Read more about this model, in this blog post of mine

Wardway Homes
Wardway homes were the kit-house homes sold by Montgomery Ward. I found only one mortgage for a Wardway house, in all of Arlington County. This seems odd, but Andrew Mutch has done extensive research in the mortgages in Washington D.C. and Maryland, and found only a small Wardway presence in those locations. Maybe Sears really had the market there, or maybe there is another trustee for Wardway that we are unaware of (we've got several on our trustees list, and I checked them all).  The one Wardway house that I found was this beautiful Wardway Suburban model, purchased in 1928 by James W Harris and his wife, Ida B Harris. Mrs. Harris was 46 at the time, and Mr. Harris was 53. He is listed as a carpenter, on the 1930 census. On the 1940 census, he is listed as proprietor of a garage. They had four daughters, Clara, Worthe, Nellie, and Helen. The Harris couple paid $4350 for their Wardway Suburban kit, which no doubt included construction costs in the mortgage.

front color photo of Wardway Suburban model • 800 21st St S, Arlington VA
Authenticated Wardway Suburban • 800 21st St S, Arlington VA
The earlier address for this house (before the 1934 street name changes), was 400 Dulaney St.

black and white image of Wardway suburban model in 1925 Wardway kit house catalog from Montgomery Ward
Wardway Homes Suburban model, in the 1925 catalog
Thanks to our friend at AntiqueHome/Daily Bungalow for the scan, online, here

These 15 McClure Company houses are all authenticated through mortgage records. They were bought by two developers, in 1923 and 1924. They are all versions of the Groton model, which was a single floor plan, offered with about 10 different variations to the exterior. Even though these houses look quite different from each other, their interior layout should be the same as each other.

black and white pull out catalog pages showing McClure Homes kit home model Groton
From catalog N°20, National Homes, McClure Company, Cut-to-fit houses

We were fortunate to have access to the National Homes McClure Company catalog N°20, through the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan (reference).

light brown catalog cover with black writing, National Homes McClure company
Cover of catalog N°20

Inside, in addition to the model images, McClure included information about the quality of their product, and what you could expect, with your purchase. Here is the first page of that information, from catalog N°20:

black text on page of catalog 20 national homes mcclure company cut-to-fit houses
source

Andrew found this ad in a publication related to textile mills:

black and white newspaper clipping of mcclure homes kit company ad

Here are two McClure Groton models, each sharing the same floor plan, but different exteriors, both on N Pollard Street in Arlington:

front color image of 2137 N Pollard St, Arlington VA • McClure kit house Groton
2137 N Pollard St, Arlington VA • McClure kit house

front color image of 2143 N Pollard St, Arlington VA • McClure kit house Groton
2143 N Pollard St, Arlington VA • McClure kit house
McClure Kit Houses • Arlington VA
ModelAddressYear BuiltAuth
All purchased by developer John W Glennan
$4200 each
13002503 2nd Rd N1923Yes
12732515 2nd Rd N1923Yes
1284213 N Cleveland St1923Yes
unsure205 N Cleveland St1923Yes
12842617 2nd Rd N1923Yes
12812508 2nd Rd N1923Yes
13002512 2nd Rd N1923Yes
All purchased by developer Oscar V Myers
$6100 each
12732143 N Pollard St1924Yes
12932141 N Pollard St1924Yes
13002137 N Pollard St1924Yes
12712133 N Pollard St1924Yes
1294?2129 N Pollard St1924Yes
13002125 N Pollard St1924Yes
12732121 N Pollard St1924Yes
12732150 N Pollard St1924Yes

 Interactive Google Maps

Thanks to Andrew Mutch for putting together these two interactive Google maps, which include all of the homes on the lists above, giving the model name, address, the build year (when known), and whether or not the house is authenticated. Click on the images below, or on these links:




A Few Last Notes
It may be helpful for other researchers to know that we discovered that build dates given for Arlington County properties, on their Property Search website, are not fully accurate (as is often the case). The resource is really excellent for finding lots of important information, and was essential to me in my several months of researching, nonetheless. We have found, over the years, that most county property search databases contain only guesstimates for the actual build year of the houses. When we have primary sources giving the date of the mortgage, we know that's a definite, accurate build year. It is very often different from what a county website provides, sometimes by a year or two, sometimes by a decade (or more). 

Additionally, if you are interested, as I was starting this research in Arlington County, I did a blog post about several Sears and Aladdin houses on 24th St S, in Arlington. You can read that, here. I intend to highlight several Arlington County Sears houses in upcoming blog posts, as well.


color image of sears house seeker homeville model featured in blog post about sears houses in arlington va
Finally, as I mentioned, above, other kit house researchers in our group, have put together well-researched documentation of kit houses in other areas of the greater D.C. region:

  • Andrew Mutch has put together some important figures on the numbers of authenticated Sears houses in the greater DC area, including counties in Maryland, where he has done extensive research:
color image of Kit House Hunters blog post snippet intro on data on sears houses in washington dc area
Please click on the image above, or here, to read this informative blog post.

  • Researcher and DC area realtor, Catarina Bannier (Bannier & Sandalow), has an excellent resource about kit houses in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which she put together with the cooperation of Historic Chevy Chase DC, after their organization expressed interest in this kind of comprehensive, meticulously-researched database : 
chevy chase kit houses bannier and sandalow compass realtors
Click here to access the Chevy Chase list
  • Andrew Mutch has also recently published an interesting article on why mortgage and deed records should play a significant role in authenticating Sears houses (and other kit houses).
click HERE to access this informative article

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