Saturday, June 3, 2023

Authenticated Sears Clyde In Colonia, New Jersey


color photo of front of green house, Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
Authenticated Sears Clyde bungalow, circa 1923 • 480 Fairview Avenue, Colonia, New Jersey

As we've mentioned before, we regularly peruse the real estate listings, looking for Sears houses for sale. This week, it was fun to run across this Sears Clyde bungalow, in Colonia, New Jersey (part of Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County), not only because it is a Sears house, but because I had previously tied this very house to a 1923 mortgage with Sears. 

black and white image of Sears Clyde bungalow in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Clyde bungalow in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog.
As you can see, this Clyde on Fairview Avenue has had the front porch enclosed, and a large addition has been added to the right side of the house, at some point. Take a look at the house from the front and from the right side:
color photo of front of green house, Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ

color photo of front of green house, Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ

Thanks to the real estate listing, we can see a good bit of the interior, much of which retains the original charm of the house, with original Craftsman style wood trim, and wood floors, and original wood doors from Sears.
color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
The fireplace is on the left side of the house, so the enclosed front porch is the section that we see here to the left of the photo... the other side of the wall with the piano. 

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
This area is part of the original section of the house, and, on the other side of the French doors on the right-side wall of the living room, is where the added-on section is. The wood trim around the French doors looks like the original Craftsman trim we see elsewhere in the house, so they either did a good job of replicating the trim, or maybe this additional section of the house was added on at the time of construction. I believe that the master bedroom is in the added space.

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
I believe that this master bedroom occupies the added-on space on the right side of the house, that is entered through the French doors in the living room (so, the wall with the two windows, is the furthest right side elevation of the house).

When the Clyde was first introduced in 1920, there were two floor plans offered... one with a bathroom (#9030), and a slightly smaller plan without a bathroom (#7030):
black and white image of catalog page showing two floorplans for Sears Clyde model, shown in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog
The first two Clyde floorplans, shown in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog. 
The larger floorplan, #9030, is shown on the left, and the smaller plan without a bathroom, #7030, is shown on the right.

Our house here at 480 Fairview Avenue, is the #9030 floor plan, with the right-side addition of the master bedroom (and there is a sunroom added on to the back):
black and white floor plan drawing for Sears Clyde 9030 1922
Sears Clyde #9030 floor plan, 1922

The back bedroom has two windows and a closet, and is accessed through the hallway. The bathroom is fit in between the two bedrooms, and the furthest front bedroom (really in the center portion of that side of the house), has one window, and a closet. The window is the window we see in the bump out section on the left side of the house.
color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
We can tell by the placement of these two windows, and the entry door, that this is the back bedroom.

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
This is the other bedroom -- that window wall is actually the bump out wall on the left side of the house.

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
This is the original bathroom that is in between those two bedrooms on the left side of the house, accessed through the little hall that connects the bedrooms... and, because it's 2023 and HGTV exists, and for no other good reason, a sliding barn door was added to replace the normal door... in my opinion, a completely unnecessary change, since this doesn't add any extra space to the bathroom, and a closed bathroom door would have allowed the exact same amount of space in the hallway (as well as a more cohesive design). 

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
This is the original layout of fixtures that is shown in the original floor plan offered for the Clyde, and I really like the addition of the decorative cement floor tiles, which are also used in the cubby holes in the shower... a nice design touch, I think:

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ

Here's a closer view of the dining room, allowing us to really see the beautiful wood floors. To the left, is the entry to that little hallway between the bedrooms and the bathroom, and the kitchen is entered through the back wall of the dining room:
color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
Original dining room space.

The kitchen is in the original space, and though these are not the original kitchen cabinets, let's take a look, anyway... after all, who doesn't like a nice white kitchen with subway tiles and vintage touches and nice stainless steel appliances? I like it... including the little Bon App├ętit sign on the wall:
color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
Definitely not the original flooring, but at least it's not that grey colored wood grain flooring we see so often in newly modernized homes. Back at the back of the kitchen, you see the original back door space, leading into an added-on sun room in the back of the house:

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
Here's that sunroom that is accessed through the kitchen.

color photo of rear of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
That extra, added sun room adds a nice amount of space, and it opens out to a little bit of back deck. 

color photo of interior room of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
The basement of the house is also nicely finished off, and the French teacher in me delights in seeing the little Eiffel Tower (I think that's the same topiary wrought iron Eiffel Tower, that I have in my classroom, in fact).

color photo of back yard of Sears Clyde 480 Fairview Ave Colonia NJ
The back yard wasn't provided by Sears, but it's attractive, and that little garage probably was bought from Sears, actually.

Who Lived Here?
Originally, this house was owned by Asa V. Wilder, but he sold it to Mrs. Letitia Scott, through Sears, in July of 1923 (which is why I listed it with a build year of "circa 1923", because it could have been built as early as 1920). There are nine Sears houses on these two blocks of Fairview Avenue, and I've authenticated seven of them (through mortgages or deeds connected to Sears). Four of those were houses originally bought by Blackwood & Schroeder, which I assume was a real estate or construction company, that built those houses, and then sold them to homeowners, and arranged for the new owners to have their mortgage through Sears (I guess that Blackwood & Schroeder had mortgages with Sears, and Sears allowed them to transfer those mortgages to the new homeowners). A. V. Wilder was possibly also a real estate or construction speculator, because, in addition to this Clyde that he sold to Mrs. Letitia Scott in July of 1923, he also ran ads for several days in August of 1923, for another house on Fairview Avenue:
black and white 1923 newspaper ad for A. V. Wilder house on Fairview Avenue, Colonia NJ
This classified ad from A. V. Wilder ran for three or four days in August of 1923, in the Central New Jersey Home News newspaper. I can't say for certain that this is for another Sears house, but there are three others on Fairview Avenue that I have not yet tied to a mortgage with Sears.

I wasn't able to find out anything about Mrs. Letitia Scott -- not her age, nor if her husband was still living, nor if she had children, nor if she had a job -- I only know the terms of her purchase of this Clyde: She put down $100 toward the full purchase price of $5,300 (that would have included the lot, too, so it would have covered the lot, the already-built-kit, and the already-incurred construction costs), agreed to pay another $2,200 upon receipt of the deed, and then allowed to pay the $3,000 balance through a five-year mortgage (at 6%) with Sears. This is the first time that I have run across a mortgage or deed set up like this, wherein the homeowner was dealing with the original owner and Sears at the same time... it's the first time that I've seen the name of the model of the house mentioned, as well. Here are snippets of that mortgage agreement-- you should be able to enlarge them through a click or a pinch open:
black and white text image, deed between Sears Roebuck and Letitia Scott, 1923

black and white text image, deed between Sears Roebuck and Letitia Scott, 1923


However, that's not the end of the story for Sears and this house. In April of 1928, a new Sears deed related to this house (which sits on lots 495 & 496, block 14, Colonia 2), shows that the property was transferred to Charles W. Knauer... not from Letitia Scott, but from a transaction involving Asa V. Wilder, Blackwood & Schroeder, and Sears, Roebuck and Company, involving Sears trustee Walker O. Lewis... so, apparently Blackwood & Schroeder had a connection to this property originally, too. I don't know what happened to Letitia Scott, but she must not have been able to keep up her payments on the house, because the 1928 deed mentions a 1924 transaction for this property, between Sears and Blackwood and Schroeder, and Asa V. Wilder (in fact, perhaps that 1923 newspaper ad I showed above, was not, in fact, for a different house, but was maybe for this same house, if Letitia Scott defaulted on her payments). Several of the Sears houses in these two blocks, appear to have gone through more than one transfer of an original mortgage from Sears.
black and white text image, legal description of lots 495 and 496 Colonia 2, for 480 Fairview Ave, Colonia, NJ, 1928 deed


black and white text image deed 1928 lots 495 and 496 Colonia 2, for 480 Fairview Ave, Colonia, NJ

So, in April of 1928, Charles W. Knauer, and his wife Margaret Does Knauer (both age 34), settled into their new Sears Clyde house, with their three children,  Robert (age 6), Margaret (age 4), and Arthur (born that year). They were still shown as living in that house in the 1940 U. S. Census, and on Charles' 1942 WWII registration. Further research into the deed archives, shows that Charles and Margaret bought neighboring lots 497 and 498 in a foreclosure sale in 1941 (and then lots 499 and 500 in a foreclosure sale in 1943), so perhaps the addition to the house was put on after purchasing those neighboring lots in 1941. It looks like the Knauers sold the property (lots 495, 496, 497 498) in 1957, to Irving and Vivian Lopatin. The Lopatins sold the house (all four lots) in 1964, to Henry G. Westberg and his wife, Elvy Westberg. After their deaths, their daughter, Gertrude Westberg, lived in the house, until she sold it in 2004 to Zbigniew and Monika Korkowski.


The History Of the Clyde Model
Sears first offered a very large house under the model name Clyde... but it was first marketed as the No. 118. That large model was offered beginning in 1908, and continued in the catalogs until 1919.
black and white image of big Sears Clyde model shown in 1918
Here is the original Clyde (No. 118) in the 1918 catalog. See that little dormer sticking up out of the front portion of the roof, just above that open-air sleeping porch? Well, if you ever see a really great match for this house, but it does not have that dormer, then it is most likely not the Sears model... because there was a plans-only house available through other plans-only companies, that looked just like this, but without that dormer. 

Here are two examples of "the big Clyde" that I've blogged about... one in Mexico, Missouri, and one in Almond, New York:
color photo of large house, Sears No 118 Clyde, 24003 Highway J, Mexico, Missouri
You can see lovely interior photos of this Mexico, Missouri Clyde, in this blog post.

color photo of front of large light green and white house Sears No 118 Clyde, 17 S Main St, Almond NY
And, you can see beautiful interior photos of this Almond, New York Clyde, here.

The Clyde Bungalow
Over the nine years that the Clyde bungalow was offered, it had a little bit of an exterior design change, and it had three possible floor plans. It ran in the catalogs from 1920-1929.

When first offered, it was shown like this... from 1920 through 1922:
black and white catalog image, Sears Clyde model catalog image 1920-1922
The Clyde, in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog. The 1920 catalog uses this same image, but the cost was $500 higher for either of the two "arrangements" of the kit, because the cost of construction supplies soared in the years right after WWI.

In the 1923 catalog, for some reason, they changed the style of the fireplace chimney, and added a trellis-style enclosure material for the front porch:
black and white catalog image, Sears Clyde model catalog image 1923
The slightly-changed look of the exterior of the Clyde, as shown only in 1923 and 1924.
The same two floor plans (9030 and 7030) were still offered.

Beginning in 1925, and continuing through 1929, the exterior of the Clyde got a more pronounced makeover, with a change to the look of the front porch pillars and short walls, and the elimination of the tracery in the gables:
black and white catalog image, Sears Clyde model catalog image 1925-1929
The Sears Clyde as shown in the catalogs from 1925 through 1929.

Floor Plan Changes
Beginning with the 1925 catalog, and continuing in 1926, the no-bathroom floor plan #7030 was no longer offered, and the only option was the #9030 floor plan.

But, from 1927 through 1929, an additional variation of the #9030 floor plan was also an option. The original #9030 floor plan was then labeled "9030A", and the newer plan, which was four feet wider, and added additional windows in the dining room, living room, and front bedroom, was offered as #9030B.
black and white image of catalog page for Sears Clyde model two floor plans, 9030A and 9030B, shown in the 1929 Sears Modern Homes catalog


Here are all three of the floor plans:
black and white drawing of Sears Clyde model floor plan 7030 shown in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog
smallest Clyde floor plan, #7030, 1920 - 1924
(no-bathroom ) 

black and white drawing of Sears Clyde model floor plan 9030 shown in the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Clyde floor plan #9030 (later called #9030A), 1920-1929

black and white drawing of Sears Clyde model largest floor plan, 9030B, shown in the 1927-29 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Clyde floor plan # 9030B, 1927-1929 -- 4 feet wider than #9030
Additional window in the front bedroom (we see that in the side bump out), additional window in the living room (we see that to the left of the front door, in the uncovered section of the front porch), and additional window in the dining room (making a nice bank of three windows on that side of the dining room)

Other Clyde Bungalow Examples
The Clyde is a nice little model, and we've found it in many towns, often with additions. I'll finish off with a few examples:

color streetview photo of house, Sears Clyde, 409 S Barton St, Arlington, VA
Another now-enlarged  Sears Clyde bungalow, mortgaged through Sears in 1926, at 409 S Barton Street, Arlington, VA

color photo of yellow and white house on farmland, Sears Clyde 7030, 3006 Weaver Rd, Mount Vernon, Ohio
Here's a Clyde with the smallest, no-bathroom floor plan (#7030)... you can see that there is no hallway connecting the bedrooms, they are just entered directly from the main rooms. A modern bathroom has now been added, and another addition for a larger kitchen, has been added on. At the time of this listing, the images show that the floors needed a refinishing, but the rest of the woodwork was original and in nice condition, and the house sits on a beautiful expanse of farm land. 3006 Weaver Rd, Mount Vernon, Ohio (see real estate photos here).

front view color photo of grey vinyl clad house, Sears Clyde, 708 Rudolph Ave, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
A modernized, vinyl-ized Clyde with enclosed front porch, 708 Rudolph Ave, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio


color streetview photo of white house, Sears Clyde, 156 S Roys Ave, Columbus Ohio
Another #9030 floor plan example, for sale in 2021, lots of great, original woodwork and details, needing floor refinishing and updates... it sold, and I hope it wasn't torn apart and filled with grey wood-look vinyl plank flooring. 156 S Roys Avenue, Columbus, Ohio.  • Sears Clyde bungalow

color streetview photo of small yellow house, Sears Clyde, 3702 W 132nd St, Cleveland Ohio
3702 W 132nd St, Cleveland, Ohio (no interior views) • Sears Clyde bungalow



color streetview image of  beige and white vinyl clad Sears Clyde bungalow, 10604 Dale Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
Vinyl-ized, carpeted, but in nice condition... Sears hinges. 10604 Dale Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio (interior views)  • Sears Clyde bungalow

color streetview photo of small white house with blue trim, 3692 Saybrook Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio • Sears Clyde bungalow
Nice interior with original floors, original Craftsman trim everywhere: 3692 Saybrook Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio (interior views)  • Sears Clyde bungalow

color Streetview image, small light green house with white trim, Sears Clyde bungalow, 38 Parker St, Belvidere, NJ
38 Parker St, Belvidere, NJ (interior views from before it was re-painted and fixed up)  • Sears Clyde bungalow

color streetview image of front and side of one-story white house, 9030B floor plan, Sears Clyde bungalow, 19548 Paxson Dr, South Bend, Indiana
An example of the wider, 9030B floor plan, Sears Clyde bungalow, but no interior views. 19548 Paxson Dr, South Bend, Indiana. This house was located by researcher Rebecca L. Hunter (Kithouse.org).

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