Jump to content

Sears Catalog Houses


Heights2Bastrop

Recommended Posts

  • 4 weeks later...

There are SOME Sears Homes in Texas, but I have no idea how many. According to Rebecca Hunter's new book (Putting Sears Homes on the Map, published 2004), there are at least 25 Sears Homes in Texas.

I've recently published a new book entitled "Finding the Houses That Sears Built" which is a field guide to Sears 60 most popular models. I found that these 60 models represent about 90% of their sales.

So...finding the Sears Homes in Texas need not be THAT difficult. Here's the main thing: Start in neighborhoods that were developed in the 1920s. Look for communities within 1-2 miles of railroad tracks. And keep in mind, we're talking about railroad tracks that were in place in the 1920s.

Most Sears Homes will be found in working class or middle class neighborhoods. Sometimes, neighborhoods get "locked up" by one developer, so you need not look THERE.

I've found Sears Homes from Virginia to California. So someone invite me to Texas to look around. :) I'd love to see what you've got.

Rose Thornton

author, The Houses That Sears Built

rosethornton@cox.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rosemary, you just described a good part of The Houston Heights. I thought if any part of Houston had Sears houses, the Heights would. I tried looking for them using your book, but it was a hopeless cause.

If you are serious about coming to Houston, you might contact the Houston Heights Association. I

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

There is a house in Eastwood that was being restored that might have been a Sears house. The owner does a lot of houses over there and coordinates the home tour. Supposedly an old-timer or someone had told him it was a Sears house. It backs up to a railroad track & looked very similiar to one I saw on a web site about Sears homes. I will see if I can find pictures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My grandmother [native Heightsite born 1900] told me the house on the SW corner of Rutland and 8th was a Sears house. It is one block north of where the rain tracks were that ran parallel with 7th.

She was in her early 80's at the time but remembered everything about the Heights.

B)

Edited by nmainguy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sears offered 370 designs of homes and sold 75,000 of these houses (from 1908 - 1940) in "all 48 states." I know there are several Sears Homes in Texas but there could be hundreds. It's hard to know for sure. "Houses by Mail" is a good resource and I wore out two copies of my own, but I gotta recommend *my* book - of course, which is "Finding The Houses That Sears Built; A Guide to Their 65 Most Popular Houses."

Sears had 370 designs, but I've found that 65 of those designs - their most popular houses - represent at least 90% of their sales. In other words, master those 65 designs and you're going to find the majority of the Sears Homes in your community. And - *and* - of those 370 designs, I've only seen about 150 of them "in the flesh."

It's altogether possible dozens and dozens of their designs were never sold.

I suspect there was another kit home company in the Texas area - a regional company - that sold kit homes. Almost every large city had their own "regional kit home company" but finding info about these local companies can be quite challenging.

Another facet to this is: Was there a Sears-related industry in or around Houston? Sears had a firm "down south" in the 1910s and 1920s that was dedicated to manufacturing stoves for Sears Roebuck. This firm employed hundreds of people and all the company did was build and ship stoves to Sears, Roebuck. Period.

If Houston had a Sears-related business such as that, it's possible the city ended up with several Sears Homes - just because of the relationship.

The other interesting thing: Sears sold "homart homes" from 1947 - 1951. These were true prefab houses - shipped in sections to the building site. If a Sears employee bought a Sears "Homart Home" they were given a 10% employee discount. I wonder if Sears did the same thing for their kit homes? I suspect they may have, in which case, if you had a big Sears store in Houston in the late 1920s or very early 30s, you may have some Sears Homes through that venue.

Rose

author, The Houses That Sears Built

www.searshomes.org

Edited by RosemaryThornton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i am planning on acquiring a copy of the book - do you recommend a particular vendor to get it from?

Sears offered 370 designs of homes and sold 75,000 of these houses (from 1908 - 1940) in "all 48 states." I know there are several Sears Homes in Texas but there could be hundreds. It's hard to know for sure. "Houses by Mail" is a good resource and I wore out two copies of my own, but I gotta recommend *my* book - of course, which is "Finding The Houses That Sears Built; A Guide to Their 65 Most Popular Houses."

Sears had 370 designs, but I've found that 65 of those designs - their most popular houses - represent at least 90% of their sales. In other words, master those 65 designs and you're going to find the majority of the Sears Homes in your community. And - *and* - of those 370 designs, I've only seen about 150 of them "in the flesh."

It's altogether possible dozens and dozens of their designs were never sold.

I suspect there was another kit home company in the Texas area - a regional company - that sold kit homes. Almost every large city had their own "regional kit home company" but finding info about these local companies can be quite challenging.

Another facet to this is: Was there a Sears-related industry in or around Houston? Sears had a firm "down south" in the 1910s and 1920s that was dedicated to manufacturing stoves for Sears Roebuck. This firm employed hundreds of people and all the company did was build and ship stoves to Sears, Roebuck. Period.

If Houston had a Sears-related business such as that, it's possible the city ended up with several Sears Homes - just because of the relationship.

The other interesting thing: Sears sold "homart homes" from 1947 - 1951. These were true prefab houses - shipped in sections to the building site. If a Sears employee bought a Sears "Homart Home" they were given a 10% employee discount. I wonder if Sears did the same thing for their kit homes? I suspect they may have, in which case, if you had a big Sears store in Houston in the late 1920s or very early 30s, you may have some Sears Homes through that venue.

Rose

author, The Houses That Sears Built

www.searshomes.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
i am planning on acquiring a copy of the book - do you recommend a particular vendor to get it from?

Hi all, I'm married to a San Antonio native and his family own a Sears home.

My mother in law remembers it being delivered and built, but the fascinating part of the story is that the city moved it.

It was built on one site but HEB wanted to put their grocery store near the house. They needed the lot the house was sitting on so paid to have it moved. They literally split the house in half (front to back) and moved it. They used a "strap" type system along the roofline to hold it together that you can still see when you go into the very "tight" attic space.

The house is still in the family but has suffered neglect. My husband and I are trying to talk his mother into letting us do some major repairs, but so far we've been unsuccessful.

So, for those of you wondering San Antonio has at least one Sears home. We've looked but can't quite identify the model. It's unique in that it has "two front doors", one that goes into the living room and the other goes into the front bedroom ( that part of the house juts beyond the living room portion ). I don't know if it was original or added when the house was moved. I do know, they rented one of the bedrooms to a WWII Soldier so it might be an addition from that period.

Ms. Thornton, I do have a question for you, how hard is it to track down the list of building materials to a specific house? My husband and I are tossing around the idea of building a Sears house on our property just because we really like the arts and crafts style bungalows.

All the best,

Tammy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

The house on the corner of allston and 11th (which is now occupied by Charter Title) was on the Houston Heights Christmas Home Tour, is still owned by the family who built it, and I am pretty positive they mentioned that it was a sears home. It is remarkably still in most of its original condition, inside and out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...
  • 8 months later...
Someone needs to hook these people up with the Eastwood Civic Assn.

True, and Dover Publications still sells several books complete with all plans and models to choose from. I would love to get one but I would have to get on a time machine :lol:

http://store.doverpublications.com/

PS, I worship Dover as they have all the historical architecture books one could want especially the Victorian Era! These books are recreated from long out of print articles published circa 1865-1900's.

Architect's featured were some of the greats during the gilded-age.

I am just ga-ga about it. :wacko::P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious if any of you have ever run across any old Sears mail-order houses in Houston.

Yes, let me know if you do, too. I live alone and a house like that would be ideal for me. I've seen some websites that sell very small houses. But you have to order them from California and pay so much per mile for delivery.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for reviving this thread. :)

I grew up around Rosenberg-Richmond and a number of the 1921-26 & 1927-32 homes from the website look quite familiar. Seems like a number of the kits made their way there. That or people built "inspired" versions on their own. Indeed they are in one of the older residential areas of town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sears offered 370 designs of homes and sold 75,000 of these houses (from 1908 - 1940) in "all 48 states." I know there are several Sears Homes in Texas but there could be hundreds. It's hard to know for sure. "Houses by Mail" is a good resource and I wore out two copies of my own, but I gotta recommend *my* book - of course, which is "Finding The Houses That Sears Built; A Guide to Their 65 Most Popular Houses."

Sears had 370 designs, but I've found that 65 of those designs - their most popular houses - represent at least 90% of their sales. In other words, master those 65 designs and you're going to find the majority of the Sears Homes in your community. And - *and* - of those 370 designs, I've only seen about 150 of them "in the flesh."

It's altogether possible dozens and dozens of their designs were never sold.

I suspect there was another kit home company in the Texas area - a regional company - that sold kit homes. Almost every large city had their own "regional kit home company" but finding info about these local companies can be quite challenging.

Another facet to this is: Was there a Sears-related industry in or around Houston? Sears had a firm "down south" in the 1910s and 1920s that was dedicated to manufacturing stoves for Sears Roebuck. This firm employed hundreds of people and all the company did was build and ship stoves to Sears, Roebuck. Period.

If Houston had a Sears-related business such as that, it's possible the city ended up with several Sears Homes - just because of the relationship.

The other interesting thing: Sears sold "homart homes" from 1947 - 1951. These were true prefab houses - shipped in sections to the building site. If a Sears employee bought a Sears "Homart Home" they were given a 10% employee discount. I wonder if Sears did the same thing for their kit homes? I suspect they may have, in which case, if you had a big Sears store in Houston in the late 1920s or very early 30s, you may have some Sears Homes through that venue.

Rose

author, The Houses That Sears Built

www.searshomes.org

E. L. Crain's Ready-Cut House Company sold kit homes in the 1920s in Houston. He developed Southside Place, Pinehurst, Garden Oaks and Cherryhurst, according to Marguerite Johnston's book, Houston the Unknown City 1836-1946.

Edited by sak
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't help but notice the "Honor-Bilt" graphic in that old Sears ad. I know that I've run across that label several times while salvaging old houses in Houston. Does anyone know if Honor-Bilt was a subsidiary of Sears, or a separate company? I wonder if some of those old houses were catalog houses...

Also, I am redoing a 1920s farmhouse in Fayette County. I think part of it is a cataog house (it has been added on to several times). Are there any clues that I should look for to determine this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't help but notice the "Honor-Bilt" graphic in that old Sears ad. I know that I've run across that label several times while salvaging old houses in Houston. Does anyone know if Honor-Bilt was a subsidiary of Sears, or a separate company? I wonder if some of those old houses were catalog houses...

looks like it was their best houses:

The process of designing your Sears house began as soon as the Modern Homes catalog arrived at your doorstep. Over time, Modern Homes catalogs came to advertise three lines of homes, aimed for customers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...
  • The title was changed to Sears Catalog Houses

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...