If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics) - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)

 
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:36 AM   #1
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If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


You should also know about Aladdin kit homes. Aladdin was actually a bigger kit-home company than Sears.

About 75% of the time, people who think they have a "Sears Home" are wrong.

In my experience, these purported "Sears Homes" turn out to be a kit home from *another* company, like Aladdin.

Sears sold kit homes from 1908-1940. Aladdin started in 1906 and continued selling kit homes until 1981.

They were shipped by train and came in 12,000 pieces. The kit included a 75-page instruction book and a promise that a "man of average abilities" could have the house assembled in 90 days. About 50% of the buyers built their own homes.

Sears estimated that it'd cost $450 to hire a carpenter to build your Sears house.

Here are a few of my favorite Aladdin Kit Homes. Click here to see what I found in Hopewell, Virginia (where I spent the weekend).

The houses below are ALL kit homes sold by Aladdin. And these (for the most part) are Aladdin best selling homes, so I'm hoping you'll find a few of these in your own neighborhoods.

This is a piece of America's history that's kinda gotten lost through the decades.

Enjoy!





















These are *all* kit homes sold by Aladdin, and here in Virginia, I've found more Aladdin kit homes than any other kind.

BTW, I've posted these here in the hopes that others will recognize them and find the Aladdin Homes in their neck of the woods.

Homeowners really turn giddy with glee when they find out that they are living in a house that came out of an early 1900s mail-order catalog.

Rose
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:20 AM   #2
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Those are really neat houses. I just did an exterior paint job on a house that the neighbor said was a Sears House. It looked very similar to the first house, but the floor plan was different.

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Old 03-23-2011, 06:32 AM   #3
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


I recognize many of those buildings. Richmond also has many of that design.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:50 AM   #4
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


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Originally Posted by Scoma View Post
Those are really neat houses. I just did an exterior paint job on a house that the neighbor said was a Sears House. It looked very similar to the first house, but the floor plan was different.
Send me a photo! As I mentioned, about 80% of the time, people who think they have a Sears kit home are wrong! Typically, they do have a *kit* home, but it's a kit home from another company, such as Aladdin or Gordon Van Tine (based in Iowa), or even Montgomery Ward!

Below is a picture of a Gordon Van Tine home I found in Danville, Va.



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Old 03-23-2011, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Wasn't there a Sears home that was all metal? A future concept home?


BTW, really great photos....please share more of the catalogs and information.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


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Wasn't there a Sears home that was all metal? A future concept home?


BTW, really great photos....please share more of the catalogs and information.
I recall something about porcelain/steel panels, if memory serves me.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:27 PM   #7
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Nice finds Rose!!!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Good stuff! I never knew what a Sears home was until now.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:50 PM   #9
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Found it! Lustron homes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lustron_house
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:56 PM   #10
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


This from her web site, I recommend looking at, fascinating history of these old houses....


http://www.searshomes.org/?s=steel


In addition to kit homes, Danville also has prefab homes, such as this Lustron (see below).

“Never before has America seen a house like this,” read a 1949 advertisement for the Lustron, also hailed as “the house of the future.”

The Lustron was an all-steel house, with walls made of 2×2 20-gage metal panels, with a porcelain enamel finish. The roof was porcelain enamel steel, and unlike traditional roofing shingles, has a lifespan of at least 60 years (and perhaps much more).

The modest ranches were designed and created by entrepreneur Carl Strandlunds to help deal with the severe housing shortage after World War II. Unfortunately, Lustrons never became very popular. Three years after the company first started (in 1947), it went into bankruptcy. Sixty years later, there’s still much debate about the reasons for the company’s collapse. The debate over the reasons for Lustron’s demise because a topic for a fascinating documentary.

About 2,500 Lustrons were created.

Quantico, Virginia was home to the largest collection of Lustrons in the country, but those 60 houses are now gone. Some were moved, most were demolished. An interesting aside: Turns out the Marines at Quantico weren’t too keen on living in a pink house! (The houses were offered in pink, blue, brown and yellow.)

On inside walls, nails were a no-no. Instead, magnets are used to hang pictures. The porcelain enamel finish on the 2×2 panels is tough, which makes re-painting the panels virtually impossible. The Lustron (seen below) in Danville was painted, and it’s trying hard to shed this second skin. Painting porcelain enamel never works out too well.


Lustron in Danville
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:10 PM   #11
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Rose: This question is for you since this is your area of expertise

Everyone knows about the old Sears kit homes. How bout the old Levittown homes? These homes get their name from the Builder, Bill Levitt. Levitt built the very first tract home in America out on Long Island, NY. This basic ranch homes were mass produced and were basically all the same. 3 bed, 1 bath, sometimes a basement but always an unfinished attic which was purposely constructed so the homeowner can expand bedrooms up there. Usually there was a mini dormer more commonly called a bird cage which gave the home more of a cape cod look.

These homes spread to NJ and beyond. I know because I grew up in one. They became very popular with war veterans who returned from the war looking for inexpensive homes. I believe the common named Levitt electrical components are named after this little town and the Builder who made it famous also.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:26 PM   #12
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Great stuff!

I agree with Jo, share more catalogs, I love old catalogs and ads.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:28 PM   #13
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


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Great stuff!

I agree with Jo, share more catalogs, I love old catalogs and ads.
Absolutely, let's see more of this thread.

These are the homes we should be building. Small and loaded with quality details instead of massive and cheap 3" base trim with vinyl siding.

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Old 03-23-2011, 09:31 PM   #14
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Man, talk about thermal bridging.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:42 AM   #15
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


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Originally Posted by rosethornva View Post
Send me a photo! As I mentioned, about 80% of the time, people who think they have a Sears kit home are wrong! Typically, they do have a *kit* home, but it's a kit home from another company, such as Aladdin or Gordon Van Tine (based in Iowa), or even Montgomery Ward!
I'll have to check and see if I have a pic of the whole house. It was Lead RRP, so most of the pics are more closeups, and showing plastic, etc.

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:29 AM   #16
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This from her web site, I recommend looking at, fascinating history of these old houses....


http://www.searshomes.org/?s=steel

Hey, that *is* from my website!!! Thanks for posting the link. I took that Lustron photo Friday when I was in Danville, VA. They have several Lustrons. BTW, Lustron Homes were considered "prefab" houses, and Sears Homes were NOT prefab, but precut kit homes.

As mentioned, Aladdin was a bigger company than Sears, but today, it's lesser known. That's a pity. I can't tell you how many times someone tells me, "I have a Sears Home" and it turns out to be an Aladdin kit home.

Here's one of the most popular homes that Aladdin offered: It's the "Pomona."

I'm sure y'all have seen these out in the world, but just haven't realized you were seeing an Aladdin kit home!

Find me a few and send me photos!



Look at this sweet thing. It is RIGHT on the railroad tracks! Typically, kit homes were located with a mile or two of the tracks, just because it was difficult to haul those 12,000 pieces of house but so far! THis house is in Roanoke Rapids, NC.



And this one is in White Sulphur Springs, VA. It's another PERFECT Pomona. Even the railings are original! It's my favorite Pomona.



This house (below) is in North Carolina. Not sure where! It'll come to me in a minute.



This house (below) is in Norfolk, Virginia - not far from my own house in Norfolk.



Oopsie. This one below is also in North Carolina, but I'm not sure what city! I have 35,000 photos and sometimes, I don't get them labeled in time (before I forget where I was). PS. I remembered: It's Weldon, NC, just outside of Roanoke Rapids.



The house below is in Acworth, Georgia. (I get around.) Another perfect Pomona. Notice how some of these retain their original diamond windows? These really were strong houses, made with first growth southern yellow pine harvested from virgin forests. We will never see wood like this again.

I have an entire blog dedicated to the quality of lumber from first growth forests.

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:44 AM   #17
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Here are some images from the Aladdin Kit Homes catalog (1919). Aladdin offered a "dollar a knot" guarantee. Imagine if Lowes did that today!







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Old 03-24-2011, 08:06 AM   #18
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Re: If You Like Old Sears Homes...(many Pics)


Rose;

What a wonderful collection of homes. I forwarded your website link www.searshomes.org to a customer and received an email thanking me. So I guess you deserve the thanks.

The customer owns a very large antique shop and is in the process of building her dream home, She was very happy to have found this website for research.

It's nice to know people like yourself are willing to keep history alive for others to enjoy.

Mike
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:15 AM   #19
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Question for you builders.

Go to this link and look at the house called the "Mitchell" http://www.searshomes.org/index.php/about-sears-homes/

That's an awesome looking house but how the heck would you prevent water and ice from pooling behind the chimney?

Mike
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:27 AM   #20
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Rose;

What a wonderful collection of homes. I forwarded your website link www.searshomes.org to a customer and received an email thanking me. So I guess you deserve the thanks.

The customer owns a very large antique shop and is in the process of building her dream home, She was very happy to have found this website for research.

It's nice to know people like yourself are willing to keep history alive for others to enjoy.

Mike
Hey Mike (and others),

I really appreciate that. I write a blog a day and post about 4-10 photos a day. This work really is a labor of love, and last year, my business lost money for the first time in 9 years.

Point is, I'll keep doing this anyway, but it'd be lovely if, at least, I know others are enjoying rediscovering this piece of America's history.

To answer your question about the Sears Mitchell: They all leak back there. People put in a cricket and that usually solves the problem. The Alhambra also leaks.







Rose

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