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ILuvAZ

Sears Craftman Homes <- need members

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http://www.Waymarking.com/groups/details.aspx?f=1&guid=f25fe095-c3f7-4780-816e-bdc6060c1c66

 

I am recruiting members to make this a new category.

 

From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 70,000 - 75,000 homes through their mail-order Modern Homes program. Over that time Sears designed 447 different housing styles, from the elaborate multistory Ivanhoe, with its elegant French doors and art glass windows, to the simpler Goldenrod, which served as a quaint, three-room and no-bath cottage for summer vacationers. (An outhouse could be purchased separately for Goldenrod and similar cottage dwellers.) Customers could choose a house to suit their individual tastes and budgets.

 

What is a Sears house? Sears homes were 12,000-piece kit houses, and each kit came with a a 75-page instruction book. Sears promised that “a man of average abilities” could have it assembled in 90 days. The instruction book offered this somber warning: “Do not take anyone’s advice on how this house should be assembled.” The framing members were marked with a letter and a three-digit-number to facilitate construction. Today, these marks can help authenticate that a house is a kit home.

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Excellent idea. I have also thought about proposing a Sears Craftsman category since I discovered one in my hometown that now serves as a fine dining restaurant. There's a framed picture with verbiage highlighting the Sears Craftsman reference in the breezeway. I would gladly join your group and help promote this. Although this category is most likely centralized to the USA, there should be thousands still surviving today across the country and contain interesting history to be discovered.

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I have a recollection this was discussed before, maybe a couple of years ago?

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The problem of this category is verifying that it is a Sears home. Even experts in the field have difficulty unless they are able to get inside the house, to the basement or attic to see markings. The house styles reflect common styles of the day thus many houses which were not Sears home will look the same as a Sears home, add to this the modifications that have been done since the difficulty will increase.

 

To quote one of the most noted authorities on Sears homes, Mary Thornton, "In my travels, I've discovered that more than 80% of the people who think they have a Sears Home are wrong."

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The problem of this category is verifying that it is a Sears home. Even experts in the field have difficulty unless they are able to get inside the house, to the basement or attic to see markings. The house styles reflect common styles of the day thus many houses which were not Sears home will look the same as a Sears home, add to this the modifications that have been done since the difficulty will increase.

 

To quote one of the most noted authorities on Sears homes, Mary Thornton, "In my travels, I've discovered that more than 80% of the people who think they have a Sears Home are wrong."

 

This may be the case in regards to discovering a Sears-built home but I strongly feel a category devoted to these is an awesome idea. Call it treasure hunting, house-hunting, etc., it's like searching for a gem amongst the rocks. The category description will require VERY descriptive guidelines about what is required from the waymarker in order to guarantee that the house authentic. Even if it means contacting the homeowner and taking pictures of elements that will prove it is a Sears-built home. In other words, this potential category will require the Waymarker (and officers) to become essentially Sears-Craftsman historians. Challenging, but not impossible. I spent two hours last night reading up on all the styles of home kits that were sold in the early 1900s. There are websites of hundreds of authentic Sears homes that can be waymarked right now, since all the homework has already been accomplished on these homes. I am absolutely excited to go out and see what might exist in my own community. As previously mentioned in my post, there is a Sears Craftsman home in my town that is now a restaurant and I'm excited to find out what model it is and look for elements to give it authenticity.

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My fear that this category will become a category of misinformation rather accurate information of Sears house locations. If the expert on the Sears homes says 80% of home owners that think they have a Sears home get it wrong what makes one think waymarkers who spend a few minutes with a misinformed owner will do better. I know I could accurately submit some homes but that is only because I know of several homes that have been verified by the author of the book on Sears homes not far from where I live and they are well documented. This would not be the case for most Waymarkers.

Edited by BruceS
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Since this category has been discussed before, there must be interest in it. :lol: I believe you could build in requirements asking for providence. I've seen it with other waymark categories. How do the Lustron homes handle this?

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Since this category has been discussed before, there must be interest in it. :lol: I believe you could build in requirements asking for providence. I've seen it with other waymark categories. How do the Lustron homes handle this?

 

Lustron homes are very easy to identify. All metal and most are well documented. They don't look like other houses of the era.

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My understanding is that there are neighborhoods of documented Sears homes.

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I encourage you to join the facebook group for Sears Modern Homes and read through the posts to see how difficult it is for even the experts to identify the houses that people post.

 

Yes there are some neighborhoods that were built with Sears homes, there are three I know of in Illinois which were built as company employee housing by Standard Oil, they purchased 192 homes and had them built in three towns.

Edited by BruceS
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Interesting discussion! Certainly the concept itself for such a category is valid.

 

It does seem, form Bruce's comments, that it might be nearly impossible to establish criteria within the category to verify the authenticity every building that someone might submit. IF you can do this, it might work. But, unless there is some recognized authorizing source, then I think it would like beyond our ability to verify these building either as a waymark creator or reviewer.

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My understanding is that there are neighborhoods of documented Sears homes - why not start with these?

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