Sears Is Fading, but Memories of Its Mail-order Homes Endure

Thanks to the Internet, you can buy just about anything online and have it shipped to you in a few days or less.

The process is reminiscent of the early 1900s, when people turned to mail-order catalogs to find things to buy. And - amazingly, for the time - they could even order homes via catalog.

Sears, once America's largest retailer, was just one company that sold homes this way. Now that its parent company has filed for bankruptcy , owners of some of those homes are lamenting the end of the Sears era.

"You realize you live in an example of what Sears was able to accomplish back in the day when they were the biggest catalog seller in the country," says Andrew Mutch, who owns a Sears home outside Detroit.

In its first catalog in 1888, Sears sold watches and jewelry. The catalogs proved to be popular, and over time different products were added and tested - including houses.

The Sears Modern Homes catalog debuted in 1908, and it offered all the material and blueprints needed to build a house. The pieces that arrived in the mail were meant to fit together sort of like Legos, so buyers could build the houses themselves or hire contractors.

"You would order everything from your light fixtures, to your lamp, [the wall covering], kitchen cabinets, the whole thing, whether you get a garage or not. And then it just shipped to you," preservationist Eric Dobson told NPR's Allison Keyes in 2014 Sears was not the first company to offer mail-ordered "kit homes," but by the time the catalog was discontinued in 1940, Sears is estimated to have sold between 70,000 and 75,000 houses.

The homes originally cost between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand. The Martha Washington model , for example, originally sold for $2,688 to $3,727 (or the equivalent of $35,713 to $49,518 today), but in 2016 one sold for more than $1 million.

Some mail-order house enthusiasts estimate that about 70 percent of Sears houses are still standing today.

Eric Romain owns one of them, a Vallonia model in Royal Oak, Mich., and his area in particular has quite a few kit homes.

"I can drive five minutes, or I can ride my bike and see six different model homes that are identical to mine," he says.

Romain says Sears homes are more or less like other catalog-sold homes of their era, but their stories and their role in helping grow the middle class are what make them notable.

"Being middle class and being able to go buy and own a home that you can build with your own hands" makes the houses special, he says.

Romain has fond memories of the Sears store where he grew up in Saginaw, Mich. He used to go there with his dad to buy Craftsman tools.

"It was part of the landscape of the shopping mall growing up," Romain says. If it closes, he says, "I cannot even fathom what that will be like." Mutch and his wife, Wendy, run the Kit House Hunters blog, where they share the work they and other researchers have done to identify kit homes around the country.

Mutch bought a Hamilton-style house in Novi, Mich., back in 2003. It was one of the homes in the original Modern Homes catalog of 1908, though this particular one was built in 1926.

When Mutch purchased the home, he received a rather unusual housewarming gift from the previous owners - a binder of information on Sears homes.

He says he already knew it was a Sears home since he bought the property from friends but that he purchased it for its character.

Mutch began researching Sears homes after the son of the house's original owners reached out to him and shared photos of the house under construction.

It was that interaction that motivated him to research Sears kit homes.

"I realized not only was this a house, but there's this whole story behind the house," Mutch says.

"I associated Sears with this big, iconic brand that everybody knew. It wasn't some obscure store. Every town had a Sears store," Mutch says. "It had been there forever." He isn't old enough to remember Sears in its prime, but he says he and other kit home owners are saddened by the company's financial troubles.

Rebecca Hunter , author of Putting Sears Homes on the Map, grew up shopping at Sears stores. "It's where you went when you didn't have any money to shop at the other stores," she says.

Hunter acknowledges smaller homes, including the kit houses, are being torn down and replaced by McMansions.

"Construction has changed and people's desires have changed, and not many people want an 800-square-foot little six-room cottage anymore," she says.

But Hunter hopes to continue finding and researching Sears houses and other kit homes.

"The whole kit home phenomenon is pretty unique to architecture in the United States of America. So therefore I feel very strongly that we must save at least a percentage of these houses," she says.

Ayesha Abid is an intern on NPR's business desk.

get in touch with us
empfohlene Artikel
Info. Wissen Nachrichten
Birds Keep Building Nests and Perching on My Light Fixtures and Knob and Tube Electric. How Can I Re
Do not remove the nests, it's illegal and someone who has a grudge against you could report it (I've seen it happen to people). I've always found this to keep unwanted birds away: get a kite shaped like a hawk or some other bird of prey and hang it where it will bob around on the wind. Birds of prey do bob around and it foold the birds. Birds also do not have a sense of smell1. Wiring two 3-way switches with 2 light fixtures and 1 outlet [closed]I do not have enough reputation to be able to comment, so I have to do this as an answer. but is missing something. The fourth wire, which is simply the ground wire. It is common place to find 14/3, or 12/3 etc wire bundles to have a black (typically hot), white (typically neutral), red (typically traveler), and bare copper (ground). His picture shows all but the ground2. Finding the best deal on light fixtures?Lowes! Unless you have a huge Ace Hardware store around3. What type of light fixtures create compromises in the heated envelope of the house?Every fixture that is mounted on a wall or ceiling that is adjacent to the outside can compromise the building envelope. We usually examine the envelope from the inside of the building, but exterior lights, because they may penetrate the air barrier, can be a problem. By far, the worst fixture is a recessed light that penetrates an attic (suspended ceiling or cathedral - does not matter). They are easier to fix when installed in suspended ceilings, but it is still possible on a cathedral ceiling.4. I just bought a house and am remodeling it from the floor to the ceilng where can I find all the bargins?Habitat for Humanity Restores are great, if inconsistant , for doors, windows, tile, older appliances, light fixtures, etc.5. I would like to change garage light fixtures from 2 bulb to 4 bulb. Would this require new wiring?Sure. the only wiring you will have to do is in installing the new fixtures (unless your existing ones are plug-in)6. What's the weirdest thing you have seen at school or in the classroom?This was not something I saw, at least not until I would been smelling it for several days. The classroom had dome light fixtures, like this one:One evening someone broke into the school. They stole some antiquated computers, an overhead projector and the maps from some of the classrooms. Weird, right? These master criminals had also shoved those thick industrial rolls of TP in all the toilet bowls and flushed until the water overflowed. They broke some smaller pieces of furniture and rearranged the string of letters decorating one room to spell " you bithces" [sic]. The police were pretty sure that the real motive was vandalism, because desktop computers from 1995 and pull down maps of the Soviet Union are not going to be worth a lot of cash. School was cancelled for one day but by Wednesday everything was cleaned up (we thought) and things went back to normal. A few days after the break-in I started to notice a bad smell in my classroom. It was an old building and I thought maybe the plumbers had stirred up some sewage when they fixed the toilets, and that it was somehow being vented into my classroom. The smell kept getting worse, though, and the students started teasing me. They said I must have been farting constantly for the room to smell that bad. One smartass kid gave me a flyer about irritable bowel syndrome. By Friday I was begging the vice principal to investigate the problem, and he promised to call maintenance. When I opened the door to the classroom on Monday morning the smell was still there, I knew it was not going to work. It was overpowering. I think it even made my eyes burn. We were fortunate that this happened in April, so it had not gotten too hot to be outside yet. I told the vice principal to get maintenance here right away, and that I would be holding class outside until the smell was gone. By lunchtime the maintenance guy had yet to show, and I needed to collect materials from the classroom.My husband is a commercial contractor and I happened to mention the mysterious smell to him when he called me that day. He was close by and told me he would be right over. When he showed up, he had two guys in tow. They had a ladder, masks, goggles, gloves and a biohazard bin with them. I was very confused but he refused to explain. He led the workers to the classroom and they put the ladder next to my desk and one of them climbed up and began to unscrew the light fixture. The other guy was carefully holding the biohazard bin directly under the light, and I soon learned why. When he took it down the smell went from unbearable to toxic. The light fixture was basically an upsidedown bowl, and someone had taken a dump in it.The guys disposed of the bowl and the turd, and cleaned up around it. Meanwhile, I was in awe of my brilliant husband. How did he know? Was he a psychic? At the very least, I thought, he must be a genius to have guessed where the smell was coming from. He just kept smiling and refused to explain how he would known. We stopped by the vice principal's office where my husband explained that the school had allowed a biohazard to fester for nearly a week, and that he'd fixed it but would be sending them a bill. The principal was also curious to know how my husband had been so quick to see what the problem was, so he finally explained. He was not a psychic genius. Apparently it is not uncommon for people to shit in lightfixtures (or even within the walls) and his guys had encountered many turd bowls when they remodeled hotels. What is the weirdest thing you have seen at school or in the classroom?As a teacher, what is the weirdest thing you have seen in your school or classroom?
Enlighten Up Your Memories and Celebrate Fathers Day with Hykolity LEDs
Wholesale Price 10w30w50w100w200w IP65 Outdoor Led Flood Light Fixtures
Understanding How Different Bathroom Light Fixtures Can Be ...
Cheap Ideas for Home Improvement
Top 7 Luxury Hotels in Costa Rica
Why Do 2 of My Bedrooms Have Light Switches with No Light Fixtures? I Checked the Outlets in Each Ro
Spring Clean Your Home! - Times of India
LED Street Light Fixtures | Intelligent Led Street Light
The Quick Start Guide to Decorating Your New Home
related searches
Birds Keep Building Nests and Perching on My Light Fixtures and Knob and Tube Electric. How Can I Re
Cheap Ideas for Home Improvement
Top 7 Luxury Hotels in Costa Rica
Spring Clean Your Home! - Times of India
The Quick Start Guide to Decorating Your New Home
Antique Light Fixtures - Is the Antique Look Right for Your Home?
Where to Buy Modern Light Fixtures Online?
Shocking Moment a Light Pole Falls During High Winds During a High School Soccer Game Knocking a Ref
Woodbridge's Oca Nera Is No Wild-goose Chase: Review
Schnell verbindung

Zuhause

Service

Über uns

Kontaktieren Sie uns

UNSER PRODUKT

Das moderne Haus

Landschafts haus

Vintage Haus

Guangzhou DaLong CNC Machinery Technology Co.Ltd spart keine Kosten, wenn es darum geht, sicherzustellen, dass wir über die neueste und beste Ausrüstung verfügen.

keine Daten
ÜBER UNS

Unternehmens profil

Unternehmens geschichte

KONTAKTIEREN SIE UNS

Copyright © 2021-2035 Guangzhou DaLong CNC Machinery Technology Co.Ltd | Sitemap

Wholesale Machinery supply Melayu  |  Milling machine manufacturer العربية  | EDM Machine factory OEM