Would you buy a home from Sears? These people did and they love it
Sears tried to make it as easy as
possible. You could write them and get a free catalog and go through the catalog and
pick the house of your dreams. That’s all original, painted. We saw this house and it just, it just, it was beautiful. So I thought, nah, I like it. You know, and it was reasonable. And all the woodwork is intact. So, there’s something fascinating about the thought of this whole house came on a railroad car. And was unpacked in boxes and put together like a huge puzzle. The prices in the catalog did not include the lot or the foundation or the construction labor. I’ve talked to a number of people whose parents built pre-cut homes and invariably the children’s job was to sort the boards by number. pre-cut homes and invariably the
children’s job was to sort the boards by number It’s a very well-built house. I think someday it might be worth more because it’s a Sears house. This is the 300 block of Hamilton Street in Elgin. The first house on the block is the Mitchell model. And there’s actually three Barringtons on this block. The Osborn model. It’s a Betsy Ross model from Sears. As best we know, I think we’re at 213. Elgin doesn’t have more Sears homes than anybody else. It’s just that we, in Elgin, we know a lot about our Sears homes. There’s a couple things you need in order to get a lot of mail order houses in your town. One, you need good railroad access. Two, it helps if you have a lot of population growth in the 1920s when most of the homes went up. Especially working class population growth. And it kind of helps if you’re right near Chicago, Illinois which was Sears’ headquarters. It’s been said that Sears went into this business in the hopes of selling more building materials. Which was one of the items in their main merchandise catalogs. You could buy doors, windows, millwork. I think the big change was the entire construction methodology in the housing industry. It was much more cost effective to build tract housing. I think that hurt the mail-order house industry a lot. This is just, oh my God, it’s, it’s sculpture. This is all made of old-growth timber, which of course you can’t buy anymore. I think it was a shame they stopped. They should have just kept going.