Family Home by Sears – in the Mail

From the early dawn of the 20th century, the Sears & Roebuck Mail Order Catalog has been in most family homes. That is one item, the large 1,000 to 1,400 page catalog that would be in every home. Anything, clothing, telephone, sewing machine, tools, etc you could want that was manufactured at that time could be ordered from Sears using their catalog.

One of the most interesting items was the ability to pick out a per-designed style home, with the number of rooms desired and that house (in pieces) was sent to you and you or someone else put the house together. They were known as ‘kit houses’.

The parts to a future home would arrive on a boxcar with about 10,000 pieces of framing lumber, 20,000 cedar shakes and almost everything else needed to build the home — all the doors, even the doorknobs. Everything was pre-cut, measured and made to fit perfectly. Sears figure that each house even put together by an ordinary person, not a carpenter, could be completed in 90 days.

Some 75,000 such homes were built across the nation, maybe even your relatives had such a house and a good chance, there was at least one Sears home in the family hometown. This type of home was popular with newlyweds and soldiers after World War One. What was even more interesting was the price for such a home. However, by 1911 if a person needed to make payments (a mortgage) could be arranged. Of course, the buyer did need a lot, property on which to place the house, so there was some expense there.

Another advantage was the new homeowners could also order any furniture they needed for the new home from the Sears catalog.

But with the Great Depression of the 1930s. Many family homes lost due to non-payment of a mortgage or taxes. Sears also closed down the sale of homes in 1940 due to too few sales.

So a very interesting possibility, a friend or family member who may have had a Sears house.

Photos: Sears listings of homes and one example of a Sears home today in Stuart, FL.

Related Blogs:

Ancestral Hometown

Finding Land Records

Sears – the Family Shopper

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