Monday, June 5, 2017

Sears Marquette in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

front of white sears Marquette
Probable Sears Marquette • 8200 Arlington Avenue, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania • 1920

front of sears Marquette 1920 catalog black and white
Sears Marquette from my 1920 Sears Modern Homes catalog. 
There is something about a dutch gambrel roof that really gets me.  I think that might be what draws me so to the Sears Marquette model.  I especially love its deep eaves (here's a handy illustrated guide to architectural terms), and I love those three little windows... the little round one at the top, and the two half-round-topped ones on either side of the double windows.  I love that this house in Upper Darby has those windows still intact!

This house was sent to me by a former owner. He raved about the interior -- huge master bedroom, beautiful wood floors, everything still original, when he lived in it in the 1980s. Unfortunately, I don't have any interior photos to show, but if he sends me some, I'll update to add them, so check back! 

roof styles depicted
Here are a few different roof styles. See the Gambrel? Source

According to Houses By Mail, the Marquette was only offered in 1921 and 1922. But, I've found it in my 1920 catalog, and here it is in the 1923 catalog, thanks to our friends at Daily Bungalow:
Daily Bungalow scan of Sears Marquette in 1923 catalog black and white
You can see this here, on the Flickr album from Daily Bungalow.
Here is the front cover of the 1923 catalog, again, from our friends at Daily Bungalow:
front of 1923 Sears Honor Bilt Modern Homes catalog, vibrant blues, greens, orange, yellow, Sears Verona model pictured in white
Here it is in Daily Bungalow's Flickr album.
You can see that the price was actually higher in 1920 (below).  I understand that, right after WWI, wood prices went sky high, and most of the homes in the 1918-1920 (or so) catalogs are higher than in catalogs from even a few years later.  The Marquette came "'Already Cut' and Fitted", which was the term Sears used for the kits that had all of the lumber already cut to size, and numbered with a system to guide the homeowner / builder to put the house together.  Of course, the price you see here didn't include your lot (you had to already have that), and it didn't include the labor for construction -- Sears usually estimated that, if hiring a builder, you could estimate about a total cost of double the kit price (at least, that's what I've seen suggested for several homes in the catalogs). 
sears Marquette 1920 catalog image black and white price $2,554
The higher-priced Marquette kit in my 1920 catalog.
And, here is the cover of the 1920 catalog, from my own collection:
Front of 1920 Sears Honor Bilt Modern Homes catalog, blue background, green foliage on huge white columns, Sears Hollywood model inside the columns
That's the Sears Hollywood, on the cover.
The Hollywood has many "lookalikes" by other companies, and is difficult to authenticate without additional information.
The 1920 catalog describes the first floor this way:
sears Marquette first floor description 1920 catalog
And here is a floor plan of that level of the house:
sears Marquette first floor layout shown in 1920 catalog
Sears Marquette, first floor layout.
You can see the side entry door here, on this little image that appears in the lower corner of the catalog page.  And there's the little side dormer sticking out of the second floor -- that's all you can see on the real house, because Google streetview doesn't allow me to get a full shot of that side. There's the little square front window toward the front, too.

sears Marquette
From Daily Bungalow's 1923 catalog. Lots of great images in that album!

sears Marquette

Here are a few exterior photos just sent to me by the former owner, probably taken around 1984. See how the original cedar shingles are there? And the two-color design? Lovely.  This is pre-vinyl siding. Ahhhhhhhh :)

sears Marquette

sears Marquette
The left side, with its two dormers.  The upper dormer is an add-on.   You'll see this same side, on another Marquette, in Pittsburgh, that I will show a little further down in this post.

sears Marquette
Back side of the Marquette.  There's that back porch.

sears Marquette
Living room, looking into the dining room.

The catalog's description of the second floor  mentions big bedrooms (and, wow, look at the size of that front master bedroom!), and... how nice! Built-in closets! Sears was good about including built-in closets, even though so many houses we see from the pre-19teens era in the US, don't have any built-in closets. They aren't the big walk-in versions we look for these days, but they're there, at least!

sears Marquette second floor description from catalog 1920
And, here's the 1920 catalog's 2nd-floor layout image:
sears Marquette second floor layout
Sears Marquette, second floor layout, 1920 catalog.
Even though this house has the front porch enclosed, you can still see those nice, original Sears porch posts, just like you see in the catalog image.
sears Marquette
Though it didn't come as a standard feature, it looks like our Upper Darby Marqutte has an added dining room "bump out" as we call it.  I don't know if that was added on at time of build, or was a later addition.
sears Marquette

Another Marquette In Pennsylvania
I did recently run across another Marquette in the Penn Hills area of Pittsburgh, thanks to a Zillow listing. That was the first one that I had ever seen, and this only makes, I think, three on our National Database of Sears Houses.  Unfortunately, this house is in rough shape, but there were a few interior photos in the listing, that can give you a bit of a feel for the layout of the first floor:
sears Marquette 1951 Lincoln Avenue Pittsburgh pa
Probable Sears Marquette at 1951 Lincoln Road, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

sears Marquette 1951 Lincoln Avenue Pittsburgh pa
Here we can see the side door, and the same side dormer,
and all of the expected windows that are shown in the catalog image.

sears Marquette
From my 1920 catalog.
sears Marquette 1951 Lincoln Avenue Pittsburgh pa
Ignore the bars on the window, and focus on that beautiful woodwork. It's a spacious layout.

sears Marquette 1951 Lincoln Avenue Pittsburgh pa

sears Marquette 1951 Lincoln Avenue Pittsburgh pa

sears Marquette 1951 Lincoln Avenue Pittsburgh pa
This is the side of the Marquette that has an added bump-out on the Upper Darby house.
My thanks to the former resident of the Upper Darby Marquette, for sharing the information with me! 

If you think you know of a Sears house, please don't hesitate to contact me using the "contact me" form on the right side of the blog.  If you include an email address, that will help :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Almond, NY: Sears No. 118 and Sears Maytown

Sears No. 118 / Clyde large two-story farmhouse with front porch side gables front gable and front dormer
17 S. Main Street, Almond, New York • 1917 • Probable Sears No. 118 (early Clyde)

sears clyde in the 1918 catalog
Sears No. 118, 1918,
the one year that it was given the name Clyde.
(click to enlarge)
Wellll... do you want low resolution, or big, fat electric wires? That's your choice for online images of this Almond, New York beauty: a probable Sears No. 118 (early Clyde), currently for sale.

The real estate ad for this home says that it is a "Historic, well-crafted home built by a well-known local builder as his own residence. "  

It is beautiful inside.  Let's take a look, because I don't have much else to tell you about this house.  The No. 118 was offered by Sears in the very first catalogs that included homes, and continued through 1918, which is the only year that it was given a name, instead of a number: Clyde.  It was never offered as a pre-cut kit, so it would have arrived at the train station -- and then the job site -- with standard-length lumber, that still needed a lumber yard or construction crew to cut the boards to the correct length.  We refer to it as "the big Clyde", because for a long stretch throughout the 1920s, Sears offered a small, shotgun-style bungalow by the same name.

sears No. 118/Clyde two-story pale green farmhouse with white trim, front porch, back porch on side, and lots of windows
sears No. 118/Clyde two-story pale green farmhouse with white trim, front porch, back porch on side, and lots of windows

Because this was built by a prominent builder, for his own residence, we can imagine that he spared no expense in filling it with high-quality elements, and no-doubt used his home as a showpiece for advertising his company.  Though we often think of Sears homes as being built by the homeowners themselves, it's definitely true that many homeowners hired a construction crew to put together their home -- certainly if it was of the size that the No. 118 was.  So, this builder may well have used his home to advertise his company's services to help others build Sears homes. And, in fact, just two doors away, we see what looks to be another Sears home of the era, a Maytown. More about that in a bit.

One of the upgrades that we see in this house, is that the builder replaced the plain square window in the upper front gable on the left side of the house, with the big Priscilla frame and sash that were offered especially for the gable windows on the big Saratoga model offered by Sears.

Sears Clyde 1918 catalog

sears No. 118/Clyde two-story pale green farmhouse with white trim, front porch, back porch on side, and lots of windows

Sears Priscilla frame and sash as offered in a 19-teens catalog

There's a good bit of decorative stained glass and leaded glass in this home, but, unfortunately, the stained-glass windows do not seem to be of designs marketed by Sears in their catalogs. They offered some beautiful windows, so it's surprising that these are not from Sears.

Sears Clyde No. 118 floor plan
Here is the floor plan, as shown in the 1918 catalog, for the No. 118.
It did not change over the 10 years that the model was offered.
Sears Clyde No. 118 front staircase and leaded-glass window
That is a Sears staircase newel, and a leaded-glass pattern window offered by Sears.

Sears Clyde No. 118 side rectangular leaded-glass window in diamond pattern at top and bottom

Sears Clyde No. 118 front parlor
Lovely interior pillars flank the entry into the parlor.

Non-Sears stained glass.

Sears Clyde No. 118 front parlor
The parlor.

Stained glass in the front parlor window. Not a Sears design.

Sears Clyde No. 118 dining room
Dining room with more non-Sears stained glass.
The beautiful sideboard here was also not a style offered in the Sears catalog.

Sears Clyde No. 118 dining room

Stained-glass in the dining room.

Sears Clyde No. 118 front staircase seen from 2nd floor
Looking down the main staircase from the second floor.
This home looks to be freshly painted on the exterior, and comes with some nice outbuildings (I wonder if those were Sears kits, too?). It is being offered for sale by the owner, and has only just come on the market, as of May 29, 2017. You can see it on Trulia, here.

Here, by the way, is the 1920s Clyde:
Sears Clyde later model bungalow 1921-1929
Sears Clyde bungalow, 1921-1929,
with two different floor plan options for some of those years.
This page is from the 1921 catalog.
Sears Maytown
Just a few houses away from this probable Sears No. 118, is the rectory for St. Brendan's Catholic Church, sitting at No. 11 S. Main Street, in Almond, NY.  This house looks to be a Sears Maytown, which was offered from 1911 through 1922.

Sears Maytown: turret sided two-story farmhouse with front porch and bay window on the front and side
11 S. Main Street, Almond, New York • probable Sears Maytown

Sears Maytown: turret sided two-story farmhouse with front porch and bay window on the front and side
Thanks to Daily Bungalow /
for the image from their 1916 catalog.
This house is a great match for the catalog image we see of the Maytown.  In early years, the Maytown was marketed as the No. 167, and it had a slightly larger version, marketed as the No. 188. You can see a No. 188 in Ohio, here in this blog post on Sears Homes in Ohio.

The 1916 catalog, shown to the right here, mentioned that you could order the home two feet wider, for an additional $45 (which wasn't a small amount, considering that the whole standard-cut kit was only $871).  

sears maytown for $871 or 2 feet wider for an additional $145
From the Maytown page in the 1916 catalog.
Interestingly, as 1916 was the first year that pre-cut kits were offered for many of the models in the Sears Modern Homes catalog, this offer was made on the page for the Maytown:
$940 would buy the kit for the Maytown with pre-cut lumber

Remember that this was one of the draws of the pre-cut kits: in the early 19-teens, most people didn't have any kind of motor-powered cutting equipment, so every single piece of wood going into a house, would have had to be sawn by hand.... or, brought to a lumber yard to pay for them to cut your pieces on their sawmill. With pre-cut, fitted-to-the-design framing lumber, the homeowner (or even his construction crew) could forego all of that trouble and time.  We don't know the build year of this house, but we can imagine that it must have been built around the same time as the Clyde/No. 118 a few doors away... and maybe even by the same builder?

Sears Maytown: turret sided two-story farmhouse with front porch and bay window on the front and side

Sears Maytown: turret sided two-story farmhouse with front porch and bay window on the front and side