Saturday, October 6, 2018

Sears Belmont Bungalow in Marion Indiana

front right side of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
1918 black and white catalog image of the Sears Belmont, a bungalow with cross gables
The Sears Belmont in the 1918 Sears Modern Homes Catalog
We've known for a while that an old bungalow-style Sears Belmont was built somewhere in Marion, Indiana, but we didn't know where. We knew, because, in the catalogs from about 1917-1920, on the page of the catalog showing the Belmont, there was a short list of places where Sears knew that a Belmont had been built. These little blurbs always start with, "Built at...." and then continue to list a few towns where the model was built. Well, the Belmont was listed as having been built at Marion, Indiana; Antioch, Illinois; and Armington, Illinois. We had found the one in Antioch, Illinois, but not a Belmont in those other two locations. Well, yesterday, eagle-eye researcher, Karen DeJeet, noticed that a house posted on the Facebook page, For the Love Of Old Houses, looked to be an old-style Sears Belmont
post on Facebook page For the Love Of Old Houses, showing the front of Sears Belmont at 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Here's our Marion, Indiana Sears Belmont, as shown on the FB page, For the Love Of Old Houses
When Karen checked further, she eventually learned that Marion was a "built at" location for the Sears Belmont (we call that an "advertised house"), so we have added it to our National Database of Sears Houses as an authenticated Sears house.
Here's the mention of Marion, Indiana, on the 1918 catalog page for the Belmont.
Now, there were two models that Sears called the Belmont. This is the first, and older, of the two. It ran in the catalogs from about 1914 through 1921.  We only have about 16 on our National Database of Sears Houses in the United States, so we were excited to see this one. These old models are hard to authenticate, too, because they were not pre-cut, and many would have been sold pre-1916, which means that they wouldn't have been labeled on any wood pieces. In fact, researcher Andrew Mutch has found two in New York that he thinks have Sears mortgages tied to them, but they have a few differences in their look, so he has not added them to our list. 

In 1931 or 1932, Sears offered a brick-veneer version of their popular LynnHaven design, and called it the Belmont. You can read about an authenticated one, that's in another town in Indiana (Hammond), at this blog post of mine.
An authenticated early 1930s Sears Belmont, in Hammond, Indiana

The Sears Belmont, in my late 1931 catalog.
But, let's get back to our early Belmont, and take a look at a few of the years that it was offered in the catalogs. Notice how much higher the price is in the 1920 catalog, as the post-WWI era affected the price of wood, and that was reflected in the price of our Sears kits.

The 1914 catalog offered this model as the No. 237 (well, okay, as No. 264P237).

Here is the Belmont in the 1918 catalog... four years later, and approaching twice as expensive as the 1914 kit.

And, by 1920, the price was almost triple the 1914 cost of the kit.
One thing that is rather unique about the Belmont, is the long stretch of windows on the right side elevation. In the bump-out area, we see a run of four slim windows, right next to each other, followed by a shorter pair of slim windows, right next to each other, and then a side door... all of that under the eaves of that peaked-gable bump out. The side door has its own little straight-line, flat roof overhang. If we think a house might be a Belmont, we look for this window-door configuration on the right side. Our Marion, Indiana house, has it.
right side street view of Sears Belmont at 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Right side elevation of the Sears Belmont in Marion, Indiana
Another thing we look for on the Belmont, is the use of the Sears five-piece bracket. We want to see them placed just as the catalog image shows... and, they are, on our Marion, Indiana Belmont. We also hope to see the unique design along the lintel, that long rectangular stretch of area at the base of the front gable. That is present, too, on the Marion, Indiana house.
Design elements of the early Sears Belmont.
front porch area close up of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Wonderful original elements: five-piece brackets, and the series of little squares that run along the base of the front gable.
Interior Elements Of the Sears Belmont
We are so fortunate to have interior views of this house, and doubly fortunate that it has been beautifully cared for over its 100+ years. The interior is simply stunning. Additionally, we are able to see a few millwork elements that match what was offered in the 1915 Sears Building Materials catalog, and that is always exciting. Let's take a look (note that the photos of the house all come from the MLS listing photos, available here, on Realtor.com).

black and white rendering of first floor layout of Sears Belmont 1918
Floor Plan of the Sears Belmont, as shown in the 1920 catalog.
The floor plan offers a nice, spacious, long living room, and lots of windows along both sides of the house. Here are views of three areas of the living room:
living room with view into dining room, showing fireplace, of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
The beautiful right side of the living room, looking into the dining room. Those look certainly to be original wood floors.

living room center, focused on front entry door and two large front windows, of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
A center view of the stretch of living room, focusing on that beautiful, original Craftsman M Sears door.

closet end of living room of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
This end of the living room lets you see the cute little closet on the right side--an unusual element along the wall of a living room in a bungalow, but it works here... with the other end of it being a closet for the bedroom that is to the right of this room.  You can see the decorative exposed beams on the ceiling, as well. Those stretch across both the living room and dining room ceilings, I believe.
decorative wooden beams on ceiling of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
The beams are only decorative, but they sure add a nice touch.
Here is the front porch and entry area of the house. I'm showing this now, to show the exterior side of that Craftsman entry door. I found that offered in the 1915 Sears Building Materials catalog, and I should add that it's a style that we don't see very often in later years, with that lovely stretch of three long, slim rectangular inset areas. That nicely mimics the many long, slim windows along the sides of the house, and, in this house, the interior doors are of the same style, though with a solid upper section.
front porch with Craftsman-M Sears door, Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Beautiful Sears Craftsman-M door.

comparison of front door against catalog images of Sears craftsman entry doors
Here is that Craftsman-M door offered in the 1915 Sears Building Materials catalog.
As you move from the living room, into the dining room of the house, you immediately see, of course, the wonderful Craftsman style bookcases and colonnades, that separate the two rooms:
view into dining room of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana

room separators -- craftsman columns and bookcases between living room and dining room, against catalog image of same
These have the exact same design of those shown here in the catalog, but, obviously, the bookcases are a bit taller, and the colonnades are significantly shorter, and possibly a bit wider. The catalog mentions that there were standard sizes available, and that other sizes could be requested.
Lots of windows in that dining room, where the bumpout is, and you can see the nice back side of the book cases:
dining room, looking into living room, of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Dining room, looking into the living room. The right side of the dining room is that bumped-out section of the right side of the house, with its stretch of four long windows.
This room, off of the closet end of the living room, is being used as an office or reading room, I believe, though the Sears floor plan shows this as one of the first-floor bedrooms. You can see the door to the closet that I mentioned earlier... note that it is an interior version of that Craftsman front entry door with the three rectangular inset sections:
front bedroom, first floor, of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
First-floor bedroom, off of the living room, being used as an office or reading room.

Sears Craftsman-I interior door on Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Here is that beautiful Craftsman door that copies the style of the front entry door, though this one has a solid wood piece at the top. This is the Craftsman I door. I just love the rich patina on the original wood in this house. What a treat to see.

craftsman doors in Sears 1915 building materials catalog, next to craftsman-I door in room of  Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
Here is the Craftsman I door in the 1915 Sears Building Supplies catalog.
Even the bathroom in this house, retains its original layout, with the two windows flanking the sink and medicine cabinet. I believe that is an original porcelain tub, as well. Those were nice and deep in the era when this house was made... nothing like the little shallow things you see today in houses from the past forty or fifty years.
bathroom of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana
This is a pretty spacious bathroom for an older bungalow, I think.
Let's finish up with a few more photos of the exterior of this great house:
front and front ride view of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana

left and front left view of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana

closeup of left side bumpout and other side windows of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana


back area of yard of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana

front view of Sears Belmont • circa 1916 • 501 W. Spencer Avenue, Marion, Indiana

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Gordon-Van Tine No. 115 In Oakes, North Dakota

11675 90th St SE Oakes North Dakota Gordon-Van Tine No. 115
Gordon-Van Tine No. 115 • 11675 Highway 11, Oakes, North Dakota • 1916
black and white image of a Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
Model No. 115, Gordon-Van Tine 1916 Standard Homes Catalog
It looks like we've found a nice, big example of an early model: the Gordon-Van Tine No. 115.

The current owner of this home understands this to be a Sears & Roebuck house, an error which we've seen many times before. It's natural-- people hear that a house was built from a kit, and they only know of Sears houses, so they start referring to it as a Sears house, and over the years, that's what it comes to be known as. We've seen this, as well, when we can document the house as an Aladdin Homes company house (like this one, in Bristol, CT). 

But, this big beauty, out in the middle of lots and lots and lots of land, with a big lake behind it, sits on 4 acres, according to the real estate listing.  Unfortunately, there are no interior photos, but it's for sale by the owner, and just hit the market.

11675 90th St SE Oakes North Dakota Gordon-Van Tine No. 115
Not actually a Sears house, but it was bought from a kit-house, mail-order company: Gordon-Van Tine
source: Real estate listing, retrieved September 22, 2018
This is the first No. 115 that we've found. There were two more shown as "testimonials" in the 1916 Gordon-Van Tine Standard Homes catalog, but we haven't found them. This isn't a model that we really have on our radar, to tell you the truth, since we're normally focusing on Sears houses. But, I double-checked that this house was not in any Sears catalogs, and then tried Gordon-Van Tine, since it was a likely possibility... and, there it was.
two testimonials for Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
From the 1916 Standard Homes catalog, by the Gordon-Van Tine company.
Here's A. T. Anderson's No. 115 house, shown in another catalog, with his full name, and town: Albert T. Anderson, Leland, Illinois:
image of GVT No 115 showing home and testimonial of Albert T. Anderson of Leland Illinois
From one of the last pages of the Gordon-Van Tine 1916 Ready-Cut catalog
What's the difference between Gordon-Van Tine Standard Homes and Gordon-Van Tine Ready-cut homes? Just that term, ready cut. This was still a house that was sold as a bundle, with the plans, and all of the needed parts for construction: framing lumber, flooring, lathing (those thin wood strips that plaster is applied to), roofing, siding, screws, nails, doors, windows, crown moulding, base moulding, door trim, window trim, bathtub, sinks, door handle hardware, hinges--everything you needed, except for masonry items, like plaster or brick (which you would procure locally). For the Standard Homes, the framing lumber was sent in standard lengths, and the builder still had to measure and cut. For Ready-cut homes, the framing lumber was pre-measured, pre-cut to size, and labeled with letters and numbers, and a guidebook was sent to explain how to put everything together. Still, it was all shipped by rail, ready-cut or standard cut, and the several box-car loads would have been picked up by the new owner (or his builder, if it wasn't the owner), using his own truck--- and, sometimes, of course, that was a horse-drawn vehicle. 

But, this house was not ready-cut, it was a Standard Home . Bundled as either method, these were quality homes, made of really strong, solid wood. The homes we've found around the country are often 100 or more years old, and still standing strong. Sometimes they may need some cosmetic sprucing, as this home may need inside, but you really can't find a better home than one of these kit homes, by any of the companies. 

Gordon-Van Tine Standard Homes 1916 catalog cover
This is the cover of the Gordon-Van Tine 1916 Standard construction homes catalog.

colorful image of front cover of the 1916 Ready-Cut homes catalog by Gordon-Van Tine
This is the cover of that same year's catalog by Gordon-Van Tine, for their Ready-Cut homes.
The Gordon-Van Tine company began as an offshoot of the U. N. Roberts Lumber Company, in Davenport, Iowa:
This information is from respected researcher Rebecca L. Hunter's website, http://www.kithouse.org/.
The Standard Homes models were shipped with quality materials. Here's what the catalogs explained:
Click to enlarge. This is from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog.
Let's not forget about the millwork, staircases, exterior porch rails and porch columns, and the paints, stains, and varnish:
Again, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog.
The Gordon-Van Tine model No. 115 doesn't look to have been offered after 1916, and it was not offered in the Ready-Cut catalog, so we are confident that the house was built circa 1916, as the listing says. Take a look again at how well it compares to the catalog image, except that the left side of the wraparound porch is gone (or was never added):
comparison of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, at 11675 Highway 11, Oakes, ND and from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
11675 Highway 11, Oakes, North Dakota, set against the Gordon-Van Tine 1916 Standard Homes catalog page.
Google maps also calls this address 11675 90th St SE.
Here's a good side-by-side look, which you can click to enlarge:
left to right comparison of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, at 11675 Highway 11, Oakes, ND and from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
11675 Highway 11, Oakes, North Dakota, set next to the Gordon-Van Tine 1916 Standard Homes catalog page.
Google maps also calls this address 11675 90th St SE. (Click to enlarge)
If you know how to read floor plans, and can tell where the marks are for windows and doorways, you'll see that the right side elevation of the house, also matches what the catalog floor plan shows:
left to right comparison of the right elevation of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, at 11675 Highway 11, Oakes, ND and from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
The right-side elevation of the house at 11675 Highway 11, Oakes, North Dakota, set next to the Gordon-Van Tine 1916 Standard Homes catalog page. Note the floor plan areas indicated.
Google maps also calls this address 11675 90th St SE. (Click to enlarge)
Let's take a look at what the catalog page shows. If you click on any of these, they should come up pretty big, and in good resolution:
close up view of GVT No 115 from 1916 Standard Homes catalog
Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
layout of first floor of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115 1916 Standard Homes catalog
First floor layout of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog

layout of rooms of second floor of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115 1916 Standard Homes catalog
2nd floor layout of Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
beginning of description of house from catalog page--Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115 1916 Standard Homes catalog
Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog

continuation of description of house from catalog page--Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115 1916 Standard Homes catalog
Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
description of features that come with description of house from catalog page--Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115 1916 Standard Homes catalog
Gordon-Van Tine Standard cut Home No. 115, from the 1916 Standard Homes catalog
This house is truly rural, but not far from town, and has mail service to the house, according to the real estate listing. That's a biggy, out in the middle of North Dakota, I imagine, especially in the winter!
11675 90th St SE Oakes North Dakota Gordon-Van Tine No. 115

11675 90th St SE Oakes North Dakota Gordon-Van Tine No. 115

11675 90th St SE Oakes North Dakota Gordon-Van Tine No. 115
And here is the view in the other direction! Thanks, Google maps streetview!
The owner has lived here for 29 years, I believe he or she said, and suggests that this might make a fine Bed & Breakfast, or hunting retreat. Or, you know... a home!
11675 90th St SE Oakes North Dakota Gordon-Van Tine No. 115
From the owner's listing on Zillow.com.
This house has six bedrooms and one and a half baths... and was last remodeled in 1972. If you're interested, here, again, is the listing: 11675 Highway 11, Oakes, North Dakota

You can be very proud to own a Gordon-Van Tine house. But, let the current owner know it's not a Sears house, okay? We love it!

More Gordon-Van Tine Homes
Gordon-Van Tine homes are favorites of mine (in part because they had a mill here in St. Louis), and I've written a number of blog posts about them, and a few about Wardway homes (sold by Montgomery Ward catalog company, but cut and packaged and shipped by the Gordon-Van Tine company):


And, if you're interested in Montgomery Ward's Wardway Homes: