Friday, July 27, 2018

Sears Hampton In Brentwood Missouri

Sears Hampton model at 2611 Rockford Avenue Brentwood MO, home of Perry M. Peat
Authenticated Sears Hampton • 1927 •  2611 Rockford Avenue, Brentwood, Missouri, St. Louis County
Sears Hampton model in the 1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Hampton in my 1928 Sears Modern Homes Catalog
This is the first Sears Hampton that I have found in the St. Louis area.  That is likely because this is a model that every company made a version of -- kit companies and non-kit companies, so when I see something like this, I usually dismiss it as a "who knows!" house. I'm sure that every lumber company and contractor offering modest building plans in the 1920s, offered something with a similar look. So, when we see a house like this, we usually hesitate to add it to our National Database of Sears Homes... it's just too likely to be a "lookalike". But, this house has a Sears mortgage record! It was bought in 1927 by Perry M. Peat, and his wife, with Sears trustee Walker O. Lewis signing off on the mortgage.

When we do run across a model like this, in the wild, we look very closely at the window and door configuration. The lookalike models from other companies will have slightly different window placement. The Hampton should have three sets of double windows on this side, with the last set being smaller... that's the kitchen, at that end of the house. With this house in Brentwood, Missouri (which is in St. Louis County), we would have hesitated, because the last two windows don't look quite right. I think that we either have a really small double window, in the kitchen, and then an added small window in the back porch entry area, or two separate windows in the kitchen.

Sears Hampton model kitchen image from the 1928 catalog
The 1928 catalog shows the look of the kitchen. There are the two shorter windows.

Sears Hampton model floor plan in the 1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears Hampton floor plan, 1928 catalog
Another issue we need to look for, is the existence of an extension on the left side of the house (or whichever side has the the sets of double windows), for the back porch entry into the kitchen. If the back of the house is flat across, we know that the house may not be a Hampton... unless, of course, it had a small addition added on, after the initial build of the house. See why this is a challenge?

In this case, Google Maps Streetview did us a solid, by taking the aerial views during the winter, when the foliage wouldn't get in the way:

aerial view of Sears Hampton model at 2611 Rockford Avenue Brentwood MO showing back porch extension
Aerial view showing us the extension on the back of the Sears Hampton in Brentwood

aerial view of Sears Hampton model at 2611 Rockford Avenue Brentwood MO showing back porch extension
And here's a veiw from the back of the Sears Hampton in Brentwood
Another element that we look carefully at, is the placement of the chimney. This isn't a fireplace chimney, it's a chimney for venting the furnace. The Hampton always has one placed just where this one is shown, on the side of the house where the double windows are. Our friend Cindy Catanzaro, who is not only a Sears House researcher and blogger, but whose professional business is renovating houses for re-sale, reminds us that moving the furnace, and its vent chimney, would not be an easy undertaking, so, since these houses were pre-cut kits, we know to question a house that does not have the vent chimney in this location, on this side of the house. 
Sears Hampton model and floor plan in 1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog
The furnace vent chimney is always shown on the floor plan, by a little black square, as you see here, circled in yellow.
On the right side of the house, we expect to see just three single windows, spaced pretty evenly apart, one for each of the three bedrooms:
authenticated Sears Hampton model at 2611 Rockford Avenue Brentwood MO
2611 Rockford Avenue, Brentwood, Missouri • Three windows of the Sears Hampton's bedrooms. This house has a tucked-under garage, which was not a standard element of this house.
Other elements to check out, are the placement of the front door and those two front windows, the width of the porch roof, the width of the porch itself, and the look of the front porch piers and columns. The Hampton should have a centered door, and one window on each side of it. Its porch roof should not stretch the entire width of the house, and the front porch itself should be noticeably shorter than the full width of the house. If the corner piers of the front porch are original, they should normally be made of formed concrete block, and the porch columns, if standard, should have this chunky, tapered, Craftsman-style look. Lookalike models from other companies may have the front door off to one side, may have only one window, may have a different look to the porch supports... these are the kinds of things to look for, to pin down a possible Sears Hampton, vs a lookalike.
Sears Hampton model at 2611 Rockford Avenue Brentwood MO compared to catalog image
Front elements of the Sears Hampton, offered up to 1931
(click to enlarge any image)
Lookalikes From Other Companies
Let's take a look at some of the lookalike models from some of the other companies. Pay close attention to those side windows--not just the side you can see on the house, but the other side's windows, as indicated on the floor plan. Look for where the front door is, and how close the window(s) are to it. Check out the look and size of the front porch, and its roof.

Gordon-Van Tine offered, in 1921 at least, the No. 519. I've pointed out, with blue arrows, where the windows are shown on the floor plans (in case you're not as used to looking at floor plans as we are). There is a very shallow extension off the back, and the vent chimney is in a similar location, but the location and number of windows is different than the Hampton (singles vs doubles). The porch columns are different both in style and number, and the porch railings look to be shorter in height. The opening onto the front porch is also off-center, whereas the Hampton's porch entry is centered. The GVT No. 519 also has a very deep eave, very noticeable in the front:
Sears Hampton lookalike, Gordon Van Tine No. 519 or No 915
Gordon-Van Tine No. 519, a lookalike to the Sears Hampton (source).
In 1927. GVT marketed this house as the No. 915.
In the 1925 Wardway catalog (Montgomery Ward's line of kit houses, which were, actually, supplied by the Gordon-Van Tine lumber mills), we see the Kenmore. Notice the differences in the windows (singles vs doubles), the important absence of a small window in the front, above the porch roof, the flat style of the porch roof, and the length of the porch columns (which are very similar in style to the Hampton's, but have a longer column, and shorter pier, than the Hampton has). Also, the Wardway Kenmore has this distinctive look to the brackets--the Hampton doesn't have any brackets at all:
Sears Hampton lookalike Wardway Kenmore
A similar model offered by Wardway homes, in the 1925 catalog
Wardway also offered the, slightly larger, Lawndale. Note, for one thing, the double window on one side of the front door, as well as all of the important differences:
Sears Hampton lookalike Wardway Lawndale
The Wardway Lawndale -- no little window above porch, flat porch roof, brick porch piers, a set of double windows to one side of the front door, and other side window differences. See it here, in the 1925 Wardway catalog.
Liberty Homes (offered by the Lewis Homes company) had a large selection of very modest little homes, in their 1926 catalog. Here are the two with a similar look to the Sears Hampton. Note the windows and the front door and the porch... all of those little details are important:
Sears Hampton lookalike Liberty Homes Sheridan
The very modest Liberty Sheridan, with three floor plan options.
Click to enlarge, or see it here, online.

Sears Hampton lookalike Liberty Homes National
The Liberty Homes National model, with its three floor plans. (See it here online.)
Aladdin Homes offered a number of small, shotgun style houses like this. Some are really tiny.
Sears Hampton lookalike Aladdin Erie Aladdin Selwyn
The super small Aladdin Erie and Selwyn (here, online)

Sears Hampton lookalike Aladdin Chester
The Aladdin Chester (go here to see it online)
Sears Hampton lookalike Aladdin Raymond
The Aladdin Raymond, with no front porch, and two possible floor plans.
(see it here, online)

Sears Hampton lookalike Aladdin Roseland
The Aladdin Roseland, with a similar first-glance look to the Raymond, but with a pergola-style covering over the front porch (Sears didn't offer any model with this pergola-style over the front porch). It also offeres three different floor plans, so there are lots of possible side-window configurations. See it here, online.
Bennett Homes offered the Laurel in their 1925 catalog--actually very similar to the Stirling Ellnwood , shown just below it. Notice that it has eave brackets:
Sears Hampton lookalike Bennett Homes Laurel
Bennett Homes Laurel model had a solid-walled front porch, and eave brackets on the front.
(see it here, online)
Sterling Homes had the Ellnwood in the 1920 catalog:
Sears Hampton lookalike Stirling Ellnwood
See the Ellnwood online, here
Not to mention that all of these companies, like Sears, as well, offered similar style houses but with the addition of some kind of side bumpout, or with a gabled front porch roof, instead. I'm not going to show all of those, but here is one example, by Sterling Homes, that has the same side and front window patterns as the Sears Hampton, and the same look to the rail, piers, and columns of the front porch, but with a very different look to the porch roof... a peaked gable there:
The Sterling Homes Springfield looks quite a bit like the Sears Hampton (if it had a different porch roof!), but there is no extension on the back, and it has eave brackets). See it here, online.
The Sears Grant, and the Sears Crafton
But, wait! Not only did other companies offer lookalikes to the Sears Hampton, Sears did, too. For one thing, during the Hampton years (through 1929), Sears offered the lower-priced, "Standard Built" buddy to the Hampton: The Grant. The Standard Built homes were "lighter built", as they are described in one year of the catalog, with, for example, wider spaces between the rafters and the wall studs, and other cost-saving changes that used a bit less lumber. You can see an explanation of the differences, in this previous blog post of mine, about a Sears Josephine.  The Grant is hard to distinguish from the Hampton, but one difference is that there is only one window in the kitchen, instead of a small double, and it looks like the front porch piers are brick, instead of formed concrete. Here it is, in the 1929 catalog:
Sears Hampton lookalike-- Sears Grant Standard Built
The Sears "Standard Built" Grant model, in the 1929 catalog, is almost the exact twin to the sturdier Hampton.
(My copy of the 1929 catalog is courtesy of Cindy Catanzaro, scanned for us by our friend at Daily Bungalow/Antique Home).
Sears really changed things up in 1932, discontinuing the Hampton, and offering the Crafton... with three different floor plans, so the side window arrangements are different on each of them. Oy vey!
Sears Crafton --Sears model after Sears Hampton
1932: Sears replaces the Hampton, with the more versatile Crafton.
Notice that the porch piers are brick, now, instead of formed concrete, but, otherwise, the porch is pretty much the same.
The Crafton was offered with three basic floor plans, A, C, and D, shown below (yup, no B plan!). But, plans C and D were also offered without a front porch, as floor plans E and F. Additionally, Sears referred to their Crafton X floor plan, which was the D plan, offered with a heightened roof, to add upstairs bedrooms.
Sears Crafton floor plan options
Sears Crafton floorplans in the 1932 catalog, available online, here. (click to enlarge)

Sears Crafton floor plan X
The Crafton X plan, as described in the 1938 catalog.
Researcher Andrew Mutch, did a good explanation of the evolution of the Sears Hampton into the Crafton, in this post of his blog, Kit House Hunters. I refer to it often! 

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