n 1895 the idea of a self-assembled, mail-order home was realized by
companies such as The Hodgson Company, Aladdin Homes, Montgomery Ward, and
of course the largest and most successful of these enterprises - Sears,
Roebuck and Co. Between 1908 and 1940 the Sears Roebuck specialty
catalog offered more than 450 different models of "kit" homes,
and many variations of them with prices ranging from $146.25 for the
Golden Rod Cottage up to $5,140 for the Magnolia - the
grandest of all homes.
The average kit home had 30,000 parts, not
including nails, screws, etc. It included everything except the lot,
foundation and energy to assemble it. Each precut piece was
perfectly shaped, no sawing was required, and all parts were number-keyed
to a blueprint. These ready-to-assemble homes reflected the American
taste of the period complete with modern conveniences such as indoor
plumbing and electricity. They were shipped only by rail car to
buyers across the country.
Establishing a home's identity can be tricky.
It is unusual to find a house in its original condition. Many have
been remodeled or the original floor plans may have been customized or
reversed. Also, some Sears models are similar to those offered by
other mail-order companies. On the tour, you will notice many homes
which have characteristic features similar to the Sears
the best of our knowledge, the homes listed in this online tour have been
determined to be Sears Catalog Homes.