Cataloguing The Catalog Homes

Preservationists, historians, and amateur urban sleuths are scouring U.S. neighborhoods to identify and protect as many of the 70,000 to 100,000 "kit" homes made by Sears, Roebuck and Company as possible.

Sold from 1908 to 1940, styles of the Sears homes "ranged from the elaborate, nearly $6,000 Magnolia, to the three-room, no-bath Goldenrod, sold in 1925 for $445. (Outhouses sold separately.) One of the larger Sears models, constructed in Takoma Park, Md., sold last year for about $900,000, according to a local real-estate agent."

While it is unclear how many of the Sears homes are left (Sears did not keep sales records), "The possibility that thousands of Sears homes are still standing around the country has only further piqued the curiosity of buffs, keeping them on the lookout for the so-called 'kit' homes. The blitz of teardowns in neighborhoods across the country in recent years has added a sense of urgency to their quest."

One of the few telltale ways to confirm the existence of a Sears home? In the house's basement, a tiny stamp of a letter and a three-digit number was marked on beams to help facilitate assembly.

[Editor's note: Although this article is only available to WSJ subscribers, it is available to Planetizen readers for free through the link below for a period of seven days.]

Full Story: Historians and Fans Are Racing to Catalog Homes Sold By Sears


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city

Choose from over 20 styles of neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.