by Vickie McDonough
Can you imagine the fun of scouring the Sears catalog for your next home? Or purchasing a brand new house for less than $1000? What about going to the train depot to await the arrival of your new home?
Between 1908 and 1940, more than 100,000 houses were sold through Sears’s Modern Homes program. Sears wasn’t the first company to sell mail order homes, but it was the largest. Architects designed 447 different houses, and each of the designs could be modified in numerous ways, such as reversing floor plans, building with brick instead of wood siding, and many other options. Homes could be bought with or without bathrooms, although it would seem a wise investment to add such a feature.
Sears house still standing in
Families picked out their houses according to their needs, tastes, and pocketbooks. Entire homes would arrive by railroad, from precut lumber, to carved staircases, down to the nails and varnish. Sears provided all the materials and instructions.
In 1908, houses ranged from the very simple
To a middle-priced home like
To the very large three story