Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home Story

Our home is a 1909 Sears kit house  Harris J 6. Sears sold house kits from the late 1800's through the early 1900's. Out of their catalog!!

The homeowner would order the custom cut lumber, shingles, flooring, millwork, cabinetry, lath from Sears. Electrical and plumbing supplies could also be ordered. We live in the Maytown model.

We are only the third homeowners of our house. The family who built it passed it on to their son who lived here until the early 1990's. At that time the house was missing most of its paint and was very rundown inside and out. The son was physically and mentally disabled. I didn't know that at the time, but I remember watching the house fall into disrepair, and seeing the very old occupant walking veeerrrryyyy slowly around the place.

One very hot July a neighbor became concerned because he hadn't seen the old man for several days. The fire department was called, the front door broken in with a fire hatchet. It turned out that the old man had gone to stay at the Y for a few days to beat the heat.

Meanwhile, the house was found to be without functional plumbing, and a terrible filthy mess. It was condemned, fumigated and auctioned off. Most of the old (antique) furniture was loaded into a dumpster and carted away.

I attended that auction!!

Our house was purchased and then repaired by an antiques dealer. An addition was put on.

Fast forward 13 years - I noticed that the house was for sale, and there was an open house scheduled! My husband said, "Ok, we'll go, but I fully expect to be unimpressed." (We were NOT looking to move - there's the danger of attending open houses.)

I fell in love with the house. We moved in. Since then we've replaced the (original) furnace, painted everything inside and almost all of it outside, replaced the wiring, added AC and completed other projects.


Janet said...

Welcome to Blogland, the friendliest place on earth. I adore Sears kit houses. I have the book written about them and have often cribbed the descriptions from the book to use in my Real Estate ads. I look forward to seeing more of your house and getting to know you. Where in PA are you?

Carol said...

Thanks for being my first comment! I have always loved walking after dark too, to see more of the houses at night!
We are near Harrisburg.

Sandy said...

What a wonderful story.. thanks so much for sending the link.. you are one lucky woman to have found and bought this house! Love it!

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

Your home is simply lovely! Thanks for sharing it's story...we've lots of kit houses in our area of the country :)


Melanie {The Tiny Tudor} said...

I love your blog- looking forward to following along. Your home is beautiful!

Jeannie B. said...

I love this house. I want a kit too!!

Mary said...

Your home is gorgeous! I found your blog through Honey@2805.
We have a 1920 Alahambra Sears Kit Home. It's totally different from yours but I think they're all very unique.
I'm your newest follower! Nice to meet you and I'm looking forward to visiting you often.
I also have several books on Sears Houses!

Anglers Rest said...

Being in the UK I have never heard of Sears Kit homes, but this was really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Carrie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I knew I had to come visit you the second I saw your domain name. I recently found out that my grandmother lives a Sears kit home, the same home my mother grew up in. I am starting to research and find out more about it. So much fun!!! Love your house, it truly is a dream home.

Charlotte said...

Hi Carol. Today is the first time I've visited your blog in awhile and was surprised the beautiful yellow house was not the header. I had never read this info about your sears kit house. I wondered why it was called that. Where have I been? I didn't know Sears sold these ever. Very interesting.

Cheryl said...

Wonderful story! Hmmmm...where to go next? Kitchen remodel? (We're doing that now ourselves!) Porch? Dining room? So many choices! :D

Revka said...

Hi, Carol! Thanks so much for stopping by Our Family Porch and leaving your sweet comment.

I absolutely love your home's story. I prefer homes with history to brand new homes, and it sounds and looks like your home was and is well-loved.

Douglas Elliott said...

I just started the process of buying a house. After i started all the papers, i met one of the owners who said the elderly post office clerk told him some of the homes in the area were Sear's kit homes. I liked the house before hearing that (obviously), but that made me really excited. I found the Sear's "Maytown" and everything looked the same except 1. The side bay window was in the Parlor, not the dining room, 2. there was a stairway to the attic, and 3. the turret roof was different.
Then, i came across the Harris J-6, which covers two of the three differences i listed above, BUT, the J--6 plan that i found does not have the pantry where mine does. Now i'm stumped!
I guess i'll have to wait until closing and then start looking for more clues.
I'm so excited!!