Sears Modern Home #179: Magnifico!

Last month, a reporter contacted me and asked if I knew of any kit homes in Jacksonville, Florida. My first thought was, Whoa boy, that might be tough finding many kit homes that far south!”

For a long time, it’s been widely believed that there just aren’t that many kit homes in the deep south.

The reporter and I exchanged a few emails, and much to my delight, she said that she’d found a kit house, Sears Modern Home #179.

Reading her email, I thought, “Suuuuuuure it is.”

Model #179 is a rarity, and neither me, nor Rebecca Hunter, nor Dale Wolicki have ever seen a Model #179.  This model was only offered for two years (1912 and 1913), and it’s a very distinctive house with a quirky floor plan.

But it turned out, this reporter was right.

And not only had she found Modern Home #179, this house was in beautiful condition!

And better yet, the home’s owners, Tami and George Lugeanbeal knew that they had a Sears House, and they love their remarkable, unique, historically significant kit home.  (Just across  the street from Modern Home #179, I found another delightful surprise: An Aladdin Georgia, and just like its pristine neighbor, the “Georgia” was also in beautifully original condition. Click here to read about that.)

George was kind enough to send me several photos of his wonderful house, so that all may see and enjoy this beautiful, rare and lovingly restored 99-year-old Sears Kit Home.

Thanks to Tami and George Lugeanbeal for sharing these pictures, and also thanks to Amanda Durish Cook (Florida Times-Union) for finding the Lugeanbeals and their beautiful Sears House!

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1913 colorized.

Modern Home #179 (offered in 1912 and 1913). George sent me this image, and it's been colorized. Not . Not sure where George found it, but it's a nice representation.

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As mentioned, the original floor plan is a little funky.

As mentioned, the original floor plan is a little funky. The bathroom is off the kitchen, and there is no bathroom upstairs (as built). Plus, the living room has nothing behind it.

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Up on the third floor, George found an original shipping label.

George found an original shipping label on that dormer window in the attic. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Ship

On the left of the shipping label it reads "If not delivered in 15 days, return to 925 Homan Avenue in Chicago" (Sears headquarters). The destination for this kit house was originally Ortega Train Depot, on the CRI and P, which is the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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George has something every old house owner dreams of: An image of his house from the 1940s.

George has something every old house owner dreams of: An image of his house from the 1940s. Photo is courtesy George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Georges Modern Home #179 as seen in the 1913 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Modern Home #179 as seen in the 1913 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

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And

And here it is, in the flesh! What a beauty! And it looks much like it did when built 99 years ago. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Modern Home #179 also has the worlds most perfect front porch.

One day, I hope to visit Modern Home #179 and sit in one of those white rockers. This is surely one of the prettiest front porches in the world. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Porchy porch porch porch

Look at those columns, still as straight and true as they were when first erected 99 years ago. According to George's information, the house was built in 1914. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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One of the features that makes this house so wonderful are the details. This bracket

One of the features that makes this house so wonderful are the details. If you look at the original catalog image, you'll see this bracket on the underside of the front porch roof. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Modern Home #179, as seen from another angle.

This looks like an ad for Sears Weatherbeater Paints, doesn't it? "Weatherbeater, by Sears, for great American homes, like yours." It's the perfect encapsulation of all that was right with America 100 years ago, and it's also a beautiful home. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Wow

From this angle, you can easily see that bay window on the first floor. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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The interior has some interesting details, too

The interior has some interesting details, too, such as this long, cool stack of drawers. Was this built as drawers, or was it originally a linen closet, or perhaps an ironing board cabinet? Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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And some cool door hardware, too!

And George's #179 some cool door hardware, too! Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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More very cool door hardware, from Sears & Roebuck!

More very cool door hardware, from Sears & Roebuck! Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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And the pièce de résistance is a letter that George and Tami found hidden in a wall from the homes prior occupant.

And the pièce de résistance is a letter that George and Tami found tucked away in a wall from the home's prior occupant. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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And here it is, in Jacksonville, Florida. And I never would have found it had it not been for that reporter from the

And here it is, in Jacksonville, Florida. And I never would have found it had it not been for that reporter from the Florida Times-Union. Photo is copyright 2013 George Lugeanbeal and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Thanks to George and Tami for sharing so many wonderful photos! And thanks to Amanda Durish Cook for finding the Lugeanbeals!

To read about the beautiful Aladdin kit home just across the street, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below!

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12 Comments

  1. Dale Wolicki

    Rose, we need a road research trip to Florida about next February!

    I’ll drop you off in Jacksonville while I look for Aladdin cottages on the beach at Fort Meyers.

  2. Lara

    I think this is your best blog post ever! What a beautiful house and such great details.

  3. Susan

    I notice in the floor plans for this “Modern House No. 179” that the one bathroom is downstairs while the three bedrooms are upstairs. This wouldn’t work in this day and age; nor would the tiny closets.

  4. ShariD

    This house reminds me for some reason of my husband’s grandparent’s farm. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but there it is anyway.

    While not a Sears home by any means I’m sure, my husband’s grandparents lived in the same house for 60 years, raised 4 kids, and farmed hundreds of acres all that time, with lots of seasonal help to board and feed, all the while living in a typical 4 square style farmhouse, 2 stories, with 6 bedrooms, and the one bath behind the kitchen.

    That’s the way the “new, modern kitchen” and bath (new indoor plumbing for them) was structured when it was added on to the main house as a one-level addition back in the 30s.

    My husband and his 4 siblings, living in similar homes from time to time, spent a good portion of their youth on the farm in the summer time, and this was just the way everyone’s homes were built in the early part of the 20th century.

    This wouldn’t be so out of the ordinary for homes of this type to have all the plumbing in one spot for ease of construction and economy.

    Prior to indoor plumbing, everyone had to run out behind the house and go “down the path” to the outhouse, or use a chamber pot at night!

    This would make the run a lot shorter and a whole lot more pleasant! We spent many a night visiting them, and staying for days at a time, sleeping in one of the big upstairs bedrooms, in a big, squeaky iron bed with exposed springs, listening to the sounds of the farms at night around them for miles.

  5. Danielle

    I actually live in Jacksonville and am in the market to buy a home.

    I have looked at two additional Sears homes recently. A Whitehall just sold on Ernest Street near Margaret on 32204, and I am looking I at a four-bedroom Crescent down the street (in 32210).

    There is a Paloma in 32205. I would guess there are quite a few more in the Riverside, Murray Hill, and Springfield areas. If you are ever in town take a stroll around.

  6. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Danielle
    That Crescent at 4450 Melrose Ave is sweet! I’ve been watching it since it was listed.

    From what I see in the listing it is pretty much all original! It has the light fixtures, well at least the sconces still, that are shown in the 1928 catalog. The Filigree Set is on page 113. I have the dining room fixture from that set.

    Looks like they moved the original kitchen sink to the back patio.

    Let me know if you buy it!

  7. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Danielle
    The house at 2035 Ernest St is not a Sears Whitehall. That was possibly built from a pattern.
    I didn’t see a Paloma :/ Can you give us an address?

    However, there is a Lewis Ardmore, so it appears, in foreclosure at 1226 Willow Branch Ave.

  8. Andrew Mutch

    Is the Crescent the one that was moved? I know that in the articles about Jacksonville, the Paloma has been mentioned multiple times but I don’t recall ever seeing an address.

  9. Danielle

    @Rachel

    My husband and I are actually under contract with the Crescent home now. I’ll have to send you some photos once we close.

    The Paloma was featured on metrojacksonville blog. “4213 Kerle Street is one of only 3 known Sears Kit Homes built in Jacksonville. The “Paloma” model was built by the Whittier family in 1918. Arthur Whittier hired a mule and wagon to transfer the house sections from the railroad tracks to the Kerle Street home site.”

  10. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Danielle
    That’s great!
    I have that house on my “to blog about” list. Have had for a few months, sigh.

    On facebook I paired up the millwork, hardware, sconces etc with catalog images.

    I was just waiting until I get my matching living room chandelier restored. I need to rewire it and put new sockets (maybe) in it.

    Are the other Filigree set fixtures still in the house or just the sconces by the fireplace? I see that the front door even has the original Narcissus hardware!

  11. Danielle

    @Rachel

    Yes. There are several filigree fixtures theoughout the home.

    We are contemplating updating them actually. Do you know of a marketplace where we can sell Searsoriginal parts? I would love for them to find them a loving home.

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