According to local lore, the sexton’s home at the Greenlawn Cemetery (in Newport News, Virginia) is a Sears Home. As is so typical with these “legends,” no one knows which model of Sears Home, only that it came from the Sears Roebuck catalog in the early 1900s. (Sears offered 370 models of their kit homes.)
Recently, I went out to Greenlawn Cemetery (Newport News, VA) to see if the sexton’s home was the real deal.
More than 80% of the time, these “stories” about Sears Homes turn out to be erroneous. Most of the time, people do indeed have a kit home, but it’s a kit home from a different company. In addition to Sears, there were five other companies that sold kit homes on a national level (such as Montgomery Ward, Sterling, Harris Bros, Lewis Manufacturing, Gordon Van Tine and more).
While I was out at Greenlawn, I took some pictures of the house and walked around and studied it a bit. I’d still like to get into the house to confirm this, but I’m at least 90% certain this is a Sears “Berkeley.” However, before I declare this an official, authenticated Sears Home, I’d need to see the home’s interior.
The house at Greenlawn is not a spot-on match to the catalog image. The windows are significantly different, as is the front porch (which has been enclosed).
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
To buy Rose’s book, click here.
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