Sears and Wardway

What’s the difference between Sears kit homes and Montgomery Ward’s kit homes? Sometimes, not a lot.

Sears was in business from 1908-1940. Wardway started in 1909 and jumped ship in 1932. Sears sold about 75,000 homes, and Ward’s probably sold about 25,000 homes.

There were many Sears kit homes that looked a whole lot like Wardway homes. In fact, even the “experts” have a tough time telling these houses apart, without going inside and taking measurements, or looking for certain marks on the lumber. Sears and Wards did emulate one another’s architectural designs and to keep the little houses from being identical, they’d make minor alterations in the home’s exterior footprint.

A perfect example of this is the Sears Mitchell and the Wardway Newport. The Wardway version of this little Neo-Tudor was 26 x 40, and the Sears version was 26 x 41. That’s tough to assess from a windshield survey!

To learn more about Wardway Homes, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

Sears Mitchell from the 1936 catalog

Wardway Newport, from their 1931 catalog

Ready for the test? Which one is a Sears and which one is a Wardway?

Is it Sears or Wards?

Sears or Wardway? (Photograph by Dale Wolicki)

Gorgeous house, isn't it?

Ready for the answer?

The first extant photo is a Wardway Newport in Alton, Illinois. The second photo is also a Wardway in Barrington, Illinois. The third house is a Sears Mitchell in Elgin, Illinois. So the first two are Wardway and the third house is a Sears.

Hard to see that extra foot on the length of the house, isn’t it? 🙂

To learn more about Wardway Homes, click here.

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