Carlinville, Illinois and its Sears Homes

If you’re a frequent visitor to my site, you’ll notice that I have not posted much about Carlinville, IL. This small city in central Illinois (population 5,400) has 152 Sears Homes in a 12-block area. It is NOT the largest collection of Sears Homes in this country (as is often reported). That honor falls to Elgin, Illinois which has more than 210 Sears Homes within the city borders. (Thanks to Rebecca Hunter for this information!)

However, Carlinville does have the largest contiguous collection of Sears Homes.  Those 152 Sears Homes are all in one neighborhood – Standard Addition.

Every time I visit the Midwest (which is once a year or more), I visit Carlinville and Standard Addition. After all, it was this community of Sears Homes that launched my career and inspired me to start writing books on this topic!

In 1999, I wrote an article for my editor (at Old House Web) about Sears Homes and that one article turned into a career, and what a blessing that career has been in my life.

When I visit Standard Addition, I’m saddened to see that so many of these homes are in poor condition.

And as of Spring 2013, I hear it’s just getting worse and worse. It’s time for the city of Carlinville to get serious about saving this unique collection of Sears Homes, because if they continue on the path they’ve been on thus far, there won’t be much left to save.

Want to learn more? Join us on Facebook! We’re listed under “Sears Homes.”

To read about a whole bunch of Sears Homes in other parts of Illinois, click. here.
To buy Rose’s book (and get it inscribed!), click here.

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Sears Roseberry, as it appeared in the 1916 catalog.

Sears Roseberry, as it appeared in the 1916 catalog.


A Sears Roseberry thats looking a little rough

This little Roseberry has had many modifications. It's a'hurtin'.


More permastone dons the front of this Roseberry

More permastone dons the front of this Roseberry


One of the eight models offered in Carlinville was The Warrenton.

One of the eight models offered in Carlinville was "The Warrenton."



When originally built in 1919, this Sears Warrenton looked very different.



Another Sears Warrenton with 1960s permastone, 1980s vinyl and 1990s aluminum columns.



Sears Gladstone with a closed-in front porch and a new porch added on. To their credit, the garage addition has been done thoughtfully with a hip roof that matches the original structure.


The Sears Carlin, from the 1919 catalog.

The Sears Carlin, from the 1919 catalog.

Sears Windsor.

The front porch on this Sears Carlin has been completely closed in.


Carlinville under construction, about 1918.

Carlinville under construction, about 1918.

Vintage Carlinville

Vintage Carlinville. This photo was taken soon after the construction of the Sears Homes were complete and the sidewalks were paved! These houses were originally built by Standard Oil of Indiana for their coal miners in Carlinville, IL.

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See more photos of the St. Louis area Sears Homes by clicking here.

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To read another article on Sears Homes, click here.

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To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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To contact Rose, send an email to

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  1. Robyn Woodside

    I think there are at least 400 docuumented Sears homes in Carlinville.

  2. Sears Homes

    Hi Robyn,

    “Documented” means that the homes have been discovered, positively identified and inventoried. I’ve been through Carlinville many, many times, driving up and down all those city streets looking for kit homes, and I can say with absolute conviction and authority that there are not more than another dozen Sears Homes outside of Standard Addition. If there are a dozen (and I’m saying there are no more than a dozen), this would bring the total count of Sears Homes in Carlinville up to maybe 164 (152 in Standard Addition and 12 elsewhere).

    Elgin has more than 210!

    There may be one or two Sears Homes in Carlinville that I’ve missed but I’d be willing to bet you 50 cents that there aren’t many more than that! I’m pretty good at this. 🙂

    Interestingly, there is a Gordon Van Tine home in Carlinville, too!

    author, The Houses That Sears Built
    author, The Sears Homes of Illinois
    author, Finding The Houses That Sears Built
    co-author, The Mail-Order Homes of Montgomery Ward
    co-author, California’s Kit Homes

  3. Dale Haynes

    Do you still visit Carlinville? My wife and I just purchased the Roseberry at 910 Johnson St.

  4. Sears Homes

    I have family in southwestern Illinois, so I do visit the area from time to time, but I no longer live there. I’m now in Norfolk, VA and that’s a LOOOONG way from Carlinville!

  5. Kris Franklin


    Can I tour Sears homes in Carlinville or Elgin, Il?

    Thank you,
    Kris Franklin

  6. Mary Cox

    The City of Wood River’s history museum is producing a calendar for 2018 that features our Sears Houses.

    We have identified 55 Sears Houses in Wood River, Illinois.

    Most of our houses are in very good shape I am happy to say.

    Rose’s Reply:
    Hi Mary,

    Actually, LaWanda Smith and I identified 55 Sears Homes in Wood River back in 2002. Those were the early days, when I did free architectural surveys for the small communities around me. (I lived in Alton, Illinois at the time.)

    The work we did was a gift to the Wood River Museum, and I’m deeply saddened to hear that my name has been removed from the laborious project.

  7. cindy ladage

    Hi, I am writing a blog on the Sears Homes, just toured one and was interested in reading yours.

    There is a tour available in Carlinville of one home currently, I too was wondering about if tours are available in Elgin, I will have to check it out.