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.
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See more photos of the St. Louis area Sears Homes by clicking here.
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I think there are at least 400 docuumented Sears homes in Carlinville.
“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
Do you still visit Carlinville? My wife and I just purchased the Roseberry at 910 Johnson St.
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!
Looks like one of the Gladstones in Carlinville is on the market – and has had some “remodeling” inside that doesn’t quite do it justice.
Too much paneling on the walls to make me “glad” for the Gladstone. But, it was their house, to do with as they pleased.
And here’s what looks like (to me) to be a Roseberry on the market as well? Nice floors, and an added Master Bedroom with wall-in closet in the attic (which they list but don’t picture.)
Only $65,000. http://www.trulia.com/property/1067370141-921-N-High-St-Carlinville-IL-62626#photo-1
And a Madelia …. http://www.trulia.com/property/3006715267-1106-University-St-Carlinville-IL-62626#photo-1.
Fairly unrecognizable on the inside, lots of remodeling has gone on inside. They did leave the original porch roof and brackets though.
Can I tour Sears homes in Carlinville or Elgin, Il?
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.
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.
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.