Nary a month passes that I don’t get at least five or six emails from people who are convinced that they’ve spotted that elusive bird, The Sears Magnolia.
The Magnolia was the creme de la creme of the Sears kit homes. It was bigger and grander and fancier than any of the other 370 models that Sears offered. You can learn a whole lot more about the Magnolia by clicking here and here.
In short, The Magnolia was Sears’ finest home. And it was also one of the rarest.
For years, we’d heard that there were six Magnolias built in the country. There was one in Nebraska (which burned down many years ago), and one in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Ohio. (Click on the links to read more about those particular houses).
And then in February, I got wind of a purported Sears Magnolia in Blacksburg, South Carolina. I put 897 miles on my car that weekend, driving down to Blacksburg to see that house in the flesh. It was close – real close – but it was not a Sears Magnolia. You can read more about that here.
So when I got another note last night that there was a Sears Magnolia in Syracuse, I was skeptical. Actually, I was many miles past skeptical. It was 2:00 a.m., and I couldn’t sleep so I went to Google and “drove” via Google Maps. And then I saw it.
“Holy cow,” I muttered under my breath in the quiet stillness of my pre-dawn bedroom. “I think that’s a Magnolia!”
By 8:30 a.m., I had posted notes at several websites, pleading with someone in Syracuse to get me a photo of that house.
By 1:00 pm, I had a note from Mariel Proulx, who lived near Syracuse. She’d snapped a dozen photos for me.
I was a happy, happy girl.
After examining the photos for about 30 minutes and zooming in and zooming out, and studying tiny, seemingly insignificant details, I was ready to proclaim it a Sears Magnolia. Yes, it’s possible that this is a look-alike, but I’m willing to bet money that this is indeed our seventh Magnolia.
This means that the “legend of six Magnolias” is wrong. This means that there could be 70 Magnolias.
Enjoy the photos. And please leave a comment below. And thanks so much to both Ted Johnson and Heather Lukaszewski for contacting me and letting me know that there was a good reason to take a closer look at that quiet tree-lined street in Syracuse, New York. And thanks to Mariel Proulx for dropping everything and driving to the next city (in the rain) to get me a dozen good quality photos of my Sears Magnolia! 🙂
Updated! I contacted the owner’s of the Syracuse Magnolia and heard back from them. They have the home’s original blueprints framed and hanging in the foyer! And yes, they knew it was a Sears Magnolia!
First, the original catalog image from the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.
To learn more about the Sears Magnolia, click here.
To buy Rose’s book, click here.
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