The Sears Crafton was possibly Sears best-selling kit home. It was offered for more than two decades in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs, and remained popular even during the Great Depression.
It was a very modest 600-800 square foot frame home, offered in four different floor plans (A, C, D or X). The price of The Crafton in the 1933 catalog was $911, $1013 and $1165, for the four room, five room or six room model. (Note: This price did not include plumbing, electrical or heating equipment, and also did not include lot costs, excavation, masonry work, construction expense, etc. A $1013 Crafton could easily have cost $5000+ [inclusive of lot] when completed.)
Even so, considering that the economy was in the early years of a major contraction, the fact that Sears was still selling houses – even Craftons – by the hundreds was nothing short of astounding.
The very thing that made these Craftons so popular during the Depression is the very thing that makes them so difficult to identify today – their simplicity. And the fact that they were offered in four different floor plans doesn’t help either.
My house-hunting friends (Dale and Rebecca) and I have developed a complicated lexicon for describing the eclectic vernacular architecture that we often find whilst doing community surveys, and the modest little Crafton dances on the razor’s edge of falling into that category. It’s what we call a “CLH.”
Short for, “Common Little House.”
These simple front-gabled, single-story houses look like every other house in your typical early 20th Century working class neighborhood. There’s nothing fancy or unique about it, and after a few additions and porch enclosures, it’s next to impossible to figure out if it’s a Crafton. And yet we know that thousands of these homes were sold.
Is there a Crafton in YOUR neighborhood? 🙂
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