When I retrieved old photos from a dead laptop, I wasn’t surprised to find that I had more than 35,000 photos on the hard drive. The great majority of those photos were Sears kit homes. Of those 35,000 photos, I have one photo of a Sears Homart Prefab Home.
From 1948-1951, Sears sold prefabricated houses known as Homart Homes. These small houses were shipped by truck (not train) and arrived in sections measuring 4′ by 8′ to 8′ by 8′. Fasteners were included with these diminutive homes, and the houses were bolted together at the site. They were very modest homes with very simple lines and shallow roofs. Most were 600-850 square feet.
Sears Modern Homes – the kit homes that were sold from 1908-1940 – were not prefab houses. Prefabricated houses are – as the word suggests – prefabricated. In other words, they’re pre-built at a central plant, broken down into sections, and then transported to the building site, where they’re re-assembled, quickly and efficiently.
Sears Modern Homes were were true kits, containing 12,000 pieces of house. Each kit came with a 75-page instruction book. They were made with superior quality building materials (#1 southern yellow pine framing members and cypress for everything exterior).
From 1908-1940, about 70,000 Sears Modern Homes were built. Based on some educated guessing from reading old catalogs, fewer than 3,000 Homart Homes were built.
And now I need a little help from my friends. The 1949 Homart Homes catalog lists several addresses where Homart Homes were built. I’d love to have photos of these houses to publish at this site. If you’re so inclined, please get me a photo and send to me? Doing so will launch a veritable wave of good housing karma in your direction. 🙂 The Homart Homes (for which I have specific addresses) are in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin. Click here to see the specific address of Homart Homes.
Sears also had a line of hardware and home merchandise (electric fans, water heaters, tools) which bore the name “Homart.” And where did they get that name? In the first decades of the 1900s, Sears headquarters was located in Chicago, at the corner of Homan and Arthington Street. Homart is a combination of those two street names.
To learn more about kit homes, click here.
To buy Rose’s book, click here.
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