An Abundance of Kit Homes in Tulsa (Updated!)

Sears Homes in Tulsa?

That was my first thought when Rachel Shoemaker of Tulsa contacted me. She said that she thought there were several homes in her town.

Now if she’d been writing from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan or Ohio, I wouldn’t have been so surprised.

But Tulsa?

In the last 10 years, I’ve received probably 5,000 emails and I’ve never heard much from the folks in Oklahoma. In fact, Rebecca Hunter’s wonderful book, “Putting Sears Homes on the Map” lists states with known Sears Homes. Rebecca went through thousands of pages of old catalogs, noting all the testimonials from folks, and then compiled that info into one easy-to-use book. There are two states that have no kit homes listed: Oklahoma and Oregon.

Besides, Oklahoma didn’t become a state until 1907. They were still fighting off Injuns and would not have had time to read a 75-page instruction book on how to build a kit that contained 12,000 pieces of house. (I’ve watched 106 episodes of Gunsmoke. I know about this stuff.)

Rachel sent me a couple photos and I was impressed. And then Sunday night (July 3), I stayed up way too late driving the streets of Tulsa via Google Maps, and I found two more kit homes.

If you know the address of a kit home in Oklahoma, please leave a comment below!

Below is a compilation of what Rachel has found  (with a little help from me). All photos of extant homes are copyright 2011 Rachel Shoemaker and can not be reproduced without written permission.  Photo of Wardway Modern Home #105 is copyright 2010 Dale Wolicki.

And as an added note, if you enjoy these pictures, please leave a comment below for Rachel, as she has invested countless hours of her own time and money researching and photographing these houses.

This is an impressive array of kit homes, and this collection should be preserved and protected, and further research should be done. Don’t let this amazing chapter of Tulsa’s history fall back into the shadows of lost memories and forgotten treasures.


One of the distinctive features (inside) is that corner fireplace in the dining room! This is from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

And in Oklahoma! Its had a lot of improvements but this Westly is still standing.  Photo is copyright Rachel Shoemaker and can not be reproduced without written permission.

Unfortunately, it's had a lot of "improvements" but this Westly in Tulsa is still standing.


The Arlington was a beautiful and spacious bungalow. This image is from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog.


Tulsa's Arlington is not a spot-on match, but it's pretty darn close. The front porch was truncated to allow for placement on a narrow lot. This was a very common "customization."

One distinguising feature of the Arlington is this crazy array of windows on the staircase side. There are a whole lot of windows going on here.

One distinguising feature of the Arlington is this crazy array of windows on the staircase side. There are a whole lot of windows going on here.

Floor plan of the first floor shows detail

Room arrangement of the first floor shows what a grandiose house this was. Note the spacious rooms and the maid's quarters!

Detail of the Arlingtons roof, which is also quite distinctive

Detail of the Arlington's roof, which is also quite distinctive

And the house in Tulsa is a perfect match.

And the house in Tulsa is a very good match. About 30-50% of Sears Homes were customized when built, and this Arlington has a few minor changes (such as the truncated porch) but those are fairly inconsequential. I'd say that this house is almost certainly a Sears Arlington.

Said to be the first Sears Home in Oklahoma, this Saratoga is in wonderful condition.

Said to be the first Sears Home in Oklahoma, this Saratoga is in wonderful condition.

The Saratoga, as seen in the 1921 Sears catalog.

The Saratoga, as seen in the 1921 Sears catalog.


And from the 1916 catalog. Note the big price difference between 1921 and 1916. "The War to End All Wars" created a housing shortage and hyperinflation in the cost of building materials.

The Avondale was built a

The Avondale was built at the Illinois State Fair (late 1910s) and furnished with items from the Sears Roebuck catalog. This post card shows the Avondale at the State Fair. Note the stained class windows on the front and flanking the fireplace. Nice house, and popular too.

Sears Avondale in Chelsea, OK. Was this the first Sears House in Oklahoma? Itll be fun to find out!

Sears Avondale in Chelsea, OK. Was this the first Sears House in Oklahoma? It'll be fun to find out! This picture shows the mirror image of the house above. Landscaping prevented taking a shot from the same side (as shown above).


Woodland as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.


This view of the Woodland shows those two windows flanking the front door, and it's also a good shot of that itty bitty window inside the dormer on the third floor. The closet window (small window between the two second floor windows) is gone, probably hidden underneath the 1940s shingle-type siding. It's very common to see these little closet windows covered over when the substitute sidings go up.


Sad little Woodland, all dressed down and waiting to die.

Close-up of porch column detail

Close-up of porch column detail


Those unique porch columns, together with the windows flanking the front door suggest this is a Sears Woodland.

Aladdin was another kit home company, but they were actually bigger than Sears. Sears stopped selling kit homes in 1940, but Aladdin continued on until 1981. Sears sold about 70,000 homes and Aladdin sold more than 75,000.

Aladdin was another kit home company, but they were actually bigger than Sears. Sears stopped selling kit homes in 1940, but Aladdin continued on until 1981. Sears sold about 70,000 homes and Aladdin (based in Bay City, Michigan) sold more than 75,000. The Aladdin Sunshine (shown above) was a fairly popular house for Aladdin.

A near perfect Aladdin Sunshine in Tulsa.

A nice little Aladdin Sunshine in Tulsa.

One of the biggest and best Aladdin kit homes was the Shadowlawn.

One of the biggest and best Aladdin kit homes was the Shadowlawn.


Is it an Aladdin Shadowlawn? Tough to say without an interior inspection, but it sure is a nice match, and even has the porte cochere (carport). It's a real beauty.

The Shadowlawns living room, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

The Shadowlawn's living room, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

This is a kit home from Gordon Van Tine, a competitor of Sears in the kit home business.

This is a kit home from Gordon Van Tine, a competitor of Sears in the kit home business. Gordon Van Tine (Davenport, Iowa) probably sold about 50,000 kit homes. The "Roberts" (shown above) was a very popular house for GVT. Thanks to Dale Wolicki for the numbers on Aladdin and GVT.

Gordon Van Tine

Although the front porch has been altered a bit and the side porches have been closed in, it's still likely that this is a Gordon Van Tine "Roberts."

Perhaps my favorite find in Tulsa was this GVT 712 (as seen in the 1921 catalog).

Perhaps my favorite find in Tulsa was this GVT 712 (as seen in the 1921 catalog).

And here it is, in the flesh. A real live GVT #712 in Tulsa. This is not a very common house, and Ive only seen one other (in Shipman, IL).

And here it is, in the flesh. A real live GVT #712 in Tulsa. This is not a very common house, and I've only seen one other (in Shipman, IL).

The Hudson was offered in the

The Hudson was offered in the late 1920s and early 30s.

Here is Tulsas Hudson.

Rachel has spent some quality time sitting in front of this house and studying the details. She feels strongly that this is a GVT Hudson. I have a few niggling doubts, but it certainly bears further investigation. An interior inspection would settle the question once and for all. Either way, this house proves what makes identification challenging.


It's the details around the front porch that trouble me. The Hudson does not have a transom, while this house does. The Hudson does not have exterior lights flanking the door, and the ornamentation around the door is more grandiose on the Tulsa house (compared to the GVT).

Montgomery Ward also sold kit homes, but they can be tough to find, especially in land as far south as Tulsa! Based on some educated guessing, fewer than 25,000 Wardway Homes were built. In Tulsa, we found Modern Home #105. It’s a modest little house, but it’s also a distinctive house with several eye-catching features. And perhaps best of all, “Farmers all over the country are giving this comfortable home the preference.”

To learn more about Wardway Homes, click here.

Notice the paired box windows on the right side of this floorplan. This is a very distinctive feature of #105. This catalog image shows a vestibule, but that feature disappeared in future catalogs.


Montgomery Ward kit house #105 in Tulsa. Note the pair of box windows and the steeply pitched roof.

Here's a #105 from the same side. This house (shown for comparison) is in North Belle Vernon, PA. Photo is courtesy of Dale Wolicki and can not be reproduced without written permission.


According to "Many More Historic Homes in Tulsa" (by John Brooks Walton - 2003), there was a Sears Corona in Tulsa which was torn down years ago. Walton states that this house was located at 618 S. Delaware in Tulsa. It's a real shame that this house was torn down, as this was one of Sears finest homes, and it was also one of their more spacious homes. As the heading states on this 1919 catalog page, it was a classic early 20th Century American bungalow. If the countless hours of work invested in this one single blog can accomplish ONE thing, perhaps it can be this: Maybe we can halt the destruction of any more irreplaceable, uniquely American and historically significant kit homes in Tulsa.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To read about the first Sears Home in Oklahoma, click here.

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  1. OKmodern

    Interesting. I never realized these homes in Tulsa were “unknown.”

  2. Sears Homes

    I suppose one could say it was known that they were houses, but I don’t think it was widely known that they came from a mail-order catalog! Rachel (who’s been doing the foot-work there in Tulsa), reports that the owners of these homes knew nothing about the unique origins of their home. (The lone exception was the Saratoga, which had been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.)

    Rachel’s experience in talking with these homeowners parallels my own; about 90% of the time, the people living in these homes didn’t realize what they had until I knocked on their door and told them!


  3. Rachel Shoemaker

    I knew nothing about these Sears Homes until I stumbled upon them on the internet one day when I was researching something else. I was very intrigued by their story and their history. I am a native Tulsan, born and raised 🙂 I have an interest in Tulsa history, naturally. I know about the art deco and the grand mansions built by the oil tycoons. But not anywhere could I find ANY information on mail ordered homes from Sears and Roebuck.

    Talk about a “Wish Book!”

    I searched high and low and all I found was what little info is one of Walton’s books and it wasn’t much at all! I found the Saratoga in Chelsea on the internet and decided that if Chelsea had one I bet Tulsa did too. My first find was the Woodland. It’s in rough shape, but still – it’s a Sears kit house!

    I spoke with the owner and he had no idea that his home had come from the Sears Roebuck catalog. He didn’t even know what a kit home was until I told him the story. He pointed down the street and said, “well there were tracks down here back then.”

    It was this one house that gave me hopes of finding more. I have thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and all that I have learned about these homes. I look forward to finding many more in my beloved hometown! I like to refer to Tulsa as an architectural smorgasbord. I will continue my search.

  4. Nancy

    I had once heard about someone having a Sears kit house here in Tulsa but that was many, many years ago. Frankly I’d totally forgotten all about it. Great research job!

  5. Michelle Cornshucker

    I am offended by the paragraph about fighting off “injuns”. Can you please rephrase this paragraph to sound more respectful of the First Americans? We all really need to be more careful with our words. Thank you.

  6. Lori Cain

    I’m going to send this link to my Dad. I know that the home he grew up in was either purchased from Sears or Montgomery Wards. It was in Elk City though – not Tulsa. But this is awesome! I will be on the look-out for Sears homes!! Thanks for such awesome research and wonderful post!! Lori Cain

  7. Victor R. Cain

    I’ll add to my daughter’s comment. I didn’t grow up in the house, but I was born in it, and probably lived there
    for a few months. I think it was from Montgomery Wards rather than Sears, but I’m not certain. It was built in
    Carter, OK and moved to Elk City., and was still standing the last time I was in Elk City. The address, as I
    remember, is 322 West 2nd Street. Maybe we can get some one to take a picture to add to your collection.
    Also, my first cousin, may remember more about the house — I’ll pass this on to her.

  8. Victor R. Cain

    I stand corrected. My cousin says that the house at 322 West 2nd in Elk City, OK was ordered from a Sears catalog. Supposedly, one of my 1st cousins, once removed, has that catalog that it was ordered from. I’ll try to verify that.

  9. Marilyn Jansen

    @Lori Cain


    The house you mentioned was purchased from Sears Catalog by your Great Grandfather George Cain and was built in Carter, Oklahoma. In the late 30s it was moved to Elk City.

  10. Rachel

    Wow! I will have to check that out! I went to college at SWOSU.

    I met and visited with the owners of the Westly above. The olive green house. I now know its history. It was a farmhouse. It has not been taken care of in the past but the current owners bought it about 4 years ago and are doing all they can to save everything original to it. They have had some band experiences with a few contractors 🙁 and had no choice but to put siding on it. It also sustained alot of damage from the Dec 2007 ice storm we had here in Tulsa, as you can see from the trees out front. It is now in the hands of a couple who will love it and appreciate it! There were others who wanted to tear it down!!! So glad that didn’t happen. Maybe the owner will chime in here and fill us in.

  11. olshep

    Near the north west corner of South Mingo and 121st street in Bixby, Oklahoma is a farm house that we believe to be a kit home or a close copy of one. The kit would have needed to be hauled approximately 2 1/2 miles across the Arkansas river from the railroad, if it is a Sears kit.

  12. Bonnie

    Has Rachel checked out the houses in downtown Bartlesville? Many candidates there.

  13. Rachel

    I know EXACTLY which house you are referring to. It’s just about a half mile from where I live 🙂 I have researched that house some. I think it is a kit of some sort too. I just haven’t figured out if it is from one of the major kit companies. 1915 I think is what I found out. I need to get pictures so I don’t have to sit out in front of it staring at it like a stalker LOL

  14. robert volz

    Hey all,
    So the idea that each state has Sear’s homes except for OK and OR is kinda false.

    I live in Portland OR in a delightful tree-lined neighborhood called Laurelhurst. The idea was to pick your plot from the Laurelhurst Real estate office, pick your Sear’s House and Shazam!!

    There you have it.


  15. Michelle

    Rachel Shoemaker came by our house we live in Bristow Oklahoma – it looks like the Shadow Lawn – Rachel has a picture of it on her Facebook page!

  16. Carla Coats

    I live in Broken Arrow, There is a Sears house on Main Street. It is two blocks south of 81st.

  17. Joe Millichap

    Hi! Got to your site googling around about kit houses after reading an article about model kits of full-size kit houses. I lived at 1319 E. 20th St. in Tulsa from 1971-1986, and I always thought it might be a kit home both from the general design and some lumber markings. However, the house had a lot of specific features, especially in the full basement, that did not seem kit-like.

    Wonder what anyone else might think of that property?

    Best wishes for your interesting site.

  18. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Carla Coats

    Unfortunately that is not a Sears house or any mail order kit house from the major catalog companies at that time.

  19. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Joe Millichap

    Unfortunately that is not a kit house either, at least not from the major catalog companies.

    Tulsa has several gambrel dutch colonials and I have yet to find one that came from a mail order kit home catalog. I have found plan book homes around town but none that are gambrel dutch colonial.

    At least not yet 🙂

    There are many plan books out there and I haven’t come across this style in what I have access to right now. The house at that address is now burned in my memory (I have a knack for that for some reason) and if I come across it in anything I read I post back. And actually, I have sat in front of that house and stared for several minutes on several occassions LOL! Thanks for posting. You can see Tulsa or Oklahoma finds on my facebook page.

    I’ll send a pic of it to Rosemary and see if she recognizes it.

  20. Emily Netz

    The Arlington house is indeed a Sear’s kit house. We own it!

    We are only the third owners of the house and the previous owners had lived there for 60+ years.

    They told us it was a Sear’s kit house when we were in the process of purchasing it.

    We have done some minor alterations to the downstairs floor plan like opening up the maid’s quarters to the kitchen and converting it to the dining room.

    The former dining room is now the “TV room.” The previous owners had converted part of the pantry into a bathroom.

  21. Shawna Rogers

    Wondering if any homes in Pawhuska are Sears homes? How do I go about finding out?

    I think I have a Roanoke built in 1920. Thank you.

  22. Rachel J Shoemaker

    @Emily Netz
    They know because I knocked on their front door several years ago and told them. 🙂 I gave him a copy of the catalog page.

  23. Rachel J Shoemaker

    @Shawna Rogers Shawna, I went through Pawhuska last year and looked for homes.

    I didn’t see a Roanoke but I may have missed a street or two. I did find a lot of pattern homes, specifically a few from JH Daverman, no 18 and no 27 for sure.

    There is also an Aladdin Emerald. I remember a couple of pattern homes that resemble the Aladdin Shadow Lawn as well.

  24. Sheila Buttram

    @Rachel Shoemaker
    I was born in Tulsa and have lived here all my life.

    Do you have addresses on where in Tulsa these are located?

    Would love to look at them. Thanks

  25. Rachel J Shoemaker

    @Sheila Buttram
    Hi Sheila, I’m from Tulsa too, born here in 1962 and graduated from Union HS in 1980!

    Several years ago I helped the Tulsa Historical Society put together a presentation and program, Tulsa Houses By Mail. Stop in there and see them.

    I think they do programs on it at requests.

  26. Kathy

    The house that was used to film “August-Osage County” was a Sears home. Built by I.W. Boulanger in (at that time) Boulanger, Oklahoma (Just North of Pawhuska, almost to the KS state line. I imagine there are quite a few of them in rural areas. The one in Boulanger is very much “alive and well”.

  27. Kathy

    I believe it was built in 1909, but I’m not positive.

  28. Rachel J Shoemaker

    It was determined that the Boulanger house outside of Pawhuska is not from Sears. It was built around 1918. The millwork isn’t even from Sears.

    That was a 100% decision from all who research and know Sears homes.

    We do have a few kit homes around the state but not near as many as people think.

    If you have anything you would like me to look at let me know. You can contact me through Rose or my blog.

  29. Sears Homes

    Rachel is 100% correct. These myths seem to gain a life of their own! And that house is not a Sears kit house.

  30. Jennifer Teoli

    I own a Westly Sears Kit home in Delaware only about 5 blocks from train tracks. The house is beautiful and I love the design. Recently, I have been having issues with the balcony leaking onto the front porch. The whole Dormer has to be redone and I have been going back and forth on changing the design and adding a sliding glass door. But after reading the history of the Sears Kit homes I have decided to keep the original design with a door and two small windows on each side. Thank you for all the information you provided.

  31. Penny Corte

    Rachael, I have a home in Coweta, OK I believe is a Sears kit home. How do I find out for sure if it is and get info on how to restore it to original or close to original finishes. It is in great condition for a 100 year old house and I want to give it the love and respect it deserves. It is on Broadway in Coweta and close to the train tracks and fits the descriptions I have read of Sears homes, but I have not found a floorplan like mine in any of my research. Please help!