A Kenmore House – by Montgomery Ward!

Sears started selling kit homes in 1908. Montgomery Ward followed suit in 1909.

Sears started offering financing (mortgages) on their kit homes in 1917. Montgomery Ward reluctantly began offering mortgages in 1925.

In 1931, Montgomery Ward saw the writing on the wall and got out of the kit home business. Sears followed suit in 1934 (but re-entered the game in 1935, and closed down the kit home business once and for all in 1940).

Sears and Wards had a lot in common.

One night, I was going through the pages of my 1927 Wardway Homes catalog and found that one of Montgomery Ward’s modest little houses was named, “The Kenmore.”

Interesting name for a Montgomery Ward product!

Was the #2 mail-order giant poking a stick in the eye of the #1 mail-order giant?

What I do know is, Sears first used the brand name “Kenmore” in 1913 for one of their better-quality, portable sewing machines. It sold for $6.75 (including cabinet-grade wooden cover).

Six years later, the Kenmore name disappeared from the Sears catalogs and didn’t reappear until 1934.

Who knows why Ward’s chose the name Kenmore for one of their most-modest kit homes. However, it’s now an interesting little footnote in the history of American merchandising history and kit homes.

To learn more about Wardway Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

The Montgomery Ward Kenmore (1927)


1910s Wardway catalog. Note the "possible changes" offered.


Above is the floor plan for the Wards "Kenmore." Pretty modest little house. That rear bedroom is a mere seven feet wide. Today, we'd call that a walk-in closet.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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  1. Jesse Smith

    Hello, I stumbled across this site and remembered I was raised in Montgomery Ward house in southeast Virginia. I remember seeing the name stamped on beams in the attic. We bought the home in 1958 from a very elderly lady who said it was brought in on the railroad right behind the house in 1908. I know it was old even in 1958. It is a one story bungalow. It had a beautiful breakfast nook with wraparound windows. A Confederate railroad used to run fifty yards behind the current house site, and must have been still usable the first part of the last century. We sold it in 1976 and it is a bar/restaurant now. According to your timeline, she was off at least a year.


    Three years ago, I went back to Lackawanna, New York to show my daughter where I spent 12 years of my childhood.

    The house location is 63 Vincent Street, Lackawanna, N.Y.