The Altona Can Be Yours for $858

The simpler Sears Homes are the ones that are most difficult to identify, because there’s so little to distinguish them from other houses. The fancier the kit home, the easier it is to identify.

The Altona couldn’t really be classified as a “fancy” house, but it surely is easy to identify. It’s got a number of odd, unique and funky features that make it stand out in a crowd.

The first thing that catches my eye is that hipped dormer, with a gable inset! Now that’s not something you see very often. In front of the dormer’s double window is a small balcony, another curious feature, and there’s substantial bracketing under that balcony.

And alongside the one big dormer, there’s a tiny shed dormer.

Notice also the oversized cornice returns on the porch side of the house (but not the other side!). And on that porch side there’s a double window centered on the exterior wall, with a single window above it. That’s a lot of unique features.

And this was a very popular house – probably because of the low price and square footage. It was a solid value.

To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here.

And to see some other snazzy architectural oddities, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below!


Altona as seen in the 1916 catalog.



Close-up of the house as shown in 1908.


The house had about 1,370 square feet, plus a nice porch.



And one of the bedrooms did not have a closet. The other closets were tiny.



As noticed from this snippet in the 1916 catalog, this was a popular house.



And Mr. McGrath of NJ loved his Altona!



This house is in Burlington, Iowa. Notice the porch has been closed in, but it still has its original windows, which is a boon. Someone needs to fix that porch light on the left. And the wrought-iron railing is a bit disturbing.



I spent a week in Louisville, Illinois one afternoon. My rented car broke down, stranding me in this tiny city in central Illinois. However, I do love this little house.



And it's on the corner of Boaz and Hiram. So Biblical!


house mattoon

This photo was taken in 2002 in Mattoon, IL. When I saw this house again in 2010, it had been substantially remuddled. Poor little Alton.


Roncervte, WV

And a fine Altona in Ronceverte, WV. It's pronounced, "RONS-a-vert," which is a French word meaning, "Greenbriar." I love, love, love West Virginia.


To read more about the abundance of Sears Homes in WV, click here.



The Altona has seen in the 1908 catalog.


If you compare the 1908 image to the house in Iowa, youll see that the upstairs windows are a perfect match.

If you compare the 1908 catalog image to the house in Iowa, you'll see that the upstairs windows are a perfect match.


To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn about Wardway Kit Homes (Montgomery Ward) click here.

*   *   *


  1. Jan

    Well, I must say that I do not care for the enclosed front porches on several of the examples you have pictured but I guess it gives the homeowner a bit of more usable space inside so I see why they do it. I have always liked this house as I look through my books so it is neat to see some as they appear currently. Thanks for all you do as a “friend” to these beautiful homes.

  2. Mark

    You have to wonder if television is what killed the front porch. So many of the houses in my area built before TV had nice porches. I guess the neighbors were just too boring.

  3. Rita

    @Jan I can see the purpose and need for enclosing the front porch. Those harsh Illinois winters means the family now has a place to take off and put on their winter gear without trekking snow, slush and mud through the house. It is quite unique in design isn’t it 😉

  4. Nicole

    The house from Louisville, IL was built and owned by my great-great-grandfather.

    I had the privilege of touring the home a few years ago when it was on the market after its former occupant had passed away. What a neat house.