The Niota: 1200 Square Feet For $942

Not a bad deal to buy 1,200 square feet of kit house for less than $1,000, even in 1916!

The Sears Niota – despite its being a good value and a cute house – was not a popular model for Sears.  And yet, according to a small promotional ad that appeared in the 1916 catalog, the Niota had been built in Elmhurst, IN, Westerville, Ohio, Indianapolis, IN, Napleton, MN and Springfield, MO.

And in Wood River, Illinois, too.

The house was offered in StoneKote, which was Sears own stucco-type covering. As with most of the kit homes, buyers could opt for stucco, block, brick, stone or wood. Today, way too many of these homes are now covered with substitute sidings (such as aluminum or vinyl), which makes identification even more difficult.

To read more about the many Sears Homes in Wood River (and Amoco), click here.


One might hope that those columns are a unique feature to help in identifying the Sears Niota, and yet sometimes, they get removed (1916 catalog).


Niota catalog 1916

The kitchen was so small you'd have to step out to the porch to change your mind. Lots of rooms on this first floor, and they're all pretty modest.


niota fp

At least the bedrooms have closets. That's a plus.



Close-up of the Sears Niota.


niota wood river

And here it is, in Wood River, Illinois. Notice that those unique columns have been chopped off at the roofline and also covered in that hideous house-hiding PVC material, known as "vinyl siding." The original columns - poking through the porch ceiling as they did - were probably prone to roof leaks and all manner of maintenance problems.


Niota more

Niotas were built in several places in the Midwest. It'd be fun to see pictures of these Niotas.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn more about my Aunt Addie, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. Rita

    The front porch and in particular the heavy columns make this home unattractive to me. It doesn’t come across to me as a “friendly” home.