The Elsmore: Refinement and Comfort

If you only learn to identify five Sears Homes, one of them should be the Elsmore. It was a perennial favorite amongst kit home buyers, and for good reason. It was offered in two floor plans and both had several nice features, including spacious rooms, a living room fireplace, a kitchen that overlooked the back yard, and a super-sized front porch. It was attractive house with a smart floor plan.

In 1919, the 1,100-square-foot home sold for a mere $1,528 – a solid value. There was a little bit of extra room in the attic too, if someone was willing to do some work to transform the second story into living space. In some cases, people added dormers to the massive hipped roof to add a window or two.

The 1919 catalog page (shown below) promised “Refinement and Comfort Here.” The Sears catalog was famous for its puffery, but in this case, the promises made about the Elsmore were probably pretty accurate.

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Elsmore, as seen in the 1921 catalog.

Elsmore, as seen in the 1921 catalog.


The 1924 catalog testimonial

This testimonial - written by Mr. DeHaven of Glenshaw, PA appeared in the 1924 catalog. It would be fun to find this house today.


Elsmore in Cairo (now gone) 1921

This Elsmore was built at 1501 Commercial Avenue in in Cairo, Illinois. As of 2002, there was nothing but a vacant lot at that site. Mr. Fitzjearls house is long gone. Sears had a 40-acre mill in Cairo and there are many Sears Homes throughout Cairo, but not a single Elsmore.


1921 houses

Mr. Fitzjearl built an Elsmore at 1501 Commercial Avenue.


Sears Elsmore in Bedford, VA

Sears Elsmore in Bedford, VA (near Roanoke).


Sears Elsmore as een in 1916

In the 1916 catalog, the Elsmore sold for a mere $937.



Park Ridge, Il Dale

Dale Wolicki found this Elsmore in Park Ridge, Illinois. This house gets my vote for the most perfect Elsmore in America. Original windows, doors, siding and railings. Just amazing. Photo is courtesy of Dale Patrick Wolicki and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.


One of the most perfect Elsmores in the world is in Elgin, IL.

The second most perfect Elsmore in the world is in Elgin, IL. Notice the original railing!


Elsmore in Benld

This Elsmore has had a lot of "remodeling" but it still retains some original Elsmore features, such as the lone sash in the front porch attic. It's located in Benld, IL.


Clifton Forge

This Elsmore is in Clifton Forge, Virginia.


Sears Elsmore suffolk

This Elsmore is in downtown Suffolk.


Mounds, Illinois is very close to Cairo, which was home to a massive 40-acre Sears Mill in the 1920s and 30s. Not surprisingly, there are many Sears Homes throughout this area.

Mounds, Illinois is very close to Cairo, which was home to a massive 40-acre Sears Mill in the 1920s and 30s. Not surprisingly, there are many Sears Homes throughout this area.


Theres an abundance of Sears Homes in Takoma Park (DC area) too.

There's an abundance of Sears Homes in Takoma Park (DC area) too. Someone added a couple double-hung windows to the porch attic and turned it into living space.


Colonail Heiths

This Elsmore is somewhere in Virginia. Wow. Just wow. And not a good wow.


floor plan

These Elsmore was offered in this lone floor plan until the early 1920s when a second floor plan was offered.


The Elsmore came in two floor plans

The second floor plan had the same footprint, but the interior was very different, and it had a pair of windows in the dining room. If you scroll back up and look at these houses, you'll see most of them are "Floor plan #13192."*


beauty 1919

The Elsmore as it appeared in 1921.


Photo from Dale

Side by side comparison of the Elsmore in the catalog (left) and real life (right).

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  1. Twubble

    “It would be fun to find this house today.”

    Mr. DeHaven’s Elsmore from the 1924 testimonial is still there and in nice condition.

    Its located at 200 Glenn Avenue, Glenshaw, Shaler Township, PA

  2. Kayla

    I believe my husband and I have the Elsmore version. We bought it about 2 years ago as our first home and I love it!

  3. Chris

    My Agent called me about the house, it is an Elsmore – found this site by researching it. From the pictures looks like its pretty much in tact – going to view tomorrow morning. Pretty excited, wasn’t neccesarily looking for a Sears Kit house – but very interested.

  4. Melissa

    We are in the process of restoring an Elsmore from 1918 which has remained largely untouched.

    Any ideas of what to do with the front entry room? I’d love to see some interior pictures of similar homes.

  5. Jordan bell

    I bought the family home 6 years ago from my great grandparents. He even painted it the same green.

    My layout is reversed. I love this place. Built very well.

  6. Michael Knowles

    Hi – We have a Sears Elsmore in remarkable condition, from the 1917 catalog. My great-grandparents built it here in Morganton, NC. It has all the original elements: Windows, siding, never been remodeled. I can send a picture along if you’d like to see it. Quite a wonderful home!

  7. Kay Bowman

    My family has lived in an Elsmore since 1978 in Bertrand MO about 20 miles from Cairo, Illinois, where Sears had a mill.

    The previous owners did some remodeling to it flipping kitchen and dining room. They took down the French doors in living room. And they put a staircase in foyer and added a bedroom and bath upstairs and updated downstairs bathroom.

    We have added a utility room on the side of house behind fire place, remodeled kitchen and bath again. From abstract, a Mr. Fitzgerald built the home around 1917. He was the postmaster of Bertrand.

    The Childers family lived here in 50’s and 60’s and they put couple wooden columns and wrought iron pillars and hand rails on front porch and a concrete porch and steps. It’s a nice comfortable well built home and it’s in good condition even 100 years later.

  8. Trish Stoops

    I would love to see interior pictures of an Elsmore.

  9. Todd

    I am considering buying this one, which is currently listed for sale