The Frangible Fosgate or The Diminuitive Delevan?

The Fosgate and Delevan were two very similar houses offered by Sears in the early 1920s. At first glance, I thought they were the same house, but after looking at the floorplan, I saw that the Fosgate was a little bigger than the Delevan.

And the Fosgate was “Standard Bilt,” while the Delevan was “Honor Bilt.”

Honor Bilt” was Sears’ best. “Standard Bilt” was pretty flimsy, and not suited for extreme weather or longevity.

The Delevan was 22′ by 22′ (pretty tiny), and the Fosgate was 24′ by 24′ (a little less tiny).

As a point of comparison, the Delevan was the size of my den. And the bedrooms in this house were the size of many walk-in closets.

To learn more about the difference between Standard Bilt and Honor Bilt, click here.

Want to learn how to identify Sears Homes? Click here.

title title

"Nice and cozy" is one way of describing a house with 480 square feet (1920).



Holy moly, look at the size of the bedrooms. And the bathroom! Not enough room in there to change your mind! (The Delevan, 1921 catalog).


test in 1920 catalog and the above was 1920

Now this is a real puzzle. If you look at the houses on Gamble Street in Shelby, there are no Delevans. This insert appeared on the page with the Delevan (see above, just beside the home's floorplan). And yet, there on Gamble Street you'll see a Sears Fullerton. What exactly did Mr. Thornill build?


this is from the 1925 catalog

The Fosgate appeared in the 1925 catalog. As you can see, it looks a whole lot like the Delevan. The lone obvious difference (from the outside) is that the Fosgate does not have a window in that front bedroom, where the Delevan DOES. The Fosgate is also two feet longer and wider, and it is "Standard Bilt" compared to the Honor Bilt Delevan.


1921 Fosgate

The Delevan was a pricey little affair in 1921. The year before, it was a mere $696.


Lacon Illinois Sears Fosgate or delevan

Located in Laconic Lacon, Illinois, is this a Fosgate or a Delevan? My first impression is that it's a Fosgate (because of the width).


Cindys photo

Located in Ohio, this little house appears to be the Fosgate, because it's missing that bedroom window on the side. The front porch has certainly been embellished. (Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and can not be used or reproduced without permission.)


Cindys photo

Same house, different angle. You can see the kitchen window at the rear. (Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and can not be used or reproduced without permission.)


Cincinnatti Donna Bakke

Is this the Fosgate or the Delevan? Judging by the width, I'd *guess* it's the Delevan, but it's mighty hard to know for sure. (Photo is copyright 2012 Donna Bakker and can not be used or reproduced without permission.)


To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn about Addie Hoyt Fargo, click here.

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  1. ShariD

    Looks like we’ll never know what house Mr Thornhill is referring to. Google Maps street view for that address is railroad tracks now. (No Fullerton around either.)

    Oddly enough, it identifies the last home before the tracks on the east side as number 91, and the next as a commercial type building numbered 115.

    THEN on the WEST side of the street – which should be even numbered if the odd numbers are on the EAST – it’s number 51. There isn’t a visible house number on ANY house or building I looked at for blocks and blocks.

    Further up the street going north, there are finally some houses with even numbers, but not for several blocks and it’s identified by Google as 160. Then it tells me the house right next door to the south is 155. Go figure. Unless someone has photographs of it, it seems to be lost and gone forever.

  2. Rachel Shoemaker

    It’s still there. The address has changed. Try 206 N Gamble Str. Google maps there are messed up and have been for a few years, I found this house a few years ago.

    Look on the map for Jerry’s Flea Market at 209 N Gamble as a reference point and it’s across from that address. In the meantime I’ll look through all of the photos in the Sears group and pull it up to the top. We have discussed it a few times over the past years. 🙂

  3. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Rachel Shoemaker
    Actually, upon further investigation, that 98 N Gamble Street address IS correct! Google map addresses are WAY off in Shelby.

    Go to Bing Maps and look from Bird’s Eye, I call this my Bing airplane view.