“One of These Things is Not Like The Other…”

My friend Rachel reminded me of this fun little ditty from Sesame Street, and suggested that perhaps a few of the 7.5 million people who *think* they have a Sears kit home should watch this video to learn a little more about the skills of observation.

You might want to click this link (Sesame Street video) while you scroll down to see the photos, because the music is so darn toe-tapping happy.

Take a look at this photo.


You may notice that one of these things is not like the others.


Now let’s try it with houses.



One of these houses is not like the others.


Did you figure out which one is not “like the others”?

Actually, I’m just funnin’ with you. It’s not hard to figure this one out.

The three wooden-frame houses with the big two-story columns and the hipped roof and the gabled dormer and the oversized front porch deck and the six windows across the second-floor front and the big picture windows on the first floor front and the two exterior doors stacked over each other are the Sears Magnolia.

The brick house with the one-story columns and the gabled roof (no dormer) and the small front porch deck and the three windows across the second floor front and the four double-hung windows on the first floor front and the one exterior front door is a nice house (but not a Sears House) in Hopewell, Virginia.

When I first visited Hopewell in 2003, I was told that this was a “Modified Magnolia.” More recently, I was told that someone had “identified” this house as a Sears Lexington.

The kind owners gave me a thorough tour of the home’s interior. Having inspected this house from top to bottom (literally), I’m wholly confident that this is not a Sears House of any kind.

In Crescent Hills (a subdivision of Hopewell), you’ll find eight Sears Homes. Eight. Total.

And please note, this house (the brick house above) is not one of them.

I was crestfallen to hear that Old House Journal recently did a feature story on the Sears Homes in Hopewell. I haven’t had the heart to read it. I can only hope and pray that they focused on those eight Sears Homes in Crescent Hills, and not the make-believe Magnolia shown above.

To see more examples of the Sears Homes in Hopewell, click here.

To read more about the misidentified homes in Hopewell, click here (Part One), here (Part Two) and here (Part Three). (There are a lot of them!)

To read about the Aladdin Kit Homes in Hopewell, click here.

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  1. Rachel Shoemaker

    I didn’t buy that issue of Old House Journal after I heard from other fellow kit home researchers that it was rife with errors.

    I am not going to waste my money on false history.

    You would think that a magazine such as Old House Journal would do their homework a little better! When they publish false information like this it makes me wonder about other articles they publish.

    I LOVE the Sesame Street links. I love that you chose shoes and fire helmets since I was Firefighter Shoemaker back in the day. Very clever whether intentional or not. šŸ˜‰

  2. Sears Homes

    Thanks, Rachel.

    “False history” is a very kind way of putting it. I call it “pre-fabricated fiction.”

    In-house counsel (also known as Mr. Ringer) always reads my blogs. When he read today’s blog, he laughed out loud for several minutes and walked away giggling. That’s a high compliment from a man who prides himself on being curmudgeonly!

  3. Debbie

    I found this on the OHJ website. Paint colors! [link removed by Rose]

    As for the article that is filled with errors, if you contact the magazine, maybe they will re-write and re-publish the article with your help.

  4. Sears Homes

    Hi Debbie,

    I’m not willing to publish any links promoting Old House Journal, because I’m so very disappointed in them.

    As to my contacting them and asking for corrections, I’ve really had it with them. This is the SECOND article they’ve published on Sears Homes without even contacting me for a quote.

    My website has had almost 500,000 visitors. My name is all over the ‘net. I’m not hard to find.


  5. Debbie

    Then obviously, their writers/reporters are not good at doing their homework!

  6. ShariD

    @Sears Homes
    Rose – I found their online version a couple of days ago while searching for something else, and found their story on a Sears Home, the Cedars, here – http://www.oldhouseonline.com/sears-catalog-homes-cedars-house-plan/.

    They give you a “Special thanks to Rose Thornton…..” at the bottom of the article, but I didn’t see what particular part you played in the article.

    You mentioned there were two articles they published on Sears houses without contacting you for a quote.

    This is the only other article I found in their online version SO FAR, and with this mention at the end of the article, is there another one they failed to contact you about?

  7. Sears Homes

    Shari, I don’t even remember now.

    There was a series of articles than ran in the Progress Index, where I was either misquoted or not quoted, and that series of articles was just rife with misinformation on kit homes.

    Honestly, I try really hard not to think about Hopewell these days! Too traumatic! šŸ™‚