Wanted: More Better Pictures of the Lincoln Magnolia!

Updated! I got my “more better pictures”!  Click here to learn more!


Thanks to Rebecca Hunter, I now have a picture (albeit a little faded) of the Sears Magnolia in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unfortunately, the house burned in 1985 or 1986, and shortly afterwards, it was razed.

The Magnolia in Lincoln was one of eight known Magnolias in the country, and (as far as we know), the only one that has been demolished.  (An eighth Magnolia in West Virginia was recently discovered.)

Last night as I was thinking about this old house in Nebraska, I realized that someone somewhere is bound to have a better photo of the Magnolia, and perhaps a photo of the house in its prime. This house was in the state’s capitol (Lincoln), and it must have been fairly well known in the community, and hopefully, well photographed!

The house was owned by a family named “Benza,” and it was probably built between 1918 and 1922. It was located at 5901 NW 20th Street in Lincoln.

If you have any information on this house, or any photos, please leave a comment below!

To learn more about the Magnolia, click here.

To read about the building of a Magnolia, click here.

To visit Rebecca’s website, click here.


Sears Magnolia Lincoln

This is the only known photo of the Sears Magnolia in Lincoln. The house was torn down in 1985 or 1986, and in this photo, the house appears to be in very rough shape. I have no idea what year this photo was taken. There's a car in front of the house, but I can't see much of it. Somewhere, there's a better photo of this house. I'd love to see it.


Sears Magnolai

The Sears Magnolia in Alabama (Piedmont) is also in need of a little love.


Magnolia 1918

The Magnolia was first offered in the 1918 Modern Homes catalog.


Magnolia 1918

In 1918, it was offered for $4485, and if you wanted to just buy the plans, those were a scant $10.


Magnolia 1920

Due to post-war hyperinflation, the price of the Magnolia hit $7,998 in 1920.


Magnolia 1921

By 1921, the price had dropped to about $6,500.



After World War One, the cost of building materials and lumber went sky high. Sears catalogs had a six-week lead time (from creation to publishing). Due to the volatility of building material costs, Sears couldn't keep up on the price info. As an alternative, they just stuck price sheets into the pages of the Sears Modern Homes catalog. See the highlighted entry above? This shows the profound reduction in cost, in the Spring 1921 Sears catalog. In fact, the catalog page (shown above) has a price of $6,488 but this insert shows the price as $10 cheaper.


Magnolia 1922 (last year)

The Magnolia made its final appearance in the 1922 catalog. The price was now $5,849, or about $1,000 more than when first offered in 1918. Did anyone buy their Magnolia when it cost $10,000?


Magnolia in South Bend

One of the eight known Magnolias is in South Bend, IN. (Photo is copyright 2012 James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)


Magnolia in Canton, OH

The Magnolia in Canton, OH was almost lost (roof had collapsed into the 2nd floor), but it was painstakingly restored to its original splendor. Photo is copyright 2012 Janet Hess LaMonica and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. So there.


Do you know the location of another Magnolia?  Please leave a comment below!

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1 Comment

  1. Cheryl Nicholl

    Hi Rose! I just found you thru my friend Sarah at HouseCrazy. I love this!!!

    First off, I also have a crazy creepy family story about a great aunt (she died in an Insane Asylum) and we actually owned a Sears and Roebuck Kit home!!

    I’m going up stairs to find out which one and will share it with you when I find it! I LOVE SEARS AND ROEBUCK HOUSES!!! Your blog ROCKS!