Some rumors just never die.
There’s a persistent (and false) rumor making the rounds that beautiful Neo-Classical Revival home featured in “The Notebook,” is a Sears Magnolia.
Not even close.
Not even close.
Let’s go right to the photos.
The house featured in "The Notebook" is the Black River Plantation House in Georgetown County (South Carolina). It is a beauty, but it's not a Sears House. And yes, I'm 100% certain. 🙂 The photo above is from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (Black River Plantation House, front elevation).
Here's the real deal: A Sears Magnolia in Benson, NC.
Now let's compare them side-by-side. At first glance, both homes have four walls, a roof, two-story columns and some windows. But that's where it stops. The Black River Plantation (on the left) has that massive front-gable atop that porch. The window arrangement on the non-Magnolia house is also quite different. And Black River Plantation is much larger than the Sears Magnolia. And look at how tall the Black River Plantation is! Notice how much space exists between those second-floor windows and the roofline. Those are important details. If you still think these houses are identical, drop me a note and I'll send some biscuits for your seeing-eye dog. The photo on the left is from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (Black River Plantation House, front elevation).
Here's a catalog picture of the Sears Magnolia (1920).
Here's the authenticated Magnolia in Benson, NC.
Here's a color photo of the Black River Plantation. Again, notice how much space there is between the first and second floors, and the second and third floors. It is a stunningly beautiful house, isn't it? (Photo is copyright 2008 Brandon Coffey and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
Oh my! The Black River Plantation doesn't look like this, does it?
Where did this nutty rumor get started? Apparently, here (see below). In 1994, the Black River Plantation was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Note the highlighted text below.
The author wrote that it's possible that Waddell "utilized one of these sources" (kit homes or plan book home). Well, I can't rule out plan books, but I can rule out "kit house." The Black River Plantation is most assuredly not a kit house. Of that, I am sure. At least they admitted that it was definitely NOT a kit home from Montgomery Ward.
And don’t get me started on the “Honor Built Homes marketed…during the late 19th Century…”
In all fairness, not as much was known then (in 1994) as is known now about Sears kit homes. However, this pernicious rumor – that the house featured in The Notebook is a Sears Magnolia – seems to have taken on a life of its own.
On a happier note, look at some pictures of real Magnolias here.
And if you know of any REAL Magnolias, please leave a comment.
To buy Rose’s book, click here.
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Sure it is! And the Boulanger house in the movie August: Osage County is a Sears Hamilton 😉
* “of course with a ton of alterations”