The Eighth Magnolia – and – It’s In West Virginia!

For years and years, it was believed that only six Magnolias had been sold by Sears and Roebuck, but their locations were unknown.

As the years passed, the six Magnolias were discovered in Benson, North Carolina, South Bend, Indiana, Irwin, Pennsylvania, Canton, Ohio and a fifth in Piedmont, Alabama. A sixth Magnolia in Lincoln, Nebraska was lost in 1985 when it burned down.

And that was that.

Six Magnolias. All accounted for.

Five alive.  One dead (and cremated).

And then two years ago, one of my faithful readers reported that there was a Sears Magnolia in Syracuse, NY.

Turned out, they were right. The discovery made the local papers, and it was all pretty exciting.  Click here to read the article from May 2011.

All of which brings me to this newest discovery of an 8th Magnolia.

In June 2013, someone left me a comment saying, that many years ago, he’d lived in a small town in West Virginia, and there was a Sears Magnolia just across the street from his home.

According to his reminiscence, the Magnolia was ordered from the Sears & Roebuck catalog in 1924, and the price was $7,000. The homeowner then paid a local builder another $7,000 to build the house. Rachel Shoemaker and I stayed up most of one night trying to figure out if this house was the real deal. About 4:00 am, we came to the conclusion that it was.

I contacted the homeowner (who was gracious enough to write back!) and asked if we could visit his wonderful Magnolia when we visited Elkins, later in the summer.

He said yes.

“Thrilled” doesn’t begin to describe my feelings about this elegant home in West Virginia.

For one, this Maggy has been painstakingly and thoroughly restored. In the world of architectural preservation, there’s a massive difference between “remodeling” and “restoring.”

This Magnolia has truly been restored.

I’m a tough cookie with an eye for detail and a penchant for perfection and a passion for historicity, and I’m happy to report that the work done on this old house was absolutely first-class. This West Virginia “Maggy” is truly a wonder to behold. As the pictures will show, the house is a gem and every room looks like something out of a fancy architectural magazine. It really is that beautiful.

Secondly, I was so pleased to see that the house is in good hands. The home’s current owners love this house with their whole heart, and they genuinely appreciate their home’s unique history. They’re “caretakers” in the truest sense of the word, and they really do “get it.”

An interesting aside, my husband toured the house with me, and he was also smitten (and he’s not even a big architecture guy). When we returned to our car, he said quietly, “That really is a beautiful place they’ve got there.”

Enough words. Just wait until you see these pictures. You’ll fall in love with this house, just like I did.

To read Part II of this blog, click here.

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The Magnolia was offered from 1918-1922. It's shown here in the 1921 catalog


The description shows it was fancy.

The description of the Magnolia gives some wonderful detail on the home's fine qualities (1921).



A price list from the 1921 catalog shows detail on the optional extras for the Magnolia.


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What a fine-looking house!


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This magnificent Magnolia is now 88 years old, and still retains all its original stateliness, beauty and grandeur. Beginning in 2003, the house underwent a major, three-year-long restoration that saved this historically significant home.



The house sits on several acres on a beautifully landscaped lot in a small West Virginia town about two hours from my husband's ancestral home in Elkins, WV. The previous owners (who did the major three-year restoration) planted the two Magnolia trees at the front of the house. The house is even more beautiful "in person" than it is in these photos. It's stunning. Just stunning.



This house has no bad sides. It is beautiful from every angle.



Just imagine bobbing about in the pool on an August afternoon, sipping on a cool soda and gazing upward at a majestic Magnolia. Bliss! On a more architectural note, the 40' wide addition across the back added quite a bit of square footage and also expanded the size of the small den and kitchen.



The floorplan for the first floor (shown here) shows how the addition to the rear of the house increased the square footage, expanded the den and the kitchen and did not diminish the home's original beauty. Major kudos to the architect who came up with this plan! Brilliant!


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And from the back of the house, you can get a good view of that distinctive Magnolia dormer.



A view of the front yard from the second-floor balcony. West Virginia is a state filled with beautiful views, and this house is located in an unusually beautiful spot in West Virginia.


When I first contacted the homes owner, he told me that this Magnolia was in unusually original condition. After spending two hours examining this lovely home, I can affirm - he was right!

When I first contacted the home's owner, he told me that this Magnolia was in unusually original condition. After spending two hours examining this lovely home, I can affirm - he was right!


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Beautiful house. Just beautiful.


And much praise is due to the folks who did the restoration on the Maggy. Every window in this old house was restored and preserved.

And much praise is due to the folks who restored the Maggy. Every window in this old house was restored and preserved. These windows - with a little love and care - will last for generations.



It's claimed that the Sears Magnolia was the only kit that was required two boxcars (as opposed to one) for shipment. I suspect the six two-story columns were part of the reason for the second boxcar. When shipped, these columns were in pieces (length-wise) which were to be assembled on site. The bases on these columns were recently replaced.


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The porch floor on the other Magnolias I've seen is poured concrete. On the West Virginia Magnolia, the terrace is tiled, with several floor drains. I've read that they get lots of snow in WV so maybe the floor drains help with that.


And in the basement, we found

And in the basement, we found marked lumber!


My next blog

Return to this blog tomorrow, and come inside for a tour of this beautiful home. You're in for a treat!


To read Part II of this blog (and see interior photos) click here.
Is there a Sears Magnolia in your neighborhood?

Of the eight Sears Magnolias that have been discovered, three of them were found thanks to the loyal readers of this blog. If you know of a Magnolia, please leave a comment below!

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  1. Rachel Shoemaker

    Absolutely beautiful! I am so happy they shared it with us. That was quite an adventure; it’s one flight in my Bing airplane that I will always remember 🙂

    If people only knew how time consuming it can be to find a house out in the wild like that.

  2. Darnelle Corbett

    This home is spectacular!

    I have such respect for people who take such good care of these old homes. It oozes warmth, and shows that the people who live in it not only have good taste, but the good sense to realize the work that went into making it should be cared for and loved.

  3. Lori Fitzjarrald

    The owners (caretakers) of this beautiful home deserve much credit and many thanks for their huge investment of money, time and love spent in restoring and preserving this wonderful home.

    I wish them many happy years in their Magnolia!

  4. Susan

    Just stunning. For this home, it is not possible to wear out that word.

    Many thanks for sharing such loveliness. When does the movie come out? *smile*

  5. Lori Fitzjarrald

    Susan, I had the same thought! This story of historic preservation would make a great movie!@Susan

  6. sandi daniel


    That is soooooooo awesome!!!!!! Can’t wait to see the inside of this remarkable place!!!

  7. BARRIERE Eric ( Antibes/ France)

    Thank you very much for these beautiful pictures of this remaining Magnolia!

    I hope the owners will enjoy during their home for many years.

    Thank you for all the others pictures of the Sears Houses. I visit this site every day.


  8. Dale Haynes

    Lovely house! Just wish we had one of them!

  9. Eric BARRIERE ( Antibes/France)

    It’s 22H06 and I came back quickly home from a dinner with friends, just in time to see the following reportage about the Sears Magnolia.

    I open my computer and discovered all the indoor configuration of this beautiful house! I was obliged to only imagine (until tonight) what those catalog plans must have looked like.

    I am not disappointed, and reassured to see the WV house after the “sad destiny” of the same house, built in Nebraska.

    Nothing to add. Just thank you!

  10. Maria

    These pictures make me want to paint my woodwork white!

  11. Andrew Mutch

    @Maria Nooo! Please don’t. Although it’s quite a look, future owners who don’t want the white look will never be able to return the wood trim to its original look.

  12. Sears Homes

    I agree with Andrew. To find the trim in original (varnished) condition is a rarity indeed! Once it’s painted, there is NO undoing it!

  13. Donette Wilson

    I have a bit of mystery and a lot “panic.”

    In Clovis, CA. on Clovis Ave. just south of Shaw Ave. stands a once glorious mansion.

    The home’s current owner, Todd Wolfe, had high hopes of restoring it to it’s glory and creating a bed and breakfast.

    To help fund this dream, he at first turned it into a haunted house attraction, until neighbors complained of the loud noises created from so many people and he had to shut it down. It was during this time that many employees of this attraction commented on the strange sounds, touches, etc.

    Todd had also “felt” these things, and eventually had paranormal investigations done. It seems to indeed have many “spirits” It has been featured on Ghost Adventures, Dead Files, etc.

    So now…Todd is thinking, Haunted Hotel. Unfortunately, it has become a state of disrepair and the city has given until April 2014 to update plumbing and electrical and start renovations or they will tear it down.

    I am a genealogy and historical researcher and researched the amazing history of this home. The family really created a Mansion for the times in this little agricultural city.

    Unfortunately, they lost the home by 1926…So sad it was loved for only a few short years. It was turned into an old folks home, and then a sanitarium where there seemed to be much “abuse” of the patients…It lost its accreditation and was put up for sale.

    Todd bought it in the late 1990s.

    Although the outside elevation is definitely more “bungalow” style, the floor plan is the Magnolia, and having a Sears Kit Home here would make sense here because the railroad was just across the street!

    I would love to send over photos to show you, maybe you could recognize the style.

    I do know the house was built around 1921-1922.

    They even converted the attic into a “Ball room” complete with a dumbwaiter that ran up through the butlers pantry. The home’s first owners created this home to be an 8,000 sq. foot masterpiece.

    If we can prove this to be a Sears kit, we may be able to list with the Historical Society and save it.

    Please let me know if you’re interested in checking it out.

    You can also go online to Wolfe Manor, making of a haunted hotel. There are many sites with the home.

    Thank you
    Donette Wilson

  14. Ron Herbert

    I’m not positive, but there might be a Magnolia house near my hometown of Springer, Oklahoma. It looks a lot like a Magnolia.

    It even has those block windows across the front windows. As a kid, everyone said it was a Sears House. It used to have renters in it.

  15. Wendy

    There is one of these houses in Moberly, MO on Reed Street, I believe. Near the Moberly Junior College. I do not know who owns the property at this point but it is beautiful.

  16. David Burk

    There is a Magnolia in Warrensburg, Mo. I didnt know the significance of this home until an article. See link for the home at 414 South Holden Street if you want to google map it.

    I hope you can find it and i would love to hear from you.

    David Burk – 660.864.9359

  17. Ira

    There is another located in WV. 16 Norwood Rd. Charleston,WV

  18. Heather Warner

    Ira, that one is not a Magnolia, there is no balcony above the front door, the stoop is wrong and there are side dormers.

    Great find though, that house is beautiful. Wendy, the house on Reed isn’t either, the front of the house doesn’t match and the columns are too wide.

    I found it using Google maps. David, sorry…wrong columns, wrong roof line and the Magnolia only has one dormer.

  19. Ericka S Adams

    My husband and I live in Greenwood SC in his Grandparents home. We believe it is a Sears Magnolia.

    We have blueprints that appear to also have another architect and would like help with this mystery.

    Could you contact me please. Thank you in advance!