Eight Pretty Maggies in a Row

As of last month, we’ve found eight Sears Magnolias. There are probably more, but where are they?

The last three Magnolias that were discovered (in North Carolina, New York and West Virginia) were found thanks to the readers of this blog.

So where’s Number Nine?  🙂

If you know, please leave a comment below!

Below are pictures of the eight Magnolias.

Enjoy!

The Sears Magnolia was featured on the cover of the 1918 Modern Homes catalog.

The Sears Magnolia was featured on the cover of the 1918 Modern Homes catalog.

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When first offered

When first offered in 1918, the Magnolia was also offered as a "plan" (blueprints only) for $10.

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The Magnolia in Benson, NC was discovered when a faithful reader of the blog sent me a note and reported that shed seen a Magnolia featured on the news. She even sent me a link to the news story, so I was able to conform it was a Magnolia before I traveld five hours south to Benson.

The Magnolia in Benson, NC was discovered when a faithful reader of the blog sent me a note and reported that she'd seen a Magnolia featured on the news. She even sent me a link to the news story, so I was able to conform it was a Magnolia before I traveled five hours south to Benson. This Magnolia has been in constant use as a funeral home since the early 1940s. The interior has been pretty well gutted and rebuilt, but at least it's still standing.

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Canton, Ohio

The Magnolia in Canton, Ohio was almost lost in the 1980s. The roof had collapsed into the second floor, but the house was purchased by someone who truly loved old houses, and they did a thorough restoration of the home. In 2002, I visited this house when filming a segment for PBS's "History Detectives." Photo is courtesy Janet LaMonica and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Located in the hills of West Virginia, this beautiful Magnolia also passed through its own shadow of death in the early 2000s. In 2003, it was purchased and lovingly restored.

Located in the hills of West Virginia, this beautiful Magnolia also passed through its own "shadow of death" in the early 2000s. In 2003, it was purchased and lovingly restored.

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In 1985, this Magnolia in Lincoln, Nebraska was in pitiful shape (when these photos were taken). In late 1985, the house suffered additional damage when it caught fire. It was razed sometime in 1985.

In 1985, this Magnolia in Lincoln, Nebraska was in pitiful shape (when these photos were taken). In late 1985, the house suffered additional damage when it caught fire. It was razed sometime in 1985. Photo is courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Syracuse

The Seventh Magnolia (in Syracuse, NY) was also discovered thanks to a faithful reader of this blog. It was built by Edward Knapp for his two sisters sometime between 1918-1921. In the 1990s, it was purchased and restored by someone who loved the house and appreciated its unique history. Photo is courtesy Mariel Proulx and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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house house house

The Magnolia in South Bend, Indiana is now going through its own trying time. If you look at the underside of the front porch ceiling, you'll see moisture damage. The aluminum trim around the eaves and soffit is also falling away. Hopefully, this wonderful old house will be spared the fate of the Maggy in Nebraska. These photos are more than a year old, so perhaps good things are now happening for this house. Photo is courtesy James Layne and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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The Magnolia in Piedmont, Alabama is also needing a little love.

The Magnolia in Piedmont, Alabama is also needing a little love. It's sold three times in the last six years and when I was there in September 2010, it was looking a little ragged around the edges. However, it sold very recently (less than six months ago) and hopefully the new owners will return it to its former glory.

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Last but not least is this Magnolia in Irwin, Pennsylvania. It was built as a brick house, and the floorplan was altered a bit when the house was built. Construction began in 1922 and was not completed until 1927.

Last but not least is this Magnolia in Irwin, Pennsylvania. The brick exterior is original to the house and the floorplan was altered a bit when the house was built. Construction began in 1922 and was not completed until 1927. Photo is courtesy Bob Keeling and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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And in Blacksburg, SC

This "almost-a-Magnolia" was discovered in Blacksburg, SC. According to the homeowner (and tax records) the house was built in 1910, and based on millwork and other design elements, that seems like a good date. The classic "widow's walk" (flat top) on the hipped roof is not in place (as with a traditional Magnolia). And see those tall columns? They're solid concrete. No kit house would have concrete two-story columns due to the tremendous weight. These homes were designed with the expectation that a "man of average abilities" could build them in 90 days - or less! I suspect that this house in Blacksburg was purchased from a planbook or architectural magazine, and then Sears "borrowed" the design, shaved a few feet off the footprint and the Sears Magnolia was born.

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house house house

The Magnolia was also known as Sears Modern Home #2089. I found this marking in the basement of the Magnolia in Benson, NC. When these framing members were shipped out of Cairo, Illinois, one of the mill workers grabbed a blue grease pencil and marked the top beam in the pile of lumber that was about to be loaded onto a train for Benson. Today, this faint mark can be used to authenticate that this is indeed a Sears kit home.

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marked lumber

Years ago, I talked to an elder gent who remembered helping Mom and Dad build a Sears kit home. The father, standing on the building site, would yell out, "I need a G 503!" and the kids would scramble over the massive piles of framing members to find a beam marked G 503. The floor joist shown above was found in the Magnolia in WV.

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Now, about that 9th Magnolia…

Where is it?  🙂

To learn more about how to identify a Sears Magnolia, click here.

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22 Comments

  1. Lori Fitzjarrald

    It’s nice to see all the Maggies together. Hopefully the ones in Alabama and Indiana will be restored to their former glory.

  2. Dale Wolicki

    Ok, enough on the Magnolias. I want to see which model Sears house you think was the ugliest since you think the Magnolia was the best.

  3. Mark Hardin

    AKA the Wagnolia

    @Mark Hardin

  4. Frederick K. Zahrt

    What would your fee be to travel to Winamac, IN, and give a talk to the Historical Society?

    We are located 20 miles west of Rochester.

    Thanks!

    FKZ

  5. Sears Homes

    The one in Indiana is in South Bend!

  6. Berry

    There are two beautiful houses beside each other in Statesville, NC that appear to be modified magnolias. They are located at 122 and 126 E Water Street.

    The one at 122 especially looks like one with a larger porch on the second floor.

    Neither has the side rooms. Anyways, just stumbled across this neat site and thought you might want to check them out on google maps. Feel free to contact me and let me know what you think!

  7. Joe Ward

    The home discovered in New Martinsville, West Virginia, is a lovely property, in my hometown.

    Friends are telling me of others. Another one in New Martinsville, and two more in this county (Wetzel).

    New Martinsville, coincidentally, is in Magnolia District and the high school is Magnolia High School.

    If you would like to know more about the 3 other possibilities, please contact me at the email address I provided.

  8. K P Delinger

    Although the roof line is significantly different, you might enjoy typing 207 S Riverside Drive, Elizabethton, TN into Google Maps and looking at the house at that address in Google Street View.

    Another “Almost-a-Magnolia”, perhaps? Very similar. My wife, whose family is from that area, doesn’t believe the wrap-around porch was present when she lived in the area in the 70s and 80s, btw.

  9. Meghan Basile

    Wondering where the one in Canton, Ohio is?

    We are just 20 minutes from there and would love to see it in person…. they are all so lovely! I would love to own a Magnolia (or something similar) some day soon

  10. Rebecca

    Rose where are all of you photos?! It looks like photobucket removed them:(

  11. Sears Homes

    Yeah, that was a surprise. I was out of town for seven days with very limited internet access. However, I gave Photobucket some money to upgrade account, and it looks like it’s been fixed.

    I hope.

  12. jenni

    @Meghan Basile

    The Sears Magnolia is at the corner of 19th NW and Frazer NW in Canton, Ohio, which is the historic Ridgewood District. There are many beautiful homes in this area, and it’s well worth the drive. Take I-77 to 62 East, take the Market Avenue exit and turn right at the bottom of the off ramp. South to 19th and turn right onto 19th. Head west to frazer. House at left. Wander through the area and enjoy!

  13. Sheila Stockert

    @Meghan Basile
    The Canton, Ohio Magnolia is located in a historic neighborhood called Ridgewood. It is gorgeous!

    Feel free to email me.

  14. Amy Barnard

    I had the pleasure of going to one of the other Magnolia homes yesterday, that you might not be aware of! It’s called Black River House and it’s on the outskirts of Georgetown, SC on the Black River. Here is a link to it. It’s currently privately owned.

    http://south-carolina-plantations.com/georgetown/rice-hope-black-river.html

    Rose’s Reply.

    That’s a beautiful home but it is NOT a Sears Magnolia!

  15. Sondra Hess

    I believe a Sears Magnolia was just purchased in Danville, Il. 61832. It sold for less than 95,000.00 and is need of many repairs but still grand. If I was younger, I would have bought it in a flash; however, I am 66, and without the necessary funds to do the restoring proper. I am hoping the new owner is planning to do just that and NOT turn it into apartments. You can find it by googling it by the address: 1662 N. Vermilion St., Danville, Il. No knowledge of who built it nor when. Hope it is what you are looking for.

  16. ELIZABETH WALKER

    There is a magnolia in Fort Collins colorado. I have been in it as a child. Beautiful place!

    @Sondra Hess

  17. Sue Bergman

    I teach at a Magnolia in Greenville, SC – it’s on the national historic registry…2900 Augusta St. Greenville, SC – The Chandler School – thechandlerschool.org

  18. Kim Dean

    There is a home on Belleville Ave in Brewton, Alabama that looks just like a Sears Magnolia.

    I remember reading that there are several homes on Belleville Avenue that are Sears Homes.

    That house that looks just like the Magnolis is for sale now. I have a picture and would love to submit it here.

  19. Taylor

    There may be one on the corner of 11th Avenue and w Lincoln highway in Coatesville, PA.

    It looks just like these homes without the large overhang with the pillars.

    There are marks on the roof that look like it may have once been there. You can see the property on google street view.

  20. Paul Boddy

    I am hoping I have found a Magnolia at 136 Linden St., Ridgewood, NJ.
    I could not attach photo; but if you put the address in Google, real estate companies show it. The big stumbling block is the construction date of 1912. Could you please give your opinion as to whether this house is related to the Sears Catalogue?