Another Mystery in Richmond!

My blog on the Sears Houses in Richmond has gotten several hundred views in the last few days. I am tickled pink to see it, but I wish I knew what led folks to a 15-month old blog!

But in the meantime, I’ve made another *fascinating* discovery, which might lead me to a neighborhood of Sears Homes in Richmond!

Today, David Spriggs and I were doing research at the Norfolk Public Library, and I found this article (June 16, 1921) in the Richmond Times Dispatch. At first glance, it looks like another 1920s ad, but look closely.


The "beautiful bungalow" shown in the advertisement is a Sears Elsmore.


Check out the fine print.


And you can buy “all the material necessary to build this charming bungalow” – from Sears!

If you look closely at the house in the ad, youll see its a Sears Elsmore.

If you look closely at the house in the ad, you'll see it's a Sears "Elsmore." In fact, it's the picture right out of the Sears Modern Homes catalog!


This is the picture used in the advertisement shown above.

This is the picture used in the advertisement shown above.


Heres an Elsmore in Elgin, Illinois. Were any of these beautiful bungalows built in Richmond?

Here's an Elsmore in Elgin, Illinois. Were any of these "beautiful bungalows" built in Richmond?


Perhaps someone familiar with Richmond can help me find this neighborhood! Was the builder successful in pitching these Sears kit homes to the people who bought his lots?

This could be fun!!  Please leave a comment below if you know where this area is!

To learn more about the Sears Homes I found in Richmond, click here.

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  1. Valerie chochla

    All my life, I loved bungalow homes and often stopped to admire them.

    Only until 2008 did I learn about the Sears Kit Homes, and then realized many that I admired were indeed a Sears kit home. Maybe that’s the case with your blog.


  2. Valerie chochla

    By-the-way, I love this model.

  3. Shari D.

    It seems Lewis Ginter was a major player in developing this area of North Richmond, which is described as having a very diverse architecture, including Arts and Crafts Bungalows, among others.,_Virginia)

    If you’re going to use their reference to the Hermitage Country Club as a landmark, since Lakeside Terrace was allegedly “just steps from” it, then you need to look at Belmont Park Country Club instead.

    The original Hermitage Country Club moved to Goochland County and sold its location on Hermitage Road to Henrico County in 1977, which renamed the original Country Club as Belmont Country Club.

    The original country club location was settled here: “In 1913, the RF and P Railroad announced that it would build a new terminal on the site of the then present Hermitage Golf Club. This had been anticipated ever since the railroad acquired the property nine years earlier. Now if the Club were to continue, it would have to make definite plans for the future. Suitable land was located and optioned north of the City near Lakeside Park and close to the Richmond-Ashland Trolley Line in Henrico County. If the details could be worked out, Hermitage would have a new home on 110 acres just off the Washington Highway (U.S. Route 1) on a cross street called Hilliard Road.”

    I found this ~ ~ when trying to find anything about the Suburban Country Club, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

    There is a “Suburban Club” mentioned briefly in reference to it buying up part of Lakeside Park’s golf course and other property. It’s now known as Jefferson Lakeside Country Club according to this information.

  4. Anne

    I linked your blog to a Facebook page of Richmond history.

    It has been one of the most popular posts we have had in a while.

  5. Molly Todd

    Hi, I had a facebook friend post the Richmond blog yesterday.

    I followed through as we live in Forest Hill terrace, and feel like we live in a “mail order house” so I was so intrigued.

    I am also friends with the family that owns the old Sauer house, and shared the article with her. She had never seen those photos!

    In reference to this post, I am not sure, but according to the description of the location it could be the Bellvue neighborhood.

    I don’t know much about its origins, however it is full of craftsmen style homes. More bungalows than you can shake a stick at!

  6. Dale Wolicki

    Back in those days local Real Estate companies frequently “borrowed” illustration from mail-order housing catalogs.

    Not only did they want a good illustration of a house without having to hire an artist, but they wanted they “recognition” factor of people stopping to say “oh I have seen that house somewhere before”.

    Expecting a “cease and desist” letter was part of the campaign!

  7. Molly Todd

    Another street to look at is Wilmer Ave. off of Brook Rd (23227).

    It is at the back of the Belmont Golf Course, only one block of houses, they seem to mostly be built between late 1800’s and 1937.

  8. Sears Homes

    Molly –

    WHAT A HOUSE!!!! Wow, wow, wow!!!

    Are you willing to share your address with the other kit-house lovers?

    I know they’ll be swooning just like me!!!


  9. Molly Todd

    Would be happy to, just replied to your email, will get some good pictures in a day or two!!

  10. Molly Todd

    I know where there is a Sears Model 264P233 as well!

  11. Terri Sweeney

    Very cool blog! The area mentioned is in Lakeside, which is Henrico County.

    Lewis Ginter left his home and gardens (off Lakeside Ave. in Henrico Co.) to the City of Richmond for 20 years, on condition they develop it as a park.

    If they didn’t meet the deadline, then the property reverted to the family.

    They never developed it until the last minute, when the family began making noises they were going to take it back. 🙂

    Ginter thought the city would annex Lakeside Ave. and its homes and get to his home but they never did, as the properties didn’t have high tax value.

    I for one am grateful, as I grew up off of Lakeside Ave. in Henrico, and NOT in Richmond! 🙂

  12. Meredith Woodson

    My great-grandparents built a brick version of the one you have here in Hampton, VA. I loved that house!!

  13. Anne

    You have the Lewis Ginter story a bit confused.

    Lewis Ginter left the Bloemendaal property to his niece, Grace Arents.

    Upon her death, she left life rights to her longtime companion, Mary Garland Smith.

    Mary Garland Smith lived to be 100 and died in 1968. At her death, the property went to the city of Richmond and, under the stipulations of Arents’ will, it was to be developed as a botanical garden named for Ginter.

    The city sat on the property for years, using it to grow shrubs for city plantings on occasion, but never developing it as a garden.

    In the early 80s, the trust had grown to $2 million, and the city contemplated diverting the money to make a Ginter memorial garden at Maymont Park.

    A citizen group formed to ensure that Miss Arents’ wishes were carried out at Bloemendaal. It ended up in court, and the ruling went in favor of the nonprofit group, who then formed the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc.

    The city had nothing to do with the eventual development of the botanical garden.

  14. Virginia

    I found your site about Lakeside neighborhood of Richmond (Henrico County) and I spotted a couple of early houses that look like 20’s kits.

    I’ve actually been in a couple of those houses you show in south Richmond near Forest Hill Park. Today I spotted a house for sale that looks like the Sears kit you show above.

    If you copy/past the address: 10301 Longdale Ave, Henrico, VA 23060 into google maps and “walk” around the side you’ll see the chimney.

    This house appears to be on the right of way created by the Richmond-Ashland Trolley (1907-1939?) and the ROW is now electrical lines owned by Dominion Power.

    The house is listed at 85000k and built in 1928. This house is in Glen Allen, north as the crow flies from Lakeside.