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Hey – You There – How’d You Get Here?

In the beginning, I joined Facebook under protest and only with the stated purpose of creating a stronger internet presence for me and my books and my career. Subsequently, I've found that if I write a blog and do NOT post a link on Facebook, this site gets...

The Open Floor Plan and the Downfall of Society

Last February, as Robert, Pat and I sat together in Robert's Sears Home, he said, "The open floor plan will probably be considered one of the most heinous atrocities ever committed against American architecture." A man after my own heart. When historians write about...

C’mon Realtors…You Can Do Better

For the last few weeks, I've been on the hunt for a house in a quiet place with a little bit of land. I've been working with a true real estate professional, Tracie Gaskins, who is not only a queen among real estate agents, but an angel let down from heaven. When you...

That Rascally Haskell

Today, despite all the publicity about recycling, we're still a very wasteful society, and even more so when it comes to housing. More than 35% of all debris at modern landfills is construction debris. HGTV is the worst offender, encouraging millions to rip out and...

The Bungalow in the York River

Bunny Trails: They're one of the best parts of doing historical research. And while researching Penniman, Virginia, I read newspaper accounts from Pennimanites, talking about a house "sitting on stilts" in the York River. And while systematically reading through every...

Christmas in Carlinville (Illinois)

In an effort to be "anywhere but here," I traveled to Illinois for the holidays and spent them in Carlinville, Illinois, home of a large collection of Sears Homes, built by Standard Oil. It was a treat to find the Town Square all lit up for the holidays.

“Barn Builders” Blunders Badly

Last week, my buddy Milton saw an episode of "Barn Builders" (DIY TV, Season 2, Episode 9), which featured a short bit on a Sears Home. According to the episode guide that accompanied the program, "the guys restore an 1856 log cabin." The log cabin sat on a spacious...

Thanks to Jim, We Found Sears Modern Home #158

Twice in the last several months, I've done a blog on a Sears House that I'd never seen, but had hoped to see, and both times, readers have found those houses! The first one was the Sears Monterey, which Jennifer successfully found and identified in Pennsylvania. And...

Where’s Rosie?

That might be the question on my friends' lips, as I've well nigh disappeared from polite society for the last several weeks. I didn't realize how long I'd been "under the radar" until last night, when I glanced at an entry in my personal journal and saw that I went...

A Penniman Bungalow – in Larchmont!

Larchmont is a prestigious neighborhood in Norfolk, filled with stately Colonial Revivals, Cape Cods, Dutch Colonials and Neo-Tudors from the 1920s and 30s. As far as older neighborhoods go, Larchmont is one of Hampton Roads' most expensive communities, and prices...

The Great Atlantic Fleet – Parked at Penniman

While reading the Newport News Daily Press, I stumbled upon a little item in the 1923 paper that connected a lot of dots. In the article (from the Associated Press), Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels explained that during The Great War, the Navy had stationed...

The Croydon: A Spanking New Outlook!

So read the liner notes for the Sears "Croydon," a darling Tudor Revival from the late 1930s. From what we can discern, the Croydon was offered only in 1939 and 1940, the final two years of the Sears Modern Homes program. These post-1935 Sears Homes are scarce as...

Oh Dear Ethel, What Were You Thinking…

According to newspaper accounts, Ethel didn't die easy. For 10 days in November 1918, she lingered in a Richmond hospital before succumbing to her injuries, caused by two bullet wounds through her left lung. In the last days of her life, between labored breaths and...

Tudoring

Recently, this meme made the rounds on Facebook, and it's fast become one of my all-time favorites. * * * * * * * To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here. Click here to join our merry band on Facebook....

A Penniman Murder Mystery: Ethel and Ralph

Ralph and Ethel were married, but not to each other. About 7:00 o'clock, standing on a sidewalk at a busy intersection in downtown Richmond, Ralph and Ethel got into an argument. Ethel had just stepped off the train, and the two started quarreling. Ralph pulled a...

The Sears Monterey – In Real Life!

Just two months ago, I wrote a blog lamenting the fact that I'd never found a Sears "Monterey." Last night in our Facebook group, I learned that Jennifer Hoover-Vogel found one of these very rare Sears kit homes in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania! Now as you feast your...

Sears Modern Home, “The Winston”

It's been 17 years since I wrote my first article on Sears kit homes, and I've learned a lot in those years. Yet even now, there are still lots of surprises. That's the nature of history, and probably the #1 reason I love history so much - it's always shifting and...

Another Cutie In Kinston, NC

Driving around Kinston, I found one elusive house that I couldn't "match," and yet I knew I'd seen it somewhere. I took several photos of the house and decided to figure it out later. Through the years, I have learned that when a house beckons me, I need to pay...