3 Sears ‘Kit Homes’ Identified To Nevertheless Exist In Jacksonville. May well You Have The 4th?

The nonprofit Riverside-Avondale Preservation is spotlighting a set of exceptional buildings in Jacksonville: a few construct-it-oneself residences you could order from the Sears Catalog – also regarded as the “Big Book” –  in the early component of the 20th century. 

The households are located in Ortega, Murray Hill, and Fairfax Manor neighborhoods, and Jacksonville Historic Society historian-at-massive Wayne Wood claimed Wednesday they signify an important element of American background. 

“Most of these homes are not massively architecturally considerable, although lots of of them are desirable in their construction,” Wood mentioned. “But they are a exceptional piece of Americana, in the truth that individuals could establish their possess houses, out of a package that they requested out of a catalog, in the early element of the 20th century.”

Starting in 1908 and into the 1940s, you could flip through the webpages of a Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog and choose out your property from a collection of models, most costing between $400 and $5,000. The dwelling would arrive on the railroad in a series of shipments, commencing with the basis and extending all the way up to the roof. Almost everything would be integrated, Wooden explained, from the toilet to the doorknobs. 

Similar: Illustrations Of Sears Properties 1908-1914

Somewhere around 70,000 package residences offered in total in the U.S. about 10,000 are considered to exist these days. 

“Some of these residences were being modest, smaller bungalows, but some of them ended up quite massive and amazing,” Wooden said. “There was one particular, the Magnolia. It was palatial. It was two stories, with fluted columns, costing $5,972 in 1921.” 

Accounting for inflation, that arrives out to $87,749.  

The early a long time of the mail-get dwelling coincided in Jacksonville with the terrific fireplace of 1901, when a lot of folks lost their properties Downtown and sought new properties in the suburbs. They contributed to the character of neighborhoods like Riverside and Avondale, which are noted for their architectural diversity. The kit homes were also much more cost-effective than contracting with an architect or a builder, and ended up specifically preferred with troopers returning from World War I.

In 1925, the Percy Butcher family members obtained the “Crescent” design for $1,761, according to The Florida Times-Union. Which is about $26,466 in today’s dollars. 

The advert for the Crescent design was titled “Five Rooms – Neat Porch” and examine, “At the selling prices quoted we will furnish all the mill do the job, kitchen cup-board, flooring, shingles, siding, finishing lumber, making paper, eaves trough, down spout, roofing, sash weights, hardware, porch, screens, painting content, lumber and lath to create this 5-room home.” 

The Butcher family lived in the property for 50 yrs, Wood stated. The constructing even now stands, although it was relocated from its first locale in 2003 to make way for a fuel station growth. 

Wooden said it’s abnormal to see Sears kit residences this considerably south, since the lumber mainly arrived from the Northeast and the Midwest. But there could be much more kit properties in Jacksonville that we don’t however know about. 

Wood stated, one way to look at if your residence came down south on the railroad is to seem in the attic. You might find lumber stamped with Honor Bilt, which was the Sears model, or logos from Montgomery Ward or Aladdin, which have been other package-dwelling businesses. 

Get hold of Sydney Boles at [email protected], or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.