The Mystery of the Door That Leads to No Where

Originally published by Laraine Shape on October 15, 2014

Sears Josephine model at 7933 Hickman in Mt. Healthy

Okay, remember that sweet yellow Josephine model we talked about last winter in The Sears House Goldmine in Mt. Healthy, Ohio The one at 7933 Hickman?

Well, guess what? We got lucky! It’s owners, Shawna and Daniel and their two adorable “children,” invited us in for a tour.

What an absolute sweetheart of a home. Not one inch of wasted space in the Josephine. It consists of living room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a basement.  Oh, and in this one…a mystery door.

This mystery door is an extra feature we can’t seem to figure out. Maybe one of you readers can help us. It’s a door between the kitchen and bedroom number two that’s all framed in on both sides, trimmed out top to bottom but has a solid piece of wood in between. And the solid piece is not a new piece of wood. It appears to be the same age as the house. What the…? Is there a million dollars sandwiched in there? Can someone please tell us what this is all about?

It appears the house was originally built by Edith Straub (1895-1974), a single lady, who lived there until she passed away. From there it went to her brother, Eugene Straub and from Eugene to sister Vera Straub (later Vera Adkins). So the home remained in the same family until it’s current owners purchased it two years ago.

It has the feel of a happy, comfortable, homey home. And it couldn’t have asked for nicer owners than Daniel and Shawna.

Thank you Shawna and Daniel for your hospitality and for being such good caretakers of this adorable Josephine. And thank you Marty Russell (fellow REALTOR) for helping your daughter Shawna find this sweet home at such an unbelievable price! She’s lucky to have you.

Now, let’s sit back and enjoy the tour.

The distinctive San Jose door. Cross piece missing from sash, but otherwise in beautiful condition.
Back side of the San Jose door
View to kitchen and basement entry
Josephine’s lovely owner, Shawna
The Josephine kitchen. Nice big pantry is tucked in to the window alcove. Originally intended as the landing
Original door hardware
Kitchen alcove and pantry – the pantry has been modified from original plan that included a landing instead.
Pantry door
Original kitchen window framing. The NuTone exhaust fan was probably added in the 60′s (and still works perfectly)
Hall bath
Original medicine cabinet
Love the trim
The mystery door that leads to no where!
The mystery door! Sorry for the blur…there was very little light
More mystery door. Trimmed out all the way to the floor. Do you suppose there’s a million dollars sandwiched in there?
Bedroom one closet doors
Bedroom closet doors – aren’t they gorgeous?
View down hallway
Meet the owners, Shawna and Daniel, and their well behaved “kids.”


What’s So Great About Milford?

Originally published by Laraine Shape on September 29, 2014

Well for one thing, the lady behind the deli counter at Lehr’s meat market makes the most delicious turkey sandwich on fat white bread that I’ve ever tasted.

And for another, they have a city wide garage sale there every fall. This year it happens the weekend of October 10th – 12th and according to the official city website, “residents clean the clutter from their attics, drag out treasures from their garages and organize accumulations from their basement in anticipation of the City Wide Yard Sale.”

There are a lot of other great things about Milford but a friend of mine who lives there asked me not to tell you about them. She wants to keep Milford a secret…so I won’t say another word about it…except for the part about all the Sears houses it has. How could you not love a city that has so many Sears houses?

Here they are. There are probably more. And remember, if you happen to go there for lunch or something, don’t tell everybody how great it is.

Sears Kilbourne model at 233 Laurel St.

Click here to see the catalog image of The Kilbourne

Sears Osborn model at 520 Lila


Click here to see the catalog image of The Osborn

The Sears Dover model at 528 Lila

Click here to see the catalog image of The Dover

A Sears Willard model at 943 Forest

Click here to see the catalog image of The Willard

A Sears Somers model at 530 Dot

Click here to see the catalog image of the Somers

Thanks to Cindy Catanzaro (my Sears house mentor!) for the help identifying 530 Dot as the Sears Somers model.

Sears Oakdale model at 532 Dot Ave

Click here to see the catalog image of The Oakdale

532 Dot Ave., Milford. Sears Oakdale model
Sears Hathaway model at 139 Laurel St.

Click here to see the catalog image of The Hathaway

Sears Uriel (aka Conway) model

Click here to see the catalog image of The Conway

Sears Dover model at 138 Cleveland Ave.
Sears Barrington model at 154 Mound Ave.

Click here to see the catalog image of The Barrington

Sears Wexford (also called The Bridgeport) at 666 Wallace
A suspected Sears Crescent model at 1030 Rt. 28

Click here to see the catalog image of The Crescent

Comments made on original post

Oct 1, 2014 – Andrew Mutch – Great looking houses!

Oct 1, 2014- Lara – Houses in shockingly original condition. No enclosed porches?! Even that Wexford–normally people enclose that side patio.



Honey, Stop the Car! I Think I See a Five Piece Eave Bracket!

Originally published by Laraine Shape on September 25, 2014

407 2nd St., Mason, Ohio – A Sears Hazelton? Sure looks like one!

Yes! And not just one, there are several of them. And they’re attached to what appears to be a Sears Hazelton model – in BEAUTIFUL condition. What a pretty home!

Problem is…it’s not a perfect match to the catalog model and the Sears House “authoritahs” will stamp their feet and say “no, no, no!” since it’s shy of being
AN EXACT MATCH, but I’m afraid I”ll have to disagree in this case.

Here’s what’s off. This house is 6 feet longer than the catalog model plan (yes, Sears did modify their plans to suit the owner), the bay window is missing it’s small side window, and the windows to the right of the bay are not a series of three as they should be. But everything else sure screams Hazelton.

What do you think? Yay or nay?screenshot-309

Distinctive Sears 5 piece eave bracket
The window arrangement isn’t a perfect match






Comments made on original posting

Sept 25, 2014- Cindy Catanzaro- I think yes! Maybe you can get an invite to see the inside, but until then, I would call it a Hazelton.

Sept 25, 2014- Laraine Shape- Me, too! And I love the invite idea. This one isn’t too far away from that sweet Argyle “plum” I featured.

Sept 25, 2014- Donna Bakke- the side windows are probably covered by the vinyl siding. I ID’ed this as a Hazelton years ago – saw it again last spring and still thought it was. If
those are replacement windows, sometimes they can go from 3 to 2.

Sept 25, 2014- Laraine Shape- Eeeek! Windows covered by siding? Anyway, I’m glad you agree on it being a Hazelton.

Sept 26, 2014- Donna Bakke- those little side windows often get covered. They’re a pain to work around, so they just cover them up!!

Sept 25, 2014- Laraine Shape – Well, god forbid we make the siding people work a little harder to save a Sears house feature!

Sept 25, 2014- Lara- YES!! There are a lot of details that are right. By the way, there’s a Hazelton in Des Plaines, IL without the side windows in the bay.

Sept 25, 2014- Laraine Shape- Thanks, Lara. that’s good to know!



Is There Anything Better Than a Turkey Sandwich and a Sears Del Rey to Brighten Your Day?

Originally published by Laraine Shape on September 4, 2014

315 Miami – a pristine example of the Sears Del Rey model. I think I’m in love!

Click here to see the original Sears catalog listing for the Del Rey model

Two days ago I woke up to a gray, rainy day and the ugly weight of two bogged real estate transactions thanks to an incompetent appraiser, nit picky underwriter, useless mortgage broker and a short sale from Hell. So, in order to get my mind off of things I decided to spend the day looking for Sears houses in the Mariemont, Terrace Park, Newtown and Milford area.

I knew from the Beatrice Lask thesis that there were a couple of Sears houses in Mariemont (a Maywood, a Willard and a Lewiston), but imagine my surprise at finding two more (and possibly four!) all in a row just outside the city limits. How fun! A Kilbourne model, a Crescent model and two suspected Hamilton models all snuggled up on the same street together. Makes me wonder about their history. Was it a builder that built all four? Or maybe a family that owned the parcel of land and wanted to stay close together?

And then there’s Terrace Park, a beautiful enclave of luxurious homes, a horse farm, a country club, a swim club, a prestigious elementary school and very little else. Oh yes…and a pink Victorian house (my favorite color). The landscape doesn’t feature much in the way of business which is just fine with me.

I discovered the eclectic mix of 9 Sears houses in Terrace Park via a historical society newsletter online. Unfortunately, there are only 8 of the 9 left…including a Del Rey model, a Kilbourne model, a Crescent model, a Dover model, a Fullerton model, a Somerset model, and 2 Martha Washington models. The 9th, a Stanford model at 709 Myrtle, is now, tragically, a vacant lot. A real estate FOR SALE sign stands in its stead.

By the way, Terrace Park has a building survey of all houses and buildings past and present. Hats off to the people who accomplished that task.

Just down the road a piece is Milford. Home of Lehr’s Meat Market and the nice deli lady who will make you a turkey and cheese sandwich on white bread with lettuce, tomato and mayo to eat on the fly. Milford is a sweet little city rich with Sears houses. As a matter of fact, there are so many of them in Milford I decided to do a separate post about them. Stay tuned

And last, but not least, is Newtown. The little village across the river from Mariemont. Home to that pretty blue craftsman bungalow I love, a fishery, a soft serve ice cream joint and the Main Street Cafe bleu cheese burger – an absolute MUST try next time you’re over that way. There’s a perfect little Vallonia model on Church Street that’s now serving as a dental lab, another Vallonia on Plum Street, a sweet yellow Oakdale model on Main Street that’s just as cute as it can be and a Sunbeam model also on Plum St.

In spite of the rain, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Next time my friend and Sears house mentor, Cindy Catanzaro, comes to Cincinnati I’m taking her over that way to show her all the eye candy for her Sears Facebook page.

Here’s the photo tour.

3816 East St., Mariemont. Sears Maywood Model

Click here to see The Maywood model


Click here to see the Lewiston model

3828 Indianview, Mariemont. Sears Willard model

Click here to see The Willard model

8514 Wooster Pike, Mariemont. Sears Kilbourne model (one of the 4 in a row)

Click here to see The Kilbourne model

8534 Wooster Pike, Mariemont. Sure looks like a Sears Hamilton model (one of the 4 in a row)

Click here to see The Hamilton model

Side view – 8534 Wooster Pike, Mariemont. What do you think?
8548 Wooster Pike Mariemont – is this a second Sears Hamilton model? (one of the 4 in a row)
8592 Wooster Pike, Mariemont. Sears Crescent model (one of the 4 in a row)

Click here to see the Crescent model

Side view – 8592 Wooster Pike Mariemont Sears Crescent model
308 Marietta, Terrace Park. Sears Martha Washington model.

Click here to see the Martha Washington model

308 Marietta, Terrace Park. Sears Martha Washington model.
315 Miami Terrace Park. Sears Del Rey model

Click here to see the Del Rey model

330 Harvard, Terrace Park. Sears Fullerton model

Click here to see the Fullerton model

Side View 330 Harvard Terrace Park. Sears Fullerton model.
314 Harvard, Terrace Park. Sears Dover Model.

Click here to see the Dover model


Side angle of the Dover at 314 Harvard, Terrace Park.
210 Harvard Ave., Terrace Park. Sears Somerset model.

Click here to see the Somerset model

Oh my gosh! Just look at those distinctive 5 piece eave brackets. 210 Harvard Ave., Terrace Park.
903 Elm, Terrace Park. Sears Crescent model
The Sears Crescent – what a beautiful porch entry. 903 Elm, Terrace Park
736 Wooster Pike, Terrace Park. Sears Kilbourne model
709 Myrtle Ave., Terrace Park. The Sears Stanford model that is no more.

Click here to see another Stanford model

Oh, let’s not forget that pretty pink Victorian in Terrace Park!
3700 Church St., Newtown. Sears Vallonia model

Click here to see the Sears Vallonia model

6810 Main St., Newtown. Sears Oakdale model
6810 Main St., Newtown. Sears Oakdale model

Click here to see the Sears Oakdale model

Sears Sunbeam model in Newtown

Click here to see the Sears Sunbeam model

Comments made on original post

Andrew Mutch- Sept 6, 2014– I don’t think 903 Elm, Terrace Park is a Crescent. The windows and the front porch aren’t a good match. Also, I don’t think those are Hamiltons. Do you know what year they were built? Otherwise, that’s a lot of good looking Sears houses there!

reply– Laraine Shape- Sept 6, 2014- Andrew – Tsk tsk. I dare you to tell the Terrace Park historical society that about 903 Elm. As for the Hamiltons…you could be right about me
being wrong. They were built in 1929 and 1933 (8548). The size and footprints are right. I’m going to correspond with the owners and see if we can get an insight on the interior details.

reply– Andrew Mutch- Sept 9, 2014 -Living in a Hamilton, it’s the one I know well! They key difference is I’ve never seen a Hamilton without the hipped dormer on the
front and the side over the living room window (although I just saw my first Hamilton where someone added a 2nd floor and moved the hipped roof up a story – yikes!). Also, the roof line on the front extends over porch so that it’s enclosed.

As for the Terrace Park house, I would show them that house next to the Mariemont house, which is a good example of the type. I’ve gotten more cautious with the Crescents now that I’ve seen enough clones. In fact, I think I have a couple in the Ann Arbor that I
thought were Crescents but may just be knockoffs.

reply– Laraine Shape- Sept 9, 2014– Thanks for your input Andrew. You definitely know your stuff when it comes to Sears Houses. Cindy speaks very highly of you.

reply-Andrew Mutch- Sept 12, 2014-Thanks! Cindy’s been a wonderful resource in learning the ins and outs of the houses. I’m so glad that you’ve been documenting all of these houses. It’s great to have them as reference when trying to ID houses I find up here in Michigan.


Karrie- Sept 6, 2014– I love the houses on Wooster and every time I pass them I point them out to my husband.. I had no clue they were Sears homes. Very cool. Great blog.

reply-Laraine Shape- Sept 6, 2014– Karrie – thanks! It was a total surprise for me when I saw them. Such fun. I love Sears houses.



Meet the Beacon Street Architectural Triumph!

Originally published by Laraine Shape on August 19, 2014

1347 Beacon St., Mt. Washington – Sears Sherburne model

The 1913 Sears Roebuck Modern Homes Catalog promoted this pretty (and fairly rare) 187 model as an “Architectural Triumph” and said, “when built on a
lot of proper size and painted in refined contrasting colors its effect is strikingly attractive.”

And so it is. This sweet 187 model, later named the “Sherburne,” is still a triumph 93 years later. What a beauty! Cincinnati is lucky to have her.

Built in 1921 and located at 1347 Beacon St. in the Mt. Washington area of Cincinnati, it’s a standout among at least 12 other Sears Roebuck kit houses.

Is it really a rare Sears Sherburne? I think so. Everything is right – from its window arrangement, to its unique cornice return above the porch, to its open second floor deck, all the way down to the size of its footprint (26 X 31).

Have a look at the catalog photo below and see what you think.

And who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and get a chance to see the inside one of these days.




Hamilton County Auditor Sketch of 1347 Beacon St

Comments from original post

Lara – August 19. 2014 -Wow that is in great shape. Nice find! “Architectural triumph” might be an overstatement.

Laraine -August 19, 2014- Thanks, Lara. Ha! The triumph is Sears wording, not mine. They must have had a great marketing department.

Cindy Catanzaro -August 19, 2014 -Great find, Laraine! Love this one!!!!

Laraine- August 19, 2014-Thanks, Cindy. And thanks for all your help. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know which end was up half the time when it comes to Sears houses.



Is it or is it Not a Sears Ellison Model in Evendale?

Originally published by Laraine Shape on August 15, 2014

Screenshot (1450)


I vote yes. It’s just too close not to be. Naysayers be damned.

The Sears Ellison model. Also known as Modern Home Model 3359A featuring a grand front porch, large living room with exposed ceiling beams, kitchen, dining and 2 bedrooms on the main level with an option to finish 2 more bedrooms and a bath upstairs when the need arises. Originally sold for between $2185 to $2845.

Here’s the Sears catalog Ellison and the home at 4038 Glendale Milford Rd. You tell me. Is it a match?

Screenshot (1452)

The Evendale Ellison was built in 1940 according to the Hamilton County Auditor. This would have put it right at the tail end of Sears’ home building involvement. Another neat, sweet Sears house to add to the Cincinnati Sears house list.

Dining room bump out on the left is right
Everything looks good on this side, too.
Hamilton County Auditor sketch

Comments from original post

Lara August 16, 2014 at 11:52 am– If you’re asking, I would say it is one. Great catch–I never even knew what an Ellison was until today!

Laraine Shape August 17, 2014 at 10:36 am– Thanks, Lara. I think so too. Living in Cincinnati is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to find.

Donna Bakke August 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm– I have my doubts and here is why. The chimney on the catalog picture is at the edge of the house. The chimney on the real house is in the middle of that back room. Do we know how the footprints compare??

Laraine Shape August 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm– Donna – I had that exact same consideration at first about the Chimney. But if you look at the Ellison plan and where the fireplace is, the chimney
on the real house is in the exact right place (in the living room). Also, the footprint is extremely close from what I can see. I just posted it above. I can’t imagine what else it would be. I’m not aware of any Ellison copycat plans.

Christina Camacho August 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm– My grandparents built a Sears Ellison in State College, Pennsylvania, in about 1933. They altered the plan by shrinking it 1 ½ feet, and putting a regular ceiling in the living room, giving them a storage room above it. In addition, the fireplace was on the outside wall facing the side of the house, and where
the fireplace is pictured on the floor plan shown, they had their piano. They built it with the upper floor finished. There was a door in the dining room that opened onto the terrace. The garage was under the dining room, and the washing machine was originally in the basement. After Grandpa died, Grandma remodeled the kitchen to buy all new appliances and put the washer and dryer in the kitchen along the wall next to the refrigerator opposite the window. It was Grandma’s dream house. The interior walls at least in the living room and front hallway, were stucco. I loved that house, too. The people who bought it from my grandmother in 1966 still live there as far as I know. They turned the terrace into a greenhouse and turned the small living room window that originally looked out on the terrace into another door. The exterior walls had a lot of local fieldstone in them. This one pictured here looks like a clapboard version of my grandmother’s house.

Laraine Shape August 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm– Wow! What a great story, Christina. Thanks for sharing. More evidence of Sears’ willingness to modify plans to suit their buyers needs/wants. I love it. Do you happen to remember the address of the house? I’d love to see it on Google maps.



Meet the Pretty Little Plum on Church Street in Mason – A Sweet Sears Argyle Model

Originally published by Laraine Shape on July 16, 2014

112 Church St., Mason-1
Meet the sweet little Sears Argyle on Church St. in Mason

Imagine knocking on a total stranger’s door and having them invite you in, be happy to see you, show you around their home, open their closet doors and make you feel as welcome as a long lost friend. That’s what happened to me when I knocked on Sherry Williams’ original Sears Roebuck door at 112 Church Street in Mason.

It was such a treat that when I left I felt as if I had spent the afternoon in a day spa getting rubbed, plucked, waxed and pampered. Speaking of which, guess what my new found friend does for a living? She’s the VP of Client Relations at Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa. (I hope her boss knows how lucky he is to have her)

Her home is a perfect example of the Sears Argyle model, one of my absolute favorites and one of Sears’ top ten most popular models. And no wonder. It’s a sweet 2 bedroom with beamed ceilings, built ins on either side of the living room fireplace, a bookcase colonnade entry to the dining room and so much more.  Sears billed this little plum as a home that “Makes its owners proud.”

And the one Sherry found and purchased less than two years ago is the kind we Sears house aficionados dream of getting the opportunity to see. It’s still in near perfect shape, from head to toe. What a lucky find for her. Not only did she get a great deal on it, she grew up across the street from it!

Sherry’s Argyle still has its original built ins, beamed ceiling, colonnades, doors, hardware, wavy glass windows, kitchen cabinet with flour bin (my camera battery went dead before I got a picture of it!!), claw foot tub, medicine cabinet, bedroom cubby hole, hardwood floors, shake siding, window flower boxes and garage doors!

According to Sherry, her Argyle was built in 1924 by the Wiseman family, owners of the Wiseman Chicken Farm in Mason (the old metal roofed chicken coop still stands within a stone’s throw and has been converted to apartments).

Thank you, Sherry for sharing. And thank you for being such a sweetheart. No wonder you have such good fortune.

Screenshot (1449)

112 Church St., Mason-2112 Church St., Mason-3112 Church St., Mason-4112 Church St., Mason-5112 Church St., Mason-6112 Church St., Mason-7112 Church St., Mason-8112 Church St., Mason-9112 Church St., Mason-10112 Church St., Mason-11112 Church St., Mason-12