Sears Houses in Wyoming, Ohio

Originally posted by Laraine Shape on January 14, 2014

SEARS Roebuck kit houses. Just one more reason to love Wyoming, Ohio. It’s loaded with them! And if you’ve ever wanted to own one, you may just get lucky in Wyoming.

Some of the SEARS house homeowners in Wyoming may remember the lecture Beatrice Lask gave at the Historic Society back in the early 90′s (available on DVD at the Wyoming Historical Society office at 800 Oak Ave.). At that time she was in the process of surveying Cincinnati for SEARS houses and is the person responsible for identifying 500 of them (with no help from the internet). Her work was done as part of her masters degree program at the University of Cincinnati and was the basis for her thesis. Her complete thesis is on file at the University of Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Enquirer published an article on SEARS homes which mentions Ms. Lask’s work titled SEARS Homes Come Into Their Own by Denny Lee/ The New York Times and Joy Kraft / The Cincinnati Enquirer. Because of this article I recently had the pleasure of meeting Beatrice and discussing her SEARS project at some length.

The following photos are of homes believed to be genuine SEARS homes in Wyoming, including 5 four family apartment buildings.

Sears Josephine with second story added- 130 Burns Ave
Sears Matoka- 23 Central Terrace
Sears Argyle – 426 Burns Ave
Sears Americus – 1028 Burns Ave
Sears Vallonia – 1099 Burns Ave
Sears Marina – 228 Crescent Ave
Sears Hathaway – 300 Crescent Ave
Sears Vallonia – 51 Euclid Ave
Sears Hamilton – 59 Euclid Ave
Sears Argyle – 18 Allen Ave
Sears Argyle – 24 Allen Ave
Sears Starlight – 38 North Ave
Sears Hazelton – 1522 Maple Ave
Sears Josephine – 1529 Maple Ave
Sears Avondale – 19 W Mills Ave
Sears Argyle – 5 Walnut Ave
Sears Ardara/Crescent combination model- 220 Grove Ave
Sears Alhambra – 20 Central Terrace
Sears Avalon – 196 Fleming Ave
Sears Elsmore – 1540 Maple Ave
Sears Berwyn – 151 Bonham Ave
709 Oak Ave-Glyndon
Sears Glyndon – 709 Oak Ave
717 Oak Ave-Wabash
Sears Wabash – 717 Oak Ave
424 Pendery-Cornel-Haven
Sears Cornell – 424 Pendery Ave
Sears Brookside – 1041 Burns Ave
Sears Atlanta – 414 Poplar Ave
Sears Atlanta – 35 Sherry Ave

1114-Springfield-Pike-AtlantaSears Atlanta – 1114 Springfield Pike

Sears Atlanta – 1056 Springfield Pike

Notes about this post:    Armed with the list of houses from the Bea Lask thesis. Laraine headed to the Wyoming area of Cincinnati and photographed a whole lot of Sears Houses.   Some were unidentified at the time she got her pictures, like The Brookside, but were later ID’d.



Beatrice Lask

Originally posted on Jan. 8, 2014 by Laraine Shape

Laraine with Beatrice Lask and Cindy Catanzaro, fellow Sears House enthusiast

I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting Beatrice Lask, the preservationist and architectural aficionado who performed an in depth survey of Sears Houses in the Cincinnati area in the early 1990′s.

The first (and only) Sears House survey of its kind in Cincinnati, Mrs. Lask’s research was performed as part of her university studies which culminated in a thesis titled Sears, Roebuck Catalogue Houses in the Cincinnati Area. The thesis, in which she identified nearly 500 Sears kit houses, is once again safely on file in the rare book section at the University of Cincinnati thanks to the efforts of Cindy Catanzaro.

According to Mrs. Lask, the purpose of her study was twofold;
“to compile a list of identifiable Sears houses in the Cincinnati area” and “to help the public and particularly Sears home owners become familiar with these houses and appreciate their unique qualities and historic value. Perhaps this knowledge will help protect against further indiscriminate alterations or demolitions.”

Her study was done over a two year period, using little more than a guide book published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation titled Houses by Mail, A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and a drive through Cincinnati…neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, street by street. She did not have the benefit of the internet for her studies. But according to Mrs. Lask, she enjoyed every minute of the task. “It didn’t seem like work to me,” she said.

Ms. Lask’s work first came to my attention in a 2003 Cincinnati Enquirer article titled SEARS Homes Come Into Their Own. In it, the writer noted that “Some people are insulted when Mrs. Lask tells them they live in a Sears home, until she explains. “Then they often say, `We wondered why it had such fine wood,’ or `I couldn’t believe each window screen was numbered to match each window,’ ” she said. “They wondered how such a modest home could have features like hardwood floors, . . . built in shelving, things you don’t usually find.”

When asked how many of the homes she was able to get inside, Mrs. Lask said “about one in four.” That means she had the opportunity to see at least 100 Sears houses in Cincinnati.

There’s absolutely no doubt that Mrs. Lask loves Sears houses. She radiates with passion when she talks about their distinctive features, quality materials and craftsmanship. And when Cindy Catanzaro, fellow Sears House enthusiast, Sears House owner and historian from Springfield, Ohio showed Mrs. Lask a photograph of the Osborn model located on Eastwood Circle in Madisonville her eyes lit up like a child’s on Christmas day. “That’s my favorite.” she said.

Cincinnati owes Beatrice Lask a debt of gratitude for having located and identified a piece of its history that may never have been found otherwise. I’m honored to have made her acquaintance and to have had the opportunity to chat with her about the work that wasn’t really work. It’s a day Cindy and I will both cherish.