Inside the Sears Avalon at 196 Fleming Rd. in Wyoming

Originally published by Laraine Shape on April 28, 2014 

See update to this post at the bottom



Last year I wrote about an adorable Sears Avalon model in Wyoming. In that article I said “Maybe I’ll get lucky one of these days and the two adorable little “guard” dogs will let me into their domain for a few minutes.”

Well, guess what? I got lucky! The dogs cooperated and the owner was gracious enough to let me inside for a look at her Avalon. And now you get to see what an Avalon looks like inside.

The first thing that surprised me was the amount of light streaming in to the living room and the overall brightness of the house, something I didn’t expect because of the wide porch overhang. Even the dining room, on the porch side, was bright.



As in most Sears homes, the kitchen and bath have been updated in this home. Long gone are the original cupboards, sinks & toilet but the quality of construction (seen in the basement and attic) still speaks loud and clear.

We weren’t able to find any Sears markings on the lumber, but we did find some grease pencil marks in the attic. Not proof of it being a Sears house, of course, but a “sign” nevertheless.

The house sits on land that was originally purchased from Mr. McKee (who owned farm land on Fleming Rd.) and was built around 1923 (probably the year it was ordered from Sears and started) by Mr. and Mrs. Minter (Otto and Vashti). Otto and Vashti had a daughter named Apke and Otto was a Cincinnati streetcar operator. According to a death record on file at the University of Cincinnati, Otto’s mother was Emma Jean Minter, born March 15, 1900. The death notice lists Otto (motorman) and his wife, Vashti as next of kin. Otto and Vashti appear on the Hamilton County ownership card as the owners as of 1947.

Census Record for Mr. Minter shows he would have been 79 years old when he sold the house to Robert Allen.

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The home passed to Robert and Betty Allen in March of 1947, then went to James and Armen Barnett in March of 1958. The current owner’s husband grew up in the home. Our next step is to make a trip to the county recorder’s office to see if they may have records tying the house to Sears. A Sears mortgage perhaps? It would be fun to be able to fully authenticate this home, even though everything points to it being an authentic Sears Avalon model.

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Meanwhile, it was an absolute treat to see the inside of this sweet Sears Avalon. Thank you for sharing, Mary!






UPDATE – Laraine and I never made it to the Hamilton County Recorder’s Office to look for documents that would connect this house to Sears, Roebuck.  Fortunately, in this age of digitization, those documents are now available for public viewing (for free!) through Family Search. 

This Avalon model is now considered documented, using current methods,  as a kit house from Sears, Roebuck, as it had a Mechanics Lien filed by Norwood Sash and Door on Nov 26. 1926.  Norwood Sash and Door was owned by Sears at that time, and the Mechanics Lien proves some type of building materials for it came from there.  

Laraine is still watching……and guiding me along this path.

196 Fleming Rd Wyoming documentation
Notice of Mechanics Lien filed against Otto Minter for Sears Avalon model built at 196 Fleming Rd. in Wyoming, Ohio.

What Does Glamor Model Carmen Electra Have in Common with Seven Sears Kit House Models in Sharonville, Ohio?

Originally published  by Laraine Shape on April 23, 2014

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Photo from Wikipedia

They were all born there!

Sharonville is not only the glamour model’s birthplace, it’s also where seven Sears kit homes were born, including; two Sears Sunbeam models, a Sears Vallonia model, a rare for Cincinnati Sears Princeville model, a Sears Kilbourne model, and a model that looks like it may be a Sears Westly model.

There’s also supposed to be a Sears 123 model (according to one of the Sears Modern Home Catalogs) but we haven’t been able to find it yet. Hopefully it’s still standing and wasn’t torn down to make way for a fast food joint or gas station! If any of you readers happen to know where this home is, please let me know!

Here’s a look at the Sears models we’ve found in Sharonville.

3761 Creek Rd., Sharonville – Sears Sunbeam model

This home on Creek Rd. is a Sears Sunbeam model and was built in 1915. Sears billed it as “A five room modern bungalow with open air sleeping porch.”

image 1925.jpg

3307 Hageman Ave., Sharonville – Sears Princeville model

Imagine my surprise when I was cruising Sharonville streets looking for the Sears 123 model and saw this unusual gem on Hageman. It’s the Sears Princeville model, originally offered as Modern Home No. 173.

1918-Princeville image

10889 Reading Rd., Sharonville – Sears Fullerton model

And here we have the Sears Fullerton model. This one is currently serving as the home to HomeWell Senior Care. The Sears Modern Homes catalog offering below boasted a price of $2243 on the Fullerton and said “This style of home has become very popular. It adapts itself equally well to city lots or country estates, and in few other styles can you get so much space for such a small outlay of money!”

image 1926

11121 Spinner Ave., Sharonville. Could this be a Sears Westly model?

Well now, what have we here? Could this be a Sears Roebuck Westly model?  Some photos from a recent listing show a few things are off (fireplace is not tucked in to a corner, left side of porch is modified)  Hmmm. I’m not 100% sure, but there are enough things correct that I’d be willing to vote for it as a modified Westly. What are your thoughts?

S Westly image 1925

11132 Oak-1024x752
11132 Oak Ave. Sharonville – Sears Elsmore model

This sweet little home on Oak Ave. is the Sears Elsmore model and was built in 1920 with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Sears billed this cute, little house as “A popular, inexpensive and graceful bungalow, well lighted and ventilated. Large porch, with bungalow columns and porch rails.” Sadly, much of the original detailing of this home has been wrapped in siding and is no longer visible.

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11173 Main St Sharonville – Sears Sunbeam model

Well, how do you like that? Another Sunbeam model. This one is at 11173 Main St. and still has a lot of it’s original building features intact. Amazingly, the siding contractors haven’t gotten their hands on this one yet (and hopefully won’t) so you can still see the distinctive 5 piece knee brackets and original wood siding.

11169 Spinner-Kilbourne
11169 Spinner Ave., Sharonville – Sears Kilbourne model

Ooh la la! A Sears Kilbourne model done in brick – an absolute sweetheart. According to the county auditor, this one was built in 1930. The Kilbourne was billed as “a house that looks as well outside as it is planned inside.” It surely does.

image 1920

This blog post by Laraine got a few comments from other Sears House lovers.  Here they are.

Donna Bakke- That’s funny – I just found that Princeville on Saturday. There’s 3 more Princevilles over towards Pleasant Ridge or Kennedy Heights.

Reply by Laraine- Donna – Wow, really? 3 more? That’s exciting!

Cindy Catanzaro – Love this group of houses! Nice spot on the Fullerton. It has the original pillars! I drove right past that house last time I was in Sharonville, and never looked at it twice. BTW, there is a Cornell model up the hill behind the second Sunbeam. I’ll bet there are more to find! Like that No. 123.

Reply by Laraine- Cindy – Oh that 123 model is driving me berserk! I swear I’ve been up and down EVERY street in Sharonville. Maybe I’ll go over to the Historical Society and see if anybody there has ever seen it.

Cindy Catanzaro – Oh, yes! I think that’s a Westly.

Reply by Laraine – Sure looks like one, doesn’t it?

Follow up to the possible Sears Westly at 11121 Spinner Ave.  Yes, it is one.  The house was recently documented with a mortgage record, meaning the house kit was financed through Sears Roebuck.

Here’s an image of the Sears #123 that was listed as being built in Sharonville in early Modern Home catalogs.  If you spot it, please leave a comment!

image 1914



The SEARS House Chester and Hattie Wood Built in Edgemont

Originally published by Laraine Shape on April 9, 2014

7553 Ross Ave-1
7553 Ross Ave., Cincinnati

The SEARS kit house Chester and Hattie Wood built was a few years in the making, but it turned out just fine. One of their two daughters, Eileen, was born deaf and later went blind. She was able to live out her life in the comfort of the home she grew up in. Eileen passed away in 2005 and Chester and Hattie’s house patiently waited for its new owner, Kate, who made it hers in April of 2010.

Kate’s house at 7553 Ross Ave. in Cincinnati, Ohio is the SEARS Roebuck Hamilton model – only available in the SEARS catalogs from 1922 to 1930. The Hamilton County Auditor’s site shows the house being built in 1928.

Kate knew the minute she met her little Hamilton model that she was to be the new owner. It was a match made in heaven. She loved it at first sight and today, after 4 years of living in the home, she experienced the thrill of discovering something very special about the home’s history – original blueprints! Can you imagine our excitement when we discovered a carefully wrapped roll labeled “blue prints” in a basement floor joist cubby hole? Who needs to find grease pencil marks or numbered lumber to “prove” it’s a SEARS house when you’ve got original blueprints in your hand?

Kate and blueprints-1
Woo hoo! Blueprints!

Lucky for Kate, the house has withstood the test of time and still has a lot of its original features and charm. Kate intends to keep it that way, thank you very much. And no, she’s not removing the original kitchen floor because of its asbestos content.

Today was the kind of day I’d call a perfect “10.” The sun came out, the magnolias are blooming, I got to meet Kate and her dog and got to share in the thrill of unearthing a rare treasure – a set of SEARS blueprints in the flesh.


image 1925

floor plan 1925

Here are some photos of Kate’s Honor Bilt SEARS home. The one Chester and Hattie built with love and lumber from Norwood Sash and Door.

HattieHattie-back of photoChesterChester-back of photo7553 Ross Ave-17553 Ross Ave-27553 Ross Ave-37553 Ross Ave-47553 Ross Ave-57553 Ross Ave-77553 Ross Ave-87553 Ross Ave-97553 Ross Ave-107553 Ross Ave-117553 Ross Ave-127553 Ross Ave-137553 Ross Ave-147553 Ross Ave-157553 Ross Ave-167553 Ross Ave-177553 Ross Ave-187553 Ross Ave-197553 Ross Ave-207553 Ross Ave-217553 Ross Ave-247553 Ross Ave-257553 Ross Ave-26blueprints-1blueprints-2blueprints-3blueprints-4blueprints-5blueprints-6blueprints-7blueprints-8blueprints-9blueprints-10blueprints-11blueprints-12blueprints-13blueprints-14blueprints-15blueprints-16blueprints-17