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

Originally published by Laraine Shape on August 15, 2014

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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?

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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.

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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

Be Still My Heart! Is That What I Think it is?? The Illusive Sears Preston in Hartwell?

Originally published by Laraine Shape on July 11, 2014

59 Woodsdale, Hartwell-Preston-1
Rare Sears Preston Model at 59 Woodsdale Ave., Hartwell, Ohio

Can I share a little secret with you? I nearly fainted when I turned my head and saw this house from my car window tonight, sitting there just as prim and elegant as it could be. It was like seeing a ghost. A good ghost, mind you. I actually gasped.

Fellow Sears house aficionado, Cindy Catanzaro, told me that there was supposedly a rare Sears Preston in Wyoming (right next door to Hartwell) so I set out to find it. About a hundred times. Every time I went out in search of Wyoming Sears houses, I looked for it. And I came back empty handed, every single time. I found lots of other Sears houses in Wyoming, but not the rare and illusive Preston. It was like hunting for a rare, white orchid.

After driving up and down every street in Wyoming, asking staff at the Wyoming Historical Society and showing photos of the Preston to long time Wyoming residents, I threw in the towel and decided it must be a figment of someone’s imagination. (like the Sears 123 model that was allegedly built in Sharonville which eludes me).

Until tonight. And here, at long last, is the Sears Preston located at 59 Woodsdale Ave. in Hartwell. The icing on the cake would be a glimpse of the inside. Wow. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps. Stay tuned. You just never know when you’re going to get lucky.


59 Woodsdale, Hartwell-Preston-2
Rare Sears Preston Model at 59 Woodsdale Ave., Hartwell, Ohio
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Rare Sears Preston Model at 59 Woodsdale Ave., Hartwell, Ohio
59 Woodsdale, Hartwell-Preston-sketch
Hamilton Co Auditor’s sketch


Sears Houses in Cheviot (West Side of Cincinnati)

Originally published by Laraine Shape on July 4, 2014

Cheviot loves its parades and festivals.

Home to West Fest and The Biggest Little Fair in Ohio, Cheviot is also home to 28 Sears Roebuck houses – the built to last, DIY kit homes that were built by nearly 70,000 hardworking folks from 1908 to 1940, with the majority being built during the 1920′s boom times.

Hats off to Beatrice Lask for finding 26 of these historic treasures during her 1990′s Cincinnati Sears House Survey. The other 2 popped up as fun surprises (3753 Frances and 3988 Trevor).

Ready to have a look? Here we go.

3324 Augusta Pl. Sears Uriel Model
3261 Broadwell Ave., Sears Oakdale Model
3912 Davis Ave. Sears Uriel/Conway Model
3914 Davis Ave. Sears Rodessa Model
3747 Dina Ave. Sears Roseberry Model
3753 Frances Ave., Sears Starlight Model (modified)
3761 Herbert Ave. Sears Fullerton Model
4124 Lora Ave. Sears Lebanon Model
4125 Lora Ave. Cincinnati – Sears Paloma Model
4126 Lora Ave. Cincinnati – Sears Paloma Model
3949 Lovell Ave. Sears Hamilton Model
3926 Lovell Ave. Sears Collingwood model
3452 Mayfair Ave. Sears Cornell Model
3498 Meadow Ave. Sears Rodessa Model
3501 Meadow Ave. Sears Vallonia Model
3503 Meadow Ave. Sears Vallonia Model
3234 Montana Ave. Sears Vallonia Model
3620 Puhlman Ave. Sears Crescent model


3815 St Martins Pl. Sears Josephine Model
4233 St. Martins Pl. Sears Somerset Model
4237 St. Martins Pl. Sears Brookside Model
4245 St. Martins Sears Starlight Model
3988 Trevor Ave. Sears Windsor Model
3924 Washinton St. Sears Barrington
3963 Washington St. Sears Starlight model
3994 Washington St. Sears Rodessa Model
3525 Woodbine Ave. Sears Hamilton Model
3978 Lovell-Castleton-1
3978 Lovell Ave. Sears Castleton model

16 Sears Argyle Models in Cincinnati (and counting)

Originally published by Laraine Shape on June 11, 2014 – edited

3239 Stanhope-1
Sears Argyle model at 3239 Stanhope Ave. (Westwood)  

If you were looking for a Sears Roebuck Argyle model and found Cincinnati, you’d be doing okay. We have 16 of them here, or at least that’s how many Beatrice Lask found when she did her Sears House Survey back in the early 90′s. I’m guessing there are more that haven’t been unearthed yet.


Argyle 1920
Sears Argyle from the 1920 Modern Homes Catalog
5 Walnut Ave. (Wyoming)
18 Allen Ave. (Wyoming)
24 Allen Ave. (Wyoming)


40 Sheehan Ave. (Hartwell)
323 N Cooper Ave. (Lockland)


426 Burns Ave. (Wyoming)
426 Hillside Ave. (Lockland)
573 Grand Ave. (East Price Hill)
666 Derby Ave. (Spring Grove Village)
2301 Buxton Ave. (Norwood)
3323 Cavanaugh Ave. (Westwood)
3805 Aylesboro Ave. (Hyde Park)
4118 Watterson Ave. (Madisonville)
6066 Lantana Ave. (College Hill)
6697 Bantry Ave. (Kennedy Heights)
(Address not noted in original post – Mason)


Notes about this post

Apparently Laraine was so enthusiastic about all these Argyle models that she lost count, as actually there are 17 houses pictured above.

Laraine got quite a few interior photos of the first one shown, but I am electing to put them in a separate post.

Since Laraine published this, several more Argyles in the Cincinnati area have been located.  Here they are.

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4095 Homer Ave. (Madisonville)
S Argyle 5243 Hunter Ave CCat Cincinnati OH (2)
5243 Hunter Ave. (Norwood)  (Photo by Cindy Catanzaro)
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3025 Junietta Ave. (Westwood)
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2240 Hannaford Ave. (Norwood)

Sears Indestructo Still Going Strong After 92 Years!

Originally published by Laraine Shape on May 13, 2014


“Gentlemen, Please be advised that we are well pleased with the Indestructo furnace you sold us for our Sears home. It has performed as advertised and, in fact, has outlived your life expectancy claims of “Guaranteed for 20 years in writing!”

The furnace turns 92 years old this year and is still going strong. As you know, we had it converted from coal to natural gas some years back and it has kept
our family warm all these years…including this most recent winter which was unusually cold.

Thank you for making such a fine product. Very Sincerely, Wilheim C. Stegner – somewhere in heaven.”

Original homeowner/builder Wilhem C Stegner 1942



I had a feeling about this home from the moment I saw it on the Hamilton County Auditor’s website. It just felt like a Sears home. And when I met with the Executrix of the estate for the purpose of listing the home for sale, I asked if it was a Sears house.

To her knowledge it was not a Sears home. But as I traveled through the house, I continued to feel it was a Sears kit house. And the more we talked, the stronger that feeling became. The house has Sears doors and trim, a Sears Indestructo furnace, original Sears light fixtures and underneath the exterior faux brick siding is narrow wood siding with decorative fish scale and the porches both have bead board ceilings (under vinyl).

Then she mentioned there were blueprints for the house back in Vermont. (Gasp!!) But she was here in Cincinnati getting the home ready for sale. So she called her husband and asked him to see if he could find something on the blueprint that said Sears.

That evening I scoured my Sears plan books to see if I could find a plan that matched. No luck. I could not for the life of me find a one bedroom plan that matched. The only thing that came close was the Starlight model…but it was a two bedroom, with the kitchen placement behind the dining room. Dang!

The following day, when we met to sign paperwork, I was disappointed to learn that her husband had checked the blueprints and found no mention of Sears.  He said there was something in the corner of the print, but not Sears. I pressed on and asked what it said. The prints did not say Sears, they said “Honor Bilt Modern Homes No. 7009.” OMG! The Starlight model!! And the reason I couldn’t match it to the Starlight was because of the homeowner’s modification.

Wilhelm Stegner built the house as a one bedroom and the way he did it was by eliminating the kitchen behind the dining room and instead using the 2nd bedroom as the kitchen. Of course! Here’s a rendering of the original Starlight model. (See below for photo gallery of blueprints)



Original siding detail
Original siding detail
Original front porch detail
Original front porch detail
3753 Frances Ave-Front-Primary
3753 Frances Ave., Cincinnati



What an exciting day it was when I received the blueprints for this house from Vermont. Unfortunately, they were so brittle and fragile from age that they were impossible to copy as I had planned to do. Paper just doesn’t withstand the years the way cast iron furnaces do. In any event, I carefully unrolled the 3 pages (partial set) and did my best to get some readable photos. Here they are.

2014-08-12-001-0022014-08-12-001-0032014-08-12-001-0062014-08-12-001-0052014-08-12-001-0042014-08-12-001-0182014-08-12-001-012 (1)

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.