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.
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.
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.
This blog post was originally published on Nov. 13, 2013 by Laraine Shape
Some days are perfect. Yesterday was one of them.
I got to tour a beautiful Sears Osborn model in Mt. Healthy, chat with its owner, Mary, (one of the nicest people you’d ever care to meet) and enjoy the company of a recently adopted cat who has made himself perfectly at home.
And who wouldn’t? The home has that warm, well loved,cozy feel that seems to be a rarity these days. I enjoyed every minute.
The home was built in 1926 with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a side porch. Mary and her husband, Richard, have owned the home since 1974.
The fireplace was placed on the left side as you enter the living room rather than the right as shown on the old Osborn plans (the original glass doors have been replaced on the bookshelves).
Many of the original features remain although there have been significant changes including; porch enclosure, kitchen remodel and the addition of a 3rd bedroom, informal eating area and deck at the rear of the house. A rough stucco finish was added to the living room walls to give it a more “adobe” like feel. Lighting fixtures have been replaced (although the original dining room chandelier is in a box in the basement), wood and some hardware has been painted and carpet is covering the original hardwood floors, something Mary would love to change but hasn’t been able to convince her husband to do because he loves the feel of carpet.
All in all the home has retained the majority of its original integrity and it was an absolute pleasure to see.
Laraine started blogging about Sears Houses at the end of October 2013. After only two weeks, she had visited quite a few homes in her area, and even got inside several houses for personal tours.
If you have been following along, you will see that in several of her blogs up to this point, Laraine referenced Rosemary Thornton and links to her website. Laraine also had links to Rose’s books about Sears Houses on her website.
But on Nov 12., 2013, Rose made a comment on one of Laraine’s previous blogs, about a house that Laraine thought might be a custom Sears Home. Rose clearly stated that the house was not from Sears, and gave an indication of what it might be, in the opinion of another Sears fanatic, Rachel Shoemaker.
If you follow Sears Houses at all on the internet, you will find numerous references to these two women, who both have websites about Sears, and other kit houses. They also are administrators of what they refer to as “a large closed group” on Facebook. I myself, was a member (and for a time, an Admin) in that Facebook group, until I left due to the tone and commentary within that group.
Since I had maintained contact with quite a few other Sears researchers who were still in the group, I heard pretty quickly that someone had shared a link to Laraine’s blog about the possible custom house. Not only was Laraine ridiculed for her blog post in the group at that time, but Rachel, specifically, would continue to bring up the post for further insults over a period of time. Rose was happy to join in the conversations condemning Laraine’s blog and research.
This type of commentary within that group was not new. Over the years that I was a member, this type of thing would happen over and over again. Apparently, those two women are under the impression that they, and ONLY they, are knowledgeable and capable of speaking about Sears Houses, which is surely not the case.
Laraine, herself, was unfazed by the criticism she received, after being told about it, but went on to do many more blogs of her own about the Sears Houses in Cincinnati. She did, however, remove ads to Rose Thornton’s books from her website, and would never add links to her website again.
This post was originally published on Oct. 31, 2013 by Laraine Shape
If you were flying down Madison Road, in a hurry to get somewhere, you’d never even know this circle of treasured homes was there. But turn onto the tree lined street and you’d know something was different about this sleepy, little neighborhood. What’s different is the cluster of 10 beautifully maintained and well loved Sears Roebuck kit homes. The Eastwood historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
For Sears home enthusiasts, driving down this street is like walking into a See’s candy store in California. Deliciously gawkable. If you go there, drive slow. Otherwise you might find yourself driving into someone’s lawn as you admire the eye candy.
Here are all 10 of the Sears houses on Eastwood Circle. Hope you enjoy the view.
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5054 East Eastwood Circle, 1933, Sears house, the Sunbeam model (original number and owner #20, Dickman, Fred B.). It is a one and a half story with a large porch and shed roofed sleeping porch above. Its solid pillars reflect a very cheerful Bungalow style. The clapboard siding is original, with original wood shingles above. It is 1117 finished square feet. It may have been built by Mr. Dickman.
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form filed in 2005: “5050 East Eastwood Circle, 1933, Sears house, the Mitchell model (original number and owner #18, Wynne, John). “English architecture with a touch of the popular California studio type. Two (intersecting) gables…(with a) stone and brick chimney.” This house has the original shakes in the gables but not the style of windows listed in the catalog. There were French doors lying in the coal bin. It has had vinyl siding added and windows replaced. It is 974 finished square feet. There is a letter “S” for Sears stamped in the foundation.”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5046 East Eastwood Circle, 1933, Sears house, Maplewood with Osborn roofline, (original number and owner #16, Fisher, F.M.). This small, one and a half story has a matching double, detached original garage with the same flared roof ridge with a steep pitch. The prominent brick and stone chimney sits next to a front facing gable, which has one flared side sweeping closer to the ground
than the other. Stone faces this gable. “S” is stamped on the basement stonework, indicating a Sears house. The siding is covered in vinyl. It is 1534 finished square feet”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5038 East Eastwood Circle, 1932, Sears house, the Puritan model (original number and owner #14, Hannika, Elizabeth). This two story is in the Dutch colonial style with a “colonial doorway with colonial hood”. An addition was added during the 1970s to the south gable end. The wood siding is original and the wood siding on the addition was carefully matched. It has a gambrel roof. There is evidence of the original latticed porte cochere over the drive. The owner would like to restore that as well as the balustrade feature above the addition side. It is 1699 finished square feet. The garage is original.”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5066 East Eastwood Circle, 1930, Sears house, the Crescent (original number and owner #24, Harvie, Arthur H.). This colonial has a centered portico covered with a prominent pediment. It is faced with original wood siding and shingles. The original wood porch posts have been removed. It is 1559 finished square feet.”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration from filed in 2005: “5018 East Eastwood Circle, 1930, Sears house, the Osborn model (original number and owner #6, Kuns, Ray F.). This house is described in the Sears catalog as “stucco and shingle sided bungalow in Spanish mission architecture…(with) massive stucco porches and bulkheads.” It is trimmed with “red brick coping…(and) corbels and purlins.” All original features are still present. It is 1405 finished square feet. Charles Kratz , nephew of the developer, says there was an office behind the house that the owner had for a mail order motor model business. A secretary worked in this small structure. It is no longer standing. At one time the garage at 5024 East Eastwood belonged to this property”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5032 East Eastwood Circle, 1923, Sears house, the Verona model (original number and owner #12, Moeller, Phillip and Flora). Builder was Charles E. Dawson of the Dawson Zeh Co. It features a Colonial Revival style door and sidelights flanked by bay windows on either side. There is also a bay window centered above. The side of the attic floor has fanlights. This Dutch Colonial Revival style two story house has a gambrel roof. It has been resided in vinyl. It is 2280 finished square feet. The garage is original.”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5061 West Eastwood Circle, 1933, Sears house, the Martha Washington model (original number and owner #21, Evans Wm. A.; Mack Swigert house from 19441949). This is a large, two – story Dutch Colonial Revival with fluted columns and sidelights and a fanlight on the front door. The front portico is covered with an arch topped roof. There is a central chimney. The rear has a recent (16 years ago) addition with a shed roof. The garage was also added at that time and is noncontributing. There is a gambrel roof. The material is vinyl siding. It is 2384 finished square feet.”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5031 West Eastwood Circle, 1925, Sears house, the Alhambra model (original number and owner #11, Kratz, William H.). This was the house of the father of the neighborhood developer. When the present owner moved in, the house had a full porch, not asymmetrical like the plans. It also had brown vinyl siding and no sign of the originally intended stucco underneath. There was an asphalt shingle siding beneath. The original shaped parapets, surrounding the hipped roof, had been covered in siding and squared off. In 1999, the owners altered the siding and gables. It is 1854 finished square feet. The original siding on this house was a light – colored concrete stucco with small stones in it. This house is noncontributing to the district.”
From the National Register of Historic Places Registration form filed in 2005: “5023 West Eastwood Circle, 1932, Sears house, Wayne model with modified gable (original number and owner #7, Gruber, Fred, C.). This Sears house has a large front porch and a frontfacing gable roof. It is symmetrical, with a triple center window upstairs. There are large windows on either side of the door downstairs. The original clapboards are covered with vinyl siding. It is 1397 finished square feet. The garage is original.”
Notes about this post:
The Eastwood Historic District is probably the most well known area of Cincinnati in regards to Sears Kit Houses. The models are all within a block or two of each other, and are in excellent repair. There have been several newspaper articles over the years about this collection of homes. Anyone interested in Sears kit houses in the Cincinnati area should take a drive down Eastwood Circle.