You may have never noticed the four homes next to each other along Wallingford Avenue as you drive by. These four homes represent a unique period of home construction in America in the first half of the 20th Century.
These four Wallingford homes were among more than 70,000 kit homes sold primarily through mail order by Sears & Roebuck via the Sears Homes Catalog between 1908 and 1940. More than 370 different home designs in a wide range of architectural styles and sizes were offered over the program’s 33-year history. Sears kit homes were sold primarily on the East Coast and Midwestern states, but examples have been found in many other area of the country.
Sears Modern Homes offered the latest technology available to house buyers in the early part of the twentieth century. Central heating, indoor plumbing, and electricity were all new developments in house design that “Modern Homes” incorporated, although not all of the houses were designed with these conveniences. Primarily shipped via railroad boxcars, these kits included most of the materials needed to build a house. It is thought that the material for the Sears homes in Wallingford may have arrived via rail car at the nearby Wallingford train station. A shipping label is still visible affixed to the framing in the house at 221 Wallingford Avenue.
Once delivered, many of these houses were assembled by the new homeowner, relatives, friends and neighbors, in a fashion similar to a traditional Amish barn raising. Other homeowners relied on local carpenters or contractors to assemble the houses. In some cases, Sears provided construction services to assemble the homes. Some builders and companies purchased homes directly from Sears to build as model homes, speculative homes or homes for customers or employees.
Sears discontinued its Modern Homes catalog after 1940.
A fine example of a surviving Sears Kit home is currently on the market in Wallingford:
221 Wallingford Avenue is a fine example of an Arts and Crafts bungalow by Sears and Roebuck from the 1920’s. This charming home has 3-4 bedrooms and 1.5 baths featuring a open floor plan with a new kitchen, first floor bedroom and remodeled full bath, original hardwood flooring, new roof and central air. You will appreciate the solid construction of by gone days. Private fenced in back yard with a one car garage and a potting shed. A walk friendly neighborhood with new sidewalks into Media. 4th bedroom is being used as a walk in closet but could be enjoyed as a den or nursery.
The Sears Vallonia was the classic Craftsman style bungalow, with its lone gabled dormer sitting atop a side gabled bungalow, is one of the most enduring and popular designs that Sears offered and was actively promoted until the company closed the home division in 1940. It was first offered around 1910 and also appeared in the final Sears Modern Homes catalog in 1940. It was available as a five room home with unfinished attic, or as a fully finished four bedroom, one bath home.
Through the years the Vallonia underwent an number of minor design changes, with one of the most notable in 1922 being the incorporation of three casement windows in the dormer replacing a smaller dormer with two diminutive windows. It maintained this look almost unaltered for the next 18 years.
Wallingford PA Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086