Nowadays you may have to drive far to find a Sears, Roebuck & Company retail store, but houses built from Sears kits are easy to find here in Wyoming. A 1.2-mile walk will take you past seven of Wyoming’s 24 Sears kit homes, in styles ranging from bungalow to American Foursquare to Mission Revival.
What’s Up Wyoming is providing an encore of six posts on the significant architecture styles in Wyoming. Each new post includes a PDF with a map and walking directions to see the featured homes. Use these stories as guides to learn more about the historic progression of Wyoming and the individual beauty of its architectural styles, ranging from the earliest homes of the 1850s to the mid-century modern ranches and split-levels of the 1950s-1970s. You can also pick up a large color map of Wyoming, produced in 2014, at the city administrative office on Oak Avenue and at the Wyoming Rec Center, or you can download a pdf of a simplified map from the city website by clicking here.
Click here for a map and walking directions along Burns Avenue, North Avenue, and Maple Avenue to see seven distinctive homes built from Sears kits in the early 20th century.
An Amazon delivery truck is an everyday sight in 2020. A century ago, another business dominated the mail-order retail scene: Sears, Roebuck & Company. The company’s famous catalog listed clothing, toys, household goods, and building supplies. Sears saw an opportunity to sell homes to the early 20th century’s growing middle class by creating home kits with blueprints and all the building materials required. Sears houses are considered historically significant, and homeowners search their attics and basements for clues to verify the home’s origins. An architectural historian has identified over 500 Sears homes in Cincinnati and 24 Sears homes here in Wyoming. Several Sears kit homes in Wyoming’s Historic District are included in the National Register of History Places Inventory.
Sears offered kit homes from 1908 to 1940, and their Model Home catalogues offered hundreds of designs, including bungalow, American Foursquare, English Cottage, Colonial Revival, and Mission Revival styles. You can find additional photographs and more details about the homes listed on the walking tour in the What’s Up Wyoming post “Did Your House Come From a Catalog?” here.
Look for future posts with walking tours to see more 20th century homes in Wyoming, including the architecture of Walter Cordes and mid-century modern homes.