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Old 03-10-2010, 09:16 PM
Location: Norfolk
1,574 posts, read 1,978,161 times
Reputation: 5073


For much of the last 10 years, I've wandered through too many hamlets and villages to count, chasing down that elusive Sears Magnolia - the finest, best, and biggest kit home that Sears offered. I've traveled to 25 states, given 200 lectures, and have identified thousands of kit homes yet heretofore, I'd never *discovered* a Sears Magnolia.

For those poor unenlightened souls, Sears sold kit homes through their mail-order catalogs in the early 1900s. From 1908-1940, you could order an entire kit house from Sears. The 30,000-piece kit was shipped by boxcar and Sears promised that a "man of average abilities" could have the house fully assembled and ready for occupancy within 90 days.

That was probably a little ambitious. In fact, some people spent *years* assembling their kit home. By 1940, Sears had sold about 70,000 of these homes, and they were offered in about 370 styles.

Head and shoulders above the many little bungalows and four-squares that Sears offered was their biggest and fanciest home: The Sears Magnolia. According to some very unreliable reports, only six Magnolias were sold.

There was a Magnolia in Nebraska, but it burned down many years ago. The remaining Magnolias were in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Indiana and Ohio. And those were all the Magnolias we knew about - until last week!

A dear FOSH (friend of Sears Homes) sent me a link to a story that appeared in a North Carolina news report. The story talked about a Sears house in North Carolina. When I clicked on that link, I could hardly believe it. They were talking about a SEARS MAGNOLIA!

Of course, I immediately hopped in my car and drove four hours due north so that I might touch the hem of this beautiful Magnolia. It was beautiful and grand and lovely and happy.

And it is the SIXTH known Magnolia in the country.

Isn't it beautiful? Isn't she lovely? Doesn't she take away your breath?

Be still my quivering heart. And the best news is, this delightful Magnolia is less than four hours away from my home in Norfolk!

Rose Thornton (author of lots of books on kit homes)

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Old 03-10-2010, 09:46 PM
990 posts, read 1,473,223 times
Reputation: 2403
Oh Cool. I thought the Magnolia was a peach when I first saw it. I'm thinking it was in your book?
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:51 PM
32,538 posts, read 29,333,321 times
Reputation: 32238
Oh my goodness that is one lovely house!

I'm going to be looking for your books. I relax by pouring over photos of old houses and floor-plans. Hmm.. Maybe I've already got one? Gotta go check...
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:22 PM
1 posts, read 8,243 times
Reputation: 10
You have to hit Concord, North Carolina! I swear that town is a Sear's Kit home haven. Union Street has at least twenty examples of Sear's Kit Homes. The first time I saw the Magnolia on Union Street I was enchanted. I have wanted to see what the inside is like but am too embarrassed to knock on the door. Check out Concord, NC. the next time you really want to see some fine examples of Sear's homes...
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:59 AM
355 posts, read 764,057 times
Reputation: 152
What kind of quality were these homes? I'd imagine they are not like the pre fabs we envision today
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:07 PM
4,803 posts, read 10,167,820 times
Reputation: 8245
I truly learned something new. I knew nothing of these kit homes. Very nice looking for an assembled home.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:17 PM
Location: Norfolk
1,574 posts, read 1,978,161 times
Reputation: 5073
I've never been to Concord, NC. Can you post a few photos here? I'd love to find a city in the southeast that has some massive collection of Sears Homes. Heck, I'd also love to find another Sears Magnolia! I'm living in Norfolk, Virginia now and have scoped out a lot of Virginia but NC is mostly undiscovered territory for me.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:16 AM
Location: Sloooowcala Florida
1,381 posts, read 2,540,975 times
Reputation: 1174
It is so amazing to me that someone could order a house to put together from a catalog back in those days. Even more amazing many of these houses are still around today.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:17 AM
Location: Sloooowcala Florida
1,381 posts, read 2,540,975 times
Reputation: 1174
It is a beautiful house.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:46 AM
1 posts, read 7,511 times
Reputation: 11
I love this home design, is there anyway to get a copy of the orginal floor plan of this? I'm thinking of building this exact home design but with or current technology?
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