For December's Topics in Preservation, please join us for a fun and interesting discussion about historic catalog, kit and mail-order homes. For an entertaining introduction to Sears mail-order homes, you may want to listen to the podcast "The House that Came in the Mail" by 99% Invisible or visit the Sears Archives. Clatsop Community College has also recently added a few intriguing titles to their collection including Houses by mail: a guide to houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company by Katherine Cole Stevenson and H. Ward Jandl and the Aladdin "built in a day" house catalog, 1917 by the Aladdin Company.
There were several companies that produced full building kits (plans, lumber, finishes and hardware) and many of the styles were similar between different companies. There are specific details that can prove that a home is a Sears, Aladdin, Bennett, etc. but many homes were also built using catalog plans but utilizing local lumber and materials. These were often customized on site and are harder to identify. Other homes have been remodeled over the years and are no longer recognizable as signature home models.
Below are photos from advertisements for the Honor Bilt "Crescent" and the Bennett "Sanford."
Have you seen any homes in Astoria that look similar?
Do you believe your home is a kit or catalog home? Let us know here.
Join us on December 19th to discuss our findings!