Sears Homes in Hyattsville

Starting in the early 1900s, Sears, Roebuck & Co. sold mail-order homes around the United States.

Pitched as an affordable alternative to building a home from scratch, the homes were designed to be built from materials and patterns that could be sent right to your (soon-to-be) doorstop.

Today, the Sears mail-order homes are part of architectural history, and a dozen of them can be seen in Hyattsville’s Historic District.

On a recent afternoon, we checked out a few of these homes using a 1988 survey by architectural historian Marina King which can be found in the Hyattsville public library’s local history section.

From the outside, the homes don’t look much different from other bungalows in the neighborhood. They don’t even look much like each other, since the homes in Hyattsville were built following seven different design plans.

The photo above is an example of the Vallonia model, one of the more popular designs. King found 14 Vallonias in her survey:

The Sears model most commonly built in Prince George’s County was the Vallonia, a classic one and one half story frame bungalow featuring a facade-wide front porch and a central dormer lighting the low second story. It had Craftsman style projecting rafter detailing on the dormer and brackets beneath the overhanging eaves. The house had eight rooms and a bath and ranged in price from $1,465 to $2,479 over the years it was available, 1921-1939.

(Adjusted for inflation from 1921 dollars, that would be $17,696 to $29,944.)

Even the casual observer in Hyattsville can see the variation that was offered within the plans by checking out the house above and its two neighbors, which were built according to the same plan. They are at 4915, 4917 and 4919 42nd Place, in the neighborhood behind the Prince George’s County District Court.

After the jump, we’ve posted the full list of Sears homes in Hyattsville.

5416 39th Ave. (Bellewood)
4511 Buchanan St. (Conway)
4219 Nicholson St. (Kilbourne)
4003 Longfellow St. (Pittsburgh)
4212 Queensberry Rd. (Vallonia)
4621 Burlington Rd. (Vallonia)
4915 42nd Pl. (Vallonia)
4917 42nd Pl. (Vallonia)
4919 42nd Pl. (Vallonia)
4912 42nd Pl. (Wilmore)
4907 42nd Ave. (Wilmore)
4901 42nd Pl. (Wheaton)

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9 Responses to Sears Homes in Hyattsville

  1. Chris Currie says:

    An amateur architectural historian could have some fun sleuthing out additional Sears houses in Hyattsville — the above list is not comprehensive. The Vallonia is indeed a common model, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least twice as many of these lurking in and around the Hyattsville Historic District. For example, see the undocumented Vallonia at 4225 Madison St. (disguised only slightly by a post-war addition).

  2. Nice catch. I agree that looks like a Vallonia, based on the picture on Google Maps.

    — RTB

  3. A. Laurie Fraser says:

    Interesting article, and the above pictured house looks a lot like the house my boyfriend and I are living in. Can you tell me if 3902 56th Place is a historical home? Thanks you.

  4. Jim Groves says:

    We rented a house when we first moved to Hyattsville at 4408 Oliver Street. Pretty sure that was a S&R house as well.

  5. Laurie-

    Here’s a good guide to finding out if it’s a Sears home. You’ll have to do the checking, since most of the details are inside!

    http://www.arts-crafts.com/archive/kithome/rt-searskits.shtml

    RTB

  6. A. Laurie Fraser says:

    Thanks Ryan. I will check into the information you provided me.

  7. lara says:

    Hi! Glad to see people are on the hunt for catalog homes! Responding to some of the comments…

    4225 Madison St. not a Vallonia. Dormer too big, window placement does not match Vallonia. Here are some Vallonias–compare the dormer sizes: http://searshomesarlingtonheightsmtprospect.blogspot.com/2012/04/sears-vallonias-in-des-plaines.html

    3902 56th Place may very well be a Sears Delmar. I’ve never seen one of these in the flesh, but it definitely warrants further investigation.

    4408 Oliver Street not a Sears home–Sears did not offer the hipped porch roof that wraps around the house. However, it might be a kit house from another manufacturer like Aladdin or Montgomery Wards. ??

  8. Rachel Shoemaker says:

    That is a nice little collection of Sears homes. Yes, I checked all of them out. I would bet there are more around town. However, only one of those Vallonias are a Vallonia. The one at 4212 Queensbury Rd with of all things a shed dormer, no
    t common to the Vallonia, is the only true Vallonia I see. I even checked those addresses folks above mentioned. I would have to see stamped lumber, mortgage files, or do an interior inspection for layout and room measurements for those other houses. It appears to me some contractor had a plan that resembled the Vallonia a little bit, kinda sorta.

  9. Justin says:

    I actually just purchased one of the homes listed above. I had always suspected that it was a Sears home, but I didn’t know for sure. I am interested in doing some research and learning more about some of the original owners of the home…if possible.

    Thanks for posting this article!

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