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)