Rocky Mount’s Sears Catalog Homes – A Significant Architectural Asset – Part 3

It is my hope that Rocky Mount’s Sear’s homes will inspire us to consider our policies and programs that highlight and protect our treasured historic architecture.                       – Stepheny Houghtlin

I thank Rose Thornton for her tireless work in searching and finding the Sears Catalog Homes and for visiting Rocky Mount to find ours. Here is a fun fact:  Each “kit home” contained 30,000 pieces, including 750 pounds of nails and 27 gallons of paint and varnish. A 75-page instruction book showed how to assemble those 30,000 pieces. I’d love to talk to the workman that turned the ‘kits’ into the wonderful homes pictured in these posts. What do you know about the house you are living in? That knowledge would help with an inventory, which we NEED.

In reading Rose Thornton’s articles, it sounds like she made two visits to Rocky Mount, driving around without a Garmin, making discoveries of the Sears homes she recognized. It makes me think there are MORE, she just didn’t have time to keep looking. We’ll find them and invite her back for a Sears Home tribute/Preservation/shindig of some kind to share the stories of ours. Keep your camera at the ready and eyes open. I’ve ordered a book we’ll need to RECOGNIZE them. I’ll write more about having eyes to see ASAP. It makes me smile to think of us slowly driving the neighborhoods, stopping to check a possibility out. Looking for our Sears Homes is a new twist on the expression-“casing the joint.” Lovely things can happen….One of my favorite stories is the time I was standing in the middle of Beal Street taking photos of the shotgun houses. A car came round the corner, the window rolled down, and a lady said, “Honey, what you doin?” I’m taking photos because I want to write about the Shotgun houses. “Honey, you got to come and meet my Aunties. They’ve lived here a long time.” I spent a wonderful next few hours. CLICK HERE FOR THAT OCCASION.


The Plaza Model – RM’s version at the time of the photo was in wonderful condition


The Shelburne Design


The Detroit Design as seen in 1919 catalog and a nearly perfect Detroit in Rocky Mount

The Winthrop in 1919 Catalog – and Rocky Mount’s Beauty


12 thoughts on “Rocky Mount’s Sears Catalog Homes – A Significant Architectural Asset – Part 3

  1. Hi, again Stepheny! If you want to develop an inventory of Sears houses, driving around is the least efficient method. Most researchers today use the land deeds and grantor/grantee indexes at the county level to find the houses that were financed by Sears and Wards. Those properties will be identified by legal description (which can be a pain to decipher). If your area has historic building permits available, those often have the “Sears Roebuck” identifier on them.



      1. Wish I could say, “Meet me under the Field’s Clock.” I grew up in Evanston. I still have adult children, grandchildren on the North Shore. What I would really like is the two of us to take the architectural boat tour that is so fabulous, have lunch afterward and talk all afternoon starting with the Sears Homes. Keep me straight in future blog pieces if necessary. Now I’m thinking of a walk down Michigan Avenue!


  2. The organist at St. Andrew’s, Ruff Creech, lives in a home that looks like a Sears house. I plan to ask him when I see him at church.



    1. I was told this was a D.J. Rose house but I will definitely double check. Now I’m seeing Sears Houses where ever I go whether they are or not. “Oh, look!” says I to myself. Thanks for the thought here. I’ll let you know.


  3. Egads! I realized that I spelled your name incorrectly in my previous comment. 😦 My most sincere apologies to you, Stepheny.


    1. Stephen with a Y isn’t used much, but I appreciate you noticing. One of the nicknames for Stepheny is Stevie, which I was called for many years and still am by family. I’ve always liked the name and finally grew up to be a Stepheny.


  4. Hi Stephanie,

    Here’s a Wikihow page that might be helpful as a quick source of information (be sure to also check out the Tips section and the Q&A section farther down on the web page).

    Love the style of the Sears homes, and thanks so much for your continuing love and sharing of the town treasures!


    1. Delighted to have this website. Help me find some more. Thank you for reading the blog and glad the Sears Home posts were to your liking. We’ve got to have an updated inventory of our Rocky Mount assets and these Sears homes are an example of what we’ve got!


  5. I never knew we had such an extensive inventory of Sears kit homes.
    Thanks Stephany for bringing these gems to our attentions


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