Houses By Mail on Route 66

Four years ago when I first started my search for kit homes I naturally turned to the internet.  I am pretty suave with internet searching, trust me.  When I searched for kit homes in the Tulsa area nothing showed up, NOTHING!  So, I asked around and someone told me they thought there was one in Chelsea.  I then did a search for “Sears house Chelsea, Oklahoma” and up pops the Sears Saratoga and it was known as the Hogue House.  I also discovered that according to what I found that the house in Chelsea was the only known Sears house built west of the Mississippi!

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

The only KNOWN Sears Roebuck house, that gave me hope of finding more.  Afterall, why wouldn’t we (Tulsa) have houses from Sears or any of the other catalog companies?  Sears catalog home sales peaked about the same time that the population in Tulsa exploded because of the oil industry.  I had read about Standard Oil Company’s addition in Carlinville that was built for their employees and my first thought was why wouldn’t the oil companies in the Oil Capital of the World order kit homes for some of their employees too? If you have read my blog about the Brentwood in Bristow you may recall it was ordered by Continental Refining Company in 1916 as I showed in the original sales order.  One of our Gordon Van Tine Roberts  here in Tulsa was the home of  the Wright Producing and Refining Corporation president.  Did GN Wright order the house through his company too? In my 60+ Aladdin sales records I have found that several of the houses were ordered by oil companies which is going to make it really difficult to find them using my original owner method that I use by tracking down addresses via city directories and the census reports.

I’m not going to get in to the history of each of the Route 66 houses I have found so far because I have several. You can read about the history on the individual blogs. This blog is merely to show that there are more on Route 66 than the Hogue House in Chelsea, Oklahoma.

The next time you travel Route 66 through Tulsa make sure you have your camera. Tulsa is an architectural smorgasbord and there are several beautiful buildings to photograph!

Welcome to Tulsa Oklahoma. I was born in the hospital in the background in 1962.

Let’s take a look at the Hogue House in Chelsea, Oklahoma. If it was constructed in 1913 like they say it was “not ready cut” meaning that the lumber came in full lengths and had to be cut on location. It was indeed a kit but not pre-cut. You got all of the material, windows, doors, hardware, etc and enough un-cut lumber to build this house. Sears did not begin precutting the lumber for the walls, floor joists and rafters so forth until 1915. We know this because that is specified in the early catalogs. They also claim that this is the first Sears house built in Oklahoma. The more I research the more I doubt that. However, it makes a lovely story and they tell it so well.

Sears Saratoga Chelsea built circa 1913

Sears Saratoga 1921 catalog image

Also in Chelsea is a Sears Avondale. How funny that there is another Sears house just a few blocks from the “only known Sears house west of the Mississippi”!  The Avondale made its debut at the Chicago State Fair, Springfield, in 1909. I have plans for a blog on it alone because it was one of their best-selling homes and has a very beautiful interior.  So, keep a watch here!

Sears Avondale catalog image

This Sears Avondale in Chelsea, Oklahoma is on Vine Str. Thanks to Rosemary Thornton for spotting this house while google driving around Chelsea

If you stop at the Route 66 Village at 3770 Southwest Blvd just drive a few blocks south on Union to 41st and on the southeast corner is a Gordon Van Tine #612.

Gordon Van Tine #612

The Gordon Van Tine #612 is hard to see from the front because it sits behind an auto repair business.

The Side View of our Gordon Van Tine 612 is what caught my attention as I drove down 41st street to band rehearsal at Clinton Middle School

Bristow Oklahoma is home to THREE mail order homes from Aladdin Readi-Cut Homes out of Bay City, Mi. All three are in excellent condition!

Aladdin Shadow Lawn Bristow, Oklahoma
I met the family who lives here, nice folks! Bristow is a nice friendly homey place and I had no fear knocking on doors here.

Another Aladdin Shadow Lawn Bristow with the original exterior!

And one of my most favorites finds was this Aladdin Brentwood in Bristow. This house is absolutely gorgeous!

The Aladdin Brentwood in Bristow was ordered in 1916 by Continental Refining Company.

The Aladdin Brentwood catalog image

Our last stop on Route 66 today will be Depew, Oklahoma where I discovered that the town doctor ordered a Gordon Van Tine Roberts to build next door to his pharmacy and across the street from his hospital. Back in the day Route 66 ran through Main Street of Depew. Downtown Depew has a lot of cool old buildings to photograph. Make sure you see this catalog house off of Main Street on Sims.

This Gordon Van Tine Roberts in Depew, Okla on Sims Street was the home of the town doctor Dr. Coppedge. He also owned the pharmacy AND the hospital!

The Gordon Van Tine Roberts aka #535 and #560

That is a sampling of what I have found along Route 66. I have more I just haven’t photographed them yet.

In the 60+ Aladdin sales orders that Cindy sent me was an order for an Aladdin Tremont shipped to Chelsea, Oklahoma in 1914.

In 1914 William Edwards Sr from Chelsea, Ok. ordered an Aladdin Tremont. I wish I could find it but the only address for him was “farm”. It is unlikely that I will find that house. Also, it is probably gone now because it was a small 4 room farm-house. However, I will post the catalog image just in case someone out there recognizes it. And the next time I am in Chelsea I may drive the streets along the railroad tracks within a few miles radius to see if perhaps I can find it.

The middle house, the Canton, was originally the Tremont. A small four room house for $237 bucks!

Hopefully that is enough evidence to dispel the myth of the Hogue House as the first or only Sears house west of the Mississippi!

About Rachel Shoemaker

I've been hooked on finding and or identifying mail order homes since 2008. I'm not picky, kit homes from Sears Modern Homes, Aladdin Ready Cut, Gordon Van Tine, Wardway Homes, all of the major companies as well as the popular pattern and plan book homes built from about 1900 and on. Could you be living in one of these homes? Send me an email:
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10 Responses to Houses By Mail on Route 66

  1. Gary Ables says:

    My grandparents home in Claremore, OK, was a kit home from Sears. The house was bult in 1908 for my grandparents and built by my great-grandfathers. The house is at 122 W. 6th St., Claremore, OK. The house was built for Walter and Mabel Burgess.


  2. Pingback: A Rare Sears House in Bristow, Oklahoma … Route 66 | Oklahoma Houses By Mail

  3. Lara says:

    Hi, Rachel! Is that Shadowlawn in Bristow authenticated?

    I was noticing that some of the Shadowlawns seem to have a raised roof. Some of the houses on Rose’s blog have it as well. I don’t see that being an option in the catalogs.

    I have a house that looks like a Massachusetts/Shadowlawn with a raised roof. Appears to have been built that was originally. It’s not the CL Bowes clone.


  4. No, neither are authenticated. The measurements and floor plans match up but that’s it. The flatter roofed one has what appears to be markings, writing, but I’m not 100% sure. There has to be another pattern or two out there besides CL Bowes. I’ve seen way too many “look a likes”. We either have a lot of “special” Shadow Lawns around here or there are a few more patterns. I’m going with patterns 😉 It’s the same with “Plazas”. I try not to look at them now. LOL
    I would use the Webb City Massachusetts as an example, that’s the real deal. They were able to get the sales orders for both the houses and the garage.


  5. Lara says:

    Oh darn. If we can authenticate one of the taller roof ones that would help. My house was built in 1913 so I can’t check the Aladdin sales records.


    • The original, William Sovereign’s home in Bay City Mi, was built in 1912 . His house is what would be offered in the 1913 catalog as the Massachusetts. I would check the Massachusetts out if that 1913 build date is accurate. The Massachusetts was first offered in 1913 and until 1916. In 1917 some changes were made to the plan and it was renamed the Shadow Lawn. (The Shadow Lawn was offered until 1922.)
      The Massachusetts was a little larger, 30′ x 36′ and has a bumpout in the dining room. The bathroom is located on the side of the house opposite the stairs in between those two bedrooms so look for that smaller bathroom window to be on the side. The Shadow Lawn measures 28′ x 30′ and likely will not have the bumpout unless ordered. The bathroom will be located in the rear of the house between the two back bedrooms. The interior layout and measurements of the two houses are slightly different but you should be able to discern which model it is from the exterior by the bathroom location. You can see the original house in the last photo of the Webb City blog. I would use the Bay City house as a reference for an example to compare your 1913 house with. (I think that 1913 build date would be pushing it but it is possible). I think the center window(s) might help determine a width if the assessor info is not available. That extra two feet width is enough to account for that additional small square window the Massachusetts has in the front. It IS possible it’s a pattern, I have seen the pattern in 28′ x 30′ and 46′ x 46′ measurements both having the lay out of the Shadow Lawn.
      Hope that helps! 🙂


      • Lara says:

        Wish I could get measurements and some interior details. Yes, it does help thanks a lot. It’s a Massachusetts style-has the middle window and the dining room bumpout. The family moved into new house Feb 1913–it was in the newspaper. 🙂 I wonder when the patterns came out.


  6. Lara says:

    Sorry I meant Feb 1914. Duh!


  7. I am the owner of one of the Bristow shadowlan homes, what interior measurements do you need? I too am curious.


    • Hi Michelle, the interior measurements are in the catalog floorplan in the blogpost above. If you click on the catalog page for the Shadowlawn you can enlarge the image and read the measurements.


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