A Late Night Drive Through A Connecticut Town

While reading, or studying as I often call it, my 1920 millwork catalog one afternoon I came across a testimonial that caught attention. I was actually looking at a couple of testimonials for lumber sold in Oklahoma. And, I was studying the millwork and windows and hardware so forth that Sears sold through their catalog.

1920 Sears Building Materials and Millwork

1920 Sears Building Materials and Millwork

I came across this testimonial and thought, oh…. those will be easy to find!

Beckwith Real Estate Developer Testimonial from 1920 Millwork Catalog

Beckwith Real Estate Developer Testimonial from 1920 Millwork Catalog

So I grabbed an ice-cold beer and hopped in my google car a drove straight to that address to look for these three houses and find the fourth one mentioned as well.

Three Norwich Ct Houses on Thames St.

Three Norwich Ct Houses on Thames St.

Let’s just go down the street house by house. Starting with the first house which is the number 168 from the testimonial.

140 W. Thames St in  Norwich, Ct

140 W. Thames St in Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

Modern Home No. 168 from 1913

Modern Home No. 168 from 1913

Modern Home No. 168 from 1913

Modern Home No. 168 from 1913

The second house on the street is the number 124 from the testimonial.

136 W. Thames St in Norwich, Ct

136 W. Thames St in Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

Modern Home No. 124 from 1913

Modern Home No. 124 from 1913

Modern Home No. 124 from 1913

Modern Home No. 124 from 1913

The testimonial shows the third lot empty and there is a house there but it is not a Sears house. It may have been built with materials from Sears but it is not a plan from Sears. At the time these houses were built the lumber was not pre-cut yet.

The house on the fourth lot, or the third house in the catalog picture, is a rare model. The number 163 is a rare Sears house.

124 W. Thames St in Norwich, Ct

124 W. Thames St in Norwich, Ct

The number 163 is a very distinctive house!  Notice the side windows that go up the stairs.  My dogs would LOVE those!

Modern Home No. 163 from 1913

Modern Home No. 163 from 1913

Modern Home No. 163 from 1913

Modern Home No. 163 from 1913

Obviously the number 108 wasn’t built with these three houses. Did I find it? Well, those of you who know me well KNOW I found it. I wouldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t. I found the very rare number 108 a few blocks away.

26 Kinney Ave in  Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

26 Kinney Ave in Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

Modern Home No. 108 from 1908

Modern Home No. 108 from 1913

And here again, another VERY distinctive house and very rare as well! This house doesn’t even appear in the Houses By Mail book!

Modern Home No. 108 from 1913

Modern Home No. 108 from 1908

The number 108 as posted was only available until 1910 or 1911. By 1912 that funky parlor corner disappears completely. Here is an image from the Seroco Paint page from the Fall 1910 Sears merchandise catalog.

Fall 1910 108 as featured in the Seroco paint page

Fall 1910 108 as featured in the Seroco paint page

The first three houses were a no brainer even if they weren’t at the actual address in the testimony.  Finding house number four wasn’t too difficult either. But, the night was young and I had more cold beer! (BTW, William Beckwith lived at the 110 W Thames St address in the 1910 census.  He was on Church St in 1920 and working for the government)

I set out to see what else I could find in Norwich Ct. Perhaps Mr Beckwith built more Sears houses or someone else did.

And, I was CORRECT! Right behind the Sears number 163 and across the street from the Sears number 108 is a Sears number 180! What are the chances?  I was excited to find another Sears 180 aka the Flossmoor.

17 Kinney Ave in Norwich Ct from the assessor records.

17 Kinney Ave in Norwich Ct from the assessor records.

Modern Home No. 180 from 1913

Modern Home No. 180 from 1913

Modern Home No. 180 from 1913

Modern Home No. 180 from 1913

That’s five Sears houses in a small area!

Sears Houses in a small area.

Sears Houses in a small area.

I found a Sears number 227.

323 Washington St in  Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

323 Washington St in Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

Modern Home No. 227 from 1913

Modern Home No. 227 from 1913

Modern Home No. 227 from 1913

Modern Home No. 227 from 1913

And I found a very nice Ardara!

55 River Ave in Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

55 River Ave in Norwich, Ct from the assessor records.

Ardara from 1919 catalog

Ardara from 1919 catalog

Ardara from 1919 catalog

Ardara from 1919 catalog

Are there more Sears houses in Norwich Ct? We’ll see! Check back.

Do you know of a Sears house or ANY kit house? Do you need help in identifying one? Message me and I will get back to you ASAP.

Happy house hunting and THANKS for reading my blog!

 There are three ways to contact me.  By email: searshomes@yahoo.com    You can contact me through Sears Modern Homes on facebook.   Or, you can leave a reply at the end of this blog.

To see a couple more Sears 124’s click here.

To learn more about kit homes and meet other enthusiasts as well as home owners join us in the Sears Homes Group on facebook! Tell them Rachel sent you!

Follow me on twitter!

Tulsa Oklahoma Houses by Mail, Sears Homes, Wardway, Aladdin and more

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Oklahoma Houses By Mail by Rachel Shoemaker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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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: searshomes@yahoo.com
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12 Responses to A Late Night Drive Through A Connecticut Town

  1. Nancy Roberts says:

    Rachael, I am sooooo interested in what you are doing … I’ve contacted the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Historical Society in hopes of getting in touch with you. I would love for you to be a speaker at our Cedar Creek Garden Club in Tulsa. I am a retired school teacher in Broken Arrow. Sincerely, Nancy Jane Goddard Roberts Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 20:07:49 +0000 To: njgroberts@msn.com

    Like

  2. Donna says:

    Great article and great discoveries!!!!

    Like

  3. Wow, Rachel — beautiful research! Not only did you find this great bunch of Sears houses there, but they’re also all so unusual (beyond the Crescent-Barrington-Fullerton set)! I might have been able to I.D. two of them (the Flossmor and the Matoka), but all the others… so cool.

    Like

  4. sumchapchip says:

    Hi Rachel, My great great grandfather William Beckwith lived in Norwich in 1910 on Court St. On the 1910 census, Church St is listed on the same page as Court St. I think we are talking about the same person. May I ask where you learned of Mr Beckwith?

    Like

  5. WW Beckwith was a real estate developer and he purchased several kit homes from Sears. His testimonial letter is above in my blog, second image. I came across it while reading through a building materials and millwork catalog. I remember looking up his house but it was not one from Sears, it was a late 1800 early 1900 home. It’s still there, or was a few about a year ago.

    How did you find my blog?

    Like

  6. Jean Smith says:

    Very cool houses! I was especially drawn to the Ardara. Makes one wonder if I’ve seen one of these house over the years not knowing that they were actually ordered through the Sears catalog. And…I just about fell over when I saw how much one cost back then! OMG..if only!!!! Kepp of the good work Rachel!

    Like

  7. Pingback: A Sears 124 in Clayton Georgia | Oklahoma Houses By Mail

  8. Pingback: The Gordon Van Tine #140, A Big House For Little Money | Oklahoma Houses By Mail

  9. Canterbury Road in Norwich, CT has a series of Sears Homes all built side by side. If you ask nicely the owners will even show you the numbered pieces in the attic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the heads up! I would love to see photos, I’m in Tulsa Oklahoma actually. And, have folks contact me if they would like to do so. My contact info is at the bottom of the blog.
      Thanks for visiting!

      Like

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