Earlier today someone posted a photo in the facebook group ‘You know you grew up in Cherokee, Oklahoma when…’ asking what the history was on the home in their photo. My hand shot up like a kindergartener when the teacher asks what is 1+1? Oohh, pick me! Pick me! I knooow I knooow!!! I know all about that house. Although it makes a cameo appearance in one of my blogs on the Sears Modern Homes #118 it has never played the starring role. Tonight, it becomes a star!
This Sears #118 is located in Cherokee, Oklahoma and was built around 1917 per the Sanborn Maps. (The best I can determine.) Using US Census reports, draft registration cards, and other genealogy records I was able to piece together the early history of this lovely Sears Modern Home. No one in that group seemed to know the early history.
The Sears #118 was one of 40 modern home plans offered by Sears in 1908. Did this feature from the Fall 1908 Sears Merchandise catalog make it popular?
My research shows that Alanson Robert Carpenter was the original owner. Alanson was born in Franklin Ohio on January 11, 1879 to Robert and Louisa Carpenter. His father was a stock raiser and a farmer. Alanson was the youngest of seven children.
Following his high school graduation in June of 1901 Alanson matriculated to nearby Marietta (Ohio) College for three years before transferring to Ohio State University in Columbus to attend Law School. Alanson was awarded a Degree of Law in June 1907.
Alanson immediately relocated to Guthrie Oklahoma where he was permitted to practice law under his Ohio state license until Oklahoma was admitted to statehood. In November of 1907 Alanson relocated to Cherokee Oklahoma where he would practice law until his death in 1953.
Alanson Robert Carpenter married Ollie Leotte Strain of Marrietta, Ohio on November 5, 1909. Per the 1910 US census the newlyweds were residing on Massachusetts Ave in Cherokee, Oklahoma.
By the mid 1910’s Alanson was doing very well as a lawyer. In 1915 he became a director of Farmers National Bank. Ollie must have had her heart set on a victorian home and they selected this model from the Sears Modern Homes catalog. This is from my 1917 catalog as I estimate this was the year the home was built. You can see the price was $2,297. That price did not include electrical, plumbing or masonry materials.
This is the side of the Sears 118 and it faces 12th Street, or, when the house was built, it was Pear Street! The 1920 US Census has the Carpenters residing at Pear and Grand Ave. The 1930 and 1940 US Census has them residing at this house on Grand Ave. The house now carries the address of 1201 S Grand Avenue.
Now’s a good time to compare the right side fenestration with the photo above. Boy, that’s a BIG house. Mr and Mrs Carpenter never had any children and per the US Census reports they were the only occupants. That’s a lot of room for two people! Perhaps they entertained? Alanson was also the City Attorney for at least two terms. He was very active in the community as well. He was affiliated with Corinthian Lodge 307, Free and Accepted Masons, Consistory No 1, Knights Templar of Guthrie, and the Methodist Church. Mrs Carpenter was a cook, at least per the 1900 US Census she was. Sounds to me like she likely utilized her cooking skills quite often!
The trees in this google screen shot obscure the view a little but I think you can see well enough to be sure that the fenestration on the left side matches the above floor plan too! And, what’s a house in Oklahoma without a cellar! (Maybe someone in Cherokee will send me a better photo to replace this google screenshot)
That is a GRAND house! It’s no wonder it was such a popular model for Sears Modern Homes. It was offered in 1908 when Sears first offered kit homes, one of their original models. In 1918 it was named the Clyde and was discontinued shortly after. The 1930 US Census shows the value of the Carpenters house at $9,000. I bet it was the Belle of the Ball on Grand Avenue back in its day!
This VERY LOVELY Sears #118 is in Cherokee, Oklahoma. Do you have any stories to share about this home? If so please comment below! I only researched the history to 1940. Alanson Robert Carpenter passed away in 1953 and his wife Ollie Leotte passed away in 1963.
I hope someone restores the Sears Modern Homes 118 (Clyde) in Cherokee Oklahoma soon. It needs some TLC. Perhaps a nice cheery yellow paint like this 118 in a Seroco Paint ad from the 1915 merchandise catalog. Would you believe this house isn’t even on the Oklahoma Landmarks Database? Go to OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY State Historic Preservation Office website, it’s not listed on their database! Why?
Click here to see a Sears #118 that is on the market. You will see some of the same millwork!
Have you seen a house like this somewhere? Or, another kit home? If so please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oklahoma Houses By Mail by Rachel Shoemaker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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