When Your Knee Jerk Reaction is Correct…

Another pattern book home used by Sears…Yep, that was my knee jerk reaction, again, to a poorly researched  blogpost about three Sears Altonas in Webster Groves Missouri. The original blog (it was changed shortly after being published) was an attempt to discredit Rosemary Thornton stating she obviously missed these three houses all within a few houses of each other when she did a windshield survey several years ago. Rosemary and I both knew they were pattern homes and I KNEW I had it somewhere in my files. Where in my files remained a mystery until some discussion about pattern homes came up in the Sears group.  Rosemary and I have a memory like you can’t even imagine! I’m not being a braggart either, it’s just the plain simple truth. We both notice details, very fine details. It’s just the way we are wired I guess.



The “blog” identified three houses as a Sears Altona. This is the Sears 121 aka Altona from my 1908 4th edition Modern Homes catalog. The 4th edition features 30 different models and to my knowledge is the earliest available edition online.


Houses By Mail shows the Sears 121 aka Altona in the side gable section of the book. Rosemary Thornton shows both sides of a 121/Altona on pages 66-67 of her book Finding The Houses That Sears Built. Pretty cut and dried as to what this Sears model looks like.

Rosemary has a wonderful blog on the Sears Altona! It was published in 2012. I read all of her blogs, they are awesome! Check it out by clicking here.

Sears 121 aka Altona  at 1100 W Wade El Reno Okla Combo

This house is in El Reno Oklahoma. I think it is likely a Sears 121/Altona. I would love a few good photos of it to replace these screen shots! If you live in or near El Reno and wouldn’t mind sending me a few photos let me know please.


Sears 121 aka Altona at 80 Park St Oxford Michigan Left  (Dale) Combo

This Sears 121 aka Altona is in Michigan and was contributed as an address by architect/architectural historian Dale Wolicki.


Many of the kit homes that kit home companies sold came from other plan sources such as pattern books, and especially the earliest years.  I have a few blogs that prove this.   When I say it’s likely from a pattern that’s not my knee jerk reaction as yet another blogger (also a detractor) is quoted saying. That is my response and an honest effort in trying to help a homeowner out. If I say I have seen that pattern before then you should probably believe me. 😉 I’m not here to make up stories. I’ve had my bulldog nose in many books and trade journals the past few years and I am simply relaying what I have seen.

Let’s have a look at the three purported Sears Altonas in Webster Groves Missouri.

Three not Altonas on  Atalanta Ave Webster Goves, Missouri

Falsely accused of missing three Sears houses all in a row, pretty much in a row, shown are the purported Sears Altonas. If this blogger and her team of detractors had done their research they would have been able to see that these are not Altonas. Do YOU see the differences? The Altona is a side gable house where as these houses are one side gable with a hip roof, really a cross gable house….a T. Not anything at all like an Altona. Three strikes, you’re out!  🙂  To see these you can google drive by 829, 833, and 843 Atalanta Ave in Webster Groves Missouri.


So you’re now saying, okay Rachel prove it! Let’s see that planbook model they (the detractors)say. No problem, I came across it by chance last night in my files!  I knew I would eventually.

JH Daverman

JH Daverman & Son of Grand Rapids Michigan plan No 27. This pattern dates to at least 1905. That predates the Sears 121 by THREE YEARS. Compare the floor plans. Same house almost with the exception being mainly the roof type.



Is this a JH Daverman & Son No 27? It is about 5 minutes from me in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. It was located across from the lumber dealer. I wonder how many Daverman patterns were built in Broken Arrow in the early 1900’s?



Imagine my delight when I found this Sears 121/Altona in Broken Arrow Oklahoma. Until…



UNTIL … I saw this side! Darn it. I knew this wasn’t a Sears 121 aka Altona. I figured it had to be a pattern home though. At this time I didn’t know about the Daverman pattern.



Daverman No 27 at 222 W Broadway Ave Broken Arrow, Okla

Also in Broken Arrow Oklahoma and just a couple of blocks north of the other Daverman. This poor house has had massive additions. It has actually been joined to another house to make one long building that houses a funeral home now.


Daverman No 27 (Alton NOT) at 312 E Main St Grafton Illinois Combo

This JH Daverman No 27 is in Grafton Illinois. Rosemary Thornton said she sat in front of this house for thirty minutes  several years ago trying to make a Sears Altona out of it. She’s funny and has some pretty funny stories to share and she really knows her houses too!


JH Daverman No 27 looks like Sears Altona sort of at 716 E Springer Ave Guthrie Oklahoma Combo

I’m not surprised to find this Daverman No 27 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Guthrie is home to several other pattern homes as well. This E Springer Ave house was the scene of a fatality fire a few years ago. I’m not sure the house is still there.


Sears Altona Pattern 915 W 2nd Street Joplin Missouri

A couple of days ago I took a little day trip east on Route 66. I was in Joplin Missouri when I rounded a corner in a neighborhood when I thought I had scored a Sears 121/Altona. But, I quickly realized it was that pesky pattern home again that I had yet to come across on my computer.



Sears Altona Pattern 915 W 2nd Street Joplin Missouri Left Side

There’s that hip roof side, NOT an Altona. Ugh, the disappointment. Not so much now, I FOUND it finally. I solved the mystery.  I knew I would in time. I suspect that Joplin Missouri has more JH Daverman homes.  I found that they do have other pattern homes, and no that’s not my knee jerk reaction that’s from my experiences and what I have seen reading and spending countless hours pouring through catalogs and trade journals.


JH Daverman No 27 5  Onancock, Virginia

Here’s a really nice JH Daverman no 27 in Onancock, Virginia and it’s for sale so we can see the inside of one now!


JH Daverman No 27 Onancock, Virginia

And here’s that same view as shown in the house from Joplin, Mo.


Thanks to Coldwell Banker we can see the inside here!  You can see how the floor plan is a match to the JH Daverman number 27.


JH Daverman no 27 in Muskogee, Oklahoma

I found a JH Daverman no 27 in Muskogee, Oklahoma too! This was a popular pattern home.

Floor combo

Both floor plans measure 24′ 6″ x 28′ . The Sears 1908 model 121 is on the top and the JH Daverman No 27 from 1905 is on the bottom. I wonder where Sears got their pattern for the 121/Altona? Maybe it was JH Daverman or maybe there’s another one out there waiting for me to find it!


Combo House

The 1908 Sears 121/Altona is on the top and the 1905 JH Daverman No 27 is on the bottom.  See how the Sears house has a hint of a cornice on the right and the Daverman model does not?  The Sears house eave continues across the front and through the balconette to form the cornice that we get a glimpse of and the Daverman house is flat, no continuing eave across the house… it stops at the dormer.  Maybe you have seen this house somewhere? If so contact me!


Shoemaker/Wolicki Collections

JH Daverman and Son no 27, 1901.

By the way, Rosemary Thornton is the author on several books on kit homes and how to identify them. Her blog was the first on the subject of kit homes on the internet and her facebook group IS the original facebook page/group. If you want to learn how to identify homes she’s a good person to make friends with!  She has done more for Sears homes as far as bringing research to the internet more than anyone out there.  Her blog and facebook group is why I (as well as the detractors) have come this far!

Have you seen a house like this somewhere? Or, another kit home?   If so please contact me at searshomes@yahoo.com.

You can see other wonderful homes and blog posts of both Rosemary Thornton and me on facebook if you click here.

And, you can join our closed Sears Homes group on facebook too if you want to learn how to recognize kit homes and pattern book homes!

Now on twitter!
Tulsa Oklahoma Houses by Mail, Sears Homes, Wardway, Aladdin and more

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

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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2 Responses to When Your Knee Jerk Reaction is Correct…

  1. Since I know that you won’t post this (or maybe you will– who knows, and who cares), here’s what we all think of you: You are a sad, sick person. That you are still obsessed about this, is shocking.

    See, now… the difference between your life and mine, is that I have friends who would be excited to have found the answer to this mystery. They would have happily and excitedly shared that they had run across this plan book house, and we would have delighted in the find… but, you? No. You don’t know how to be a friend or to share in or delight in exploration and collaboration and shared research. You like to tell everyone that you do, but we know you don’t, Rachel. Say it as much as you want, we still know the truth. You may even honestly think that you share and collaborate and have friends, but you don’t. You can talk and write about it until you are blue in the face, but you don’t know what it is like to have people around you who enjoy your company, and respect you. If you had any concept of how to enjoy other people or how to be a friend to anyone– other than your obsession with Rose– you would have been able to work with us, and share your expertise, instead of living this angry, life where you obsess about other people and obsess at being the one who wins. You don’t know how to balance being good at what you do, with being gracious.

    Congratulations on finding the Daverman plan book that looks like the Altona/121. You may (may) have noticed that the image doesn’t show the left side, so you don’t actually know what that elevation looks like, and therefore you don’t really know that it’s the right plan, but, it could well be. And, when you take another look at the details on the three non-Altona houses on Atalanta, you’ll see another difference from the Daverman plan book house. Since you’re so good at details, I’ll let you look at that yourself. But, since you’re the Rachel that we know, you’ll just explain away the differences to suit your claim.

    The people who read my blog post about those houses, saw Rose’s comment. And saw my response to it. And saw my gracious acceptance that it threw up red flags to think that Rose could have been on that street and missed those houses. No shocking, rude statements about Rose, though that’s the impression that you’d like to take from it, and that you’d like to convince Rose was the case. I acknowledged that I had made a mistake, but here it is, all this time later, and you’re still obsessed with pointing out someone else’s already acknowledged error. That’s the way you need to live, and we know that. You’ll continue on your path, and you’ll find your houses, and you’ll write about them, and you’ll look for people to mock and ridicule, and that will make you feel good about yourself. We’ll just keep researching and enjoying the camaraderie… and adding to the list. (By the way, cute little trick of adding “National database of Sears homes” to your tags… ahhh, that’s just priceless.)


    • Hi Judith!

      I am absolutely going to approve it! AND like it!
      It’s your (you and your group) comments that are left under false names and rerouted IP addresses that I don’t approve. 😉
      I think this garrulous comment says a lot about your character.
      And like I said, it was a pattern yet you all argued that in your little group all the while I was in there and witnessing all of it as one posted “until we see a plan book model, I don’t think you can assume that”.

      Be thankful for the research and work of the pioneers, Rebecca, Dale, and Rosemary, that you have a good foundation and enormous amount of research to refer to and continue.

      And Judith, I’m grateful you took the time to not only read my blog but to leave a comment. Isn’t it time to move beyond this animus?

      Good luck with that list!


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