Sears 303, Yay or Nay?

A few days ago I posted a blog about a potential Sears 303 in Idabel Oklahoma.

I also promised to update with photos very soon. Well, very soon happens tonight!

I made the 3+ hour drive one way from Tulsa to Idabel two days later. And I have edited my photos, talked to a few folks, collected my thoughts, rested from the long day and several hours on the road.  I’m ready to share!   If it is a Sears 303 yay!  If it isn’t it’s a great house and just enjoy the photos (I took several)  and bit of Oklahoma history…it was a long road trip by myself. For one house.

A very special thanks to Rosemary Thornton for use of the only known Sears 303 catalog image I am aware of.

SMH_303_Catalog Page

This is the Sears 303 from the modern homes catalog in late 1910 I believe, maybe early 1911. It only appeared in one catalog. One question remains, how many issues of that one catalog were published?

 

Fall 1910-Spring 1912

This is the catalog cover used for Sears Modern Homes Fall 1910 Spring and Fall 1911 and Spring 1912.   The Sears 303 appeared in the catalog with this cover.  Did it appear in all of these publications?  It’s hard to say.  This catalog seems to be very rare!  I have managed to collect all of the modern homes catalogs published between 1908 and 1940 and this is the ONLY one I don’t have.

 

Sears 303 w sign

The Barnes-Stevenson House is located at 302 SE Adams, Idabel Ok. Thomas Jefferson Barnes came to Indian Territory in 1898 to practice law. He was the first county judge of McCurtain County. Harold Stevenson, an Idabel native, purchased the home in 1973 from the Barnes family. Stevenson, a friend of Andy Warhol, is a well known artist.

 

2 Sears 303 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma catalog view

I always shoot for the closest I can get to the catalog angle. The sun and a large tree were somewhat of a problem and this is the best that I could do. The TJ Barnes home was built in 1911. The local history says that the home was the design of renowned Oklahoma architect Jewell Hicks. Hicks was one of the architects for the State Capital as well as the governor’s mansion and several state or government buildings. The carpenter is said to have been RD Cheatham. I found that Cheatham was indeed a master carpenter.

 

SMH_303_House_Only

Here is the Sears 303, in brick. Is that a match or what? I found a tiny image on flickr of the house dated 1912. This catalog image is brick and the catalog description calls for brick.  It would have made sense to square the sides if constructed with lumber.  The turret roof was tall. The turret roof was likely replaced when the house was reroofed in the 1970’s I believe. The railing on the polygonal tower is there as well although now gone. Click here to compare the 1912 image from flickr. Updated 1912 photo at the end of the blog.

 


 

SMH_303_First Floor

This is the floor plan for the first floor of the Sears 303. From what I could see peering through windows (no, I’m not a peeping tom….it’s home to the local historical society now) and the photos I found on facebook it’s a good match!

 

SMH_303_Second Floor

And, this is the second floor plan for the Sears 303. I would have loved to have had a look but evidently it takes an act of congress to see the inside or catch someone there in a good mood. 😉 I tried. I really did. They weren’t interested in the information I had to share. The historical society there doesn’t have regular visiting hours.

 

Let’s take a walk around the entire estate and you can refer back to the floor plans provided as needed. This is where the several photos happens.

1 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Front

What a beautiful home! I wish there was an Oklahoma flag on that other flagpole!

 

3 Sears 303 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Left

Left angle.  Yes, I noticed that the left tower on this house is polygonal and the Sears 303 is circular.  The Sears house is constructed of brick.  That’s an easy alteration for a master carpenter and an architect.  And, Sears didn’t sell bricks or masonry so that would be a larger materials sale for Sears!

 

4 Sears 303 Straight Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Left

Left side elevation.  The bay is squared and not rounded as shown in the plans.  Same song different verse as I often say.

 

5 Sears 303 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Back Left

Left back angle. A few minor alterations. With the early Sears homes I have noticed that there were often a few minor alterations. Keep in mind, materials were supplied but not yet ready-cut this early in the game.

 

6 Sears 303 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Back

Rear elevation. In the upper left there was at one time a balcony. You can see that it has been enclosed. The Sears 303 shows a balcony there as well.

 

7 Sears Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Right Back

Are you still there? We’re almost all the way around now! You know, this is a HUGE house. I think I would prefer an open balcony over an enclosed balcony! Oklahoma sunsets are beautiful! This balcony faces the western skies.

 

8 Sears 303 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Right Side

The right side elevation. The queen anne leaded glass attic window is broken. I hope that is on the soon to be repaired list before rainy season gets here. Otherwise, there will a lot of water damage! Per the Sears 303 floor plan there should be a window on the first floor between those two chamfered corners. This faces west, maybe they didn’t want the western sun beating in during the summer? Or, maybe they just didn’t want a window there!

 

9 Sears 303 Sears 303 Idabel Oklahoma Right Angle

Now we are back to  the front. What do you think? It’s a great match to the Sears 303. Did Jewell Hicks purchase the materials and free plans from Sears in 1911? OR…..did Jewell Hicks maybe design the home that Sears would use and name model 303? Many of the early Sears modern homes models were actually early plan book designs!

 

SMH_303_Description

Let’s take a close look at the description and see what else matches to the Barnes-Stevenson House in Idabel Oklahoma!

 

Sears 303 Front Porch

The description calls for Queen Anne windows, leaded glass, on the first floor and attic windows. This house has those!

 

Sears Millwork

The Sears 303 description calls for the Superba front door, same as the West Chazy NY Sears 306. And guess what?

 

Sears 303 Superba Front Zoom

That’s right! The front door on the Barnes-Stevenson House is an exact match to the Sears Superba, the specified front door for the Sears 303! Those side lights are also found in the millwork and materials catalog.

 

Sears 303 Superba front Side door

Not only the front door but the side door off of the living room to the enormous porch is a Superba design door!

 

 

Sears 303 Upper Balcony

A great second story balcony for catching the Oklahoma sunrise!

 

Sears 303 Left Tower 2

The second floor balcony wraps all the way around the left tower.  If I lived here this is where I would have my morning coffee.  Notice the queen anne windows in the tower? The Sears 303 has those as well!

 

Sears 303 Left Tower

What a beautiful home! What a view that must have been in 1911.  It’s a shame the turret roof wasn’t restored to it’s original steep angle.

 

Marker

Now that you have seen the “evidence” what do you think? Yay or nay? Is the Barnes-Stevenson House a Sears 303 or did Jewell Hicks design the pattern/plan that Sears would “borrow” for the model 303? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

 

Sears 303 Barnes Stevenson House w marker

The Barnes-Stevenson House was place on the National Register of Historic Places, NR 78003083, in 1978. It is now the home of McCurtain County Historical Society.

 

 

Sears 303 Barnes House in 1912

UPDATE! NEW PHOTO! The president of the McCurtain County Historical Society shared this photo and information with me. This is the TJ Barnes home in 1912. I was told a tornado came through Idabel in 1917 and the two towers sustained damage resulting in the loss of the “witches cap” to the left turret and the the railing on the top of the right tower. This photo shows the ionic columns on the wrap around porch, the ionic caps to the columns are no longer there. This 1912 photo is a very good match to the Sears 303 catalog image!

 

Do you have a Sears 303 to report? If so please contact me at searshomes@yahoo.com. I have another possibility and have had for a few years. I’ll share it sometime.

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!

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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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4 Responses to Sears 303, Yay or Nay?

  1. Dale Wolicki says:

    I’m going vote Yay. The similarities outnumber the differences between the Barnes-Stevenson House and the Sears 303, and most of the differences can be explained by the fact the Barnes-Stevenson House is of traditional wood frame construction.
    As to the architect being Jewell Hicks I think it best someone provide documentation like a newspaper article or blueprints before we rule out the fact the Barnes-Stevenson house might have been built with ordinary mail-order catalog blueprints. I think somewhere someone associated Hicks with the house just by fact he was a well known Oklahoma architect at the beginning of the twentieth century.
    I cannot count how many historic home tours I have been on where the house was designed by George W Barber or Frank Lloyd Wright despite the fact there was no documentation and the house didn’t look like anything like a Barber or Wright design.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I say Yay…and I say send or email a copy of this blog to the Historical Society, in a last attempt to catch their attention, and maybe even gain access. Just maybe. And now I’m going to click on the link to Stevenson to make you feel good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The president of the historical society read my blog when it was posted on Indian Territory and Early Oklahoma – People and Places on facebook. He shared several family photos and extended an invitation to see the inside.

      Harold Stevenson was, is, quite the artist. He’s worth the time to check out a little more! He’s a blog alone 🙂

      Like

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