My name is Rachel Shoemaker and I am a native Tulsan. I love Tulsa Oklahoma and I think that it is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Downtown Tulsa is an architectural smorgasbord. I love that the most.
In the summer of 2008 I was working on a research project that I had been assigned as a firefighter on light duty while recovering from rotator cuff surgery. That research landed me on a website about Sears kit homes. I set out to see one and soon discovered that there were not any documented or known in this area. I decided that I would find one or two or however many I could. Long story short I was soon reading the books of Rosemary Thornton and memorizing houses. It has been five and a half years and several houses later and this blog is where you can see my discoveries.
I’m not a writer, I am a researcher and I know these houses very well. I own a large collection of original catalogs that I reference. I have catalogs from Sears, Gordon-Van Tine, Aladdin, Montgomery Ward, Sterling, Lewis-Liberty, and others. I research for accuracy and I will always post a catalog image with a kit home. All photographs are taken by me unless otherwise noted. Please do not use any photographs without my written permission. Please do not use any unmarked catalog images without my permission and when doing so credit must be given.
Welcome to my blog about a part of Tulsa history that has not been discovered or at least documented until now. I say it like that because folks will tell me that they know we have Sears or kit homes but they can not tell me where to find one. I hope you learn a lot and enjoy seeing my community in a whole new way, look past the mansions of the oil tycoons and the Art Deco that has made us so popular and enjoy a little Tulsa history as well as Oklahoma history!
I have a network of kit home enthusiasts like myself that I concur with and seek advice from and share information with, they will be appropriately credited because without them I would not be able to identify these houses like I do. I give most of the credit to Rosemary Thornton, she has guided me ever so gently the first three-four years and I have learned so much from her.
My advice, if you want to learn how to identify these houses then start with Rosemary’s books. Read them thoroughly! Read them again and then invest in the book Houses By Mail. Drive the streets and look for those architectural details that are common to each company and particular models. I will post what caught my attention when I see a house I suspect is from a catalog to help you learn. Not every foursquare is a kit home, a craftsman home is more than likely not even from Sears. Craftsman is a style. JC Penney never offered kit homes, LOL. Sears is a household name as is Montgomery Ward but Aladdin sold more kit homes than any other company. Kit homes hit peak sales in the 1920’s so that 1900 victorian you are wondering about is not a mail order house. Any pre-statehood home in Oklahoma is NOT a Sears home. Read my posts and I will try to teach you a little a long the way.
If you have a kit home to report or need help identifying one email 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.