Sears, Roebuck (Kit) Houses Near the W&OD Trail in No. Virginia

 More On Old Houses
  Arlington Houses
  Falls Church Houses
  Fairfax Co. Houses
  Loudoun Houses
  An Old House Gets A New Lease On Life
  Open To The Public For Tours
  Annual House Tours
  Amid The Sprawl
  In The Civil War
  Civil War Sites Along Trail
  The Railroad Remembered
  What's New?
  In-Line Skating
  Old Towns On It
  Nature Centers and Museums
  Masonry Culverts and Trestles
  Railroad Photos
  Old Houses
  African- American Sites
  Bike Commuting
  List of Photos Of It In Libraries
  Water Fountains
  Train Stations
  Railroad Suburbs
  Barns: Rural Legacy
 Self-Guided Tours of Towns On Trail
  Falls Church
  Dunn Loring
  Round Hill
 Old Towns
  Falls Church
  Dunn Loring
  Round Hill
Please respect the rights of property owners: do not trespass.

East to West: (mile markers noted)

Arlington County

Mile 1.7 Sears house - the Crescent model 1926 - on S. 8th St.
Sears Crescent Model such as the one in Barcroft.  
between Taylor and Wakefield in Barcroft. Because Sears preferred to ship the components of these houses by railroad, it is likely that, for this house, Sears shipped them via the W&OD to Barcroft Station.

Mile 5.4 Sears kit house, Windsor Model. Underwood St.,
Sears house; Windsor model.  
one block off trail from overlook of East Falls Church Metro. The owner of the house writes, "[It] was built in 1928. The model is the Windsor, which is similar to the Carlin model (or knock-off) pictured further down the page. The upstairs balcony was subsequently enclosed by a previous owner and an addition was added to the back. Othewise, its pretty much the same, and still has many of the original Sears interior items such as a claw foot tub."

"Arlington County boasts a significant collection of the Sears Roebuck & Co. kit houses that were sold from 1908 to 1940. Another topic is the phenomenon of rapidly growing communities in which these houses were built, replacing many of the county’s orchards and farmlands."

--Kathryn Holt Springston, local historian, and mother of the identification of Sears homes in this area. She frequently conducts tours of approximately eighty Sears homes, representing some fifty different models, for The Smithsonian Resident Associates program, which charges fees.

City of Falls Church

Mile 6.5 Fulton Avenue. Imitation or knock-off Carlin or Westly
This house was probably built following the plans of the catalog models, either "Carlin" or "Westly." In Falls Church, Fulton Ave., two blocks off trail.  
model. When this house was re-modelled, neither the owner nor the contractor could not find any proof that it was a Sears house, although it follows the plans of Sears' Carlin model. Probably the original builder kept the blueprints, from Sears, and used them to build this house.Fulton Ave. does not interesect with the trail, but at N. Oak Street's crossing, go south and turn left on Fulton. Two blocks.

Fairfax County

Mile 7.5 Buckelew Dr. (descend twenty feet from Shreve Rd crossing,
house just west of western border of Falls Church City. Copy of Sears Verona Model.  
Twenty-four hundred block of Buckelew Drive, near its intersection with Shreve Road and the trail) copy of Verona model, 1921. All of the interior measurements of this house match those shown in the Sears catalog. Some of the uses of the interior spaces have changed when the house was renovated. But even during this house's 2001-2003 renovation, no evidence was found that Sears manufactured the components of this house. Until 2002, this house had the side porch, which is shown in the catalog. One other anomaly is the middle upper window, which is narrower than that shown in the catalog. More on this house. This house occupies a commanding position on a large, wooded lot, most of which is between the house and the bike trail. One-half block off trail

Mile 7.9 Idylwood (just west of the bridge over I-66,
Virginia Lane house; Sears Crescent Model.  
Seventy-seven hundred block of Virginia Lane, immediately past the entrance to a park) Crescent model, c. 1921 - 1933. The location of the chimney is different from that of the model in the catalog, but this is probably explained by an L-shaped addition in the back of the house. Otherwise this appears to be a prime example of a Sears house.One-half block off trail

Mile 8.8 Dunn Loring -- possible Sears house, 1914, awaits confirmation.
It looks like a Sears house.  
The lumber for this house arrived on the railroad in Dunn Loring. The features of this house suggest that it may have been made by Sears. It might be the un-imaginately-named Model House No. 202.

Mile 8.8 Dunn Loring -- Crescent Model, 1924
Crescent model  
Original 1924 Crescent Model, 2400 block Sandburg Street, 1/4 block off trail. Sears Bungalow with restored oak & pine flooring on both levels, cypress siding and cedar shingles. 4 BR, 2.5 BA plus main level library, upper level open loft & separate office. The addition, completed in 1993 is oriented for north/south exposure with generous windows allowing light to flood into all rooms. Gourmet kitchen offers ample space for several chefs with gas & electric cooking, island breakfast bar, 2 sinks and customized lighting. Unique master suite with cathedral ceilings, skylights with power shades, Romeo & Juliet balconies, glass block enclosures for the shower & WC, walls of Mackintosh inspired built-ins. Upgraded lighting choices for function & mood in all rooms. Two story foyer with overlook. Crescents could be one-story or two-stories.

Mile 8.8 off Sandburg Street -- 8011 Woodcroft Ct. Vallonia model, 1928.
Photo courtesy Marc Lenzen  
The owner writes, "I too own a Sears kit home in Dunn Loring just around the corner from the one listed on your website and approximately 300 yrds off the trail. My home is a 1928 Vallonia model that is loacated at 8011 Woodcroft Court right in front of the Illif Rehabilitation Center. The house just across the from mine is a also a Sears kit home, but I'm not sure of the model. Both homes were once owned by the Illif Rehabilitation Center. My house was once used an annex for patients and the one across the street was used to house Illif Rehabilitation Center administrative staff. Both houses were sold during a period of financial difficulties for the Rehabilitation Center and once again turned residential." Three blocks off trail.

Town of Herndon, Fairfax County

Mile 20.2 600 block Spring Street. House is a possible Sears house, c. 1920-1930, called the Robinson House. On Sunday, Feb. 26th, the president of the Herndon Historical Society and the Mayor of Herndon presented a plaque to the owners of this house. Many of the details of this house suggest that it may have been a Sears house (or that it may have been built using blueprints from Sears.) Although the design does not match any of the "modern home" plans that were sold in the 1920's, there are many details such as the breakfast nook and kitchen, including a table and benches, which suggest this is a Sears house. Please check back for photo.

Mile 20.2 at Station Street, Edna Bicksler house -- 600 block, Spring Street. Lewiston model, circa 1927.
Four Square American house.  
Edna's father bought the components of this "Four Square American" house from Sears and Roebuck. He had them shipped on the railroad, where he worked as a clerk. at Station Street, curve and descend across Elden, becomes Spring St. 644. Three blocks off trail.

Mile 20.2 at Station Street -- 1000 block, Grant Street. Maytown model. About five blocks off the trail.
Maytown model. Photo by Don Brumbaugh.  
at Monroe, turn North, crossing Elden; becomes Park. Two blocks on Park to Grant. Five blocks off trail.

Mile 20.2 Dawson Kite House, a Craftsman Bungalow, c. 1911-1914. 953 Locust Street. This is a Craftsman Bungalow built by local carpenter/owner William Henry Dawson. Having just two owners, both in the same family, the house has changed little in more than ninety years. Check back for photograph.

Town of Hamilton, Loudoun County

Mile 41 Hamilton Station Road crossing. Model No. 119. 1912. Western-most confirmed Sears house on this trail.
No. 119  
In 1999, a volunteer fire department purchased the farm. They moved this house in 2001 at considerable expense instead of tearing it down, because some considered it to be historic. Afterward, an investment company renovated the interior, which is now reportedly "gorgeous," for use as offices. Check back for photograph. At Hamilton Station Road (Mile 40.5) turn south, go seven blocks, turn left one-half block on Va. Business Route 7; house on left.

Town of Purcellville, Loudoun County

Mile 43.5 300 block S. Maple Ave. at Maple Ave. crossing, Purcellville 1922 possible Castleton model. About seven blocks off trail.
Castleton model. Photo by D. Huffmann  

End of trail 200 block N. 31st St. four blocks west along main highway, which in turn is one block south of end-of-the-trail, Purcellville The owner writes, "Our house was built in 1927 by a local Master carpenter, who used the Sears 'Lebanon' floor plan (attached), but made the rooms larger than the Sears houses were. He built six such houses on our street, but only three remain as built, the others have since been expanded/remodeled. Of course, these houses are built like a tank with lots of very old materials used in their construction, from older structures." Read more about the rennovation of his house in his own words.
Lebanon model. Photo by R. Paine  

Related Sites's excellent website featuring full plans from the catalog. Does not cover the last years.
a new book by Rosemary Thornton on Sears houses.
Sears houses in Chevy Chase, an article in The Washington Post
Excerpts from Sears catalogs with many pictures.
A local Sears house faces demolition in the Palisades section of Washington, DC.
A walking tour of Herndon.
A walking tour of Barcroft.
Los Angeles Times article on Sears Catalog Houses
as part of the Arts and Crafts Movement
Old House Web with more information on the Carlin, pictured above.
Sears kit house pages by Bob Jensen.
An article on kit houses in the Hartford Courant
The National Trust looks at kit houses, including Sears kit houses.

This page last updated Dec 22, 2008 by webmaster.

Back to the top

A Sears House Which Eluded Me

by Don Brumbaugh

In 1987 I moved from the Orlando area to the Pittsburgh area. I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and found the opportunity to go back home exciting. In the middle of our house search our real estate agent took us to a fresh listing in Shaler Township in the North Hills area. The house was on the top of a hill on a corner lot. It had a big tree in the front yard and nice front porch and a big detached barn garage in the back. The inside was nicely maintained and updated and someone had added dormers to what was originally a one story house.

Our agent pointed out that this was a Sears House. Until that moment I had never known anything about Sears houses. As it was explained, Sears houses were houses offered by the Sears and Roebuck Company out of a catalog. The houses were delivered with precut lumber and plans so that the buyer could do the assembly with a minimum of planning. The houses were offered in the early 20th century and were made popular among those returning form World War One. This was in a time when the skills required for such a building effort were much more common. There are over 70 models of Sears houses that have architectural style that reminds many baby boomers like me of Grandmothers house, or that quaint neighborhood home from our youth.

Railroad cars often were used for shipment of the housing materials for a Sears House. So living near a railroad made the purchase even more attractive.

By the way I did make a bid for the house in Shaler, but as fate would have it the owners were not able to close as quickly as we needed for our move. The good news was that I ended up moving to Cranberry where a neighbor and I became good friends while becoming avid bicyclers.

Don's Photo Essay of These Houses (East to West)

Crescent, Barcroft (Arlington) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

East Falls Church (Arlington)Windsor model, Underwood St., Arlington, Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Carlin or Westly models, Locust St., City of Falls Church Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Verona model, Buckelew Drive, Poplar Heights (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Crescent model, Virginia Lane, Idylwood (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Crescent model, Sandburg Street, Dunn Loring (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Unknown Model, Robinson House, 1923, 640 Spring Street, Herndon (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Craftsman Bungalow, 1911, Dawson Kite House, 953 Locust St., Herndon (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Herndon (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

Maytown, Grant Ave., Herndon (Fairfax) Photo by Don Brumbaugh

This page hosted by
Get your own Free Home Page
Hosting by WebRing.