Real Estate Books, Sears Modern Homes, A Picture History of New Bedford, Sears Home Builder's Catalog

Researching Old Homes & Sears Kit Homes

For the ‚̧ of old homes

If you’ve stumbled across this page, your likely trying to find new ways to research your old home.
We have something in common. For those of you who don’t know by now, I’m a research nerd.

Like you, I love reading about and researching old homes, especially the really old ones. Who lived there in the past?¬† Do we really give a hoot that they were not “famous”? Don’t get me wrong now, it’s great to find a historic home owned by someone important or famous too, but it’s fascinating to stumble across an untapped data containing a homeowner’s history and their journey.¬†

Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt. Current technology allows us to dig deep into archives available online at our fingertips now. Making it so easy to uncover a great deal of information on the past. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together to uncover their story.

For the most part, famous people already have their full story out there… and the majority of the research has pretty much been done. This is why stumbling across someone new and unknown, is like stumbling across an old book, that you haven’t read yet.

The great mystery – who were they?

They have stories too. The people that no one has heard of, and no one is talking about. The quiet folk who went about their days, just trying to make an honest living and feed their families. What did they do for a living? How long did they live there? Where did they move to and Why?

The milkman. The housewife, who tutored local students and volunteered for local causes.¬† Those folks matter too, and it’s fun to learn about and share their stories too.¬†

Cow at 82 Brownell Avenue New Bedford

What must it have been like for the Milkman living in New Bedford during the late 1800s and what were the names of his horses?

Here at SRG, we love to compile that data. We scour the internet looking at online public records, old newspapers, census records, etc. and try to somewhat create what their story may have been. 

Most recently, we’ve been intrigued with which homes might be a Sears Kit Home. Or, maybe even a Gordon Van Tine? The list goes on… ¬†Aladdin, Lewis Homes, Harris Brothers, Sterling Homes, or Montgomery Ward?.¬†
Who knows, we may be researching YOUR home right now!

And, of course, the age-old question we get from buyers:

“Did someone die inside this house?”

(You may not want to hear this, but if it’s an old house? More than likely!). Back in the day, many people that were ill or old died at home in their own bed. We usually try to figure that out too.¬†

old historic house windows new bedford

Ready to do some research?

Check out our blog posts for some ideas on how to start the research on your old house:

how to research the history of a house

Sears Kit Homes

Sears kit homes (along with other catalog homes) deserve a page of their own. (we’re working on it.) These homes are quite charming. Between 1908-1940 you could order a home right out of a catalog.¬†

There are Facebook pages devoted to sharing information about Sears Kit homes and helping in identifying them. SRG has several sears catalogs that we flip through trying to match up homes. A lot can go into properly identifying one, as there were many copy-cats built based on the sears plans.

You can check out eBay or Amazon to purchase a re-print of many different catalogs, and there also some great websites that display the pages of those catalogs as well. Here are some of our favorites:

Sears Kit Resources

Sears Archives

Honor Bilt – Sears, Roebuck & Co – Library of Congress


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