Would you like to buy a house, 4 Bedroom, 1 bath, anywhere you’d like for $2,495? Well then hop in a time machine to the 1920s when Sears & Roebuck offered to sell you an entire house and ship it to you in a sealed train car to assemble on your own with limited tools, time and expertise. Maybe houses will be the next offering from Amazon, after recently adding fresh(ish) cut Christmas trees to their distribution centers. Maybe you’re living in a catalog home and you don’t even know it?
146 N. Prospect Street - Google Maps 1925 Sears Modern Homes Catalog - searshousesinohio.wordpress.com
An example of a Sears Fullerton model - 146 N Prospect Street.
Mail order homes represent an American spirit of fierce independence and confident optimism to have enough foolishness to believe that you could assemble a home that could stand for a century as if it were a LEGO set. Many have admired the idea of these homes for a long time and have often wondered if some of their neighbors lived in such houses. Thankfully, Burlington has published, “A Guide to the Catalog Houses of Burlington, Vermont.” Written in 2009 by a UVM graduate student as part of the Community Preservation Project, the Guide documents various homes in Burlington and their corresponding model types.
For the adventurous, I’ve added a pin for each of the 30 houses identified in the Guide to a Google Map, creating a virtual scavenger hunt around Burlington! Enjoy!
Alec Murphy, Lipkin Team
Hummer, Lauren. “A Guide to the Catalog Houses of Burlington, Vermont.” City of Burlington, Vermont, 2009, www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/pz/historic/informational/Guide%20to%20Catalog%20Homes%20in%20Burlington.pdf.
Rosenberg, Joe. “The House That Came in the Mail.” 99% Invisible, 99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-house-that-came-in-the-mail/.
“Six Sears Houses.” New England Historical Society, 30 June 2018, www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/six-sears-houses/.