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Friday, July 2, 2010

Is My Home a 'Kit' House?

“I believe my home on Broad Street is a ‘kit’ house. I don’t think it is an Aladdin, Craftsman, or Montgomery Ward home. Do you have any information about kit homes built in Newton Falls in the 1920s?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff had also heard that some homes in town were this type.

The books Houses by Mail: a guide to houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company by Katherine Cole Stevenson, H. Ward Jandl and Small Houses of the Twenties: the Sears, Roebuck 1926 house catalog are interesting and may be borrowed through our shared TiPL (Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog, but unfortunately do not list where all the homes were built.

A general online search resulted in listings of some of the numerous companies that manufactured kit homes. The names the library staff found are: Aladdin, Bennett, Brick, E.W. Stillwell, Fenner, Garlinghouse, Gordon-Van Tine, Harris, Henry Wilson, Hodgson, J. W. Lindstrom, Jud Yoho, Lewis/Liberty, Lustron, Montgomery Ward, National, Pacific, Radford, Sears Roebuck, Standard, Sterling, Wardway, and Ye Planry.

Sears Catalog Homes -- Hudson Valley NY How to Identify a Sears Kit House [] has valuable information of what details to look for to determine if it is a Sears Roebuck home. There is also a list of some of the other prominent kit home manufacturers. The Arts and Crafts Society [] has a great deal of information as well, including a forum involving people seeking to identify kit homes and an article Do You Have a Sears Kit Home? Tips for Identifying Sears Catalog Houses. Antique Home [] is also a useful resource featuring some homes which are quite large with beamed ceilings, wainscoting, and built in china cabinets. Examining some of the plans on this website, it appears that the foursquare style is similar to many of the older homes in Newton Falls.

In our Local History Room, where there is an interesting display of home building tools formerly belonging to early 20th century local contractor Mr. Nicholas Risko, we spoke with our volunteer who contacted the Risko family. None of the Newton Falls homes he built were kits. At present we only have information about two kit homes in town, neither of which is on Broad Street and both were manufactured by Montgomery Ward. Anyone having information about kit homes in our community, please contact Carol Baker at the library or by email We would love to assist our patron as well as preserve the history of these homes in Newton Falls.

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