Saturday, August 5, 2023

Sears Craftsman Homes

Time check - it's 100 years ago, 1923. The biggest community in the area, Leesburg (pop: 2500), next Wildwood (pop: 800). Other communities like Lady Lake, Fruitland Park, Oxford and Weirsdale were smaller but all had railroad depots and a post office.

People also had Sears catalogues to order stuff shipped by post or rail. Probably not as quick as Amazon but interestingly, in addition to run of the mill household items, you could also buy your house from Sears (pow! - take that Amazon) in kit form and it would arrive on a railroad flat car complete with assembly instructions (shades of Ikea).

Craftsman Homes in Coleman and Wildwood
The Sears Craftsman Ready-Cut House package, first offered about 1912, included plans, specifications, and detailed assembly instructions, along with pre-cut and factory-fitted lumber which was stamped with the Sears name and numbered on the ends to correspond to the floor plans. One order included everything - nails and screws, paint and roof shingles, windows and doors, woodwork, staircases, mantelpieces and even the kitchen sink. Sears also provided finance making it easy for over 75000 American families to buy a home.

A popular small home you could buy for less than $1,000 was "The Crafton" Like The Villages they gave their many designs different names.
As you ride your bike around the older areas of our local communities it is easy to recognize Sears Craftsman homes if they haven't been overly modified. The architecture is typified by a front porch with a roof supported by heavy wooden tapered columns on brick piers.

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