The nonprofit Riverside-Avondale Preservation is spotlighting a established of remarkable buildings in Jacksonville: three build-it-by yourself houses you could order from the Sears Catalog – also recognised as the “Big Book” –  in the early component of the 20th century. 

The residences are positioned in Ortega, Murray Hill, and Fairfax Manor neighborhoods, and Jacksonville Historical Modern society historian-at-massive Wayne Wood reported Wednesday they represent an important element of American background. 

“Most of these houses are not hugely architecturally significant, while quite a few of them are attractive in their development,” Wood mentioned. “But they are a remarkable piece of Americana, in the reality that people could build their have residences, out of a package that they requested out of a catalog, in the early section of the 20th century.”

Beginning in 1908 and into the 1940s, you could flip through the internet pages of a Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog and decide on out your home from a collection of products, most costing involving $400 and $5,000. The house would arrive on the railroad in a sequence of shipments, commencing with the foundation and extending all the way up to the roof. Every thing would be involved, Wooden mentioned, from the toilet to the doorknobs. 

Linked: Illustrations Of Sears Homes 1908-1914

Around 70,000 kit houses sold in overall in the U.S. about 10,000 are considered to exist now. 

“Some of these properties were modest, small bungalows, but some of them have been quite substantial and remarkable,” Wood reported. “There was one particular, the Magnolia. It was palatial. It was two tales, with fluted columns, costing $5,972 in 1921.” 

Accounting for inflation, that arrives out to $87,749.  

The early several years of the mail-purchase home coincided in Jacksonville with the good fireplace of 1901, when many people lost their residences Downtown and sought new residences in the suburbs. They contributed to the character of neighborhoods like Riverside and Avondale, which are famous for their architectural range. The kit homes had been also extra inexpensive than contracting with an architect or a builder, and were notably popular with soldiers returning from Planet War I.

In 1925, the Percy Butcher loved ones procured the “Crescent” design for $1,761, in accordance to The Florida Times-Union. That is about $26,466 in today’s pounds. 

The advertisement for the Crescent model was titled “Five Rooms – Neat Porch” and study, “At the prices quoted we will furnish all the mill do the job, kitchen cup-board, flooring, shingles, siding, finishing lumber, creating paper, eaves trough, down spout, roofing, sash weights, hardware, porch, screens, portray product, lumber and lath to make this 5-space property.” 

The Butcher household lived in the household for 50 several years, Wooden claimed. The setting up continue to stands, nevertheless it was relocated from its first area in 2003 to make way for a gasoline station growth. 

Wood claimed it’s abnormal to see Sears kit residences this significantly south, for the reason that the lumber generally arrived from the Northeast and the Midwest. But there may be far more kit residences in Jacksonville that we don’t yet know about. 

Wood explained, a single way to examine if your dwelling arrived down south on the railroad is to seem in the attic. You could locate lumber stamped with Honor Bilt, which was the Sears brand, or logos from Montgomery Ward or Aladdin, which ended up other package-house providers. 

Contact Sydney Boles at [email protected], or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.