Sears kit house in McCandless for sale

Gladys T. Black

A home in McCandless that was ordered from a Sears catalog in 1922 is now on the market.

The house at 8828 Memorial Drive was one of the many home kits sold in the United States through the mail-order Sears Modern Homes Line. Potential homeowners could select and purchase a design straight out of the once well-known Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogs, and then all of its parts shipped and delivered to its future owners.

Alicia Dallago, 79, has been the owner of the home for more than 20 years, but now she’s moving to be closer to her son in Irwin. She’s taken great care to preserve the home close to its unique, original design, so selling it is going to be bittersweet.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. I’m in love with that home. It was meant to be that I lived there,” she said.

The three-bedroom, one full-bathroom house sits on a half-acre lot and has most of the original features and fixtures, thanks to the efforts of Dallago, who wanted to preserve its unique history.

The Sears Modern Home program designs featured a variety of homes, some grander than others, to order and have shipped, with all the necessary building materials to a desired location. Homeowners could select a home based on their wants, needs and pricing preferences. Between 1908 to 1940, Sears sold 70,000 to 75,000, according to a Sears Archives website.

Dallago, who came from Argentina in the 1970s, moved in without knowing of its unique beginnings, but soon fell in love with its historical and durable features.

The former professional photographer committed to keeping the home close to its original state, including keeping the radiators, pocket doors, glass door handles, and hardwood floors and trim. The mantle and fireplace in the living room are also original, now converted to gas, and an old boiler still sits in the basement, though it does not work, she said.

The windows feature the “old” wavy glass look, and Dallago is amazed at how great of shape they are in for being 100 years old. Storm windows were also installed. And the porch’s lighting fixtures and columns are original, she said.

In order to reflect the originality of the home, she filled it with antiques and other furniture complementary to the era it was built.

The home was brought up to date with its electric, heating and plumbing, she said. And she is especially proud of the waterfall pond she built in the back, which provides a peaceful, quiet place to relax. The house also features a front and back porch, kitchen and dining area, among other amenities.

The Sears Modern Homes boasted a more efficient and low-cost build. The company mass-produced the materials used in Sears homes, which lessened manufacturing costs, and, in turn, purchase costs for customers, according to searsarchives.com. And its “balloon-style framing” did not require a team of skilled carpenters, but could be generally built by one. It came pre-cut and fitted, including the nails. All of this cut down on construction time.

The order would be shipped to the future home’s site with instructions.

The home is one of The Osborn models, priced for $2,792, already “cut and fitted,” for construction, according to an advertisement in a 1922 Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog. Dallago said the quality of the construction is very impressive still to this day.

Dallago, who once owned a photography studio in the area, now enjoys professionally restoring photographs for customers.

Though she will be sad to leave her beloved home, she knows a buyer will have a unique home to enjoy.

“I hope that the next person will appreciate the history of the house,” she said.

For more information, contact listing agent Michelle Bushee of Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty at 412-585-2451.

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