When shopping for their dream home, the original owners of the brown and white Arts and Crafts bungalow in Greenville's Park Avenue area might have seen the words, “Some assembly required.”
That's because the 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom home wasn't sold by a real- estate agent, but by Sears. It was built in the early 1920s, when such “kit” homes were popular.
Susan Harrison bought the home on Vannoy Street in 1979 and lived there until her death in 2003.
“The kit homes were popular in the first roughly 40 years of the last century,” Harrison said in an 2002 interview with The Greenville News. “The Depression era, mostly. Several companies made kit houses; Sears is just the most famous.”
The house came complete, right down to the plaster for the walls and the deep red bricks for the two fireplaces, the only sources of heat. A kit-home owner would hire a local contractor to build a foundation and then assemble all the parts, which came stamped with numbers for easy identification and were shipped in by railroad.
Between 1908 and 1940, about 75,000 houses were ordered through Sears Roebuck and Co. catalogs.
Each Sears home kit contained 30,000 pieces, including 750 pounds of nails, 27 gallons of paint and a 75-page instruction book.
Prices for the kit homes ranged from $600 to $6,000.
Rosemary Thornton, “The Houses That Sears Built”
John C. Stevenson