The verdict is in: Sears is closing its stores and declaring bankruptcy. But Sears homes — and more importantly the legacy of kit homes made famous by Sears will live on.
Sears wasn’t the only firm that offered kit homes, but the term Sears home for kit homes has become widespread.
Do you own or know of Sears homes in Columbia? I’d love to hear about any kit homes so I can start a list of them in our town.
Kit homes bucked racism
The Sears homes were also called radical according to this Forbes article published Oct. 23, 2018 article. Sears homes bucked the racist procedures at the time that attempted to prevent African Americans from buying homes. The application to buy a Sears home didn’t ask what race the buyer was. The ownership of the land itself was considered proof of a person’s solvency.
See this from the Forbes article: “The terms were easy, requiring a down payment of 25% of the cost of the house and lot, as little as 6% interest for 5 years, or a higher rate for up to 15 years. More radically, the application form asked no questions about race, ethnicity, gender or even finances. This made home ownership possible for thousands of buyers who were not welcome at their local banks.”
Want more information?
You can see more Sears homes in this Washington Post article which shows the catalog photo and the actual house in Elgin, Illinois.
Here’s more in-depth information from this Jan. 29, 2013 article on This Old House online.
I’m betting Columbia has plenty of Sears homes and other kit homes. Do you live in a kit home or even a Sears home? Do you know of any kit homes in Columbia? Let me know. I’d love to catalog and track Columbia’s kit homes!