Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, March 31, 2019


Claramount, Picton
This splendid Colonial Revival home in Picton was built (or caused to be built) by lawyer Edward Young around 1906. The architect was William Newlands, whose name appears often in Kingston architectural history. The home was named for Young's wife, Clara.

But not all houses of this grand style had such grand origins.
I have been browsing the Wikipedia entry on  Sears Catalog Homes recently, and came across their pattern for the Sears Magnolia Kit Home (sold 1918-1922.)

Funny, despite my enduring interest in the mail-order home story, and a fruitful correspondence with a researcher out west, I haven't written much about them here. Now I don't have to; should you be the least bit interested (or even not at all) a browse through their site will make you a fan. Fascinating to see the pattern and materials list for Sears' Magnolia design. An extant home in Benson North Carolina, bears a striking resemblance to lawyer Young's home, but for the substitution of a rectangular monumental portico for the curved version in Picton.
Benson, N.C. (photo from Wikipedia -(but I made my donation, Jimmy, honest)

There are loads of images on the site, and this particularly annoying local TV interview, with redemptive early photos at about  the 1:30 mark. Perhaps the fact that it's been a funeral home since 1940 accounts for its being in such good nick.

The interviewee drawled on about the irony of this vestige of the now defunct Sears company living on - as a funeral home.

And if you're the kind of person who loves looking at photos of historic interiors (and if you're reading this, I'm just guessing...) here's a link to a real estate listing in South Bend, which one of them, I'm not sure (hope it doesn't go stale too soon) featuring an as-built Sears 'Magnolia.'

Love the dining nook. I remember a high school lunch with friend Laureen, in her Picton apartment, above the family's auto dealership on Main Street - the height of urban sophistication to my farm-girl eyes. We sat in just such a nook.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! Thank you.
    Wonder if the kits are still available....😉