Recently I ran across this example of a Sears “Maytown” on Zillow. Currently on the market at 410 D Street in Central City, Nebraska, the house is easily recognized by its signature corner turret. First marketed as Sears Modern Home No. 167, the design was immensely popular in rural areas. The popular Sears kit house was sold at roughly the same time that the Harris Brothers were marketing a nearly identical kit which they called the J-6. Which came first? I’m honestly not sure, but someone probably knows. Kit house manufacturers of the period were notorious for ripping off each other’s work.
Update: Lara of Sears Homes of Chicagoland has let us know in a comment below that the Harris Brothers were the first with the design… Sears copied them soon after. Now, let’s explore a Maytown!
I’ve reversed this image from a period catalog illustration so that it looks like the house we are about to tour (which was built in reverse from the marketed plan). Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/SearsHome167.jpg
I reversed the floor plans, too, for the same reason. Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/SearsHome167.jpg
This is the house in Central City. Both the tower roof and the main roof appear less steep than the one in the illustration. The column capitals have also disappeared. Surviving originals can be seen on another Maytown featured on Sears Homes of Chicagoland. Photo source: zillow.com
A rare glimpse of the back. The small projecting room is a bathroom/laundry room addition. Photo source: zillow.com
The original stair is intact. The top of the newel was drilled to hold the now-missing finial (seen below in a 1912 Sears catalog). Photo source: zillow.com
The newel is the fourth from the left. It’s also the fourth from the right! Image courtesy archive.org.
This appears to be an original Sears window. Photo source: zillow.com
The living room as seen from the dining room. The archway in the foreground is a later alteration; this was originally a wide cased opening. Photo source: zillow.com
The dining room. A portion of the wall separating it from the kitchen has been removed. Photo source: zillow.com
The floor plan shows a chimney and a pantry; neither are visible here. The plan also shows a doorway connecting to the entry hall where the sink is now located. Photo source: zillow.com
Another missing finial. Photo source: zillow.com
The positions of bathroom fixtures appear to have been changed from the original plan. Photo source: zillow.com
Master bedroom turret. Photo source: zillow.com
A bedroom and closet. Photo source: zillow.com
Still enchanting after more than a century! Photo source: zillow.com