Saturday, September 29, 2012

Architectural Personality, From the Sears Catalog, in Abundance in Somerville, NJ – With a Tangent to Atlantic City

I’m reading about some lovely Sears Modern homes from the early 20th century in Somerville, New Jersey*, in response to a research request from a patron at Clarence Dillon Public Library. The Milton Modern Home No. C210 (built ca. 1916-1919) is quite a charmer with its nine rooms, built for $1,619. Read about the Miltons in New York City and in New Jersey and Ohio, and in particular, the one at 493 East Main St., Somerville.

These Sears homes certainly have much more personality than some of the bi-level houses that Seth J. Bookey and I looked at before buying our lovely little home in northern Middlesex County. (Friends: Ask for our address.)

The fact that the homes were built in Somerville and there were seven Sears Modern Sales Centers in New Jersey certainly explains the relative abundance of the homes in Somerset County’s seat. I lived in Somerville for 11 years in a garden apartment from the 1940s that had some charm such as nice hardwood floors and high ceilings. However, I never noticed the much more architecturally significant Sears homes. Now it’s worth a drive through town again.

And … amid much questionable or slapdash architecture in my birthplace of Atlantic City, N.J.**, are or were four Sears Marina homes. (There are some other lovely homes in the World's Famous / Favorite Playground, too, in the southern part of the city [the Chelsea/Chelsea Heights areas, for example] and in some Inlet area housing from the 1990s/early 2000s.)

That should be an incentive for Seth and me to visit my family!

* The patron actually is looking for a Sears Modern home, possibly in Craftsman style, in northern Somerset County (Bedminster/Far Hills/Basking Ridge area), so any leads are appreciated.

** Yes, to the surprise of a colleague in New York City, people actually are from Atlantic City.


Sears Homes of Chicagoland said...

Hi, Eric! The national database of Sears homes has a Sears Arlington listed at 110 Mountain Ave in Sommerville and a Sears Cedars listed at 22 W Brown. (The Milton is also on there.)

Sears Homes of Chicagoland

Eric C. Schwarz said...

Thanks, Lara! I'll check out those homes the next time I'm in Somerville.