HOUSE TO HOME • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 • 17
Kit homes have ‘good bones,’ have stood test of time
Nancy Caliguri & Wade Schantz
144 MEADOW GOLD LANE • $599,000 • MLS # 1519734
Quality built Avagon home features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bath, 4 car
garages + 2 car carport, governors driveway, balcony with a great
view on 4.70 acres, sunroom off kitchen with easy access to the pool,
stainless steel appliances in kitchen with center island & pantry, family
room & laundry room on main level, enjoy movie night with the
movie room & 9 power seats. 711 Second Avenue, Tarentum
(724) 224-7445 • VernersPaintCenter.com
Fall for what’s new at Diamond Antiques!
September 19th - Visit us after Fleatique, Shop opens at 8am
September 26th - Antique Appraisal Fair, still only $5 per item
311 E. Sixth Ave., Tarentum • 724-224-4687
Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm
mail-order homes sold before 1916
did not use precut lumber that was
stamped with numbers to guide construction.
Instead, shipping labels
were affixed to the backside of trim
that identified properties.
Homes built after 1916 can be identified
as Sears kit homes by numbers
stamped on the timbers.
Normajean Moser of McCandless
owns a Walton model that was purchased
from the Sears Modern Home
“I have seen articles throughout the
years about Sears homes in the Pittsburgh
area,” she wrote after reading
the Trib story. “I know of several other
models in McCandless. But articles are
so scattered by time, date and location
that it is difficult to realize the scope
and number of Sears homes here in
the Pittsburgh area.”
Local Sears house enthusiast Karen
DeJeet, who owns a Hamilton model
in Forest Hills and is a member of the
Sears House Finder team, has already
done much of the work identifying
the mail-order homes still standing
in the region.
A number of those homes are featured
on the organization’s website.
Melissa Steel of Patterson Heights in
Beaver County said the story about the
Sears house in McCandless sparked
fond memories of the family next door
who lived in one for many years.
“They raised four kids in that
house,” Steel wrote. “It’s as sturdy as
a house as I’ve ever seen. They kept
up with it, of course, but it sure has
good bones. All these years later it is
still a fortress.”
Molly Harbst of Munhall sent along
photos of her beautifully preserved
Sears homes — a 1920 model called The
Crescent — after reading the article.
She said she also didn’t know it was
a mail-order house when she bought it
14 years ago.
“I just loved the look of it,” she
said. “I’ve visited New Orleans several
times and love the style of the buildings
there. My home reminds me of
that type of architecture.”
Harbst said it wasn’t until after she
bought the house that she learned
homes were once sold through mail-order
She searched the Sears Home archive
until she found a catalog with
a photo and description of her home.
Harbst said many of the original
features in her home are intact and the
exterior remains mostly unchanged.
“There haven’t been any major
structural changes,” she said. “The
windows, the kitchen and the bathroom
were updated over the years, but
it is still very much the house it was
when it was built.”
While researching the property,
Harbst learned it was among the first
homes built in the borough’s Homestead
“It’s kind of exciting to learn that
your home is unique because of the
way it was bought and constructed,”
she said. “And it led me to dig a little
deeper into the history of my community.”
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You
can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, tlarussa@
triblive.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.
COURTESY OF MOLLY HARBST
While the bathroom and kitchen of this 1920 Sears mail-order house in Munhall called “The Crescent”
have been updated, most of the home’s original features remain unchanged, said owner Molly Harbst, who
learned it was among the first homes built in her Homestead Park neighborhood.
ON THE COVER: This Sears
mail-order house named “The
Crescent” was built in Munhall
in 1920, according to owner
Molly Harbst. She said she
didn’t know the house was
built from a kit ordered from a
catalog until after she bought
it. Many of the home’s original
features remain intact.