In the bustling age before online shopping and rapid delivery, Americans marveled at a different kind of retail marvel. It was an era when massive catalogs were commonplace in every household, offering everything from tools to home goods. But what truly captured the imagination? Ordering a complete house.

Revolutionizing the Way We Bought Homes

In the early 1900s, Sears Roebuck turned the home buying experience on its head. Families would send thousands of dollars to Sears, filled with anticipation for the arrival of their new home. Picture the excitement as 12,000 pieces of a house were delivered by train, ready to be assembled by the proud new homeowners.

A Living History Museum

Nestled in Carlinville, Illinois, lies a remarkable testament to this bygone era – an entire neighborhood consisting of over 150 houses ordered from Sears catalogs. This extraordinary place is not just a collection of homes, but a living museum that tells the captivating story of American history and resourcefulness.

A Home with an Unparalleled Legacy

Among these homes is the residence of retired teachers Ben and Mary. Back in 1962, they became proud owners of a Sears home for a mere $6,500. Today, they still celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary in the very same house, standing strong and proud just as it did on the day it was built.

Building a Close-Knit Community

Carlinville’s transformation into a hub of Sears homes began as a housing development for coal miners. An oil company, committed to providing housing for its workers, purchased several of these kit homes. Each package came with 12,000 parts, hundreds of pounds of nails, and a comprehensive 75-page instruction book.

A Glimpse into the Past

Today, Carlinville attracts visitors from near and far, intrigued by the charm and history of these remarkable Sears homes. Taking a stroll through the neighborhood is like stepping back in time, witnessing the tangible legacy of what was once called “The American Dream in a kit.”

Preserving the Stories of the Past

Every house in this neighborhood has a unique story to tell. It goes beyond the families who built and lived in them, representing a bygone era of American retail and lifestyle. These homes, with their distinctive designs and enduring structures, offer a genuine glimpse into what life was like during that time.

A Testament to American Dreams

The Sears houses in Carlinville serve as a powerful reminder of a time when the American dream could be delivered in a box, ready to be assembled. They symbolize innovation, resourcefulness, and the everlasting spirit of American homeownership.

For those captivated by history, architecture, or simply the allure of a bygone era, a visit to Carlinville’s Sears homes is an absolute must. It’s a neighborhood that beautifully captures the essence of early 20th-century America, one kit home at a time.