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All Roads Lead to Dunkirk (part 1)

After going through Houses By Mail  I started checking out locations close to me without much success. I decided to tackle Dunkirk, NY because there were a couple of houses listed.

Facing pages with the 225 and the Sherburne. I wonder why my book decided to break right there. hmmmm.

I started with the #225 and Sherburne. After much time and trial and error, I started looking at real estate listings on Zillow and Trulia and decided to drop down on a certain street because the house for sale looked like the same era and the house next door looked like a Ray H Bennett "Raymond" model. This, fortuitously, was just the right area.

I virtually drove up and down the street armed with my trusty copy of Houses By Mail and stumbled across what looked like the #225 I was looking for on the corner of Woodrow and Taft Place! I went down Taft Place and found a second #225 and the Sherburne on the other end of the street. I shared by finding with my group of researchers, and Karen DeJeet observed the #124 on the other side of the Sherburne (I had forgotten about the #124 since I was concentrating on the #225 and Sherburne. I knew it looked familiar). Karen also found an Avondale across the street. The Avondale is not listed as a Dunkirk home in the book and since it has an enclosed porch, I didn't recognize it. The Avondale is one of Karen's favorite Sears models. Judith Chabot of Sears House Seeker contributed a #164 across the street from the first #225 I happened on.

Google screen shot of the short length of Taft Place, Dunkirk, NY. I mapped out the addresses and models. 

The weekend I found the Sears houses on Taft Place, Andrew Mutch of Kit House Hunters had a get-together with Sears research grande dame Rebecca Hunter. He told her of the Dunkirk discoveries and she knew them all and had a couple more to add.

Cover of the 1914 Sears, Roebuck Modern Homes catalog courtesy Judith Chabot, Sears House Seeker

All in all, between Karen, Judith, Andrew, Rebecca Hunter, and I, we found about eight or nine Sears and probable Sears houses, most which appeared in the 1914 Sears, Roebuck Modern Homes catalog as being built in Dunkirk, NY.

So where did this cluster of Sears houses come from? They were built by one man: John A. Stapf.

To be continued . . .


  1. My book broke at the Richmond and the Alden, but I have not had as much luck with those as you have with your "break"! Can't wait to read part 2!

  2. I loved seeing all of these houses (plus the probable No. 113!) together! I can't wait to see your post about Stapf. Love the research!
    Sears House Seeker blog