Through its Modern Homes program, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold some 75,000 mail-order houses between 1908 and 1940. One of them still humbly resides deep in the heart of Canarsie, over a mile from the nearest subway.
“My family home in Canarsie is a Sears Modern Home,” a Brownstoner reader wrote us, saying the structure was “purchased through a Sears Catalog in the ’20s and sent in pieces via railroad and horse and buggy. Most of the original moldings and doors are still intact.” Not many of these homes are known to exist outside of Chicago, she added.
A 1923 Sears advertisement for the home prices it at $1,652 (which today is roughly one month’s rent in an East East Williamsburg closet), with “maple flooring furnished for kitchen and bathroom, instead of yellow pine, no extra charge,” and sheet plaster and plaster finish costing $97 extra.
Homeowners would sometimes erect the houses themselves or employ local builders to do it — at an extra charge, of course.
The English-style bungalow — which the advertisement calls The Roseberry — appears to have been slightly altered since it was built, with new windows and an enclosed porch.