North Dakota Man Restores Great-Grandparents’ Home for Its 100th Anniversary

Discover how a North Dakota man meticulously restored his grandparents’ 1916 Sears Catalog Home to celebrate its centennial.

A North Dakota man has restored his grandparents’ 1916 flat-pack home ordered from the Sears catalog to mark its 100th anniversary!

Between 1908 and 1940, more than 70,000 Sears Catalog Homes were sold directly from a mail-order booklet and assembled by the customer.

North Dakota Man

These homes ranged from the small, three-room Goldenrod cottage to the stately four-bedroom Magnolia, all pre-cut and ready to assemble. Many of these homes still stand today, mostly on the East Coast and Midwest, but also in places as far-flung as Florida, California, and Alaska.

One such home, built in North Dakota, belonged to the great-grandparents of Reddit user RedHotSauceBoss (RHSB), who decided to restore the property to its former glory on its 100th birthday.

The North Dakota man shared that his ancestors were granted 120 acres of land in North Dakota for free under the Homestead Act, a 19th-century law giving land to those who could cultivate it.

The family chose a house from the Sears catalog—likely a Model No. 137, which sold for about $1,200 (around $27,000 today).

North Dakota Man

As with most Sears mail-order homes, the materials were delivered to the town by train and transported to the site by horse-drawn wagons. The home was then constructed with the help of family, friends, and neighbors.

“In 1916 my great-grandfather built his house from a Sears home kit. 100 years later we’ve restored it to its original beauty,” the North Dakota man wrote, noting that he had installed exterior weatherproofing, storm windows, and a new roof.

He is currently working on the interior, planning to fill it with pictures and memories to create a space where future generations can learn about their genealogy and history.

North Dakota Man

Sears discontinued its Modern Homes catalog after 1940, but many of these houses have endured. Sears house enthusiast Andrew Mutch estimates that about 70 percent of the more than 70,000 homes sold have survived, thanks to their durable materials.

However, all sales records were destroyed during a corporate house cleaning, making it hard to determine the exact number.

These homes offered what was then the latest in home technology, such as central heating, indoor plumbing, and electricity.

The largest and most expensive Sears model was the Magnolia, seven of which are still standing today.

North Dakota Man

One of the largest concentrations of these homes is in Carlinville, Illinois, where Standard Oil Company bulk-purchased homes in 1918 to house its mineworkers at a total cost of around $1 million.


Sales peaked in 1929, with the least expensive model priced under $1,000 and the most expensive under $4,400 (about $13,687 and $60,225 in 2013 dollars, respectively).

North Dakota Man

These homes, including eight different models, took nine months to build and were completed in 1919. This led Sears to name one of their models after Carlin.

Other notable properties include the cemetery office at Greenlawn Cemetery in Newport News, Virginia, which was a 1936 Sears Catalog Home.

Written by DADADEL

Adelaida, the founder of Dadadel Creative, boasts a multifaceted background, blending expertise in software engineering, copywriting, and digital marketing. Prior to establishing her agency, she honed her skills as the former Head of the News Department at a regional media outlet, and also amassing 18 years of experience as a host. She has a penchant for sarcasm, a passion for lifestyle topics, and an undeniable love for cats.

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