It Came in the Mail! Sears Roebuck and Co. Mail order Homes. Simplex Sectional Cottages.
The mail-order home in front of you was purchased by Mr. Lowe Steed from Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1923 for $400. It is a quaint, three room, no-bath cottage. An outhouse could be purchased seperately for around $40. The house did not have plumbing or electricity and was heated by the kitchen stove when the Steed family lived in the house in the 1930s during the Great Depression.
Sears, Roebuck and Company sold more than 100,000 mail order-homes from 1908 to 1940. They had 447 styles to choose from. Some of these homes were very elaborate and built with high quality materials, providing everything one would need to live comfortably, while others were quite basic. The three types of homes offered were the "Honor Built" (top of the line), "Standard Built" and "Simplex." Customers could order a house to suit their life style and budget. The ability to mass-produce materials cut manufacturing costs and homes could be built faster and with less labor (the Simplex homes could be put together by one carpenter.) Your house would arrive at the closest railway station with everything you would need to build it: pre-cut timbers, shingles, paint, nails and even the kitchen sink.
In 2004, the house was moved to this location from the Steed Farm located near Clinton, Maryland. It has been restored and furnished to resemble its original condition.
The GOLDENROD: This house is a "Simplex" sectional cottage; the model is the "Goldenrod". It was designed for resort communities, summer homes, and industrial housing. Although thousands of Sears homes were built in the United States, the Simplex models (Goldenrod, Skywater, and Double-Duty) are fairly rare. Not many of these houses were purchased because the public preferred the higher quality models. Most of those that were built did not survive over the years. Catalog #-55MH122