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http://www.sears-homes.com/2012/05/sear ... chool.html
I hadn't known that Sears offered Prairie-esque models, but it would seem plausible considering their being headquartered in Chicago. The John VanBergen connection seems possible but not verified...did a Sears draftsman copy a VanBergen from a magazine, or was VanBergen formally engaged for a model design?
From the previously posted link:
I suppose the question would be answered by VanBergen's papers which were lost in a 1964 fire, or if one of the VanBergen custom designs on which the Sears houses was based was not published at the time such that VanBergen would have had to provide the design to Sears. Otherwise, the plan could have been copied... the plan books of the day copied each other's house designs with little, sometimes no, alteration.But how do we know Van Bergen designed the Carlton and the Aurora? Sears never formally identified Van Bergen as the architect. However, the Carlton had an identical floor plan to the Skillin house in Wilmette, designed by Van Bergen. The Aurora had an identical floor plan to the Griffith house in Oak Park, also designed by Van Bergen.
I found this situation significant in that I don't recall reading of any of the "name" Wrightians of the day selling their work anonymously for publication or production.
This is a Google search of the Wright Chat threads with VanBergen in them:
https://www.google.com/search?q=wright+ ... 03&bih=838
https://web.archive.org/web/20070520195 ... index.html
Look at the William H. Griffith Residence and Garage - 1913 in particular.
It would appear Sears was sticking a toe in the water with Prairie in their higher end plans but the public was not willing to go there. One wonders if it was the style, expense, or fear of resale issues (was this considered in the early 20th Century?)?