Sears Kit Houses and John VanBergen?

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DRN
Posts: 3919
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Sears Kit Houses and John VanBergen?

Post by DRN »

This was news to me...
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?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Given that "The Carlton" by Sears is exactly the same as Van Bergen's Skillen House, and interiors of Skillen are used in the ad, I would say Van Bergen was obviously directly involved. There is a Van Bergen site. Perhaps there is more information about Sears on it.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

We last discussed these kit houses, and Skillin, in late 2014, according to the date of my image transfers. Searching that period on the Index doesn't reveal a thread titled to the subject. We really do need to have the Search function fully restored . . .

SDR

DRN
Posts: 3919
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

A quick Google search leads to only two references to VanBergen and the two Prairie Sears models: 1. the link I posted and, 2. another piece that references and links the link I posted. https://searshousesinohio.wordpress.com ... incinnati/

From the previously posted link:
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 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.

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

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

According to notes on Van Bergen's Wikipedia page, Marty Hackl was a major contributor to the article. To go to the VB site, go to Wiki, References, click on John Van Bergen Biography. I don't know how many pages there are, but it looks, at a glance, to be extensive. This site has been around for a long time, but was brought down a while back for updating. It's back now. Whether there is anything about Sears, I haven't had time to peruse.

jhealy
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Location: Oak Park, IL

Post by jhealy »

This link should take you to Marty's index of Van Bergen homes. Several reflect the Sears home.

https://web.archive.org/web/20070520195 ... index.html

Look at the William H. Griffith Residence and Garage - 1913 in particular.

Jay

DRN
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Thanks for the link to the Hackl site, quite extensive. I’m convinced.
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?)?

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Here's the thread I recalled. I didn't find it because its last entry was in April of 2017. Hooray for Google . . .

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewtopic.php?t=7923

SDR

DRN
Posts: 3919
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Many thanks for searching out that thread SDR. I was completely unaware of it. The GVT 2617 model is sweet. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them when road tripping.

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