A Sears Hathaway house in Arlington
From 1908 to 1940, Sears Roebuck & Co. sold more than 70,000 of its prefabricated Modern Homes kits, affordable dwellings assembled on site that offered Americans of moderate means the chance to own an up-to-date house. Arlington County, which saw a boom in its growth during the 1920s, boasts a significant collection of these kit houses. After an introductory slide presentation at the Ripley Center, historian Kathryn Holt Springston leads a bus tour into through historic Virginia neighborhoods in search of these distinctive and charming structures.
During the tour, the exteriors of approximately 80 Sears homes are viewed, representing some 50 different models that range from the single-story “Sunlight” to the magnificent 10-room “Woodland” model. Springston discusses the rail and trolley lines that provided transportation for Sears products, laborers, and residents; the rapidly growing communities in which these houses were built; and the agrarian communities they replaced.
The program begins at 12:30 p.m. in room 3035 of the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr., SW (Smithsonian Metro, Blue/Orange/Silver lines) and continues by bus, returning to the Ripley Center at its conclusion at 6 p.m.