By Bob Uphues
A colleague here at the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark passed along a link to a blog devoted to Sears mail-order houses that can still be found in the Chicago area.
Between 1908 and 1940, Sears offered hundreds of designs to choose from and sold tens of thousands of the kit homes to customers across the country. You could built the home yourself or hire a local contractor to do it for you. Of course, with Sears headquartered in Chicago, plenty of people in the burgoening city neighborhoods and out in the new suburbs placed their orders and erected their homes on the subdivided prairies.
The blog Sears Homes of Chicagoland has set out to identify and document surviving Sears homes, and late in January posted an article about a beauty -- model No. 123 -- in the Congress Park section of Brookfield. It was built in 1909 by Henry and Nellie Zwergel, and the family would own the house for the next 42 years.