Kane County History: Order Your Geneva Home By Mail — Right From The Catalog!

Kane County History: Order Your Geneva Home By Mail — Right From The Catalog!

At top is an artist’s rendering of the Gordon Van Tine Chatham home. Below it is the Sears Crescent home. Note the similarities between the Crescent and Chatham homes. (ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE GENEVA HISTORY MUSEUM.)

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s post is contributed by Terry Emma, director of the Geneva History Museum. All photos are courtesy of the Geneva History Museum.

Ordered by mail and sent by rail, catalog houses filled a need for sturdy, inexpensive and especially, modern homes — complete with conveniences of indoor plumbing and electricity.

Built in 1925, the Starlight, located at 721 Illinois Street, is just one of the Sears Catalog Homes located in Geneva.

All shipping was done by rail with boxcars full of labeled parts, consequently the largest concentrations of catalog houses are in the Northeast and Midwest, which were served by more rail lines.

Learn about Geneva’s catalog houses during the Geneva History Museum’s virtual program on Catalog Houses at noon Tuesday, Feb. 9.  Hear stories about these quaint homes designed by Sears Roebuck, Aladdin, Montgomery Ward, Gordon-Van Tine and Harris Brothers, and learn how to discover if a house came from a catalog.

Register today at GenevaHistoryMuseum.org to receive the link for this free Zoom program.

The Geneva History Museum remains closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, but will continue to share these monthly virtual programs.  In honor of Women’s History Month, at noon March 9, the History Museum will share “HerStory” about remarkable women in Geneva’s history.

The Geneva History Museum is a nonprofit organization with a mission to share and preserve Geneva’s evolving story while inspiring and engaging the community.  For more information visit GenevaHistoryMuseum.org or call 630-232-4951.

Read The Kane County History Series!

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