Sears is an American department store famous for its elaborate catalogs. From 1908 to 1937, a person could order an entire house from this catalog. All the parts were measured and sawed at a Sears factory and delivered to the customer. Mostly transported by train, as the homes sometimes filled up to two boxcars. Prices ranged from $150 to $5,000.
Downers Grove was home to a large rail yard, which made it easy for Sears to deliver the home to its residents. Most of the catalog homes, in fact, are located within four blocks of the tracks that are still there.
Some 300 were assembled in Downer’s Grove, and many still exist. Visitors to this town can do walking or driving tours.
Coincidence has it that I will be in the area in about a week. I am definitely taking the tour!