Trying to save a Sears home in Oakbrook Terrace

Historic preservation is a common topic in older suburbs and one effort in Oakbrook Terrace features a more unusual Sears home:

The city purchased the house of the late longtime city clerk Lorraine Fik in 2008 with plans to demolish it to create a retention pond when it builds a new police station east of city hall. That work is expected to start this summer.

Saving the house, located across from city hall at 17W245 16th St., would require the city to provide water retention by other means, such as under the police station — a more costly option.

The move to preserve the house began after the recently formed historical society contacted architectural historian Rebecca Hunter of Elgin, who found proof of the home’s authenticity in the markings on the basement floor joists. The prefabricated home was built by Lorraine Fik’s husband, Edward, around 1950, and Lorraine had her clerk’s office in the basement until the city got a building of its own.

Kelly Fik, Lorraine’s youngest son, provided the historical society with photos of the house being delivered by truck and read a letter from the Fik family at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

These mail order Sears homes were produced in the early 1900s. Here are some more examples of Sears homes from the Chicago suburbs. On one hand, such homes are unusual and prior to the post-World War II era, mass produced homes were more rare. The era of the large-scale builder had not yet arrived. On the other hand, the homes don’t appear to be too unusual. Why save these homes just because they happened to come through a catalog over other homes built in the same era?

Another note: it is interesting to look at some of these examples and see how people have altered the Sears homes over the years.

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