Sears Houses at Music
Mountain
The Dawn of Factory Built
Structures
Music Mountain – A Brief History
► Founded by Jacques Gordon, founder and first violinist of
the Gordon String Quartet, in...
Sears Houses - Brief History
► From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold
about 70,000 - 75,000 homes through their mail-...
Many Styles
Reduced Material Costs
►Mass-production of the materials lessened
manufacturing costs, which lowered
purchase costs
“Balloon style" framing
► Did not require a team of skilled carpenters faster
and generally required only one carpenter. T...
But…
► Studs in the bearing walls run uninterrupted from
the sole plate up to the roof plate. Floor joists are
nailed to t...
Drywall
► Before drywall, plaster and lathe wall-building
techniques were used, which required skilled
carpenters. Sears h...
Asphalt Shingles
► Cheap to manufacture and ship, easy and
inexpensive to install. Asphalt had the added
incentive of bein...
Reduce Labor Cost
►Sears estimated that, for a precut house
with fitted pieces, it would take only 352
carpenter hours as ...
Financing
►Sears offered loans beginning in 1911, and
by 1918 it offered customers credit for
almost all building material...
Sound Familiar?
► Sears’s liberal loan policies eventually backfired,
however, when the Depression hit. 1929 saw the
high ...
Music Mountain Meets Sears
► When Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears
Roebuck and president of the Chicago Symphony
board...
and a deal is struck
►In 1930 Sears Roebuck shipped train loads
of numbered, pre-cut parts to Falls Village,
CT. that were...
One of three this style
Later sold as the “Gordon”
roof construction
Original Furnace
Original Bath, no Jacuzzi
Kenmore appliances back then
“Sheet Plaster”
All included…
from light fixtures…
to door knobs
The larger model
nice details
The performance center
All wood acoustics
the “bridge”
Sears Houses At Music Mountain
Sears Houses At Music Mountain
Sears Houses At Music Mountain
Sears Houses At Music Mountain
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Sears Houses At Music Mountain

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Sears Houses At Music Mountain

  1. 1. Sears Houses at Music Mountain The Dawn of Factory Built Structures
  2. 2. Music Mountain – A Brief History ► Founded by Jacques Gordon, founder and first violinist of the Gordon String Quartet, in 1930 ► Mission of education through the performance of the chamber music literature, specifically, the music for the string quartet. This mission is realized by bringing together professionals, amateurs, adults and children, by developing new audiences and by providing access to the experience of live music. ► Now in its eighth decade, continues to bring life to this mission through a wide variety of teaching and performances by artists who come to Music Mountain from all over the world. ► Concerts are now heard on over 125 stations nationwide and, through the facilities of the European Broadcast Union, by listeners in over 35 other countries.
  3. 3. Sears Houses - Brief History ► From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 70,000 - 75,000 homes through their mail- order Modern Homes program. Over that time Sears designed 447 different housing styles. Individuals could even design their own homes and submit the blueprints to Sears, which would then ship off the appropriate precut and fitted materials, putting the home owner in full creative control. Modern Home customers had the freedom to build their own dream houses, and Sears helped realize these dreams through quality custom design and favorable financing.
  4. 4. Many Styles
  5. 5. Reduced Material Costs ►Mass-production of the materials lessened manufacturing costs, which lowered purchase costs
  6. 6. “Balloon style" framing ► Did not require a team of skilled carpenters faster and generally required only one carpenter. This system uses precut timber of mostly standard 2x4’s and 2x8’s for framing. Precut timber, fitted pieces, and the convenience of having everything, including the nails, shipped by railroad directly to the customer added greatly to the popularity of this framing style.
  7. 7. But… ► Studs in the bearing walls run uninterrupted from the sole plate up to the roof plate. Floor joists are nailed to the studs. No longer allowed, in part because the open stud cavities allow a fire that starts in the basement or first floor to travel rapidly to the upper floor and attic.
  8. 8. Drywall ► Before drywall, plaster and lathe wall-building techniques were used, which required skilled carpenters. Sears homes took advantage of the new homebuilding material of drywall by shipping large quantities of this inexpensively manufactured product with the rest of the housing materials. Drywall offered advantages of low price, ease of installation, and was added fire-safety protection. It was also a good fit for the square design of Sears homes.
  9. 9. Asphalt Shingles ► Cheap to manufacture and ship, easy and inexpensive to install. Asphalt had the added incentive of being resistant. ► Large quantities became available. ► Alternative roofing materials at the time included, among others, tin and wood. Tin was noisy during storms, looked unattractive, and required a skilled roofer, wood was highly flammable.
  10. 10. Reduce Labor Cost ►Sears estimated that, for a precut house with fitted pieces, it would take only 352 carpenter hours as opposed to 583 hours for a conventional house—a 40% reduction!
  11. 11. Financing ►Sears offered loans beginning in 1911, and by 1918 it offered customers credit for almost all building materials as well as offering advanced capital for labor costs. Typical loans ran at 5 years, with 6% interest, but loans could be extended over as many as 15 years.
  12. 12. Sound Familiar? ► Sears’s liberal loan policies eventually backfired, however, when the Depression hit. 1929 saw the high point of sales with more than $12 million, but $5.6 million of that was in mortgage loans. Finally, in 1934, $11 million in mortgages were liquidated, and despite a brief recovery in the housing market in 1935, the Modern Homes program was doomed. By 1935, Sears was selling only houses, not lots or financing, and despite the ever- brimming optimism of corporate officials, Modern Homes sold its last house in 1940.
  13. 13. Music Mountain Meets Sears ► When Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck and president of the Chicago Symphony board, heard of Gordon’s plan to create a music center he offered his assistance. Gordon replied that he needed a concert hall and housing for musicians. Though Rosenwald had built schools for under serviced populations in the south, this was the first time he committed to a cultural center.
  14. 14. and a deal is struck ►In 1930 Sears Roebuck shipped train loads of numbered, pre-cut parts to Falls Village, CT. that were to become Gordon Hall, the only cultural facility designed by Sears, and the centerpiece for Music Mountain, a performing and educational center for chamber music.
  15. 15. One of three this style
  16. 16. Later sold as the “Gordon”
  17. 17. roof construction
  18. 18. Original Furnace
  19. 19. Original Bath, no Jacuzzi
  20. 20. Kenmore appliances back then
  21. 21. “Sheet Plaster”
  22. 22. All included…
  23. 23. from light fixtures…
  24. 24. to door knobs
  25. 25. The larger model
  26. 26. nice details
  27. 27. The performance center
  28. 28. All wood acoustics
  29. 29. the “bridge”

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