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Shoppers flocked to mail-order retailers during the 20th century, even going so far as to order their homes through the mail. Between 1908 and 1940, the Chicago-based retailer Sears sold more than 70,000 customizable home kits, making it the largest and most famous retailer in the business. Join us for a talk about Sears Home Kits, which you can still find across the country.

$15 public
FREE for CAC members
FREE for students
Zoom Virtual Event (details to come)

Sears was once a retailer that sold nearly everything to everybody--including customizable kits that allowed people to build their own homes. Entire home kits would arrive by rail (or sometimes by barge) with everything needed to create a residence, from precut lumber, drywall and carved staircases, to the asphalt shingles, nails and varnish needed for the home's construction. Sears even helped make modern conveniences like central heating, indoor plumbing and electricity accessible and affordable to people throughout the country.

Presenter: Lisa Ciota

Lisa Ciota

Growing up in Oak Park, Lisa couldn’t help but be in awe of the architecture all around her. So, after a long career in Investor Relations, Lisa returned to her roots and began volunteering at the Chicago Architecture Center five years ago. Today, Lisa leads adult and student educational tours (both live and virtual), is an active member of the Communications Committee and developed the Great Chicago Fire Family Walking Tour.