Welcome to “Your Home Away from Home”
The By-Way Guest House in Ord, Nebraska at approximately 100 years old is one of the oldest homes in our community. Built by Charles Milford, a merchant in Ord, it is an example of a Catalog home from Sears and Roebuck.
The architecture is a wonderful example of 1900’s architecture with it’s wrap around porch and open, spacious rooms. The original bath fixtures and the claw foot tub add to the feeling of stepping back in time to when life was much slower. Rooms on the second floor all have transoms which allowed air to move freely through the house keeping it cool. The house also had a full basement which has been turned into the Captains’ Quarters and Chartroom.
From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Company sold more than 100,000 homes through their mail-order Modern Homes program across the United States. Over that time Sears offered 447 different housing styles ranging from as little as $452 (the Model 115, circa 1908) to slightly less than $6,000 (the Magnolia, circa 1919) for a completely modern home.
Complete kits including all the materials needed to build an exceptionally sturdy and well-designed house would be shipped via railroad boxcars. Many were assembled by the new homeowner and friends, relatives, and neighbors, in a fashion similar to the traditional barn-raisings of farming families.
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.
Much more information is available about the Sears Modern Homes program is available at the Sears Archives website.