Carlinville Plaza Grand Opening - March 2, 1977
How Carlinville Came to Be
Macoupin County was created by an act of the Illinois General Assembly on January 17, 1829. In August of that same year, the City of Carlinville was mapped out by Seth Hodges and Ezekiel Good, who donated the land for the new county seat. The city was named after Thomas Carlin, a member of the General Assembly, in appreciation for his efforts to form Macoupin County from parts of Madison and Greene counties.
Standard Addition is the largest, concentrated collection of Sears homes in the United States. Starting in 1917, the population of Carlinville grew by one-third when Standard Oil of Indiana opened two new mines. Due to an energy shortage caused by WWI and a severe winter, the company desperately needed a dependable supply of coal for its refineries, which it found in the coal mines south of the City. The sudden influx of hundreds of mine employees and their families created a temporary housing crisis. To alleviate the problem, Standard Oil officials turned to an unusual source for quick, permanent housing-the Sears & Roebuck catalog.
For the first time, customers could order home kits in a variety of models through the famous mail-order catalog. Eight different models in the "modest" variety (5 or 6 rooms on two floors) were selected for Standard Addition, ranging in price from $3,000 to $4,000. Standard Oil placed an order for 156 mail-order homes, which were delivered by rail, and within the year, all 156 had been erected. Today 152 of those original homes still stand, making the 9-block Standard Addition neighborhood the largest single repository of Sears Homes in the United States. The neighborhood has been the subject of several documentaries and has attracted the attention of architects from around the globe.
While many homeowners have improved their Sears houses over the years, the distinctive roof lines, windows and porch arrangements help identify the original house styles. Inside, a common feature of the homes is a ceramic-tiled bathroom floor with an identical design using a color scheme of white with blue, or white with green.
Sears Homes / Standard Addition
For more historical information, please visit our source at the Carlinville Chamber's website.