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'Piece Of American History': 1912 Sears Home Found In Greeley

By Shawn Chitnis

GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) - A home on the edge of town stands as a reminder of another time in American life and the height of a company's influence on the country. It remains in place the week Sears announced its filing for bankruptcy and closing more than 140 stores.

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Betsy Kellums (credit: CBS)

"They used a catalog to ship houses across the country, that was revolutionary in the early 1900s," said Betsy Kellums, a historic preservation specialist for the City of Greeley.

Kellums works with property owners and people interested in the town's history to learn more about local buildings. She also helps anyone trying to designate a building with a registry.

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"The built environment is part of how we connect with the past," she said.

The value in older buildings comes from the design, which is often high quality and beautiful architecture. She says it is significant that a house near the town has been identified and verified as a home ordered from the Sears catalog.

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"It's another piece of American history represented in Greeley that may not be represented in every community," said Kellums.

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The house that remains in this part of Northern Colorado is an "Avondale" model found in the 1912 catalog. One of the current owners did not want to speak to CBS4 about the house, but Kellums says there is so much the community as a whole can appreciate from the house.

"The railroad was a very significant factor in the development of Greeley," she said.

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The Union Pacific Depot was built in 1930 and is the fourth of its kind in town. Not only was it a resource to get the houses shipped into this part of the country, it helped to bring people to Colorado.

Businesses come and go and while the future of Sears and the stores in the state is uncertain, if the house remains, it can be a lasting symbol of what the company once achieved. Another sign of the influence of this part of American history is a new trend of ordering and shipping tiny homes online.

"It's actually something that's been done before," Kellums said of the online trend compared to the catalog.

"It's easy to forget the past, and as we all know it's important to learn from the past."

Shawn Chitnis reports weeknights for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Email him story ideas at and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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