The Sears plaza, locally known in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as “Searstown” has been in existence since 1955. It is considered a historic landmark and early on, was dubbed the gateway to Fort Lauderdale. One of the first of its kind, the Sears plaza became the first strip mall offering one-stop shopping in South Florida. Besides Sears, the plaza initially housed a grocery store, a jewelry shop, a beauty salon, an optometrist, and various other retail stores. The open-air plaza, located at 901 N. Federal Highway, is still standing today, but sadly lacks the luster and bustle of activity that it once possessed.
The architectural style of Searstown is considered to be mid-century modern. With particular attention given to the Sears building itself, the plaza is free of ornamentation, but is chock full of clean lines, flat planes, and geometric and organic shapes. Since its inception, i.e., for the past 66 years, the building’s mid-century modern style has been maintained in its truest form.
This body of work, titled “Searstown Fading” is a compilation of photos taken over two days in April 2021. Most are elevated perspectives of architectural aspects of the Sears building. The photos were taken in early morning hours, and include blue and golden hours. Prior to the pandemic, plans had been submitted to the City to convert Searstown into a residential multi-use complex. Since the fate of Searstown is currently unknown, my intent was to capture the beauty of the Searstown architectural style as it is today.