Philadelphia Sears Warehouse

4640 Roosevelt Boulevard (Route 1 between Adams Street and Whitaker Avenue)

Philadelphia, PA 19124

40.0312,-75.0985

This nondescript retail area was once the site of a massive Sears distribution warehouse serving the northeast. The five-million-square-foot complex employed 4,500 people at its peak and included a Sears retail store, a 14-story clock tower, several warehouses and the company's regional headquarters. The red-brick gothic complex opened in 1920 and had its own power plant and fire station.

As Sears declined in the late 20th century, operations at the facility slowly wound down until it was closed in February of 1993. The main buildings and 48 acres of land were sold to a Philadelphia developer for demolition and redevelopment with the Home Depot and other retail stores pictured here. The remaining 72-acre warehouse and distribution facility to the west was sold to Cardone Industries (an auto parts remanufacturer and distributor) and remained in operation when I visited in 2006 and 2008.

The two surviving portions of the main complex are the power station (which serves as a vertical billboard and cellular phone tower) and the fire station (which still supports the surrounding community). Supposedly, somewhere underneath one of the stores is a 1960's-era subway station built for a proposed line that was never realized.

(reference)

Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Old Sears Power Plant
04/21/2008 18:20:53
Old Sears Power Plant
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Closed pedestrian tunnel under Roosevelt Avenue
03/12/2006 17:47:52
Closed pedestrian tunnel under Roosevelt Avenue
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Closed pedestrian tunnel under Roosevelt Avenue
03/12/2006 17:48:02
Closed pedestrian tunnel under Roosevelt Avenue
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - viewed from the southwest
03/12/2006 17:48:47
Power plant - viewed from the southwest
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Home Depot
04/21/2008 17:12:48
Home Depot
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - south side
04/21/2008 17:15:12
Power plant - south side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - south side
04/21/2008 17:15:20
Power plant - south side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - cornice detail
04/21/2008 17:15:43
Power plant - cornice detail
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - east side
04/21/2008 17:16:14
Power plant - east side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Smoke stack - east side
04/21/2008 17:16:29
Smoke stack - east side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Electrical shed - east side
04/21/2008 17:16:58
Electrical shed - east side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - north side
04/21/2008 17:17:38
Power plant - north side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - north side
04/21/2008 17:21:23
Power plant - north side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - west side
04/21/2008 17:18:39
Power plant - west side
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - viewed from northwest
04/21/2008 17:19:15
Power plant - viewed from northwest
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - broken window detail
04/21/2008 17:20:18
Power plant - broken window detail
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - broken window detail
04/21/2008 17:20:31
Power plant - broken window detail
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - ornamentation detail
04/21/2008 17:20:42
Power plant - ornamentation detail
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - cornice detail
04/21/2008 17:20:51
Power plant - cornice detail
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Power plant - viewed from northeast
04/21/2008 17:23:01
Power plant - viewed from northeast
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Cordone Industries watertower
04/21/2008 17:24:21
Cordone Industries watertower
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Cordone Industries warehouses
04/21/2008 17:24:27
Cordone Industries warehouses
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Cordone Industries warehouses
04/21/2008 17:25:18
Cordone Industries warehouses
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Home Depot
04/21/2008 17:28:04
Home Depot
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Firehouse
04/21/2008 17:28:37
Firehouse
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Firehouse
04/21/2008 17:30:13
Firehouse
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Firehouse
04/21/2008 17:30:58
Firehouse
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Firehouse
04/21/2008 17:31:56
Firehouse
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Firehouse
04/21/2008 17:33:48
Firehouse
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Solar water heater display in neighborhood
04/21/2008 17:31:12
Solar water heater display in neighborhood
Philadelphia Sears Warehouse - Solar water heater display in neighborhood
04/21/2008 17:31:27
Solar water heater display in neighborhood

I know enough about a lot of things to be interesting, but I'm not interested enough in any one thing to be boring. (Art Linkletter, 1965)