Sears Power House at Homan Square

At the turn of the 20 th century Sears, Roebuck and Co. built a facility on the near west side of Chicago to provide for its mail-order service and office buildings. With more than 3 million square feet, it was the largest business building in the world. The facility was state of the art for its day, as was the Power Station that provided all the energy and heat for the buildings on the 55 acre site.

The images from this portfolio were taken in the last two months of 2006 just before demolition of the Power House interior in preparation for its new roll, a charter high school to service the Chicago North Lawndale community.

Through a mutual friend, I was recommended to Jonathan Boyer, architect of record, to document the Power House interior prior its demolition. His expression for a need to photograph this turn of the century treasure was very persuasive. I agreed and assumed a day or two would cover the event. What followed was thirteen days on site with a sense of urgency to capture all I could before its extraction. The interior space offered a familiar experience in a former project, “The American Movie Theatre”. As in the great Movie Palaces there is a robustness to the space suggestive of a vigorous age gone by.