Fashion Square Mall Sears is closing. This is Sears on East Colonial Drive. Today was the last day. Soon, it’ll be demolished to make way for something new.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Sears and Roebuck. My mom took me there often when I was a kid. My Sears was at the Cutler Ridge Mall, back in the 1980s. This Orlando Sears very much reminds me of that one from my youth. Same basic floor plan, although this one was built earlier, back in the early 1960s. Since moving to Orlando in the early 2000s, THIS store has been my Sears. It makes me nostalgic for a variety of reasons.

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We didn’t really go to Universal Studios when I was a kid. We were most definitely a Disney World family, and frankly I’m okay with that. That said, I love themeparks, and now that I’m an adult, I’m just as intrigued by the design and history of Universal as any other park.
About 6 months to a year ago, I stumbled across this interesting little find at an estate sale. What appeared to be a media kit for the opening of Universal Studios in Orlando. I bought it for 8 bucks (a steal, I think) and promptly forgot about it. Today, after finding it in a closet, I thought I’d share my first reaction of opening it up. Here’s the film.

Orlando in the 1960s beautiful retro swimsuit model Orlando in the 1960s gary's duck inn

Ads for Gary’s Duck Inn and Cherry Plaza Hotel.
I found this brochure at an estate sale recently. It features marketing and promotions for Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland and Central Florida, circa 1961. Lots of good stuff. It’s also a good reference guide to Orlando in the 1960s. Click below for more. As always, click the image for a larger version.
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The food truck craze has hit Orlando and is delivering a lot of delectable eats to the locals. In a town dominated by chains, it’s refreshing to see so many local independent food mongers plying their trade in this way. This isn’t carnival food either. These trucks are delivering some really high quality food. Everything from Luther Burgers to Korean BBQ Tacos. On a daily basis, these trucks are parked at strategic spots around town, but several evenings a week, they gather at specific spots to take a unified stand. These events bring in a lot of local traffic. My wife and I have hit the Lake Lily Round-Up (Tuesday nights) twice, and today we were at the big round-up in the back of the Fashion Square Mall parking lot. 
Personally, I prefer Lake Lily Tuesday nights to the Fashion Square Round-up. It’s true that while there were even more food trucks at Fashion Square than what I’m used to, the Lake Lily location is just a much smoother jive, and includes a good deal more comfortable dining space (if you walk around to the other side of the lake.) What follows after the cut are some photos of the trucks. I only got photos of about half of them, unfortunately. Missing are the Korean Taco Box trucks, The Brisket Bus, The Crooked Spoon, and others.

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This is another bunch of ads from the Orlando Sentinel food sectionals from 1972. Check the original article here. Above is an advert for Sweden House. My love for “All You Can Eat Buffets” knows know boundaries. Of course, back then it was called a “Smorgasbord”. I’m not sure which is the classier moniker. These places were all over Florida in the 60s and 70s. I hope they had Swedish meatballs. If Ikea had all you can eat meatballs, they’d have to wheel me out on one of those HÅVET chair beds.

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Orlando Grocery 1970sOh, hello Richard Deacon, character actor of such classics as “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I had no idea you were a television chef. Was this before or after you were in “The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood”? Answer: It was before.

I found a stack of “Orlando Sentinel” Food sectionals from the early 1970s, loaded with adds for local restaurants, grocery stores, appliance stores, etc. I have tons of these, so this is the first in a series. Click the images to make bigger.

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I’ve been scouring some aerial photography archives for interesting comparison subjects. I love ‘then and now’ comparisons. This set illustrates the changes to the area around Colonial Drive (State Road 50) and Bumby Avenue in Orlando since the 1950s. Click on the photos for larger versions.

Here’s the area in 1954. This was actually before the Colonial Plaza was built. Also note that what is currently the back side of Winn-Dixie along Rosedale St, there was a row of houses.

Here’s the area in 2005.

Looking South over Colonial Plaza Mall, sometime in the 1960s. If you look close, you can see the old style Publix where there is today a Barnes and Noble.
If you remember the area back in the 50s, 60s or 70s, I’d love to hear your remembrances. I live just blocks away and I’m interested in the history of the shops, restaurants, mall, etc. Post in comments and share!
Photo credits:
University of Florida Aerial Photography Database
Florida State Photo Archives
Google Maps