Vintage photos of lost Shopping Malls of the '50s, '60s & '70s
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posted by Keith @ 7/21/2005
Funny that you should post this view. I remember going there after they had enclosed these spaces and made it into an enclosed mall. It appeared that several waves of expansion and modernization must have occurred resulting in a large rambling, quirky, but enjoyable mall. I was surprised when I was traveling through there last year and stopped in, only to find that they had leveled pretty much all of the "old mall" (except the anchors mostly) and replaced it with new contemporary, generic construction.
That mall sure looks in your picture than it does today. I went there recently. By the way, is that tower a glass elevator?
John: Yep, that's pretty much the way of the world at most malls these days--all the old charm and designs are long gone, sadly. Thanks for the input!Apprenticemaniac: I think you meant to say it looks better in the pic than it does today? And yes, I'm positive the same could be said of every single picture I post here. Malls may be more technically advanced today in terms of their more modern looks and features and all, and I do know that some redesigned and updated versions are in fact stunningly beautiful and complex, BUT, they're not all like that (only a handfull), and more to the point, they simply don't capture the retro charm and feel of the old malls that some of us miss so much. They all tend to be just too cookie-cutter generic now. One looks pretty much like the next, and so on.And no, I don't think that's a glass elevator there, just their clock sign. Though I like your idea better! :)
Keith, I just love your blog...anyway, I showed this to my husband, and he immediately recognized it. Scary!
Thanks, Sports Chick, and welcome! I think it's way cool that your hubby recognized it. :) Did he ever play there when he was a kid?
Keith, the really scary thing is that he recognizes most of the pics of Pennsylvania/New Jersey malls that you post, having grown up in that area in the '60s/'70s...makes him feel old :-)
My Pilgrimage to King of PrussiaThe history of this mall is very interesting. I discuss it in a blog post linked above if you're interested.
When I saw the picture I thought maybe I was in it. Grew up in K of P and spent much time at the mall, worked at the Purple Cow (ice cream and hot dog place) as did my brother and most of my friends in the early 70's.The tower is a clock.There was a shoe store in the outdoor part of the mall, a Korvettes, ACME, etc. Lots of bygone retailers. I think the shoe store is still there. It had a little door for little kids built into the big people's door. Very cool if you are 2 1/2 ft tall!Thanks for the memory!
what do we know about the geology fo the area? do you remember the fault line that kept growning in the middle of one of the parking garages (at ground level)i heard it kept growing and just got filled in one day real fast.
Tiggerwolfe, I remember that shoe store with the little door...and an elf painted on the window comes to mind too. I'm thinkin it was a Buster Brown or Florsheim store.
As Keith said, the new mall just doesn't cut it. And I think it's more than just appealing to us older people and our retro sentimentality. The new KoP mall is just plain useless to me. Every store I liked there in the '80s is gone. Hobby shop, Spaceport, Classy Kites, Woolworth's, Herder's Cutlery, Genes Books etc. There are no decent toy stores (KB sucks). There are no decent sporting goods stores. Modell's sucks for anything other than shirts and shoes. As a kid and teen I went to KoP at least 3 times a month. Now I go once a year. I think teenagers get kicked out now if they're just "hanging around". When the mall underwent the huge change in the early '90s, most of the practical stores went as well. Mostly a lot of overpriced clothing shops now which is what the Court was built for. It reminds me now of an upscale version of the Gallery at Market East, which seems to be the demographic the KoP mall planners were trying to bring in from the start. I normally blame the internet for killing local stores that I've liked but KoP started the transformation from practical to pretentious in '91-'92. Well, I'll always have the memory of running down that huge circular ramp near friendlys.
Wow, this came up while I was looking for pictures of this mall. Looks so different.
Actually, with regards to King of Prussia mall, this is one of the only malls I've been in the last decade that gave me one of those good, sixties modernist, comfortable feelings, although that only happened in the Neiman Marcus and the Bloomingdale's. But if those anchors have been remodeled anytime in the last 20 years, then the architects and designers did a very good job with them. Very charming stores, and they reminded me a bit of an upscale version of my home mall (Lehigh Valley) in the early 1980's and the Hess's in downtown Allentown.
See that girl helping the little boy on the slide in the center of the picture? That's my mom with my uncle! This photo is from a promotional postcard of some sort. My grandmother used to have it in one of her photo albums, not sure if there's still one in her house somewhere...
Have they taken out the circular ramp? I think I recall that they had last time I was there in 2000. It's unrecognizable from it's 1970's era. That was a fun place back then. And, I do think it was a Buster Brown store with the little door. I had forgotten all about that! Thanks for the flashback.
The circular/spiral ramp, which was outside the inner mall entrance to Wanamaker's, at the Friendly's Ice Cream end, alas, did not survive the mid-90s renovation. I also recall this as one of the more distinctive features of the old Plaza. To lola, any idea what year that picture was from? Mid tolate 1960s by my guess.
I remember the turtle on the right that you climbed on, but I don't remember there being sand. We went often in the mid-60's and while my mom shopped at Korvettes, we went to Woolworths with my dad. In the 70s I rode the bus with my friends to hang out.Does anyone remember the name of the store in the outside mall that sold the posters and incense? We went there all the time, but I can't remember what it was called.
the place with the little door was stride rite the little door was for kids. As i recall it was across from Arbys in the late 80's it was when you could get into arbys from the front door of the parking lot. I think kiddy city was still htere at that time around the corner from the sears entrance
The circular ramps were a signature feature of this mall's developer. There was one at KOP, at Oxford Valley and others. There were all removed when the malls were renovated, presumably for safety reasons.
I know the name of the store in the mall that sold incense and posters was called the plum tree.
Anyone know the name of the bakery that I believe outside close to the Acme?
The bakery was named "The Sticky Bun" ... remember the "Buten Paints" store a few doors down ... great merchandising and awesome paint. I miss the old place too.
I've been looking for pics of the old KOP mall. Recently a memory came up, and I can't confirm it. Was there a drive-in where the CostCo/Holiday Inn is now? Also, does anyone remember the parrot in the cage outside of Kiddie City?
the drivein was off Allendale Road in th vicinity of The Court
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Hi Chuck. Yes, the parrot's name was Charlie Brown. I found this site because I was jonesing for a picture of that exact area of the mall. I loved the dark, arcade atmosphere of that section. Near where Charlie's cage was there was one of my favorite candle shops called The Happy Viking. Across from that was a very cool poster shop. I bought an incredible black and white poster of a leaping Mikhail Baryshnikov which I still have framed in my office.
These posts are so cool! Great memories. If anyone has photos or stories to share you can also send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail or drop them off at the Upper Merion Township Library attn: Historical Society. We would especially love any photos of The Purple Cow, the circular ramp, and any of the other stores that you might have. Copies of old brochures also welcome - either hard copy or digital copies.
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