Vintage photos of lost Shopping Malls of the '50s, '60s & '70s
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posted by Keith @ 7/05/2005
Had to add this... For some reason, this shot reminds me of something right out of an old David Cronenberg movie. Sort of has that look to it. (fellow horror fans might get this)Just wanted to get that off my chest.
The look of that photo has changed a lot from 1968. there is a Merry go round in that wing (The Sears Wing) today.
I wept. My first mall as a boy.
There has been some minor updating since this photo. Otherwise, the mall is mostly unchanged today. The only thing that keeps this mall going is the large movie theater at one end. It's one of the largest if not the largest in the Philadelphia area.
Wow! Now THAT's a blast from the past! I grew up in Bucks County, and my Mom worked at Neshaminy Mall when it opened in 1967, at O'Niell's Stationary & Gifts. The Mall ALWAYS had that eerie "Grey Glow" from the skylights that were (and are still, so I'm told) built into the roof. No matter what time of year, or the weather - the interior was this Ghostly Grey. Still, as Malls go- THIS one was the bomb - and while it's almost doubled in size from what it's original plans were in the 60's and 70's - it remains a decent mall, that's easy to get to from just about anywhere. IF you go - One item in particular of ghoulish interest was always the 5 or 6 windows outside of Strawbridge's that depict the key moments of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence. (WHAT that has/had to do with Neshaminy - which was an Indian Tribe native to the area I still don't know!) The windows house life-sized figures of Colonialists in period dress, and were once mechanized to move back and forth. It was scary when it was new..and as they aged, and Geo.Washington's hair began to wobble as he was signing said declaration it got even scarier!Such fond memories! I'll have to trek back to see if they're all still there!
Yes, this mall has changed. I worked there in the 80's when I was in college. They ripped out all that park type brick work and the trees. The only greenery that survived was the fountain in front of Strawbridges. They got rid of the horrible skylights that cast a horrible glow on everything and everyone-as you can tell from the picture. The many fountains are gone. A funny side-bar: they replaced the flooring in the 80's...quite an expansive project. However, no one bothered to test the new ceramic tile prior to installing it and found out that when wet, this stuff was TREACHEROUS. Needless to say, within 6 months of the overhaul, the darn flooring was ripped up AGAIN and replaced with something that was not so lawsuit friendly. Some of the stores that were there in the 80's which have disappeared were: Anderson Little, Bavarian Pretzel, Thom McAn, Bakers Shoes, Burts Shoes, County Seat, Jekyl & Hyde; The Wall, Marianne, Fashion Bug, Fannie May, Pomeroys, Woolworths, Roy Rogers, Dunkin Donuts, Fluff n Stuff, The Pampered Pup, Joann Fabrics.
I commented on this site about Oxford Valley Mall, and now I will comment about Neshaminy. I live about 5mins from this mall today. Yes, the eery skylights are gone and unfortunately so are most of the shrubberies. :( The Strawbridge & Clothier(now a Macy's) still has the windows with the scenes depicting the Declaration of Independence signing. I've never seen them move, though! I wish they still had those display scene mechanicized. What's also interesting, is the former S&C has a second floor(even though it's a 1-floor mall) with a balcony that overlooks the mall and the still-existing fountain. However, the balcony has been closed off to the public for years now...I'm guessing it got shut off when May Co. bought out S&C? It sucks when traditions like that are ruined!From what I gather, its original anchors were Sears, Strawbridge & Clothier, and then Pomeroy's(?). I think the Pomeroy's became a Bon Ton, then finally a Boscov's. The S&C became Strawbridge's when bought out by May Co. in 1996, and now is (unfortunately) a stupid Macy's. I think the Sears was always a Sears, but I might be wrong. Someone correct me if I am.In 1998, an enormous movie theater with stadium seating was built on the side of the mall directly in between Boscov's and Sears. As a result, a new wing of the mall was built to connect the Sears wing to the new movie theater. Before, the mall was shaped like an L; now, it is shaped like a rigid U. There is a bar called Manny Brown's nearby the movie theater for the alcoholics to hang at if they're tired of waiting for you to get done your shopping(inside joke). They used to set up a Halloween haunted house walk-thru exhibit across from Manny Brown's during Halloween time.What I like about Neshaminy Mall, is that it is not too big and it has an interesting assortment of stores. Plus, it is closeby! This mall boasts mainstream popular stores such as Hot Topic or Friendly's Ice Cream or Express, however it also has small private-owned stores. For example, in the "Bsocov's wing," there is a pretty cool furniture store that sells contemporary, retro style furniture. In the "movie theater wing," there used to be a cool Indian shop that sold elaborate, beaded Indian-style halter tops and incense. That store, however, closed. It seems like a lot of the little stores are closing and getting replaced by mainstream chains, such as Coldstone Ice Cream. To be honest, I don't see the mall staying successful in 20 years time...it has the same exact stores as the nearby Oxford Valley Mall, but Oxford Valley is much bigger. I agree that the movie theater is what's holding the mall together. Hopefully it will not become a "dead mall," because I like this place! :)
When the Boscovs addition wing was built the Boscovs was then a Lit Brothers. It was Lit Brothers finest stores. Unfortunately about a year later the Lit Brothers chain closed. None of the future stores at that location could match the beauty or style of that original store.
I moved into Bensalem Township in 1967, just as Neshaminy Mall was being built. This mall was always a great place to go, I grewup at this mall. Down thru the years it changed alot, stores came and went.The Sears store has been there since the beginning. The AMC teater draws alot of people to the mall, and the surrounding area has a couple of shopping centers along with a number of resturants that have opened up the last few years. I miss the mall, since I moved from Bensalem to New Hampshire in 2006. Good luck Neshaminy Mall
does anyone remember the name of the store, very similar to a Spencers (posters, lava lamps, x-rated gag gifts that use to be in the mall?
The mechanical scenes were eerie as hell. The best one being Ben Franklin's kite flying electricity experiment. There was a lil stream of electricity that went to the key tied to the kite.I would KILL for a picture of the mural painted inside the old Pampered Pup. It was a scene of a parade, and leading the parade was a puppy being carried on a velvet pillow with a crown on his head. I guess the artist imagined that is what a pampered pup would look like.The Space Port was the place to hang if you were 'cool'. Shootin' pinball on the Xenon, or playing Defender. Plastic Goody comb tucked away in your tube sock. It was dark in there, and had actual space ports built into the ceiling.I believe the place that was like Spencer's, was in fact Spencers.
Before S&C changed to Strawbridges the balcony that over looks the mall was actually a resturant.
Neshaminy Mall… where to start? How about taking a late-70s/early 80s trip with me from one end to the other?Space Port Arcade. Dark and lively at the same time. Spy Hunter. Dragon’s Lair. No skee-ball/treasure crane crap in here! Are we playing in an spaceship air-lock or a submarine? Strategically located across from the Neshaminy Twin Theater. Even had the “Space Port Annex”, a collection of 5 or 6 arcade games located outside the…Pampered Pup. Yellow and red - the colors of mustard and ketchup. Handsome cartoonish mural depicting blue-blooded beagle on a pillow of velvet. Well stocked assortment of hotdog condiments, ICEE machines, and SuperPretzels. Even had the popular vending machine that dispensed plastic eggs from an animatronic chiken.Doctor’s Pet Store. Small, dingy, and always crowded – with pets and pedophiles alike! Looked more like a kennel, thanks to the shredded newspaper window displays and wire cages. Small animal and dark, creepy aquarium sections, too. Anyone for fighting betas and parakeets? Sears and Roebuck. Craftsman, Kennmore, and Piñatas? That’s right. The snack counter to the rear of the store always had 3 or 4 for sale. I never knew Bensalem had such and underground Mexican population… then! They used to have a pretty sizable display of Atari home gaming consoles that I would spend a lot of time at... until that Adam Walsh kid was abducted in a similar manner in that made-for-tv movie!Things Remembered kiosk. Monograms on cheap brass. Who buys that stuff?Roy Rogers restaurant. Free fixins’ buffet, including all-you-can-eat raw onion, tomato, and lettuce-like stuff.Woolworth’s. Snack counter AND a full service restaurant to tempt your taste buds. In my late teens, I earned a job at the snack counter; hustling hot dogs, pretzels, and TangoWhip. Earned it by filling the margins of the ‘arithmetic’ test with algebra formulas and trigonometric postulates. The senior citizen HR staff must have stamped my application with “future leader of the firm”.Fluff N’ Stuff kiosk. My first encounter with Hello Kitty.Lenni Lenape, the fountain Indian. The tireless ambassador for the mall, always stopping to take in the carefully manicured faux fauna and babbling brook, and reaching in to the copper coin spotted water to wet his whistle on “Neshaminy punch”. I guess he was all out of firewater…Strawbridge & Clothier. The mall anchor bearing the name of Quaker dry goods merchants. Two items of interest: the balcony and the dioramas. The balcony housed a restaurant which was accessed via an undisclosed portal. (You think that had something to do with it never quite catching on as an eating destination?) The dioramas depicted papier mache scenes from early Revolutionary American history that were tied to the Delaware Valley. To the best of my memory, here’s what they contained: (1) William Penn (of nearby Middletown) swindling the Indians out of Pennsylvania for some cheap beads. (2) Washington freezing his buns off at Valley Forge, including a comrade’s frostbitten amputated foot. (3) Signing of some important colonial document. (4) Soliders fighting over a hedgerow outside a house. (5) Washington Crossing the Delaware at (conveniently named) Washington Crossing, PA. (6) Ben Franklin inventing (!!!) electricity at nearby Growden Mansion. The dioramas used to light up and move every hour, on the hour, in an effort to keep shoppers in the mall just a little bit longer. Eat your heart out Disney!Buster Brown Shoes. A cool little tugboat in the middle of the store had an enclosed aquarium.Café Riviera. Dimly lit pizzeria and cafeteria-style restaurant. Arguably some of the best pizza in the area. Faux pantry items (cheese, olive oil, giant salami logs) adorned the entry foyer and cafeteria line – Neshaminy Mall’s Italian answer to Oxford Valley’s Mr. Dunderbak’s.Bar (unknown name). Located near the back entrance/bus stop and across from the Gap. A bar in the mall? Really? It wasn’t until years later I realized how cool this idea really was…Smoke shop. Originally a mecca for pipe and tobacco lovers, the fall of “Big Tobacco” was the death knell for this joint. They tried to hang on by peddling beer steins, pewter figurines, and imitation Swarovski. It wasn’t long before that idea burned out.Bavarian Pretzel. In a suburb of a city known for its knotted dough, there stood the McDonald’s of pretzels, strategically placed at opposite end of the mall from SuperPretzel peddlers, Pampered Pup and Woolworth’s. Overpriced pretzels, cheese whiz, and spicy mustard. Irresistable, and convenient to nearbby window shopping at…Neshaminy Stamps and Coin. Relic shrine to forgotten hobbies. Temptress of all your numismatic needs and philatelic passions. Whoever was able to save up that $17.99 for the “1/25th scale replica of US coins” set, got a big deal on some tiny tin.
Bavarian Pretzel still exists at the mall as a stand between the furniture store (former location of The Wall/FYE) and Rave, which recently closed.Does anyone remember Caplan's? I frequented their play area while my mom was shopping there.
Kaplan's kids clothing store... Besides using their indoor playground, I think you could get a haircut in there too, right?
I grew up there as well. I visited the mall a few years ago and tried to get some pictures of the dioramas but they didn't turn out. I emailed the mall customer service folks and they emailed me pictures of them (which I thought was awesome for them to do).I'm sure they'd do the same for you :)Wasn't there a pizza place just around the corner from the dioramas?
Wow, great memories, especially the Pampered Pup. When the mall first opened, the anchor stores were Sears at one end and Strawbridge's at the other. There were two wings off the main court of the mall. The one by Sears ended with a much smaller twin movie theater, The AMC Premier, off to the side next to the Pampered Pup. Remember the Kinder Photo between the Pampered Pup and The original Space Port? In the mid seventies they extended the wing at the Strawbridge's end which originally ended where the bus stop is. The Anchor store was originally a Lit Brothers (now Boscovs). My fondest memory was a huge Hot Wheels race they staged in front of Woolworth's. The track was about eight lanes wide and about 50 feet long. Very cool! I also remember seeing my first home video system in Sears- Pong. Sears always had a great toy section with a model train display at Christmas time. I have some pictures of car show from Oct. 1972. I'll see if I can scan and post them.
I remember Eating in the restaurant in the balcony of Strawbridges with my mother when I was really little. I remeber it had this bright green carpet and hideous frosted glass globe lights. If you go upstairs they still have the ables and stuff stucked away where the restaurant doors were, but the balcony is creepy as anything now to look at. We would throw coins in the fountian that had a bronze statue of a Neshaminy Indian at the top. There was an old fashioned candy counter behind the Indian fountian near the entrance to Strawbridges. I cant believe how many memories were brought up in the comments. Thanks!
There have been demolition rumores for years now, as with Franklin Mills, even though the mall is in fine shape. I fear it won't be soon, however. Boscov's is probably the biggest draw to the mall besides the movie theatre, and they filed Chapter 11 in October. They closed recently-opened stores at Oxford Valley and Montgomery (as well as many others in the Mid-Atlantic) and from what I hear they're still not doing well. If they pull out of Neshaminy, it will be a big hit to the mall.The perfect storm would be if Macy's pulled out also, which is possible because: 1) it's a store that's a bit too upscale for this mall, which is become dirtier by the day and 2) there's already (and has been since 1986) a Macy's at Oxford Valley Mall.I was reallu surprised to see Neshaminy looking so cold and dreary with so much shrubbery, today it's a wide white-washed hallway packed with kiosks and uncomfortable red benches. For the most part, the mall looks nice and new, although it's becoming more and more full of "city trash" every day, as at least a dozen SEPTA bus routes dump every kind of creature at the mall. Not to mention how Mexican/Indian Bensalem has gotten lately.Still a cool mall though, the outside doors of Sears still have "Sears, Roebuck & Company" printed on them.And the former "totem pole pylon" that looks over Route 1 is still in existence, although it's now just a "Neshaminy Mall" pylon.One question, however. Someone on this blog mentioned the mall opening in 1967. Wikipedia, and GGP's website, claim 1968, but the corner stone between Macy's and the Food Court reads "1967". Does anyone know when Neshaminy really opened?
Ryan wrote: "...it's becoming more and more full of "city trash" every day, as at least a dozen SEPTA bus routes dump every kind of creature at the mall. Not to mention how Mexican/Indian Bensalem has gotten lately."Oh, like it was a cultural mecca when it had the Pampered Pup and Hickory Farms. Your inane (and, yes, racist) comment twists the benign nostalgia of this site into something genuinely unpalatable.
I'm sorry that I offended anyone with my comment on this blog, but I must point out that I did not, nor did I intend to, say anything derogatory about any specific race. I was simply describing the somewhat declining (at least in my opinion) beauty of Neshaminy Mall.I;m not a frequent reader/poster to MOA, but Neshaminy Mall is within walking distnace of my house and I decided to summarize the malls' current condition.
"Not to mention how Mexican/Indian Bensalem has gotten lately."You fail to see that this is a racist comment? And it almost sounds even worse when you go on to put it in the context of the mall "fading." As if to say that Indians and Mexicans have somehow detracted from the mall. I'm sorry - maybe you didn't mean it that way, but that is what I gathered.
If anyone has any photos of Neshaminy Mall back in the day, please scan them and post them? I am trying to collect as many as possible and they are not easy to find.Not sure if anyone answered this but the bar that was in the mall was called Corky's.
I moved to that area in November 1967 and i know it was open for the Christmas season that year.
I remember going to the grand opening, one of my earliest memories. I was only 3 or 4, in a stroller/cart thing and they were giving out balloons in front of Woolworth's. It was 1967 or 1968 because we lived in Churchville. Over the next few years we went every Friday night and I have very fond memories of eating at the restaurant overlooking the mall at Strawbridge's. It WAS green, and I recall yellow carpet. The photo here is exactly like I remember the mall, dark and cool. I forgot all about the Pampered Pup mural; thanks to all of you for jogging my memory. I can smell the mustard! I am convinced my interest in history was piqued early on by those freaky dioramas. The George Washington one was a fave. I used to make my dad sit and wait with me for them to play again. Wow! Thank you all so much for the memories.
My first mall memories. The dogs at Pampered Pup,? I think that was the name, fostered a love of hot dogs I will never shake. The mustard there was supernatural. Spaceport.
Thanks for the memorys everyone. My funniest memory was when I was a senior Archbishop Ryan highschool in 1978. Me and a few friends had a great idea to suds the fountain in front of Boscov's. We bought some dish detergent fron Woolworths and poured it in a soda cup. One of the guys "accidentally" knocked the cup in by one of the water intakes. None of us calculated hew fast it would take to foam up. Within about a minute the foutain was gushing foam. We got paranoid and wanted to split but the crowd got big very quickly some just mingled in with it. To this day when we get together someone always brings it up. We try not to gove our kids any ideas but it was kind of a right of passage. If anybody reading this was their please leave a comment.Thanks
You mentioned getting a haircut at Kaplan's. Well I was a stylist there in the mid/late-80's!!!! I was actually the manager of two girls at one point!!!! I was 21-22 at most. I remember a girl named Lisa that worked with me (she was a nice girl). I also worked at the Kaplan's salon in Oxford Valley mall. Funny thing after 20+ years... I am back to cutting kids hair!!! No pictures of the mall. But my boyfriend and I, now husband, had our picture taken at Woolworth's! Loved that store! No one mentioned SOFRO! It was a fabric store near Pomeroy's! Oh, my friend was a stylist there for a time in the 80's!!! Thanks for the site!
Does anyone remember the candy stand inside of Sears and what year it may have closed?
HELP! I have found memories of the restaraunt above Strawbridges and Clothier. I went there with my mom and grandmom. My mom seems to think it was called "something" room. Does anyone know the actual name of the restaraunt and does anyone have any photos of it? Tnanks!
Hot Shoppe anyone?
I remember the Mall from the begining since I watched it being build from my High School desk(s) at Neshaminy High - on the other side of the valley. I came back from College before Thanksgiving in 1968 and met up with my high school friends there, I felt sad because I was "flunking out" but pulled through. My Mother got a part-time job at Strawbridge & Clothier in Notions around the same time and worked for 20 years. The next Summer of Woodstock, I worked at Polly Brothers Sporting Goods store and didn't have a car yet, so I didn't go. I pass by the Mall now but almost never go in.
Many childhood memories of this iconish mall as I also see for others, as well. Funny part about in what I remember the most were the eateries than the Childhood favorite hangouts like The Pampered Pup, Space Port or Sears Toy Store. Regarding restaurants, where Hot Shoppes once existed, does anyone remember New York Steakhouse? Or, Woolworth's Harvest House? Does anyone remember the furniture store that once stood where currently Café Riviera stands? Was about the same time before Corky's folded. Or, Sears Cafeteria where currently Lawn & Garden department exists? I don't recall if Pomeroy's ever had a restaurant nor Lit Brothers, if going back to the very beginning of time. Should anyone know the answer could you please post a comment. Thanks so much. Enjoyed all those other postings by others, by the way.
Cafe Riviera is the italian restaurant that has been there since 1980, before that a Singer Sewing Machine store was in this location. The other pizza place was Pizza Zeppole - near the York Steak house entrance. Pizza Zeppole is still in the same place but the food court has sprung up around it now.The mall is actually not in decline at all- it is one of the busiest malls in the area, you can never find a parking spot. The Mall management is good with creating attractions by inviting famous ball players to sign autographs or setting up collectors' stands.
Lot of fun reading this. I used to work at the Hot Shoppes and it was a lot of fun. I remember also what others are calling Corky's. I remember it as the Cork and Crown. Also remember the mall cops chasing kids off the brick wall planters shown in the pic.
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great mall to pick up hot chicks and milfs bacvk in the day!
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