Thursday, July 14, 2005

Towne East Square Mall

Wichita, Kansas. 1980

Wow, look at that! Look real close. Kids get to ride little bikes around that miniature town in the middle of the mall! Now that is really cool.

At first I thought this was a miniature golf course there, which I already thought was a neat idea for the inside of a shopping mall. But then I looked closer and realized it's actually a miniature tricycle riding course! That's even better. I can't imagine they still have this there.

Current website.


Blogger thatbradguy said...

no.. it's not.

Thu Jul 14, 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Don't you know there are hundreds of people who have cherished memories of riding around that little track.

The music at their website is hypnotic...must shop...must shop...must shop...

Thu Jul 14, 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Or Samba.

Thu Jul 14, 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Classic said...

_Erin Mills Town Centre from the early 90s in west Mississauga (Toronto, ON) originally featured a mini golf centre area. The courses were designed like real golf holes with bunkers.

Fri Jul 15, 07:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Wichita, and on the rare occasions someone from my family would drive me "clear over to the East side" I would marvel at this Mall.

At noontime that center court area was the setting for "Kaleidoscope" our local noontime show -- sort of like a booring version of Entertainment Tonight.
The host was named Gene RUMP

Wed Jul 27, 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger ZenDeaux said...

Wonderful way to reconnect with the feelings and thoughts of the good ole days...the days of first color t.v.'s and bucket seats in cars.

I appreciate your wonderful site. It is like a site showing medieval monasteries...or castles of Europe, only the objects of interest are much finer, finer than a diner in Carolina!

You go man! Do it! Thanks from all the monks at the mall!

Thu Aug 11, 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved to Wichita (well, really Derby) in 1986 and used to hang out at Towne East Mall. In 1986 there was no tricycle course.

I spent my weekend evenings at the arcade in Towne East until some chick named Tina from Andover beat me up in the parking lot for talking to a guy named Roger from Rosehill. After that I stuck to the dirt road parties on 99 and only went to the mall when my parents were buying me something, or later, when I worked on the Fashion Board at Dillards.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Fri Aug 12, 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous paul said...

Ideal for kids ... are the little bikes free?

Thu Aug 25, 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Geeko Suave said...

Gene Rump wasn't the only host, remember Mogie Langston?

Tue Jul 04, 02:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Steven Wilson said...

I went to Towne East Square around 1980 or so and bought this same post card there. The tricycle course was not there at the time. I had the impression from my visit that the platform in the center court was used for a variety of temporary exhibits or promotional events. Even from viewing the post card back then, I had the impression that the tricycle course had just been one of those temporary setups. It might have originally been a permanent thing, but it was already gone by the time of my visit, which was in the era just following the date that the post card shot must have been taken. Other tenants that I remember offhand included Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, The Orange Bowl, Swiss Pretzel, Karmelkorn, and The Wild Pair. I still have photos from that visit and the mall directory, too.

Tue Jul 11, 04:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great picture!! I grew up two blocks east of this mall and I remember when it looked like this!! Yes, where the tricycle course was set up - this spot was used for many things. They did broadcast a noon t.v. show daily there for some years. Now it doesn't look like this - but that photo sure brings back a lot of good times. I spent a lot of time hangin' out at the mall on Friday nights with my best friend, Jamie Bell!! That was about 30 years ago. :)

Mon Dec 18, 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon. from Wichita-

Gene Rump, the host of "Kaleidoscope", ended up in Mississippi where he worked for a few different stations. For the past few years, he has worked at the public tv station, MPB. When he arrived in Mississippi, the owner of the small station told him that "Rump" would not work as the name of an anchorman. Since then, he has gone by "Gene Edwards". He's a very good interviewer, BTW.

Wed Dec 20, 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also from Wichita and that brings back fond memories as a little girl at the mall. They tore down that whole stage/platform/whateveryoucallit in the 80's and turned it into a food court. I never thought I'd ever see a photo of that stage again!

Fri Dec 22, 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim Peters said...

During my time on the radio in Wichita, we used that stage area in the middle of Towne East for many things, most memorable being the St. Jude Radiothon when I was with KEYN. We also used it to dump out a bunch of entries onto listeners waiting on the floor below. One thing we overlooked was that all the entries came out of the box in one big lump and crushed several people below. No lawsuits. Many great memories!

Fri Jan 05, 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember that staging area. We lived out of the county so it was rare when I got to go to Towne East and by the time we'd get there (close to closing time usually!), the various tv shows were done for the day.

Gene Rump was also a radio guy, I think for KAKE's own radio station at the time. Had a show called Gene-Rump-In-The-Morning the way they said it, real fast... surprised to hear he is in Mississippi with a different name. He's such a small guy but very easy to listen to, very nice.

Seems like he'd be talking about "Two Flags over Kechi" and other fictitious attractions located at various suburban towns... kept everyone laughing!

I remember the Farrell Ice cream and the Orange Julius place too.

The tricycle thing? I think it was there but we just never got to hang out during the times when that was set up. They had different things going on up there all the time - some of it daily, some of it weekly... it varied.

Seems like I heard of a wedding being done up there once too???

Oh and someone mentioned Mogie Langston - she is the sister of one of our local politicians, I think Betsy Gwinn?? Seems like there was also news of a particular (ahem!) video tape that Mogie and her husband made of their (ahem!) "private festivities", and some how that video got released at one of the video stores....

Sun Jun 03, 01:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that her husband? Looked more tan than she was. And he taped over a March of Dimes fund raiser she had hosted.

Tue Jun 12, 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone remember when the Mogie video was?

Fri Jul 27, 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I was flying for the KANG in '93 when we took Mogie up in the backseat of an F-16 after she came back to town. We had to send her up with one of the only guys in the unit who never looked at the tape. The rest of us checked it out in the late 80's / early 90's as I recall...but it was a copy of a copy of a copy......though she was still worth the look.

Sun Aug 26, 01:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This photo doesn't show the wonderful waterfalls that cascaded down from stairways and under walkways into the lower level pool with small fountians. All part of that central stage area. As I remember, there were restrooms and a few small businesses under the stage (one store, Jewel Chest, can be seen in the photo). The businesses probably didn't get much traffic and never seemed to last too long.

Tue Sep 25, 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, that stage is also where you could find Santa Clause every December. Once, Jerry Lewis was supposed to come to a specialtelevised telethon but the roumor is that they wouldn't let him smoke on stage and he canceled. They had erected long transparant pipes from the top level down to the stage for people to put coins in.

Tue Sep 25, 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the grand opening was held. Ed Macman was the host.When the Eagle took a picture for the paper my mother and my Aunt were with him, On the front page no less! Boy that was a while back.

Thu Oct 04, 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the 70's I was invited to come to KAKE to perform on the Kalideoscope program. Gene Rump and Mogi Langston were hosts of the program. Many times the show was broadcast from the Town East Mall and I was always thrilled to perform there. Gene, Mogi, and John Leavitt (music director) became friends and we did many other engagements together. I am pleased to learn the whereabouts of Gene. He is the one who gave me the title "The Singing Rancher From Cedar Point". I miss those days of which I have only good memories.

Fri Dec 07, 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Wichita as well. I thought that Gene Rump might have changed his last name for another reason (to hide from his ex-wife's lawyers). He did magic shows around the area, and decided to engage in "extra-curricular" activities with his assistant.

Wed Dec 19, 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My old boss (a wonderful woman named Michelle Sullender) was, for a time, the Marketing Director of Towne East in the '80s. I remember a story she told about this platform...she once held a break-dancing contest on it - which was so popular the platorm quickly became overcrowded, and the event was eventually shut down by the police or the city inspectors...and all the dancers and attendees sent packing! Hard to imagine break dancing drawing crowds like that these days - this was probably 1983 or 1984.

Tue Jun 03, 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Wichita, but like someone else said, we didn't get to that side of town unless we had company because it was too far to drive! LOL

I'd love to see the original map of the mall. I work at the Disney Store and have been curious what was there before us. We've been there for 15 years but unfortunately we will close our doors on June 22, 2008 for the last time.

Thu Jun 12, 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Wichita, went to Towne East throughout my childhood & teenage years, and worked at Cricket Alley in high school. The best part about the mall was the fact that each storefront had its own totally unique look. Now they all look the same. If anyone has photos from the '70s or '80s, please post them! I know many people would love to see them. Here are the stores I remember that are now gone: Henry's, Musicland, Camelot, Wild Pair, Hotline, County Seat, Stuart's, Lerner, Mr. Dunderbak's, Orange Julius, Hot Dog on a Stick, Taco Tico, Le Mans (arcade), Shirt Shack, Arby's, Stride Rite shoes, Paul Harris, Wyatt's cafeteria, Milady's Trunk, Mr. Bojangles (cheap jewelry). Does anyone remember the name of that toy store across from Le Mans?

Fri Nov 21, 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mogie Langston sex tape was NOT with her husband. I was a teenager when it came out and knew the girl whose father is in the tape with Mogie. A bunch of kids were hanging out at the girl's dad's house (her parents were divorced) and the boys found the tape and stole it. That's how the copies got out into the public. It was such an extreme scandal back then, before every celebrity had a sex tape and flaunted it. How times have changed...

Fri Nov 21, 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other 80's stores... Benetton, Cricket Alley, Ziggy's, World Bazaar, Chess King, Oak Tree, The Tinderbox, The Limited, Privy Shoppe, Cookie Factory, Spencer's Gifts.

Fri Nov 21, 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does anyone remember the name of that toy store across from Le Mans?"

I think it was "Toys by Roy" - a really cool "L"-shaped store with two entrances.

Fri Aug 21, 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How nice to hear everyone talking about Towne East Mall memories. We did the K-Scope show there for three years! Met many wonderful and talented performers and did some great stunts...including an Easter Egg toss and Jello diving! No, I didn't leave town because of my ex-wife and yes, I did change my on-air name in order to become a news anchor. I'm presently enjoying creating programming for PBS and playing golf! Gene Rump

Thu Oct 15, 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool to see a comment by Gene Rump!

Here's another artifact of the 70's - note the stylish ashtray/trash can combo at the bottom of the stairs in the lower-left corner of the photo.

Mon Oct 19, 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was going to WSU, getting my music degree, I used to be the drummer on "KAKE Kaleidescope." I worked with both Mogie and Gene one week a month (I think) when we did the show from Towne East. That was local television, let me tell you. Gene Rump was a smooth professional (a great presenter, a skill he developed as a magician), and Mogie was always just Mogie: a nice lady that could have a chat with just about anyone. I recall that she invitied everyone involved with the show to her home for a party once, and although I was by far the youngest of the party attendees, she was cordial and nice and saw to it that I felt right at home. NIce lady, really.

P.S. Where can I get THE video?!

Sat Nov 21, 12:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What year does this store first opened on ? I couldnt find it anywhere on my site on this. Thanks.


Sun Mar 14, 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Jennie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tue May 18, 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the waterfalls at Towne East. I also remember getting an extra large jug of industrial strength laundry detergent one night and dumping it into the water. Came back a while later and it looked like something out of a movie with the foam everywhere, lol.

Sat Jul 23, 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Disciple said...

I used to work at Bakers shoes, and used to buy too many clothes from Silverman's, lower level near JC Penney. Henry's was one of the first anchor stores, and Jeannie's Beautiful People Places was one of the hair chain tenants. How much time I used to waste there when I wasn't going to class at Wichita State!

Wed Jul 27, 08:36:00 AM  
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Wed Sep 21, 11:19:00 AM  
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Thu Mar 01, 12:18:00 AM  
Anonymous TBoysis said...

I worked at the Towne East Square Mall in 1976 & 1977 at an arcade; the tricycle course was not there at that time. What was there, at that time, was tons of teenagers! me being one of them.

Amazing memories. Thank you.

Wed Apr 04, 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bryan Holcomb said...

I grew up in Wichita in the 80's. If I remember right the picture is showing a bike safety course that the mall featured as a seasonal thing.

Fri Aug 10, 04:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Ron W said...

Another store was the Southwestern Bell Phone Center Store. I worked there for several years in the early 80's. Good times!

Tue Oct 16, 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Miele said...

I was the manager of Chess King in 1979-1980, transferred from New York to Wichita,then from Wichita to Colorado Springs--Tony Miele

Sat Mar 08, 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at Towne East very briefly at Team Electronics, a stereo store. Then, Argus Audio hired me. This was probably in 1977. I don't remember that bike track.

Sun Mar 09, 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm yes it is

Thu Jul 17, 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you kind of got it right regarding Jerry Lewis and his proposed visit to Wichita -- yep, they had set up Center Court, as they called it, as a large stage and had these crazy pipes where people could put change in to donate money (for, I assume Muscular Dystrophy?). At that time, there was a very vocal anti-smoking group called GASP (this was before it was cool to be anti-smoking) that had threatened to arm people with long range squirt guns at the event. Rumor had it that as soon as Jerry Lewis lit up at the event, GASP members were instructed to simultaneously snuff out the cigarette. This apparently scared Lewis away from the event and he cancelled. Towne East was bitter sweet for me and other Wichitans. We had come of age with a modern "Big Mall," but it marked the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of retail in downtown. It was not long after that mall opened that we lost the grand stores in downtown -- Innes/Macy's/Dillards, JC Penney, Henry's. It was a fun place to visit but never had the same thrill as being downtown during the Christmas season.

Fri Aug 15, 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in Wichita in the early and mid 70's. My parents and I lived next door to Gene and his family. His son was my age so we played together a lot. I believe his sons name was Chris, if I remember correctly. Anyway we lived on the West side of Wichita, which was pretty new at the time. I remember Gene and his family being very nice people. Wow that was a long time ago. I have driven past West 9th street, where we lived and everything looks pretty much the same. The trees have just gotten much bigger. Well just thought I would share that.

Sun Feb 01, 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger humanzee said...

Love reading the comments, what great memories. I worked there in the early 90s at the county seat and the movie theater that was in the parking lot. Town East was the place to be. Haha. Or at least I thought so. Orange Julius, Sabarros Pizza, a great old sports memorabilia store. Bought my first pager there (cmon early 90s!).

Wed Jun 15, 08:49:00 PM  

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