Monday, September 05, 2005

Metro Center Mall

Phoenix, Arizona - late '60s

"Nirvana for the passionate shopper!" Someone here recently requested Metro Center pix, so here they are. Enjoy!

Metro Center's current website.


Blogger Mitch Glaser said...

Thanks for posting this, Keith! Metrocenter was my favorite mall when I was growing up in Phoenix in the 1980's. It was extensively remodeled circa 1993...but I'll always remember it as it looks in this postcard.

A bit of trivia: 1) the first mall in the country with 5 department stores and 2) featured in the movie "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" as the "San Dimas Mall."

Tue Sep 06, 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kangoon said...

Just like the little pin I got at the General Motor's Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair said; "I have seen the future"!!

Mon Sep 26, 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fyi - metrocenter was not even around in the 60's...i believe it was built in the 70's. prior to that it was all desert and we used to ride our motorcycles there...there were many tracks and jumps.

Fri Dec 02, 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Trimac20 said...

Indeed it was opened in 1973 (According to Wikipedia) so the photo could not have been taken in the late 60s. Also a question to Keith, just wondering how you date the sources/photos and why you don't have to exact year (instead of say, the '60s') for many of them. Would you base many on estimates?

Mon Dec 26, 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES! This pic sure does bring back memories! I grew up over on 43rd and Northern and we practicaly lived at Metro! I won a Clown dress-up contest in the late 70's for Broadway Southwest and got passes to the Shriners Circus! I was real bumbed out when the took out the ice skating rink!!! I take my kids shopping there nowadays...not the same...

Tue Feb 06, 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pictures of Metor center really brings back memories. the architecture was very futuristic, and the food court which was located above the ice rink had an airline theme to it. The pizza there was some of the best I ever tasted. One of the major attraction for me was the toy store- Toys by Roy.

Fri Mar 02, 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Metro Center was so cold inside... I couldn't wait to go back out into the 100 degree summer heat! Anyone remember Bagatelle?

Sun Mar 04, 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger agilitynut said...

Does anyone know anything more about the white building in the distance? I believe it was a bank and would love to confirm that. It would be great to know when it was built and the original business name. It is now "Souper Salad":

Thu May 24, 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a bank. However, I don't remember the name.

Mon May 28, 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone have any pictures of the Golf & Stuff. Please post them.

Mon May 28, 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two years late to the comments but I can answer the question: That building was indeed originally a bank (well, savings and loan) by the name of Western Savings.

Wed Oct 03, 04:09:00 AM  
Anonymous discount nail care products said...

It was a BIG DEAL! The crowds were unbelieveable! There used to be a Safeway store in front-next to Sears. It didn't last long there.

Wed Apr 28, 11:14:00 AM  
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Blogger bdf5 said...

I believe it was Great Western Bank

Thu Dec 01, 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger bdf5 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thu Dec 01, 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the tragic incident in 1977 when that lady committed suicide by diving off the walkway overpass and landing headfirst on to the ice rink below? I used to take ice skating lessons there and saw it happen. I was 6 yrs old at the time and still have the images vivid in my memory. I know it made the news, and is still remembered by people who were here in Phx back then. Because i was so young, i never saw any coverage on it but have always been curious as to what all was reported on it.

Sun May 04, 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in the Continental Homes division 3/4 of a mile due west of MetroCenter since June 1971. It was interesting to watch as the land was cleared and "clean" fill dirt was piled up and "tamped" down to build the 'hill' that was excavated for Metro's foundation. I remember the mall opening in 1973 and I worked at several places in there from 1974 to 1981: Wyatt's Cafeteria (upper level, east entrance next to Sears), Goldwater's, Waldenbooks (lower level, across from Goldwater's), and ToyWorld (lower level, just east of the inside mall entrance to Sears).
How many people remember "The Alley"? It was a collection of 'unusual' little shops {kind of like an antique mall set-up} with one entrance just down from Wyatt's and before the shoe store at the corner. The layout basically surrounded that shoe store since the other Alley entrance was just past the shoe store in the 'main' mall section. The one little shop I remember was a "Lotions & Potions."
My last job there was in the management training program at ToyWorld in 1980. The reason why I left was that I was given the manager position of the ToyWorlds at ChrisTown Mall (interim only) and then Thomas Mall (permanent).
Living this close to Metro, I've seen how it began, blossomed, and has stumbled. Unfortunately, after it first hit the skids in the late 1980s, I found that I rarely went there -- whether to shop, see a movie, or just look around. Ever since the late 1990s, it's extremely rare if I go there even once a year -- too many stores are closed and the ones that are there seem to give the mall a "discount store" atmosphere (at least in my mind).
As for remodeling or renovations, the first one actually occurred around 1980. It wasn't a major one, but a lot of the square edges -- especially those connected to the second level walkways and the ceiling -- were rounded out, giving it a 'cloud' appearance. I happened to find an architectural rendering book of what the interior mall walk areas & ceiling would look like after the project was done. Oddly, I found the book in one of the trash compactors undamaged and decided to keep it. The project took about a year to do if I remember correctly.
The other project I remember occurred in the late 1970s when it was discovered that MetroCenter was 'sinking.' Apparently the fill dirt for the mound either hadn't totally settled or the tamping didn't completely work as expected. At most of the mall entrances, holes were drilled through so a piledriver could tamp/compact the ground even more. This project lasted a good six months, if not longer. There were times when the piledriving could be heard at my house; and the noise wasn't all that great inside the mall!
As for the 1977 suicide, I was out-of-town when it happened and when I got back, it was no longer in the news; so, I don't know how the media covered it. Unfortunately, that was not the only time someone jumped off the pass. I seem to remember several such stories from the late 1970s through the 1980s, but nothing since then. I think some kind/type of precautionary measures were taken or put into effect.
This has been an interesting walk down memory lane!
It will be interesting to see how WalMart (who is demolishing the old Broadway store at the south end and replacing it with a two-storey structure) will impact the future of MetroCenter.

Fri Aug 14, 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this image, Keith. From your scan I cannot discern what type of logo Sears used for this store, as their current typeface certainly couldn't have been the original. Can you tell my looking directly at the postcard? I have done extensive research on this and have yet to locate a reasonable photo of this Sears as it originally appeared. I would be grateful if anyone could share which logo Sears used originally? If I had to take an educated guess I would say Their classic san seriff font in the color red, in the same footprint as their current lettering. Best to all.

Fri Oct 02, 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Bartley said...

Here is a newspaper item about the 1977 suicide at Metrocenter:

Fri Oct 14, 04:12:00 PM  

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