Saturday, October 29, 2005

White Lakes Shopping Center


Topeka, Kansas - 1967

OK, This is either a space station or a shopping mall. Could be either one, couldn't it? Man, dig that crazy fountain! Nice.

And hey look, there's a pretty nifty looking bird cage over in front of Walgreens. That baby reaches all the way up to the cieling!


Click this shot for a zoomed-in view down the far end of the mall. Kinda' cool.



31 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Far out!

Sat Oct 29, 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

That Walgreen parmacy there sure has enough signs.

That seemed to be very common back then. As if people already didn't know well enough what the name of the tenant was with one sign. No, they needed TWO or more.

Sat Oct 29, 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Teresa said...

I remember this mall! I grew up in Kansas and went there quite a bit as a kid. It was the place to be, it's now a multi-use facility.

Teresa-from Connecticut via Kansas

Mon Oct 31, 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Glad that brought back some memories for ya, Teresa! :)

And thanks, as always, Chris and Matt, for the comments!

Fri Nov 11, 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger ADORIA said...

I DEFINITELY REMEMBER THIS PLACE JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TOY STORE THERE WAS A SMALL BOUTIQUE AND I GOT MY EARS PEIRCED FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN PEIRCED AGAIN. I HAVE LOTS OF MEMORIES LIKE THIS. MY AUNT WORK IN A POPULAR SALON IT WAS CALLED COMMAND PERFORMANCE. WE LOVED COMING TO THIS MALL, AND AFTER WEST RIDGE WAS BUILT WE STILL CAME HERE TO HANG AROUND. I GREW UP IN TOPEKA I HAVE JUST COME TO REALIZE I MISS IT SO MUCH...AS IT WAS THEN...

Tue May 09, 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Ah yes,the mall of my youth. I don't remember it being quite so brown. I, too, got my ears pierced at the small botique there. My strongest memory is of the constant organ music being played by a guy at the music store next to Sears.

Thu Jul 27, 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous RCHenry said...

I grew up with this mall as well. Sarah I remember the organ music too! The hobby store in the picure was the always the first stop I made when I went to WLM with my parents. That Walgreens was "L" shaped and had another entrance down the corridor to the left(off camera, with even more Walgreens signs!). Like Adoria I fondly remember my childhood in Topeka, as it was...Thanks so much for the memory jog.

Fri Oct 13, 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger mary said...

just takeing a trip down memory lane have not been back home for 18 years since i moved away to oregon. sure brings back alot of memories.

Thu May 10, 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Troy Crow said...

WLM, what a place to grow up. Far at the other end, nearest Sears, was a samll bridge over a fishpond. It was in this area that they would set-up the stage for the Marionette shows during the Christmas Season. Another "wing" ofthe mall went off from the left of Sears (from the photo point of view" where there was a barber shop and an arcade. Another thing I remember, quite odd for a mall now or then, was the Grocery store that was attached. From the photogrph point of view, if you tured 90-degrees to the left, you could walk towards glass doors. The grocery store was on the left near the mall entrance doors. You could get enter it either from the mall or through the outside. Also, all you other Topeka expatriots, does anyone remember the Town and Country Restaurant? You couldn't get to it from inside the mall. It was located on the Walgreens side but entered from outside of the mall. Best Onion Soup and Swiss Steak ever! And how about the big hill on the back side of the parking lot near Sears that led donw to the FOX theater.....Good times....

Fri Oct 26, 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, how I loved those years!! My mom was the manager of a kiosk down at the Sears end that sold jewelry, called The Gallery. Remember the Hat Box? There was a food place at the end called The Brass Rail that sold the BEST tacoburgers! My sister was a waitress at the Windjammer Inn, and I worked for years at the Town Crier Bookstore. I remember the Christmas puppet shows fondly. Oh my, I just remembered my first job out there, was renting strollers out of the customer service booth at the Penneys end, plus I made all the mall announcements over the PA! Great place to spend my youth!! Thanks for the memories.

Sat Feb 23, 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all...I grew up about an hour away from Topeka in Atchison, KS. I was born in '67 so I don't remember the way things looked in the picture, but I sure remember going to White Lakes as a kid in the '70s. As an adult I can really appreciate the amazing mid-century architecture...and as a creative-type in my adult life...how about that script signage at Sears (both inside and outside on the building...very few Sears stores had that stylish script). When I was in college in nearby Manhattan, White Lakes was still a retail powerhouse for hte most part, but when West Ridge Mall opened in 1988 it was over for White Lakes. By the time I moved to Topeka for a few years after college, in 1990, the glory years of White Lakes were over and the mall was dying a swift death. I haven't been back to Topeka since the mid-90s and have no idea what ever happened to White Lakes.

Tue Apr 08, 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Shebydoll said...

I had my first taco at this mall.
I was in 1966 and I was 8 years
old. I remember it being the best
taco I have ever had and I live
in Texas.

Fri Apr 25, 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have grown up in Topeka, and still live hear today. My Grandpa was the maintenance man for Sears until the early 1980's.

Does anyone remember Alladin's Castle? That and the fountains stand out in my memory the most. Now I mainly go to White Lakes because the DMV is there.

Sat Apr 26, 12:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, does this picture bring back memories. I grew up going to this mall. In the late 60's and early 70's it was the coolest place the whole area. Nothing like it for miles and miles around.

Thanks for the memories

Thu May 22, 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Susie said...

I grew up at White Lakes. My family owned The Hat Box and The Hat Box II. We were the "boutique" that pierced ears, located next to the Brass Rail down by Sears. My grandma, Helen Gish, started the business. She was an original tenant. Her brother, Keith Meyers, was developer and part owner of the mall and her brother-in-law, Tom Martin, owned the construction company that built the mall. My mom started working in the business after I was born. I worked there during junior high, high school and college. For ten years, three generations of us Gish/Hoffmanns worked at the shop. I ate many a taco from the Brass Rail and lots of patty melts from Sears. In fact, Darla, who worked in the Sears restaurant still works for Sears at West Ridge Mall. I have such fond memories of White Lakes. I took sewing lessons from the Singer sewing/fabric store and candy making classes upstairs at Penney's. Many years ago when they remodeled the mall and took out the bridge over the pond down by Sears, my grandma bought the bridge hand rails. My grandpa built a bridge in their backyard with the handrails. I've since bought my grandparents home and just this summer rebuilt the bridge. There were layers and layers of baby blue paint under the black paint my grandpa had painted it. Wow! The memories of White Lakes. I'd love to organize a reunion of old employees who worked out there.

Thu Dec 18, 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember it well. Falleys Grocery Store- Orange Julias, Merle Norman in the "lower level" . Joe Henry's Record Shop, Zerchers Photos, one of those photo huts and key huts near the Sears...and the Sears coffee shop at the front of the store...good times

Sun Jan 18, 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at the Walgreen's Restaurant when in High school and helped move the store and closed down the restaurant. We walked through the mall all through the night pushing carts of merchandise from one end to the other. We would see white mice running the mall no doubt decendants of Mr. Barts and Woolworths that had escaped over the years. Still make awesome Patty Melts just like I learned to make them at Walgreen's from 83-86. Really miss those days!

Mon Feb 16, 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the Hat Box! I found Monet earrings and a canvas tote bag purse to buy. I enjoyed your story about owning the Hat Box - it was a NEAT store - I wish I could have worked there! I also shopped at Dustins - GREAT SALES! I went to Stormont-Vail nursing school and spent my Saturdays at the mall. Long before that, my family drove up from Ottawa to go Christmas shopping at White Lakes - a whole day event. And then the MDA telethon took place there on Labor Day. I've since moved to St. Louis and only have memories now, but good ones! Thanks White Lakes contributors!

Fri Mar 20, 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what memories. I use to work at Joe Henry's record shop in 1977. To this day it has been one of the best experiences and fun I have ever had on a job. I had all the lastest music and everyone and I mean everyone came to this shop. I was young and cute and what a place to attract young guys.LOL...thanks for the memories...

Fri Oct 02, 12:53:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 05:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'd walk into sears from the mall entrance and suddenly the ceiling shot way up and the place was instantly huge, and against the wall were these enormous -- i mean very, very large -- animals which looked like pinatas or massive stuffed toys; hung just so they sort of leaned against that high inside wall of sears. it freaked me out every time i saw them! the fountains in the main part of the mall were really beautiful, one of those little aesthetic touches that turn what could be just a trip for shoes into a memory and an atmospheric feeling...

Fri Jan 07, 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This mall was the first in Topeka, in the early 60's, quite the place to shop.It was in this mall I stood looking out the north west door on June 8, 1966 and watched an F5 tornado rip through from southwest (over Burnetts Mound which was suppose to stop any possible tornado) to northeast not realizing until later the tiny specks in the sky were houses, cars and trees. My house was lifted up and set down slightly catty wampus on its foundation.
I cautiously found my way home having to park my car 8 blocks away and walking from Washburn campus carefully stepping over and not on downed electrical lines to find my husband and 18 month old baby safe in a neighbors basement. But the shopping at White Lakes was great...

Thu Feb 24, 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

That "bird cage" in the picture actually housed a squirrel monkey up until the mid 60's. I too grew up in Topeka, was there from 1960 to 1984. Many fond memories of Mr. Barts Toy And Hobby(they also sold pets up until the mid 60's, about the same time the mall got rid of the monkey)and the old Woolworth's store. I remember me and my mom would get fried chicken from there whenever we went(funny how it seems virtually everyone had there own restaurant back then). And getting back to that cage...I had a friend in High School whose dad ended up with it, at least he did in the early 80's. What a great time and place to be a kid...

Thu Mar 03, 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad to see this mall now... I go to B Street Design which is located on the east side of the mall. It's very ghostly if u can remember the early 90's even. I can't imagine seeing it in it's finest days. Unfortunately the owner doesn't even care enough about the building to fix areas where we have standing water from rain and snow. I do want to ask though... For those who may remember... Was there ever a modeling school here? There us huge rumor of a young lady murdered who went there and seems to like scaring some of our cosmetology girls lol.

Thu Mar 10, 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Susie said...

Yes there was a modeling school in the lower level of White Lakes. It was called Barbazon School of Modeling and was there in the early to mid 1980s. No one got murdered at White Lakes.

It is so sad to see the mall in such shabby shape. My family owned and operated a business out there for nearly 40 years. In its hay-day, White Lakes was the place to be and be seen. It was the first mall of its type in the midwest. People from Kansas City, Iowa and Nebraska came to shop at White Lakes. Back in the mid
1960s when it opened, no one had every seen anything like it in our area. Those were the days.

Fri Mar 11, 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger memories said...

I spent a lot of time at this mall growing up. I remember seeing Wizzo the Clown at his mall too, he was pretty scary up close. The bird cage had live birds at one time. My Grandmother used to work at the Falley's Grocery store on the outside of the mall. As a teen, I used to cruise the boulevard in my '71 Chevelle and turn around in the mall parking lot and then cruise back down and turn around in the Holiday Square shopping center parking lot. Good times!

Sun Aug 07, 02:21:00 PM  
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Wed Sep 21, 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad started off his career with JC Penneys here in 1964 in management. Met and married my mom who worked the candy counter. They are still together after 46 years.

Thu Sep 29, 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Arlan's was my dad's life until he lost his battle with cancer in 1976...love seeing pictures of that store. Most of his workers say he was an awesome boss. I think a lot of them got bought out by Target in 70's...

Thu Apr 04, 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Myron greens restaurant was there in 1979 took my girlfriend at the time there for lunch!

Fri May 10, 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a modeling student that was murdered in the parking lot outside the Windjammer Inn. She got in an argument with her boyfriend and he shot her, the police were called and he was shot by them, if I remember correctly, and ended up dying also.

Fri Jul 05, 05:49:00 PM  

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