Friday, March 10, 2006

Baystate West Mall


Springfield, Massachusetts - 1974

How's this one for that Space Age, futuristic look! It's a veritable shopping mall fantasy dreamscape if ever there was one! This is now the ginormous Tower Square retail/service space in Springfield, as the Baystate West Mall name is no more.

This beautiful photo (originally from an April '74 issue of Architectural Record) was kindly submitted by MOA reader, Jason Cawood, who related that the incredible giant mirrored cube piece in the center of the shot, actually slowly rotated in place! Just imagine that. Amazing. Yep, those were the days, folks.

Thanks very much for the great picture, Jason, and the cool story behind it! Feel free to send along anything else you come across in the future. :)



30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy God that is awesome.

Sat Mar 11, 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

Echoing anonymous here, this place is awesome. It looks like the set of a 1960s/1970s science fiction movie, but then the best of malls frequently did.

Sat Mar 11, 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Yeah, I almost mentioned the ubiquitous "Logan's Run" feel, but don't want to wear that out, as I've said it a few times already about other ones here. But it's true. :)

Sat Mar 11, 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

It's incredible! I wish it was still like that.

Sat Mar 11, 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I second that, Steven.

Btw, been meaning to tell you that I really enjoy your LiveMalls blog (it's in the links section here for anyone interested). Really beautiful photos over there, man! Keep up the great work.

Sun Mar 12, 12:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Steven Wilson said...

Speaking of Architectural Record, there's an issue with a major feature on Eastridge Mall in San José back in the '70s. It has great photos, diagrams, and background on the center's design. I don't have the issue handy, however, to give the specific reference. It shouldn't be too hard to find, though, in any major library. The only complaint I have about the Eastridge article is that I would have preferred that it feature Woodfield instead.

Sun Mar 12, 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

It is a cliché, but back in the 1970s shopping malls did look like the "future". Or the future looked like a giant shopping mall.

Sun Mar 12, 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa that looks pretty glitzy for a shopping mall...look's more like a casino.

Mon Mar 13, 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a Larry Niven Novel "oath of fealty" that was set in a space station designed to be a giant shopping mall. As you went out to the Unknown, you were well accessorized.

Mon Mar 13, 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

In my hometown, there is a department store with a giant vintage light sculpture dating from the 1960s. I'll see if I can snap a photo sometime.

Mon Mar 13, 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger breadmaker said...

well cora you'd better take that picture soon before it's torn down and replaced with something boring. it seems as though mall owners are all too eager to remove every last shred of the 1960s from our lives. (sigh)

Mon Mar 13, 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Lori Rogers said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tue Mar 14, 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt there are any malls left that haven't been completely renovated/stripped of any signs of the 60's and 70's. I'm from Orlando which had a lot of malls and there all renovated. If anyone knows of any retro malls left please email me at trek222@verizon.net, I want to see them.

Tue Mar 14, 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

And you can't blame them for wanting to renovate and change with the times, of course. Generally makes good business sense--on paper anyway.

Deosn't mean us nostalgic retro lovers have to like it, though! :)

Tue Mar 14, 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

RE: LiveMalls

Thanks for the compliments, Keith. Coming from a man who's done so much with his sites for retail history, it's an honor.

I wish I had more time to devote to LiveMalls. I have dozens of mall pics that haven't made it on yet.

Tue Mar 14, 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Don Fields said...

Light glaring from the mirror can blind up to 50 people! I live that late 60's/early 70's look!

Thu Mar 16, 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger Lori Rogers said...

This reminds me of a store they had in the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando in the mid 70's called "Uptown Bills" a mens store. The entire store was chrome, spage age. They had a giant table with a chrome base and a round glass top, the base had fish swimming in it. I'm with you Keith on the malls having to keep up with the times but you have to wonder if there are any retro malls left, has to be at least one somewhere. Thanks for a great blog.

Thu Mar 16, 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Didn't Enron have a giant mirrored and spinning E?
Scott

Mon Mar 20, 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

(I'm late, I know)

Didn't Landover Mall in Maryland have a giant cube similar to that?

This one time I got an e-mail from someone who said that they were driving around Landover when the mall was being demolished (or gutted, can't remember) and he found their giant disco cube sitting near a dumpster.

Thu Mar 23, 02:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Baystate West Sooo much... Now it's called towersquare and basically really isn't a mall at all but an urban center with business offices... What a huge change.. Thanks for this wonderful picture.... I was only a kid in the 80's and I vaguely remembered that mall... I wish Springfield, MASS was still like that... You are the best!

Sat Apr 29, 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived near Springfield and went shopping in this mall all the time when I was a teenager. What a great memory this picture is!

Wed Jan 10, 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sheila West said...

I grew up in Springfield and went to Baystate West often. I don't recall the cube, nor do I recall that it rotated (but I do recall the "dandelion" fountain). Does anyone recall WHERE in the complex the cube was?

Sat Mar 10, 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you came out of Steigers mall entrance which would put you on the second floor and look out the "cube" was located right there hanging down.

Mon Apr 02, 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Baystate West as a kid in the 1980s and early 1990s. The cube fixture was before we moved and lived there. In the 1980s, Baystate West was a great place to shop, eat, and hang around. It had great quality name brand shops that you would never imagine being there now. They had stores such as Lane Bryant, Loehmann's, GNC, AO White, The Camera Shops, Bennetton, Thrifty Drug, and Albert's restaurant which was part of the Marriott Hotel. In the early 1990s, the place started to deteriorate with stores closing due largely to the recession of that time, the changing city demographics, mismanagement, and the fact that the Malls took away a lot of their business. Now the place is pathetic and empty. I miss the Springfield of those days.

Mon Sep 10, 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original Baystate West was a truly magnificent place. It had the 'mirror court' and the 'fountain court'. The fountain was a tremendous sphere of water known as the 'Dandelion Fountain' because of the way the water jets were deflected and directed around the face of the sphere shape and it did indeed look like a dandelion. The fountain was removed sometime in the 80's, and with the closing of Steigers in 1995 the mall really went downhill. It's truly sad because Springfield was becoming such an exciting place back in the 70's, and BSW was a geat effort to restore it to its former glory.

Paul Sheehan, AIA

Tue Feb 19, 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelly P. said...

There is actually a mall in Holyoke Mass, about a 15 minute drive from the now changed Baystate West Mall/ Tower Square. Holyoke Mall still has it's late 70's feel to it, with the wood paneling and all... and is one of the busiest malls in Mass still today. Granted the anchor stores are ever changing, it still has that awesome retro feel everytime I walk in... and I'm not even from that era! I absolutely love old school memorablia, hence being on this site. I will try to take some pics and post of Holyoke Mall, but they flip if they see u taking pictures....

Tue Nov 18, 02:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Came across this while looking for some 1970s pics of AIC, my alma mater. I remember well when this place was being built, I was a teenager when it opened in 1970 or '71. Even then we called it "Baystate Waste." I can't even remember Mayor Freedman saying anything positive about it. It was too sterile, nothing of the character of Johnson's Bookstore or the F&W. Prof. Davis at AIC used this place as a model of what urban downtowns nationwide would become. Sadly, he was right.

Sat Apr 11, 09:29:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger mariam said...

You're in a Lucky Town,
So come on down, to Springfield's Best.
You can live a life of Luxury,
So just come down and see,
Tomorrow is the Shopper's today,
Baystate West (baystate west)
Baystate West )baystate west)

There is a little more to this song, but right now i can't remember, but this was sung on the radio as jingle. Anyone remember? I certainly do.

Mon Jan 09, 09:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the movie The reincarnation of Peter Proud?It came out around 1975,I think.They flimed a lot of the movie in Springfield and there are scenes of Bay State West in it.Check it out!

Tue Mar 18, 05:12:00 PM  

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