Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wonderland Mall

Livonia, Michigan - circa 1970's

Wonderland Mall began originally as an open-air mall (called Wonderland Center), was enclosed in the '80s, and then finally shuttered in 2003 (the opening of Westland Center in nearby Westland, Michigan in 1968 didn't help Wonderland at all in the ensuing years). Last I read, it was scheduled to be redeveloped back into another large, generic outdoor shopping district deal. I'm sure they'll call it "village" something or other, or something along those lines... You know the drill.

Rather than repeat it all, you'll find lots of great info on this mall at Dead Malls dot Com, and also at Water Winter Wonderland, where there's a bunch of pics, too.

Mall history: 1959 - 2003 (dead)


Blogger Cora said...

I like the lampposts. And the fact that they had an entire shop dedicated to selling rugs. Or should that be drugs?

Thu Jun 15, 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

Classic shot. Nothing says "mall" more than pictures like that.

Thu Jun 15, 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Agreed, Steven. Classic 'mall'.

Those lamps look more like umbrellas to me.

Fri Jun 16, 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous didi said...

Oh crap, I thought they WERE umbrellas!

Fri Jun 16, 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

That Water Winter Wonderland site was awesome! Who came first? Not that the mall postcard thing is catching on :)

Fri Jun 16, 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Hynote said...

Back in the 80's, I worked for Plantera tropical greenhouse, we took care of the plants and trees at Wonderland. At that time they were having money problems and we had a hard time getting paid. i remember i went to replace a tree there but my boss told me they had to pay COD, when I told the guy in charge there at Wonderland, he said, and I quote..."Tell your boss he can stick his tree up his anal orifice". I still laugh at it today

Sat Jun 17, 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to live in the neighborhood right behind there. I remember when it was open and then when they closed it. You had to walk on boards (for what seemed like a year) from store to store while they enclosed it. I never understood why they didn't start w/ a floor first. In my teens I worked at the Foot Locker and Wilson's Leather. I'm glad they finally closed it, it had been going downhill for such a long time.

The arcade was great.

Fri Jun 23, 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Wonderland! Currently they are in the process of demo'ing it for a Super Walmart. I remember shopping there before they enclosed it, it also seemed to be raining and we would have to run from store to store. It was a big deal when they enclosed it in 1986. I worked at the Rave store there in 1988 and 89 it was a happenin' place.

Sat Jul 15, 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone remember the kiddie rides on the Plymouth Road side of the parking lot? I remember them being there all summer, with 10 cents rides on Wednesday's. My mom is claiming that to be a distorted childhood memory and that the rides were only there on select weekends.

Anyone care to referee that debate?

Mon Sep 04, 12:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those weren't umbrellas, they were translucent colored acrylic domes.
You could walk under them in the rain to get across the mall.

Fri Oct 13, 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderland Mall also had monkeys in cages.

Tue Oct 24, 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Seiler said...

My Grandfather Joseph thompson ran the kid rides at Wonderland mall!!! He also played Santa at christmas time even though he was very skinny!!!!!

Tue May 22, 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked 4 yrs at the wards in this mall in the late 80's. I have a lot of great memories. Crime got so bad that I put on my nikes (suit and tie) when I left work at night just in case I had to fight someone.

Sun Dec 30, 02:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was a ggood mall i wish someone could of saved it

Mon Aug 04, 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in Ypsilanti when Wonderland was in "full bloom" My family and I drove over to eat some kind of great corn beef meal. In the ensuing years, I lived in FL and recently moved to Livonia. The only thing recognizable is the sign saying it is Wonderland. I am glad it is being utilized but I still have great memories.

Mon Aug 18, 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

We go to the 'grave' of Wonderland Mall all the time. They have a lot of cool shops there now - including the dreaded WallMart, but a Target and a GameStop and Bigby Coffee. It's now three modern strip mall type buildings, with the Target and WalMart set in the back. Whoever engineered the parking lot was ON DRUGS!! Where the large lots and these mini-strip malls meet is just so disorganized, it's the perfect set up to make people REALLY pissed off. I'm not going anywhere NEAR the place this Christmas.

Wed Nov 25, 06:30:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did all of my shopping at Wards, my parents did theirs at Federals, the two "anchor stores" (before the term was coined years later with the birth of mega-malls). I remember the "umbrellas" and rain. Another memory is of the two days I worked for United Shirt (until I was ordered fired by the son of the chairman of United Shirt). Wasn't there a Spaghetti Company next to Wards for awhile?

Tue Dec 28, 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wasn't there a Spaghetti Company next to Wards for awhile?"

Yes there was, I remember eating there several times.

Some things I remember from the late 1960's - 70's:

1. Detroit Edison had a store there where you could take your burned out light bulbs and exchange them for new ones for free.

2. At Christmas they had an outdoor display with live deer.

3. The Federals Dept. Store sold Girl Scout uniforms and equipment.

Wed May 22, 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Small Sprout Child Care said...

We like the restaurant that had the best onion soup. Can't remember the name. We never left the mall without visiting the AAA Pet Store. It was our favorite place.

Tue Feb 16, 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Northernsoul said...

They stayed up all year and in the winter they just cover them with tarps.

Fri Nov 30, 11:59:00 PM  

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