Monday, July 24, 2006

Levittown Shopping Center

Levittown, Pennsylvania - circa 1950s

Nice little view of an outside promenade court area at The Levittown Shopping Center (as it was originally named). Within a couple years of its 1953 opening, it would be officially renamed the "Levittown Shop-a-Rama", which never stuck with the public, however, who continued to refer to it by its original name. In 2002, the site was redeveloped and renamed yet again, reopening this time as the Levittown Town Center (allow myself to introduce...myself. Heh).

Same (sad) view as it looked in 2000 (photo via)

Some of the original stores here included Woolworths, Sears, Kresges, Pomeroys and Penneys, to name a few. I will definitely be doing more entries on not only the Levittown Shopping Center and Levittown itself, but also its famous visionary developer, William Levitt, which is a whole other story in its own right (lots of great links & photos to share on that stuff eventually!).

History: 1953 - present
Developer: William Levitt
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none


Blogger Steven Swain said...

Wonder why a name like "Levittown Shop-a-Rama" wouldn't catch on? ;-)

Mon Jul 24, 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, those comparison shots are "sad" indeed.

Wonder what it looks like right now, at this moment? Have they spruced it up or anything?

Tue Jul 25, 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous tkaye said...

I'd take Levittown Shop-a-Rama over Levittown Town Center any day! "Levittown Town" is sort of redundant, isn't it?

I have mixed feelings about the redevelopment of this site... while I can understand the need to address the situation of a large economic blight, I think there's a real historical significance to this as a piece of the Levittown planned community. It's definitely a victim of its age... too old to be economically viable, but too new to have a groundswell of public opinion in favor of historic preservation status. It's a shame that they didn't at least reuse some of the buildings.

I (and I imagine most of us here) believe that architecturally unique or historically significant shopping centers deserve as much protection and public respect as older commercial buildings in downtown areas. The shopping center is the city center evolved as a result of the trends of the mid-20th century. While shopping centers are private property, they still fulfilled the same roles of community marketplace and social gathering hub.

Wed Jul 26, 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

You know when they fill in the round planter beds, it's all over. Making the center ugly surely deterred shoppers. Sometimes, I think owners purposely make poor decisions because of ulterior motivations.

Wed Jul 26, 01:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that a Cobra?

Tue Aug 01, 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous LevittownKid said...

The Levittown Shopping Center no longer exists, and as of today, the only businesses that stand on the lot are Home Depot, Taco Bell, and Wachovia Bank. I live right down US 13 from it, and it is a shame the center met its fate. If only the owner would have kept it up, it would probably still exist. IMHO, nothing more will ever happen there. And yes, "Levittown Town Center" needs to go. I still call it the "Levittown Shopping Center."


Sat Aug 05, 12:34:00 AM  
Anonymous LevittownKid said...

Also, I think another thing that deterred people were the very ugly, green plastic sheets on which the store names were posted. That and the signs for the shopping center falling apart. You can see one in the 2000 photo, compare the sign to the 1950s photo.


Sat Aug 05, 12:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had they used their heads, when the Levittown Shopping Center went down hill, and it was bound for destruction - rather than put more stores there - they should have put in a Minor League Baseball Field. There was more than enough room to do so - and like Trenton Thunder - they would have had a tremendous amount of people who would have come to the games. It was the perfect location for this. With the Train Station directly across the way - people would have been able to come in from Philly as well. Trenton Thunder Games are awesome because you are right there at field level. They missed the boat by building HD and now a Wally World down there. What we didn't need was more Big Box Stores, sigh.

Wed Jan 14, 08:01:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Karen Grah said...

I grew up in Levittown, left in 1972 to join the Navy and have only returned once of twice for short visits. The beginning of the end of the Levittown Shopping Center was the rise of indoor malls, the first one in the area was the Neshaminy Mall, followed by Orchard something or other at Route 1 and the end of the Levittown Parkway. The open plaze shopping center couldn't compete in a four-season climate. As I recall, once Sears pulled out of the shopping center and the grocery store closed and was replaced by Gaudio's, there just wasn't anything to draw shoppers. Additionally, the movie theatre was a one-screen and couldn't compete with the multi-plexes springing up, so it closed also. I miss my youth and I miss the places of my youth. It's depressing to go back and see Levittown as it is today.

Sun Jan 12, 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved here in 1994 and saw how dilapidated the center became. It was a fun place toride my bike around at, especially the old Towne Theater behind the old Meenan Oil Station (now & in '94 "Hesski Servicenter". I loved this place as I was always fascinated with the 1950-1970 era, even as a 9 year old boy. Until 2000, Boscov's and First Federal of Bucks County were still in the center along with a smoke shop, a t-shirt printer, and a dollar store. I still miss this center. The original plan for redevelopment was posed because no one wanted to go in and out of stores while exposed to the elements... Low & behold, you still do with the new center. I wish they'd just rehabbed and maybe enclosed the original shopping center.

Mon Jan 05, 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sad to see it today. It's very plain, nothing special at all. I can't believe the LPRA Town Hall was demolished too, where Levittown was planned from day 1. I miss the old center. It should've been built in the same mold as the original. Too late. We are stuck with a brutally ugly unkept center now. It's a shame to represent Levittown with that sad newer center.

Mon Jul 10, 03:49:00 AM  

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