Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tel-Twelve Mall

Southfield, Michigan - circa 1970s(?)

Tel-Twelve Mall was demolished in 2002 and re-developed into an ever-popular openair center, surrounded by a bevy of external bigbox stores. Bye bye shopping mall. (Not sure how old that aerial below is, btw.)

Mall history: 1967 - 2002 (re-developed)
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none


Anonymous Bobby said...

The only clue would be to find out when Crowley's was added to the back of the mall; I don't see their store back there.

Tue Jul 25, 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous tkaye said...

I love all the signage here! It looks like that Kmart sign rotated. And the uniform signs for the interior mall stores along the length of the facade are great. I've always wondered why there aren't more signs for smaller tenants on the exterior of common mall space. It would be more visually interesting and enticing, I think.

Wed Jul 26, 03:13:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

What kind of name is Tel-Twelve?
From the picture and the aerial, it's hard to tell what the interior portion of the mall did. Any ideas?

Wed Jul 26, 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger todd said...

Is it from TELEGRAPH & 12 MILE ROAD?

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

To answer two questions:

* I think Tel-12 was a straight line from Kmart to Montgomery Ward. In the 1960s though, it looks like Kmart didn't open out into the mall. That "LEY" to the very left may have been Wrigley's Grocery Store, with Kmart to the left.

* Yes, the name is derived from TELegraph and TWELVE Mile Roads.

Wed Jul 26, 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

That is a supremely cool K-Mart sign. I've never seen one of this type.

The entrance with its columns looks good, too.

Thu Jul 27, 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent a great deal of my childhood at Tel-Twelve mall. The Kmart entrance opened directly onto the parking lot, while Montgomery Ward and the "smaller stores" all opened into an enclosed mall.

Fri Sep 08, 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger spencersteel said...

I grew up a mile from the Tel 12, and spent a lot of time there as a child and adolescent (b. 1969). My younger brother and I were talking about it at dinner which led me to see if there were any photos on the net, and lo and behold here's this great one, which looks from about 1975.

That K-Mart sign did indeed rotate until it was replaced by a more utilitarian and general "Tel 12 Mall" sign; I can't say exactly when this happened. The "anchor" stores were the K-Mart on the far north end which is out of view, but to the left of the "ley" on the Wrigley sign, and Montgomery Ward on the far south. Through most of the 70s some of the tenants were Kinney and Florsheim shoes, Meier Jewelers, Kresge (in the mall and independent of K-Mart), Radio Shack, Hot Sam, Grinnell's, Winkleman's, Marianne, Osmuns, a barber shop, coney island, and MCL Cafeteria. Some of the stores - notably Radio Shack and Harmony House - played hot potato and moved locations within the mall. In the early 80s there was something of an expansion with the addition of a Crowley's and the elimination of all of the stores in the front-left area of the photo in favor of a food court and video arcade, as well as a face-lift for the rest of the mall. This seemed to perk up traffic initially (a LOT of us hung out there doing not much in high school) but by the early 90s there were quite a few vacancies, and the handwriting was on the wall. In its day Tel 12 had the obligatory Santa Claus, complete with a fairly elaborate train for kids to ride on, and even cooler had something of an auto show where once a year (the mall was located right smack in the middle of Southfield's car dearship district) 20 or 30 brand new cars would sit in the generously wide traffic areas of the mall - they hadn't filled them out yet with kiosks, save for an Orange Julius, which was really a delicious drink, whatever it may have contained. There was also a once-a-year full-out carnival that would plant itself in the parking lot in front of Montgomery Ward. I remember being about 13 the last time it was there, so around 1982.

I'd love to see other pictures, especially of the interior during the 70s up to the early 80s, if anyone has any. If not, does anyone recall some of the other smaller tenants; my brother and I were able to remember quite a few - I knew a few more than he did because a couple of locationsic like Bressler's Ice Cream and Fads 'N Fashions were gone before he could remember them, being eight years younger. The place exists in name only now; it was torn down a few years ago and reconfigured as a bunch of stand-alones with a Lowe's and some other national retailers.

Fri Sep 29, 12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The photo would be from the mid-70's. Look at the roof in the northwest corner(by the Wrigley store). Notice the color difference. This wasn't part of the original mall but was added a little later. The stores here (Lobby Hobby for one) didn't open on the mall. This was the area that was to later become the food court/game area.

Signage for buildings must meet local requirements. When the mall made changes, it would have to meet the current City of Southfield sign ordinance which had become stricter.

None of the original mall structure or K-Mart remains. Most of the Montgomery Ward store structure remains in use but subdivided. Part of the original Wards store became mall space when Wards retrofitted a second floor for retail sales. This store had been built with a second floor for regional offices and a warehouse. For kicks drive around back. The current center office uses the back part of the Wards store(the customer service area) to which nothing much has been done.

Sat Nov 04, 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous alyssa said...

i loved silver's. it was next to kmart and had an outside entrance - didn't open into the mall. and remember that live bird named gideon in some home decor store?

Sun Sep 28, 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger jsotto said...

I remember the Tel-12 mall from when I visited my aunt and uncle in the mid-to-late 60's. I recall a cool shop that sold a variety of magic tricks, gags, and novleties. As an 8 year old I thought this was the best. But I cannot remember the name of the shop. Any help?

Sat Feb 28, 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jastro said...

Spensers Gifts!
Still in business

Wed Mar 11, 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jastro said...

I used to love the MCL Cafeteria, the dark wood interior, the smell of mashed potatoes and fried chicken wafting out into the mall.. Were they trying to make it look like some English castle? Weren't there flags or banners overhead and chandeliers?

Wed Mar 11, 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jastro said...

I almost fainted when I saw OJ again for the first time here in California. Apparently it started out here in 1926. Still tastes the same. Sent me back to 77. DQ owns them now.

Wed Mar 11, 11:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who remembers Circus World?

Sat Aug 08, 11:59:00 AM  
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Sat Oct 02, 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Patricia said...

It was located at the intersection of Telegraph and Twelve mile roads in Southfield, Mi. My dad had the Marathon service station there and I watched the Kmart as it was being built. That used to be all open field.

Sun Dec 09, 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Detroiter said...

I remember Gideon. The only word he would ever say is Hello. And he said it a lot. There was a toy store next door that had video games (Believe it was circus world) I would play them all the time and then talk to gideon on breaks when other kids would play.

Mon Feb 06, 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cinrob said...

What was the name of the place that sold the seasoned ground beef in hot dog buns? I’m pretty certain it was in this mall.

Fri Mar 16, 06:32:00 PM  

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