Monday, August 14, 2006

Gulfgate Shopping Center


Houston, Texas - July, 1967

Vintage interior of the Gulfgate Shopping Center, which has also gone by these names over the years: Gulfgate Shopping City, Gulfgate Mall, and finally, after a 2001 demolition/redevelopment, Gulfgate Center.

So really, it's a whole new mall now (or "power center" as the developers have referred to it), with the old Gulfgate completely razed to make way for the new. It's now "Gulfgate" in name and physical location only. The place will never be the same. Or as cool.

Mall history: 1956 - present (redeveloped)
Current website: n/a
Resource articles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Previous entries: 1

(photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries)



18 Comments:

Blogger BIGMallrat said...

They added a roof on this center? The old entry shows it roofless.
Too bad it's gone.
Scott

Mon Aug 14, 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it looks like an airport, not a mall.

Mon Aug 14, 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

The information that the roof was added later explains the weird roof construction.

Otherwise, this mall looks a little spartan, in this photo at any rate.

Mon Aug 14, 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

Not impressive, but not bad at all.

Mon Aug 14, 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Man I love it myself. Guess it doesn't take much to impress me. :D

But then, I'm a sucker for pretty much every vintage mall photo I ever see. Hehe.

Tue Aug 15, 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now the "mall" is a very nice spanish style shopping center. one of my favorite mexican resturants is there. i go about 2 times a month. the "mall" never was a nice place, even when it was new.

Tue Aug 15, 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Very nice picture. My mom and grandmother took me to that mall many times. I saw The Black Hole (the Disney movie) at the movie theater. I loved it. It had an umbrella motiff I remember well. It's in a bad part of town, now.

Tue Aug 15, 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

What does that store with the goldish lettering on the right hand side say? Can anyone make that out?

Tue Aug 15, 07:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The yellow lettering looks like it says "Long's Drugs"

Tue Aug 15, 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous tkaye said...

The yellow sign looks like it says "PSimpson" or something like that. The small lighted sign on the overhang says "E.G. Levy & Co.," I believe. Maybe that's where Anonymous got Longs Drugs from. I don't think Longs ever had a presence in Texas, by the way.

It's clear from this picture that they threw a roof up and put down linoleum on an open-air center without making too many other changes. All the stores on the right are still walled in with windows and the little horizontal signs mounted on the overhang are definitely left over from an outdoor center. And they didn't make much effort at gussying up the fire hose on the left -- which I bet the fire marshal made them put in once the place was enclosed.

As for the roof, I detest suspended ceiling tiles like this in malls. Very cheap and tacky. I think the design of the ceiling is one of the (often overlooked) benchmarks of a well-crafted mall.

Thu Aug 17, 01:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beg to differ, but in its day, this was the premier mall in Houston. Sakowitz and Joskes were miles ahead of Foleys at the time.
I spent many many hours here as a kid, and would make my mother drive the 30 miles from a far flung suburb just to get a haircut.
It was huge, spacious, colorful, with mammoth fountains and terrazzo floors.
In later years, it was allowed to become run down. Sakowitz went belly up, Dillards bought Joskes and after 3 murders in the store the closed shop.
Personally I think it's a matter of time (short at that) when this mall becomes gang central once again...

Thu Nov 02, 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger dannette davis said...

I can remember as a child (5 yrs old) running through this mall, slipping on the floor and busting my lip. The floors were always wet because of the water fountains. I loved it though!! Lots of good childhood memories attached to that mall.

Sat Jan 06, 09:11:00 PM  
Anonymous janet said...

u know all these malls r cool and the wonderful days of being in that type of atmosphere is gone. gulfgate was the first of its kind in the USA and i don't appreciated people bad mouthing it. it hold special memories for many - myself and my kids, all grown, and they have vivid memories of exactly where everything was. yes, it was rather spartan, but so were a lot of furnishings and architecture in the 1950's..............i didn't make fun of the other cities' malls........they may have been nicer, but i'll bet didn't hold as many memories as this one..........from the 50's for me thru the 80's for my kids.

Wed May 16, 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous janet said...

correction to my blog............hate grammatical mistakes..........i meant to write the days "are" gone and not "is" gone............meant to write "appreciate" and not "appreciated"............and meant to write "holds" and not "hold"....................i was just angry.

Wed May 16, 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited Houston every summer growing up and moved here in 1991.
Gulfgate was a dead mall by then but had an excellent Dillard's Clearance Center, a huge MacFrugals Close out store, a Lerner's, Musicland, and a great Piccadilly. I hit this mall twice a month until it pretty much closed up in early 2000. I MISS THIS MALL SO MUCH. It was cool!!!!!

Thu Sep 27, 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...

We love your terrazzo and we want to see it come back to life.Polishing Terrazzo Fort Lauderdale is our specialty and has been for over twenty years. We have state of the art equipment and knowledgeable technicians. Call us today for a free estimate.

Sat Oct 23, 07:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worked there in the mid 70's during high school. It was a pretty cool place to hang out back then. In the early 80's I worked on the renovations that were being made at the time and found that I still knew a lot of the people working there.

I have seen a few posts about people saying they saw the original Star Wars movie there when it opened and I don't believe that is the case because I went to the Galleria to see it at that time because it wasn't showing there.

Tue Dec 24, 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No one has mentioned the bowling alley at this Mall. I had a great time hanging out there in the hot summers of nineteen sixties.Hearing the cracking of the balls hitting the pins and eating cheese burgers and fries at the snack bar. it was great times then! An old man now but fond memories are still in my brain!

Alan Johnson

Tue Oct 20, 12:50:00 PM  

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