Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oxford Valley Mall

Langhorne, Pennsylvania - circa 1970s

Who says shopping malls aren't romantic places? Don't try to tell these people that. They'd never believe you.

Besides the fountain and lighting, I also like that great, stylish Bamberger's script logo! Looks classy.

Mall History: 1973 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1, 2


Anonymous Rob said...

I'm getting a bad vide from those 2 shadowy figures leaning on the upper-railing; and it's not romanticism..

Four casual observers staring intently at that fountain as though it may unlock the secrets of the universe. Or perhaps they were just hypnotized with the sight and sound? The world may never know.

Thu Aug 03, 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oxford Valley Mall looked a lot different back then...the look today is very non-descript...kind of like a nearby mall, the Quaker Bridge Mall. I assume there was a fountain at the other end of the mall near Stawbridges/Boscov's?

Thu Aug 03, 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Did Bamberger's become Strawbridges?

Thu Aug 03, 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

At first glance, those people grouped around the fountain look like statues. All in all, I get a certain "Logan's Run" vibe from this picture - you expect that the people round the fountain will be sucked towards the ceiling and killed by laserbeams any minute now. Those shadowy figures on the upper railing are sandmen, of course.

On a more serious note, it's nice to see yet another Bamberger's store. And this one has a really cool logo, too.

Thu Aug 03, 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

Did anyone notice the swanky minidress in the shop on the right of the picture. Very groovy.

Thu Aug 03, 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

Hi all! When I was ages 6 thru 8, my family would drive over to this mall from where we lived in Rocky Hill, NJ. I have this postcard along with some others from Oxford Valley. What memories this brings back for me. It was a huge mall, especially to a young kid like me. Once in a while, I would even get separated from my family in the crowds, usually during the Holiday shopping season, and it would be murder to try to find them again! Scared my parents half-to-death, I can tell you. It was usually when I stopped to look in the windows at Toy & Hobby or someplace like that. Toy & Hobby was a chain of toy stores back East, as other malls like Quaker Bridge had them also. Per my memory, Oxford Valley opened in early 1974, with Bamberger's, Gimbel's, JCPenney, & John Wanamaker as department store anchors. It also had a nice, two-level Woolworth's that had escalators in it, so I guess that would've been considered a fifth anchor. There were several fountains throughout the mall. Besides the ones in the photo in front of Bamberger's, there were some in front of Wanamaker's, with the eagle statue in the middle, at the other end of the mall. In the middle court in front of Penney's, there was a spoked-like fountain in the middle of a large spiral-curved ramp that connected the upper and lower levels. I can still remember many of the shops and stores that were there then, like Herman's sports, Kinney Shoes, Toy & Hobby, Bailey Banks & Biddle, Franklin Simon, Thom Mcan, Frederick's of Hollywood(never went in, of course, but remember seeing the sign), and The Gap. There was a store called Davy Jones Locker that seemed to be a trendy young mens' clothier. Also there was a pet store and one or two record stores that I don't recall the names of. My sister was a teenager then, so she and Mom spent time in places like Lerner Shops, Marianne, Baker's shoes, and the like. I imagine Oxford Valley also had Casual Corner and The Limited also, as they were big ladies' shop chains then. They had a Buster Brown shoe store there also that I remember getting a pair of dress shoes from that I quickly outgrew. I'm glad my Dad talked me out of getting the platform shoes they had there at the time(yes, PLATFORMS for young kids! Remember, this was back in the 70's). I also remember a really cool arcade on the upper level called Spaceport, which was done up to look like a cave inside a moon crater or something like that. Also, they had a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor there, where I had a birthday party at once, with the cake being brought out with fire engine noises and all. Of course, my family always bought beef stick and some goodies from Hickory Farms at Christmastime. For eating, I remember a Hot Sam pretzel place and they also had a McDonald's and a Burger King inside side by side next to Hot Sam. Never seen that in any other mall since. I had my picture taken with Santa there a couple of times and I also remember them having a Christmas train ride for the kiddies one year. Also remember seing a motor boat show set up on the lower level one year after my friend had had his B-day party at Farrell's. Yeah, many happy memories of Oxford Valley Mall for me. The same developer, Kravco, also built Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville, NJ, which opened in 1976. For Sears, we drove a little further to Neshaminy Mall. I don't recall ever going beyond Sears into the mall itself or into Strawbridge & Clothier, which was at Neshaminy also. Per the more recent OVM website, it looks like Sears went into the Gimbel's location and Strawbridge's took over Wanamaker's spot when they closed down. Bamberger's, which was already owned by R H Macy, was renamed Macy's in the mid-1980's, I believe. Now, Strawbridge's will become Macy's, so who knows what will happen at Oxford Valley as both have stores here. Anyhow, sorry this post is so long but I guess I had a lot of memories to sort through! BTW, this is a totally cool Blogspot! Keep up the good work Keith! Thanks!

Thu Aug 03, 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite an interesting background on OVM. Many of the malls in that area were similar in that they had those same stores and fountains within the malls. I specifically rembember the fountains at Quaker Bridge Mall (if anyone has pics, do post for the trip down memory lane would be nice) were pretty cool. It seems the only mall in that area where a fountain survived was in Neshaminy Mall...the waterfall in front of Strawbridge's (which will become Macy's...and as per a previous post, the Stawbridge's Court at Neshaminy is quite unique to the mall as at Exton Square and Cherry Hill Mall), but the two fountains in front of what is now Boscov's did not survive the renovation. Also on Neshaminy Mall, the renovation included an expansion and 24 screen movie theater...the mall now in the shape of a large U but still one floor.

Thu Aug 03, 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

Bamberger's became Macy's.

Thu Aug 03, 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that picture reminds me of the original decor of the deptford mall. i wonder if it was developed by the same company?

Fri Aug 04, 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Very cool, I love fountains in malls! Actually, I believe that all malls should have small "canals" with water and lots of plants. Too bad that malls today don't seam to want that anymore.

Sun Aug 06, 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Forgot to mention I got some new postcards on my blog up. One of them even features a fountain, should be right up your alley, Keith!

Sun Aug 06, 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous phil said said...

I miss Mr Dunderback's German restaurant (just to the left of the picture) and Olga's on the upper floor. That was back when mall dining wasn't so bad.

Tue Aug 15, 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree and remember a lot of the details that Kyle already described. I was born in 1982 so I didn't get to see this mall when it first opened, however from the sounds of it not much really changed here from the 70s to the early/mid 80s. I remember being 3 yrs old, and my dad pushing me and my brother in our stroller up the big curved ramp. Nowadays, this ramp has been replaced with a see-thru glass elevator and lies b/t JC Penneys and the food court(former Woolworths spot). The floor was made up of 70s-esque brown tiles. I always begged my parents to give me coins to throw into the fountains, located near Wanamakers(now Boscovs) and Bambergers(Macy's). The mall always played this monotonous elevator musak with no lyrics and it always had a sorta echoe that went through it. For example, you could hear the noises of water splashing in the fountain, echoing into the air a distance away.

Before the food court, the restaurants were scattered throughout the mall. The McDonalds was located on the second floor, I believe nearby where a Spencer's exists now(I could be wrong). Where Suncoast Video exists now(nearby Sears), there was a jewelry store and a Choo-Choos cafe that served hot dogs and like items. My mom's favorite restaurant in the mall was Choo-Choos. There were other good stores...Hickory Farm, where my mom bought fancy meat & cheeses for my grandfather's Christmas present one year; Afterthoughts, where my cousin and I got our ears pierced on our birthdays together(back then, it was at the same tiny location as it was when the mall first opened); Woolworths, with its escalators and in-store restaurant, where my grandmother would sometimes buy me toys; Stride Rite, where we got new sneakers(two times, I got colorful Punky Brewster sneakers); Wanamakers, a Philly classic where my mom would buy me and my brother toddler clothing. They also had a very stylish womans clothing section from what I remember.

The mall wasn't perfect, though. My mom was terrified of us vulnerable kids being in such a big, scary place. The brown tiled floor design soon seemed outdated and kinda made the mall look a bit unclassy. There was more litter around it than there is now(they've cracked down in recent years). Eventually the floor was changed to classier, more up-to-date white marble tiles, which are still there today. The entire color scheme seemed to shift from browns and tans, to whites and shiny chrome railings. Yes maybe the changes were for the best back then to avoid attracting a trashy crowd, but I really kinda miss the old styling, along with all the former stores that aren't there anymore. Even when I was 4 yrs old, I remember getting mad when I heard on the news that they were changing Bamberger's to Macy's. It was a store name that I knew and was familiar with, I didn't want to see it go! I asked my grandfather why they would change the name, and he jokingly responded, "Because Bamberger's is a stupid name for a store, since it rhymes with hamburger!" Ever since then, I haven't been too happy with name changes or destroying traditions.

Tue Sep 26, 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does everyone remember in the middle of the mall, where the elevators are today, the circle walkway/ramp that spriraled round and how your mom pushed your stroller down it without following it and then crashing and then you turn into a 52 year old crank addict sucking rim jobs off talented Hollywood actor Richard J Lewis.

Fri Jan 26, 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

I went to this mall a year ago and then again this summer and it changed a lot just in that time. A year ago the one big anchor end had nothing in it, but something new opened, can't remember what it is, but I'm sure the website has it. Now the place glitters in the sun more or less.

I imagine that, among other things, that this area is doing well with it's proximity to Sesame Place (a Sesame Street Theme Park). But there seems to be a lot of relatively new development around there. It's nice, but nothing special on the outside, fairly anonymous inside, but pleasant enough.


Wed Aug 22, 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Ryan said...

I miss the glory days of this mall as well. Someone mentioned that the flooring on the lower level was changed to all marble, and I remember seeing that for the first time. It kind of made me sad. The upper level flooring was also replaced. I remember when it used to be narrow wooden planks. They also painted the roof and the rafters all white. I remember a lot of the stores mentioned. Some of the other stores I remember are Allied Hobbies (I think they're gone now), a mom and pop bookstore on the lower level that I forget the name of (but I recall their dog was the logo... I have it on a bookmark somewhere), a kid play center right next to the Bamburgers on the lower level, and the Big Game Shop which sold a lot of sports jerseys and also lottery tickets. I also miss the circular walkway in the middle of the mall. I was really disappointed to see an elevator installed in it's place. And of course the food court was equally disappointing, solidifying this mall as another cookie cutter corporate mall. I miss the way this mall used to be. Oh yeah, and does anyone remember the pizza place on the lower level near one of the entrances?

Sun Feb 17, 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do remember the PIZZA Place!! It used to be located next to (what is now) the police substation. They still have not done anything with that space!! You’ll note a door there with some sort of fan/blower device. I wonder what the name was?

Sun Feb 17, 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Ryan said...

I asked a friend of mine and she reminded me that it was Naples Pizza! Good stuff...

Mon Feb 18, 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name of the mom and pop bookstore was Paperback
Booksmith. They said it was "dedicated to the fine art of browsing," but they preferred it if you bought something every once in a while.

Waldenbooks and Spencer Gifts both carried borderline explicit material in the '70s.

I think on another group of posts someone was trying to remember some record stores. There was Music Scene(later Listening Booth, Wall to Wall), near Bamberger's; Wall to Wall Sound(later the Wall, now Fye) with its audio cave in the back, between the Gimbel's escalator and the ramp. Music Scene was where I first heard Foreigner and Sade, among others; even better, Wall to Wall was where I heard the English Beat's "I just can't stop it," as in dancing and couldn't, making a little fool of myself.

Used to be some good buffets: York Steak House on the Wanamaker's(!) end and Harvest House(Woolworth's?) between the spiral ramp and the Gimbel's escalator on the lower level.

Wanamaker's and Bamberger's also had decent restaurants (Carriage House in the latter)that were eventually phased out.

Mr. Dunderbak's(near Bamberger's, lower level-never tried it),Hickory Farms(across from Gimbel's escalator), and the Cheese Shop(upper level between the spiral ramp and Wanamaker's) competed for the gourmet/basket market.

At the old(!) Space Port, I put my initials(electronically) on the Star Fire(Star Wars) game.

Anyone go into Duke's, across from Farrell's?

Mon Oct 13, 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled to read these posts. Here are a few other memories. I hope I'm not duplicating any.
There was the Pampered Pup, a hot dog shop. It had very old style images of a chef feeding a hot dog to a small dog one a pillow. The ramp had carpet that had narrow black and grey stripes. The mall was sort of dark back then. The sculpture by Wanamakers was a giant metal eagle. It can't possibly be as huge as I remember. When Chik-fil-A appeared in that wing in the early 80s, it was a big event. Space Port was incredible. Black lights, the sounds of Space Invaders, smoking kids... I think there was a fire at York Steak House at some point in the early 80s. Olga's smelled awful. It was on the second floor.

Tue Nov 25, 01:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who could forgaet Swanky Franks?

Fri Dec 12, 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea. It was a Swanky Franks. The Pampered Pup was over at the Neshaminy Mall. The Oxford Valley Mall ramp, where the elevators are now, encircled a giant spherical orb-shaped fountain.

Fri Feb 20, 12:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, there's a Facebook group called The Original Oxford Valley Mall which contains more photos of the mall raken prior to the renovation, some of which were posted by the Mall Management. There are several photos of the ramp and the original fountains.

Thu Mar 19, 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My group on facebook has a lot more pictures. Please check it out its open for all of us......

Thank you Tim

Fri Mar 20, 01:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the name of the T-shirt stand on the second floor where we bought Farah Faucett for the guys or Starsky and Hutch for the girsl? Favorite colored shirts were hunter green and powder blue.

Tue Jun 23, 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow what great memories! I remember being a little boy, maybe 4 years old and always excited to go to that mall! Malls are missing that feeling now, as they really are filled with big box national retail names and standard decor! E huge ramp near the big game shop was my favorite thing as a child! Tell me you didn't run ahead of mommy all the way to the top or the bottom to wait for her? Right?!!

And what about that donut shop that rocked it during the very early years like 75-85. I want to say it was called Donuts galore? Fond memories of my mom taking my brother and I to friendys for a milk shake! Root beer float and those amazing crinkle fries they used to have!

But the BEST part of the mall, and the single greatest thing ever for kids in a mall, was that restaurant at the outside entrance that made the huge horns , bells, and whistles when it was ur birthday. They would sing like they do now in some places like TGI Fridays. This place took it to a whole new level.

I have really fond memories of my childhood at that mall. I later went on to work at the big game shop for 4-5 years for a really nice woman named Carole.

when I was hungry it was either the chick fill A upstairs ( they had cute girls to hit on. I was 18!) or Naples pizza downstairs. napples was Awesome. Same level of quality as the place in Exton Mall now.

The best part of Naples was the twin brothers who owned it and were there working and fighting all the time. HILARIOUS! Those guys used to say, " may I help you" the millisecond that you would round the corner into the place.

Anyway it was all part of my childhood and I can only have good thoughts thinking about that mall. Sounds corny to be talking with people on a website about how great a mall was, but it is a fond memory. It reminds me that if u having fun with your kids and taking them places, you just might be making great family memories with them.

it's a stark reminder that life is short so we should savor it, have fun with it, and appreciate it because hue shit travels FAST.

Dan Lieberman
Council Rock class of 1990

Tue May 25, 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

He said, Olgas Cafe! Bwaahahahahaha!

Tue May 25, 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I'm sorry for all the typos in my post before. I am typing on an Ipad.

Tue May 25, 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the late 70's, early 80's my Brother and I would travel from North Bay, Ontario, Canada to Levittown PA, to spend the summer with our Dad. The Oxford Valley Mall was a key memory....especially Farrel's Ice Cream, and there was a great arcade on the second floor....spent many the quarters in that place....I also seem to remember that the Drive-In was just across the main blvd entrance too...saw The Empire Strikes Back there. Never wanted to go to Sesame Place, but we always went to Great Adventure every year. I miss that part of the world, as I remained in Canada...sure don't miss the suffocating heat waves in summer that would always roll through....hey yeah there was a Chi-Chi's restaurant around there to right?

Fri Sep 03, 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember hearing the mysterious chime tones on the pa system in Bambergers and having my mother explain that it was code for someone is trying to steal something.

Tue Jan 18, 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone remember the names of the smaller clothing stores in the OVM back in the 80"s...we remember "Merry Go Round", "Jean's West" and "Chess King" but spinning our wheels on a few of the other main stores back in the day??

Mon Dec 31, 06:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first job was at Swanky Franks in 1986 or 87.

Sat Mar 23, 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No name. Pants place. Lerner. Deb. Mariann. County seat. That's all I cc an remember!!!

Thu Dec 19, 07:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this post. Your memories brought back so many more for me. I miss this mall as it was in the seventies, it's run of the mill now. No more fountains and 80% of the stores you mentioned are gone or have been aquired and transformed into something that will never hold the same weight for me at least. One I'll add that you didn't mention is the Children's Place. I used to play inside the weird carpeted circle while my sother shopped elsewhere. I've lived Berber carpet ever since. Anyway thanks for the memories.

Fri Dec 20, 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a 5-7-9 shop upstairs, near the escalators, which sold clothes for girls who only wore size 5,7,or 9. There also was a clothing store downstairs near the escalators called Ups and Downs. There was a craft store too, which was downstairs where Victoria's Secret is now.

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

No. Bambergers became Macys.

Sat May 03, 10:59:00 PM  

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