Friday, September 29, 2006

Oakland Mall

Troy, Michigan - March, 1976

The glorious original Oakland Mall main entrance! Well, it's glorious looking to your eyes if you grew up with this mall like I did. If you didn't, just trust me, this is really cool to see. :)

In '76 I was still being carted to this mall (just a couple miles from my house then) by mom and dad, but in a few years I'd be old enough to at least be able to get dropped off and left there (which was key!) with my friends, to hang out, look at record albums, buy frozen cokes, and flirt with girls--though not necessarily in that order.

So yeah, I sat around that main entrance there (inside and out) having a lot of youthful fun, many a day and evening, as a teen. And those were certainly the days, as well as some great memories.

Mall history: 1968 - present
Current website: here
Info from Wikipedia
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1

(Image courtesy and © Wayne State University)


Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Hey, this mall has its own blog!
I find it interesting the mall is two levels near Penney's. Clearly an addition. Wish I could see inside!

Fri Sep 29, 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

I would love to hear more about your memories of this mall, Keith, especially about the decor and the stores back in '76.

Fri Sep 29, 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like a neat mall, Keith. I have never been to any Michigan malls (I'm originally from neighboring Ohio), but I certainly share your nostalgia for the "good ole mall days".

My biggest nostalgic mall memories center around DAYTON MALL (south guessed it....Dayton, Ohio). My first visit there was in 1969, when construction of the "super-regional", 120 store, shopping center was nearing completion. Up to this time, I had never even HEARD of a "shopping mall" (altho there were, by 1969, six -more or less- major malls in the Cin-Day area).

My latent nostalgia for DAYTON MALL -circa 1970- is compounded by the fact that there is virtually NO information available about it.....and absolutely NO photos available anywhere of the shopping center, as it originally was built. I have sent letters to the mall.....and received a nice email from the current manager. *They* didn't have any info that "went back that far" in their archives.......

Does anybody out there have any old photos or postcards of DAYTON MALL? I would love to see them....

North Georgia

Fri Sep 29, 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

It should be illegal for mall and retail management to treat their history so shabbily.

Fri Sep 29, 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Scott: That "blog" is rarely updated and appears to be more of a seasonal type of deal so far--they posted an item in the summer (June), and now they have a Fall message. If there was more to it and if it was updated regularly, I would have made mention of it a while ago, because I thought the idea was kind of cool, too, when I first saw it. It's just that there's nothing there really. No content.

As for Oakland Mall being two levels near Penney's--this wasn't an addition. Been that way since the start. The Sears anchor on the East side of the mall is two levels as well. It, too, has been that way since the beginning (I have a few aerials from around the time they opened which also show this).

That whole West wing becomes two levels outside of Penney's, with multiple stores on top and below through there. So it's the two anchor sides that are both two levels, and in the mall proper, it's all one.

As for interior photos, stay tuned. They're in the pipe!

Didi: You'll hear more from me on that stuff. Better yet, you'll see it soon. :) Would that I just had more free time!! Cuz I could go on forever about my local malls (and lots of the others I post here, too, actually), if I just had more time. Which is why I have to keep my entries rather short on this blog for the most part.

Anonymous: I've got some Dayton Mall material. I'll try to post something for you soon. Thanks for the great memories you shared there!

Fri Sep 29, 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith --

The JCPenney and the two-level portion of the Mall that approaches it WERE additions, around 1977/78. Originally, that North branch of the mall housed only a Wrigley's grocery store, which was torn down to make way for the addition. Oakland was originally only a two-anchor mall (with a Wrigley's and a Kresge's thrown in).

Fri Sep 29, 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hippo --

Does anyone remember the concrete hippo that stood just East of Hudson's, in front of Van Horn's and Winkleman's (now combined as Border's) next to the long-gone fountain? We weren't allowed to play on that hippo BECAUSE IT WAS DANGEROUS, and then my friend's sister broker her tooth sliding down the hippo, so the mall added carpeting under the hippo. Anyway, that very hippo now resides at the entrance of the Detroit Zoo, you know, if you're ever in the area and want to visit the hippo, that's where he (or she) is, anyway, at the zoo.

Fri Sep 29, 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Well shiver me timbers. I was under the impression the second level Penney's stuff had always been there. Coincidentally, I just had a conversation about that with someone a few months ago and they believed it was always there too. At any rate, thanks Anonymous #2!

OK, so I'll rephrase that answer then: It's been there as long as I can remember... Which is obviously hazy beyond '77 or so. :D

Gotta figure out what the heck I'm seeing on my old aerials now, though! Looked like it was already there.

Fri Sep 29, 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger s0ylentgrn said...

Boy do I sure remember shopping there with my parents as a kid, then driving there when I got my license. I grew up at Hampton @ Rochester road and Auburn road.

Sun Oct 01, 06:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love that mall. i used to go with my grandmom when i was a kid. i also skipped school with my teacher and road in his corvette to see 2001-a space oddessy at oakland. being from downriver, it was worth the trip everytime!

Sun Oct 01, 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in the area and can remember the mall before the JC Penney wing was added - so I can confirm that it was an addition.

To me, the best feature of Oakland Mall was the Hudson's restaurant that was on the 2nd floor balcony overlooking the rest of the mall. However, I haven't been there in 6 years. Does anyone know if the balcony restaurant is still there?

JP Ronan

Mon Oct 02, 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith, I really can't wait to see what you have on DAYTON MALL.

When you post this stuff, I suppose that I will -then- take us (or anyone else reading the postings) on a trip down MALL MEMORY LANE, circa 1969. I was at "The Mall" (as my family called it) a LOT between '69 and '72. I can remember quite a bit.

BTW, I keep seeing the term "Classic Mall Era". I am presuming that this began with the opening of Seattle's NORTHGATE in 1950......and ended when? (I would imagine, in 1970 or '75?).

I am thinking that DAYTON MALL came along toward the end of this era?

North Georgia

Mon Oct 02, 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also looking forward to seeing the Dayton Mall photos. I have lived in the Dayton Mall area all my life (born in 1968), and I have fond memories of the 1970's Dayton Mall. My family didn't go to the Mall often when I was little, so it was a big deal for us kids when we did go there. I can still recall the main entrance of the Mall and the coins in the indoor fountains.


Wed Oct 11, 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I am glad I ran across this because I figured I was the only person who wanted to find historic photos of the Dayton Mall. I was born in 1971 and have many fond memories of going to the mall as a child during Christmas. They would close the decorative fountains and put up decorations including moving figures. Also the two story glass entrance with the split winding staircases just inside and then four esculators. And was anyone else pissed when they removed the original four cinemas? Cinema one was the best but the doubles upstairs and the single that sat atop Ruby Tuesday's was nice also. Finally, how about York Steak House! I think I have said enough. :)

Thu Nov 30, 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a resident of Troy and have always loved Oakland Mall. It doesnt get the love it deserves because of the ultra-lux and much newer Somerset Collection which is also in Troy. Oakland has sorta become an embodiment of the Chris Rock joke that goes along the lines of "Every city has two malls, the one the white people go to, and the mall the white people USED to go to". Otherwise, it's a great mall in the way I like to think of a mall. I DO remember the hippo mentioned, didnt know it ended up at the zoo. I really miss the big original mall sign at the corner of 14 and John R, that thing was so gawdy but you dont appriciate it till it's gone (like the lighted signs from old Vegas).

Maybe my favorite memory of Oakland was in the early 90's, there was a thief that would hide under cars in the parking lot during the holidays and jump people. Until the late 90's my mom would still warn me to look under my car if I ever went to the mall. LOL.

Sat Mar 03, 09:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I also grew up going to the Oakland Mall -- when I was old enough, my friends and I would ride our bikes there in the summer. I remember when the two-level addition was being built -- it really changed the mall.

There is a Facebook group devoted to the Oakland Mall.

Sat Feb 16, 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too grew up around Oakland Mall. I'm 44 now and I remember buying my first drumset at Grinnell's (circa 1975 or 76). Which was the first store on the right as you exited Sears heading into the mall. I also remember eating at York Steak House. Where the present food court now sits.
I remember when the grocery store closed. It was, for a brief while, a toy store before they tore it down to make way for the two-story addition in 1980.

Mon Mar 03, 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have great memories of sliding down the hippo...

Tue Nov 18, 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

In the early 70's, Oakland Mall used to have tiled "gutters" that water ran through in front of the stores. We rarely ate at the Hudson's Restaurant, but I always loved looking down at the fountain and the hippo. Usually we had tuna sandwiches and hot fudge sundaes at Sanders. We'd often browse B. Dalton's next to Sanders while waiting for a table.

Sat Dec 05, 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Frank Anthony Polito said...

Desperately looking for a shot of the "other" mall in that area, Universal City, and its tiled mosaic of Saturn and the Milky Way, circa 1976... Anyone?

Sun Jan 05, 11:39:00 AM  

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