Friday, November 17, 2006

Northland Center Mall

Southfield, Michigan - March 13, 1954

Exterior view of the J. L. Hudson department store at the still fresh and clean Northland Center, right around the time the mall first opened. You can tell it still had that new mall smell here, with a parking lot that was smooth as a baby's bottom. They're so cute at that age aren't they? ;) Here's a bit of handy history from the excellent Wikipedia entry:
The Northland opening was the first major postwar development in suburban Detroit and was the first of many forays into the suburbs by Hudson's. Some $30,000,000 was invested in constructing the facility. The first-year gross for the Northland Hudson's was $88,000,000.

Designed by Victor Gruen, the mall opened to much fanfare. Articles about the center appeared in national media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Look, Life, Ladies Home Journal and Newsweek. All heralded that the concept represented the future of shopping in post-war America. Besides Hudson's, Northland opened with a number of other prestigious local retailers including: Hughes & Hatcher, Baker's Shoes, Himelhoch's, Winkelman's, Kresge, Robinson Furniture, Better Made Potato Chips, Kroger, and Sanders in the two-million-square-foot center. Northland featured auditoriums, a bank, post office, infirmary, sculptures, fountains, an office for lost children, lavish landscaping, and free gasoline for certain customers.
Mall history: 1954 - present
Architect: Victor Gruen
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

(Study image courtesy and © Wayne State University)


Blogger Cora said...

I love the name "Himmelhoch's" (means sky-high in German) which apparently was one of the original tennants. I wonder what they sold.

And of course, that free gasoline offer would be worth killing for given the current fuel prices.

Fri Nov 17, 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Troy said...

I just found your blog and I have to say it is great to realize there's someone else besides me that LOVES older mall architecture. I'm also a fan of school architecture but malls are great. Thanks for keeping such an awesome site. But anyway, I was going to say this building reminds me of an old Jordan Marsh department store that was unfortunately remodeled into a Macy's a few years back.

Sun Nov 19, 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

I love the presence the Hudson's has... you can't miss it. Truly exception modern architecture.

Wed Nov 22, 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many many happy memories associated with Northland Center.
My brother spent a great deal of time in the lost children center (police station). He was a wanderer!
I will cherish the memories of this beautiful mall and thankful I was there when it was brand new and thriving!

Thu May 16, 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cora, Himmelhoch's was a high-end chain of ladies botique clothing. Wolf Himmelhoch started the store(s) in 1907 in Detroit, and they were very popular especially in the 40s through the 60s.

Fri Dec 26, 02:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was another boutique that I can't remember the name. They sold hippie type clothes. Does anyone remember the name during the 60's. Thanks, Mimi

Mon Mar 02, 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger Victoria Mayhugh said...

I'm looking for a photo of the monkey cage at the Hughes & Hatcher store at Northland Mall in Southfield.

Please contact me with any information on this matter.

Thank you.

Tue Sep 08, 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger mike retz said...

I remember that monkey cage. Mom took me there to buy Levi's. Those monkeys would do the nasty in front of every one. I wouldn't go in those elevators. They had back doors that would open to now where scary

Sat Dec 29, 08:26:00 PM  

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