Southgate Shopping Center
I just love this vintage snapshot of the Southgate Shopping Center (aka Southgate Mall), Milwaukee’s first shopping center, along with its very groovy entrance and movie theater signs.
Here's a bit of opening day background from a 1999 Milwaukee-Journal article on the malls' eventual demise (you can read the whole thing here):
"After two years of work, Southgate was ready for those customers. The $5 million center was an open air marketplace, not a mall; its 20 stores shared a single roof and a canopied sidewalk. The complex covered 105,000 square feet of retail space, and the rest of the 30 acre site provided parking for 2,000 cars.Mall history: 1951 - 1990s (dead)
Milwaukeeans found Southgate irresistible. The center opened on Sept.20, 1951 a weekday and the developers were pleasantly surprised when more than 60,000 people showed up for their 'family party!' The entertainment was vintage Milwaukee: Polish and Italian folk dancers, polka bands on the blacktop. A visit from Alice in Dairyland a world champion flagpole stander and, of course, fireworks.
...The addition of a Gimbels department store in 1954 gave Southgate a genuine anchor. Krambo grocery store, Milwaukee's largest, opened on the south end in the next year, and the center became a regional magnet."
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(Study image courtesy and © The Wisconsin Historical Society)