Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sharpstown Center (aka Sharpstown Mall)


Houston, Texas - July, 1967

I
nterior photo of Sharpstown Center (or Sharpstown Mall), taken in July of 1967. Here's some past and more recent history from its Wikipedia entry:
"This is the second mall to be built in Houston after Gulfgate Mall opened in 1956. Sharpstown Center was the first air-conditioned, enclosed shopping mall in the Houston area. Because it was Houston's first air conditioned mall, many Houston residents residing in the central part of the city wanted to experience the 'mall of the future.'

In the early-1980s, a second floor was added and the mall extensively renovated from its original 1950s appearance. In the mid-1990s, the mall was branded as the 'Sharpstown Center.' In 1998, neighboring Westwood Mall with the area's Dillard's and Sears stores closed. National tenants have left Sharpstown Center in droves since the opening of First Colony Mall in nearby Sugar Land, and the mall is now nearly 25 percent vacant."
Mall history: 1961 - present
Developer: Frank Sharp
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: none

(study image courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries)

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20 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

I love when developers named shopping centers after themselves:
Sharpstown (Frank Sharp)
Stonestown (Henry and Ellis Stoneson)
Coddingtown - Santa Rosa (Hugh Codding)

Tue Aug 14, 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

"Houston's premier urban mall" it says. The only page on their Website that has any substance is the FAQs... interesting.
I wish the was a floor plan available to look at!
I love the flags of some nations! Anyone recognize the red and white one on the left?
Scott

Wed Aug 15, 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous LBez said...

This is one of the sketchiest malls in Houston . . . if not THE SKETCHIEST... there have been shootings in the parking lot.

And those flags are the 6 flags over Texas so the red and white one is Spain :)

Wed Aug 15, 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

It must be an older Spanish flag then, because the current one looks quite different.

Wed Aug 15, 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Castile and Leon, to be exact. I thought that was weird, least until Ibez cleared it up.
Scott

Wed Aug 15, 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jonah N. said...

Uh oh. Urban shops? Burlington Coat Factory? Is this listed on deadmalls.com yet?

Wed Aug 15, 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger Didi said...

I don't understand why Burlington gets a bad rep. It is the Monkey wards of the 21st century. Every Burlington been too is usually nice and orderly and I always come out with a shopping bag. Okay, so they are almost always in older shopping centers but still I love going there.

Fri Aug 24, 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous HoustonHistoryBuff said...

I remember the display in this photo. It use to go off at 3:00. It would turn around and the windows showed scenes from the history of Texas. It is great to see a picture of it again!

Fri Sep 07, 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharpstown is a shell of its former self, basically a Flea Market now. I am surprised that when Foley's closed it became a Macy's. This is not a neighborhood you want to be caught in at any time of day, much less nights. The area is completely horrible now.

Thu Sep 27, 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Jonah N. said...

Can anyone explain why they don't list all the stores in their website?

Thu Oct 18, 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well according to the news reports of 1/11/08 this mall has finally filed for bankruptacy. It does not surprise me at all. When I moved to Houston in 1990 it was still a premier shopping area with stores like Lerner, The Limited and The Gap. All gone now. This mall caters to gangsters and a bunch of trashy ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. In fact the whole population area surrounding this mall should be loaded on a train and sent as far into Mexico as you can get them.

Tue Jan 15, 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous hater leaving comments here: Did it ever occur to you that blacks and Hispanics are also people, and have parents, grandparents, and children? Did you know that even people that speak Spanish are capable of being much nicer and gracious than you? People are not "trashy," at least not in my eyes. The mall may cater to black people, but it certainly does not cater to "gangsters." Boy you make me see red. Sharpstown area is just like most other places in Houston. Largely safe, but with some incidents. I have lived in the area for many years and I frequent the mall. I have an office right across the street and I circulate in the neighborhood at all hours of the night, as I am an incorrigible night owl. I even eat at some of the restaurants that cater to Spanish speakers GASP! I've never had a problem.

Anyway...taking a deep breath. The clock in the picture is called "The Clock of Texas" and was the centerpiece of the mall for fourteen years. As HoustonHistorybuff mentioned, it played music, opened its doors, and made one complete revolution at certain show times of the day. At these appointed show times, people would rush out from all corners of the mall to gather around the ropes, jostling for the best view possible, to see the show. When the show started, the clock would make one complete revolution, giving everyone standing around a glimpse into each of the six scenes. Late comers would miss some or all of the show, which lasted only 2 or 3 minutes, and dejectedly slink back toward the stores while arguing about coming out earlier for the next show time. Inside each door was an animated scene that was something like a cuckoo clock, with little people rocking in chairs and chopping wood, etc. It's essentially a huge elaborate cuckoo clock with a history of Texas theme.

The mall was extensively modernized in 1975 and the clock was retired. The clock sat where the current security/information booth is located, as you can see in the picture here. You will find no pictures or remnants of the clock anymore anywhere in the mall, I’ve looked. However, you can find themes reminiscent of the clock. If you examine the floor at the information desk, you will see that the tile is laid in a circular pattern and divided into 12 or so segments. This forms a circle centered where the clock was located, forming a perimeter about the size of the ropes that kept people from getting too close to the clock. The ropes are visible in the picture here if you zoom the photo by saving it to disk and then viewing it with Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer or a similar program. Also the segments in the tile are reminiscent of the compartments of the clock that held the scenes. If you look above the information booth, you will see a circular adornment hanging from the ceiling with beams jutting out from it. This is also reminiscent of the clock and its 12 compartments (only 6 of which contained a door and a scene, as you can see in the picture here). There is a similar hanging adornment upstairs in the food court over the kiddy ride area. The adornment downstairs is only a partial circle, but the one upstairs is a full circle and for those few of us that remember the clock, it’s a blast of nostalgia that is the closest we will ever get to seeing the clock again.
Larry Brown

Mon Feb 25, 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous digitaljunkie said...

We had a clock similar to that one at Midtown Plaza in Rochester, New York. It was removed almost two months ago because the mall will sadly be demolished in 2009. No worries, our Clock of Nations is currently being restored and will be displayed at the Rochester International Airport until 2012. I saw the picture of Sharpstown and said ¨no way!¨ Sure wish that clock was still around as I´m sure it was not tossed into a dumpster.

Thu Jun 19, 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the idiot anonymous liberal who thinks that no one is "trashy", YOU move there and walk around with your kids if you have the guts. That area is a crime ridden war zone, and now that the mall is dying, the crooks are staging robberies and shootings at First Colony mall.

Fri Mar 19, 01:34:00 PM  
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Sun Aug 07, 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Stevewonder2 said...

I miss Sharpstown from back in the 1960s', when I lived their as a very young kid, and that Cock of Texas. It was a very safe, clean area, with better years.
The Sugar land/Mo City/Meadows areas replaced for shopping. Its now an international yet highly Hispanic area.

Sat Nov 05, 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Viviene Tan said...

I do appreciate with your marvelous post regarding this Sharpstown Mall; wishing someday I will visit that mall someday. Thanks for sharing this and keep on posting.

Viviene | shopping in the Philippines

Mon Oct 22, 11:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Heatblizzard said...

To the Anonymous person above. Give it up. That Liberal person is a paid agent advertising and in those cases nothing you say will get thru and anything you DO say can and will be used against you.


In their minds you are guilty until proven innocent as you're experiences do not count.

Fri Aug 02, 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacci said...

My shopping mall when I was an elementary school aged kid! The Flags of Texas clock/carousel would open its slide doors and play Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever", just instrumental. The Walgreens had a convenient sit down cafe, just out of the photo on the right. Can you see the old photo booth, with red curtain, inside Walgreens? You would get those black & white strips of photos from the booth. I still have one from when I was 6. I have fond memories of shopping at the Sears in this mall during Christmas, back when the world was a bit different and slower at Christmas time.

Mon Dec 02, 09:33:00 PM  

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