Friday, July 14, 2006

Northway Mall

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - circa 1970s

Here's a couple of wonderful vintage photos to start the weekend off right! First one is, of course, a groovy Woolworth's store--you can see the checkout counter and everything! Incredible view. The second is a Marianne ladies clothing store.

Currently known officially as the Shoppes at Northway, but still more widely referred to as Northway Mall (the newer "Shoppes" moniker is a post-renovation rename), this was purpotedly the first enclosed shopping mall in Pennsylvania. (photos courtesy The Shoppes at Northway)

Mall history: 1962 - present
Current website: here
Info from Wikipedia
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The detail on that Woolworth photo is interesting to look at. (There's even a baffled old man on the very left edge of the picture.) Definitely a much nicer store than the creaky 1940s-era store I am familiar with from my hometown. I was trying to figure out what the different machines were in front of the store... it looks like the first one on the left was some sort of early video game and the one on the right is a scale (seems like a really odd place to put one... I wouldn't weigh myself the middle of the mall!). The squat brown machine is the one that I can't figure out. Any ideas?

There's a vintage photo album on the mall's site at -- too bad more shopping centers didn't do this. I'm sure that lots of management offices have photo albums filled with these type of shots. This mall sure had one tacky looking bird cage -- I thought they were always supposed to be elegant, but I guess not! You can hardly see the birds through all the netting... I wonder if some unfortunate incident led to that.

Fri Jul 14, 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Look at the boxes of what appears to be junk, stacked in front of each register. That's pretty much how I remember the Woolworth's in my hometown--lots of bins full of clutter and junk. What I wouldn't give to see one open right now!

Fri Jul 14, 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a guy, I obviously did NOT shop stores like Marianne's but I DO remember their stores. They were all over the place in many of the medium-to-large sized malls here in WI, but only one store had that particular logo/sign on their storefront. The now defunct (and shuttered) Northridge Mall in the northern reaches of Milwaukee WI. I clearly remember that script style sign on their storefront.

It was one of my mother's favorite stores whenever we were at a mall that had it, or its other banners (Jean Nicole, Petri's, etc)

Fri Jul 14, 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

Now that's a great mall! I love them when they are this size. Small, yet still enclosed and a nice selection of stores you can get in and out of. Only a few that size still exist.

Fri Jul 14, 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Tylyer said: "The detail on that Woolworth photo is interesting to look at." Tell me about it. I got lost in it for quite a while! Brings back memories.

I was studying those machines in front of the store as well. I clearly remember always seeing those sitting outside of Woolworth's, but never really approaching them to figure out what they were, lol.

Like you said, one does look like it's an arcade game, and the other a scale (I do remember those being there, actually. We always wondered why they heck they put 'em there, as we never once saw anyone using it over the many years we frequented the Woolworth store at Universal Mall in Warren, MI, near our house).

The machine in the middle I'm not sure of. Maybe a horoscope dealie or something? I remember some stores in those days had those.

And that photo album on their site, I agree, is something all malls should do! (Btw, I plan to post more of those photos from it, so don't look at 'em if you don't want to ruin the future surprises, hehe.)

Chris: You're so right about the clutter and junk! :D

Fri Jul 14, 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Livemalls said...

That Woolworth made my day. I love the backlit sign. Between that and the luncheonette view, I never even saw the clutter :-)

Fri Jul 14, 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

Would've loved to have seen a Woolworth like that. Mostly associate more with an outdoor shopping center types I've been to personally.

Sat Jul 15, 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger labelscar said...

Wow! What a neat set of shots. I've actually been to this mall (and we'll probably make a post at Labelscar about it at some point, discussing its more modern decor) and didn't remotely recognize these initially. This was one of my favorite malls around Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh had a lot of really cool ones!

Sat Jul 15, 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

Woolworth still exists in Germany, as they separated from the US mother company sometime in the 1990s. My hometown still has two, including a vintage one next to a 1960s era strip mall, which remains largely unchanged, including the boxes of junk.

I even found a picture.

Sat Jul 15, 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right Keith -- it's a horoscope machine. I remember having seen amusement machines just like that (usually in greasy spoons), but couldn't remember what they were. I had also considered cigarette vending machine or change machine, but those little rolled up horoscopes is more like it.

It seems to me that the boxes of Woolworth junk inevitably said "Dollar Days" on them... even if some of the items were more than a dollar.

Sat Jul 15, 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up a two minute walk from Northway, and I still live in the same area. I believe the two machines on the left were early video games, followed by a change machine and a scale. I remember the store well because kids used to open the cages and let the birds fly out. I remember "Charlie" who cost $499.99. The area where Woolworth's was is now a Marshall's (clothing, etc.). Two days ago, it was announced that part of the mall will be renovated into a strip mall (upper level). The end of an era!

Tue Oct 31, 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just happened upon these photos. It brings back memories of Northway Mall. Do you have any other photos. I remember a birdcage in the middle of the floor in the mall and a place to throw pennies in. It wasn't a wishing well but that is what people did. When you were little it looked huge. Thanks for the memories.

Wed Dec 20, 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the local mall that I grew up in. Spent many a Saturday there with my family when I was young and with friends later on. It seemed huge back then! I love that Woolworth picture. My mom, brother and I would go to have a coke at Woolworth's (or G.C Murphy's) after shopping in the mall. I do remember the pet department with the birds and the fish. There was one large goldfish in one of the tanks. I think that he was around for a long time. Many good memories. The mall looks so different now but yet it is still sad to see it turned into a strip mall. (I never knew that it was a strip mall to begin with.) Very interesting... thanks for making me remember some good times.

Tue Jul 10, 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived a few blocks from the mall. I can remember listening to the construction machines all through the night in the summer of '61. There are great pictures of the mall from the early days at the site listed in tkaye's post, including the bird cage. I agree, it was huge when we were little. I can remember prior to the mall, when it was just a strip mall along McKnight. Everything was there, our doctor, dentist, barber, hardware, beauty parlor, Buster Brown Shoes, and the A&P. Then when it became The Mall, it was incredible. It was the first place around to have air conditioning. Downtown was a much longer ride back then and old people would come out on the PAT buses an sit at tables inside the mall and play cards all day. I can remember the Woolworths before and after the mall expansion. There were huge bins filled with toys on the first floor between the entance and the escalators to the second floor. At the mall's website, there is a picture showing the National Record Mart where my older sister bought all of her records in the early to mid 60's. One day there was a strange display in front of the store. It was four guys in odd looking suits and their heads were animated, bobbing back and forth. They had haircuts like nothing we'd seen before. It was our first ever look at the Beatles.

Sun Jan 13, 01:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rick, it's funny you should mention the toy bins as the Woolworth toy bin was where I committed my first theft! I grabbed a small stuffed animal mouse and hid it in my jacket when I was about three-years-old at this very spot. We were on our way to the escalators, my mom had to go downstairs to buy bird feed in the downstairs/back area where the pets were.

One of the machines was a weight machine, my friends and I would all try to stand on it at the same time to get some 400 lb reading.

There was a Pappan's down by where Dick's is now, and next to that was the area's first GAP. There was a Spencer's where the main escalators are now, which became an arcade. The arcade was where I first saw a pretty young lady that I asked out on a date, we were fourteen. We're thirty-five now and have been happily married for ten years. I wish Northway was left as an indoor mall, but oh well, with time comes change.

Sat Jan 31, 12:24:00 AM  
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