Monday, October 08, 2007

Holyoke Mall History


"The Future is Now."

Well, was. And if the future were filled with space-aged, wooden-trimmed planter pots, faux terrazzo flooring tiles and a cavernous food court or what Heather Brandon of Urban Compass called a "feeding troth," well then take me back!

Back in July 1979, what would become the largest regional shopping mall in New England still reigns today as one of the largest and a certifiably stamped-with-pride Pyramid Center. With over 85 stores at the start, four anchors, and fine to quick-serve restaurants and an eight-screen cinema, Holyoke Mall quickly became a shopping beacon and a threat to all the malls around it when it made its impact (except for its junior Hampshire Mall a little ways north).

If it wasn't owned by Pyramid Companies, the outfit who later built Crossgates in Guilderland, N.Y., the Carousel Center in Syracuse, N.Y. and the Palisades Center in West Nyack, it wouldn't be so ginormous! This, my friends, is the grand-pappy blueprint for all of those copycats.


SEARS OPENS IT'S HOLYOKE MALL LOCATION JULY 30, 1979 (AND IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU'LL NOTICE FAINT LABEL SCAR FROM THE OLD LOGO UNDER TODAY'S NEWER BLUE ONE). AN AUTOMOTIVE CENTER HAS SINCE BEEN SCRAPPED FOR THE 1995 EXPANSION.

Unlike those built in the '90s, in tradition of many early Pyramid Centers, the place is draped in a wooden-fantasia of trims, grooved concrete, and a completely varied anchor history whose decor changed very much throughout the years. This mall has had it all, and you can see where its humble beginnings were even if you, like me, came here as a tot and remembered such things like the hanging arrow signs from the ceilings, directing patrons to anchors and such. They're still there, even if they've been replaced, and you'll occasionally spot a dead, former anchor on some of them.


CAFE SQUARE '79: FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS (KNOWN TODAY AS "FRIENDLY'S") IS THE ONLY SURVIVOR AMONG A LONG-GONE INGLESIDE EIGHT-SCREEN CINEMA (WHICH EVENTUALLY BECAME FILENE'S BASEMENT).

Unsurprisingly, this was a class-A mothership, as Devin de Gruyl on Labelscar proclaimed a "grand old lady", even back in the days were things were perceived as humble and teensy-weensy - just enough to get Connecticutions (people from Connecticut?) already bored with Westfarms, Enfield Square combined to take a ride up I-91. Even before its 1995 expansion, Holyoke Mall was grand and also had a swanky stacked-'h' logo, which is now an artifact of the mall's past. Fret not, the same old Mary Tyler Moore-era lettering still shows itself on the mall's Interstate-91-facing frontage (if you dangerously try to look over, that is).

Holyoke Mall at Ingleside is still a mammoth today, sitting on the edge of Holyoke, Mass. in but who would rather have had the neighboring charm of Ingleside in its title. Like its fascinated mall geeks would have you know, this mall is typically armed to the teeth with security which makes capturing ganders even more difficult due to their stringent, albeit non-documented no-photography policy.


HOLYOKE MALL STORE LISTING OF 1979 (CLICK FOR FULL-SIZE)




RECORD TOWN, NOW 'FYE' '79: WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU SAW 'THE WHO' ADVERTISED?! AND CLIPPING COUPONS?! JUST AIN'T ROCK'N ROLL!

It didn't stop The Caldor Rainbow, which was back in April 2007. It did however lead me to my very first parking-lot reprimand. Ah, the memories. Share yours, we appreciate it...

All Advertisments Courtesy of The Hartford Courant, 1979.

15 comments:

Jonah N. said...

That's amazing. I'd never seen the Orange Julius devil, and I'm secretly laughing at "Computer Portraits of New England". How would that work out??

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

I just noticed that OJ "devil." What were they thinking with such a bloody mascot like that? Obviously not too much because it was quickly scrapped into history's oblivion. Either way, devils and demonry are what I attribute citrus juice to when its sprayed into my eye, a cut, etc.

The Computer Portraits must have been funny, all green a la Apple computers.

I'm awaiting other accounts of there being a Burger King where Wendy's is now, circa 1980s until the early 1990s(?). I seem to remember it there even having its own dining area, too.

We're still trying to find vintage pictures of Holyoke Mall. They are very difficult to find...

Mark said...

awesome pics

BTW big thank you for finally finding pics of the Farmington Valley Mall, I've been looking for them for ages!

Brought a huge flood of memories back. wow.

keep up the good work!

pika23 said...

Nicholas...i am a fan of your blog and keith milfords malls of america...have you heard from keith latley or know his where abouts???lots of people over in his blog are kinda worried he's abandoned us?

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

Thank you for viewing.

I myself have never spoken with Keith Milford but I suspect he's caught the same fever we've all caught in the retail-reporting circle (including Labelscar) post-Summer: we're all quite busy to do lengthy, frequent updates. I've been missing his updates myself, especially since he's been absent for about over two months now.

Keep reading, and check Flickr for quick pics!

Mark said...

LOL I wonder what Sand Pebble and Undoubtedly Delicious were like..weird names.

hehehe looks like they made a big deal about having drinking fountains back then.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the Sears ad stated "we've moved"... I wonder where they moved from??? I wonder was it a full Sears store or a small Sears store with just appliances...

Rob said...

Nicholas, the Burger King you're thinking of was actually where McDonald's is today. I seem to remember it closing around the time of the '95 expansion.

I can't quite recall if it had its own dining area, but it certainly was big enough to have at least a few tables.

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Anonymous said...

I recently found an old Just Fun game token! Email me at MarcusQuiros@gmail.com and I'll send you a pic of it.

Anonymous said...

Two things not mentioned here.
Some number of years after the Mall opened, part of the Sears roof collapsed. Unfortunately, I don't really remember any more details.

Secondly, just down the street from here used to be a Paysaver. Remember Paysaver? They had a few locations, including one in the former Fox theater on Boston Road in Springfield, between Parker Street and Pasco Road. I remember small appliances, electronics, and jewelry.

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