Saturday, January 13, 2007

Westfield Shoppingtown Trumbull; Trumbull, Connecticut

For a few months now, I’ve been obsessing about getting out to Trumbull. The mall, that is. Just last year, I visited the mall I never really knew existed in the Southern end of Connecticut. Shortly before Christmas, I previewed the mall again, ready to do an report on it on my way down to Bridgeport.

Just this week, my lovely travel companion, Renee, and I made it to Westfield Trumbull on an early Tuesday morning.

Another mall later purchased by the ambitious Austrialian-based Westfield Group, a notorious “Shoppingtown” mall development and management company, who is most well-known for being widely successful in buying up and/or converting their older, historic malls and rebranding or lobotomizing their unique and significant histories. Any mall today owned by Westfield is known too well as a Westfield center as their name Westfield is quite frankly everywhere Westfield. I always thought it would be funny if somehow fate dictated Westfield to have a mall in Westfield, Massachusetts and let the ridiculousness just play itself out. Jokes aside, this was an actual controversy which helped former Westfield-owned Enfield Square gain back it’s original name. Way to go?

In the late 1990‘s, Westfield has made it’s mark around Connecticut with a few centers some of which survived once slumping or staggering fates including one we covered back in September, Meriden Square (tehnically was never dying), Connecticut Post Mall (which was in a distressed state), and the since sold Enfield Square (which Westfield most likely jumped ship), which is now a Vornado Reality-owned center. Their nationwide strategy, inspired by their Aussie origins, essentially saw to “rebrand” their existing or acquired malls under a uniformed banner of “Westfield (and/or) Shoppingtown” prefix, which seemed to bowl over well in their homeland while not quite grasping here in America.
Westfield Centers of Connecticut History
Westfield Connecticut Post (originally known as Milford Mall, later renamed Connecticut Post Mall, later purchased, now owned by Westfield). Opened 1960.
Westfield Shoppingtown Trumbull (Originally known as Trumbull Shopping Park, Opened as an outdoor center 1964).
Westfield Shoppingtown Meriden (formerly known as Meriden Square). Opened 1971.
Enfield Square (formerly known as Westfield Shoppingtown Enfield). Opened 1971. Renamed Enfield Square by new owner, Centro Watt/Centro Properties Group.
Luckilly, we don’t follow outlandish definitions of a Shoppingtown (because we all know how dirty and unsophisticated a word “mall“ is in this day), which has caused the company to partially drop it from all current company associations. The "Shoppingtown" travesty is still evident on many of its malls road pylons in Connecticut.

The wonderous center court includes a triangular multi-spring fountain and mirror-lined escalators.

For better or worse, everything they’ve marketed and rebranded under their Westfield name has turned to be a success. Proof can only point to its crowning, thriving centers today; especially Connecticut Post Mall, which was a once staggering, outdated center purchased by Westfield and turned into a prosperous, upper-echelon "Westfield Connecticut Post"; a three-level center with two food courts and a movie theater! Another center they once owned in Enfield, helped move it along by adding attractive anchors and tenants.

Trumbull Shopping Park opened in 1964, by Jack Frouge as a outdoor shopping center anchored by Korvette; a discount department store, Read's; an upscale clothier, and a Waldbaum's supermarket amongst other five-and-dimers. Sometime in the 1970's, when G. Fox entered the marketplace in Trumbull in the collapsed Korvettes, at the sunrise of the indoor shopping mall boom of the times, the property was enclosed and vastly expanded into a modern mall setting from there and years after including 1986, adding Macy's to the roster to in the former Read's space, where it also hit a milestone from 740,000 to 1 million square feet. In 1992, expansion furthered adding a new anchor Lord & Taylor.

Located on median tree-lined Merritt Parkway (CT-15), accessible a few miles off CT-8 in the quaint suburb of Trumbull on its Main Street, a modern standard of being remotely Interstate-aided, like its competitors, didn't seem to affect its fate over the years. Originally, the center was a servant to locals, when it became an enclosed regional shopping center, the location as well as the Merritt Parkway had to be altered to suit the mall's increased traffic, adding a bridge to cross the highway.

During its time, it survived a long time against some heavy competition; Connecticut Post Mall (built in 1960), which was owned independently in Milford, reportedly a kingpin in size during its time and Lafayette Plaza (built in 1968), a more urban setting in Bridgeport. Later in the ages, the mall was purchased by the Westfield Group and renamed Westfield Shoppingtown Trumbull under the banner of Westfield's brand-centric marketing strategy in the late 90's. The mall's volume grew and became a consistent top-tier servant in the area in terms of shopping far from its conception decades past.

A deteriorating parking garage with dead plantlife growing all over it mustn't be questionably there.

The parking garage, which serves Lord & Taylor, and the former Filene's, now (since relocated) Macy's suppose the garage was added most likely during the 1992 expansion when Lord & Taylor was brought to the map in Trumbull. While no longer considered a "Shopping Park", the property attempts to stay true to the origins; a "park"-esque setting with median landscaping on the driveways in-and-out to Main Street, and even overgrown vegetation spilling over the parking garage walls. By park, you can also interpret that as "parking [lot]".

Of all the Westfield malls in the state, including the later Westfield-purchased Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, being a mere 10 miles away just off CT-15, along the motherload of Eastern U.S. traffic, I-95, Trumbull seems to be the most affected by the very trouble and inabilities competitor Connecticut Post once suffered with no help from the litany of problems pouring out of New Haven County’s ramshackled cities and towns.

Tables turned today where in the early 90's the lesser of the eternal rivals, Connecticut Post, formerly owned independently, was strategically purchased and turned around by Westfield. Releaving the rivalry, Trumbull who was once the regional leader, now seems to be showing it's age and distress against the extreme $118 million makeover Connecticut Post has recieved this past year. Does Westfield have something on the horizon for this once leading Connecticut mall?

Like Trumbull, Meriden and Milford are equally troubled cities. Trumbull seems to bare the enormous burden of crime between them all, having more gray hairs than it’s sister malls and also the latest to see developments and expansions. Once a woeful Connecticut Post of the 1990‘s, a decade later turned completely around with its latest expansion, along with the ever-evolving Meriden (which has just seen a few new anchor stores) leaving Trumbull somewhat behind.

When it comes to crime, it can easily be traced back to the notorious neighboring city, Bridgeport and all its problems which have bled into Trumbull aplenty during the early 90‘s; having a history of violence right here at the mall. One instance included a riot which broke out involving over 100 people with 10 security guards attempting to break it up in 1994, various and repeat reports of gun-related activity, parking lot muggings and various brawls.

The violence, which has had an unfortunate, continuing saga at the mall, plagued by it’s proximity to the city, prompted a boost by Westfield to take action. In 2003, a Trumbull Police sub-station housed itself inside the mall to assist the center's own security in an attempt to repel rampant criminal activity. While not overrun with surveillance cameras, common with other Westfield malls, regular patrols from police and mall security are stationed throughout, which is why we couldn't secure any shots of the food court. Make no mistake, security protocol is mainly precautionary, perhaps more so than other malls, but it isn't particularly dangerous to shop here.

The former Filene's, pre-dates to 1979, when G. Fox was in the spotlight.

JCPenney, as usual, unable to escape their bug and dust-filled interior sign lighting.

Despite its odds, Trumbull is without a doubt one of the more interesting shopping malls and in Connecticut for any mall enthusiast for it‘s unique attributes in design which presmably contains origins predating to the 1970's. Despite the many possible expansions, the mall has a non-pareil flair about it to this day, staying plenty true to it’s earliest indoor-conversion before the bombastic shopping big box age of the post-1980’s helped most classy centers lose their charm and soul.

Allow me to announce my bias, I typically favor such malls which have a lot of vintage flavor still in them, as they were the glory days of mall design and architecture. Any existing in such a form today, largely untampered with are no less than golden. As much a fan of Westfield I’m not, many of their centers leave much from the old days evident, even if they've decidedly tried to change that in past years.

Upper Level, on the left, Lower Level on the right. Trumbull has eventually molded into an eccentric "A-shape" design.
Distinct aspects of Trumbull are certainly the unusual layout and decor. While a modern standard two-levels, the mall’s layout feels more bizarre, and somewhat labyrinth-confusing when physically inside than it looks; an “A”-molded map, non-symetrical on each floor. You’ll find there are plenty areas inside the mall you may never suspect are multiple leveled with no oversight to lower levels, feeling about as bunkered as a one-level mall usually feels.

With butterscotch and caramel tones in the tiles, various stationed planters and seating areas, decidedly mahogany hues along the walls, random lower-level overlooks, and wood-trimmed planks covering the sharpely shaped-framed ceilings and spiked skylights, there’s little doubt they ever changed most of the upholstery past the 1970's and some '80s era. Nothing in the state compares to Trumbull‘s offerings. While borderline mediocre and somewhat ghastly, there's something about it, surely something else you won't find at other Connecticut malls.

Brown and tan hues against industrial-frame skylights might be the eras in contrast.

Due to the level of darker tones, jagged, blind corridors, a half-artificially lit center leaves some areas of the mall feeling trapped; some with no windows, or natural light around. On one end, a cramped food court; a flourescent fantasy set to the back of dark shades, on the other various skylights stroon about to contrast the darker aspects of the mall‘s colors - some not situated in areas that could‘ve used it (especially the mess hall, er... food court). With some conditions, primarily in the areas like the food court you'll most want to relax, is uncomfortably tense and close quarters.

Pathway to the food court coming from a bunkered corridor.

Given that, some corridors evidently harken back to early design often stumbling upon escalators on some oddly-placed areas of the mall as if they later added more due to customer complaints of wondering how to access lower levels of the mall. Westfield Trumbull, while having the expansion of today’s mall, are a throwsback to what malls were like before the evolution of uninspired, copycat malls which became commonplace today.

Just one of the unusual aspects of Trumbull; like this corner preview to a lower level.

Known Anchor History
Korvette; 1964-1978, became G. Fox; 1979-1993, became Filene’s; 1993-2006, became Macy’s; 2006-present
; 1964-1979, became Jordan Marsh; 1987-1992, became Abraham & Straus; 1992-1995 , became Macy’s; 1995-2006, currently vacant

Lord & Taylor
; 1992-present

; 1970's (?)-present

Circuit City
; Mid-1990’s (?), outparcel

A vintage Read's clothier which later housed Macy's, now a piece of neglect by the new way of today.

Boarded-up doesn't bode well for an active mall.

The state of the mall, including it’s future, has changed the possibilities just within the last decade with the purge of the Filene’s brand caused by the Federated uniform of Macy's. As a result, the original Macy’s has vacated their original location aside Lord & Taylor to move into the newer store, former G. Fox/Filene's leaving the original 1964 Read’s to sit a vacant, partially boarded-up leaving a wood-fenced eyesore A/C-unit atop the roof.

The rising electronic age in the 90's brought Circuit City to the mall, having opened sometime in the mid-1990‘s. Due to the lack of retail space in the area, Circuit City is positioned outparcel and recognized as an anchor.
So what’s missing from this list? Sears, you say? Malls almost require Sears as a median anchor, especially due to Trumbull having been the premiere shopping center in the area. So why no Sears over at Westfield Trumbull? Could it be the company’s own financial problems? Well let’s look at the possibilities...
Sears had plenty stores already in the area including the Connecticut Post Mall only 10 miles away, Naugatuck Valley Mall, since moved to the newly-built Brass Mill Center in 1997. Many Sears not featured previously in malls, moved in sometime in 1990's making some mall anchor space more complete with such a familiar, household name. But it never happened at Trumbull.

The reason can be partially attested to the now collapsed Lafayette Plaza, renamed The Hi-Ho Center in the 1980's shortly before it’s demise due to the city of Bridgeport [still] suffering from urban decay. Established pre-indoor mall era, Sears competitively had a location inside the Hi-Ho Center to contrast New Haven's Chapel Square Mall Macy's store, and Trumbull's Read's. When it closed in
1992, it has sat vacant since.

When the Trumbull mall initiated its '92 expansion, they seemed to just miss the mark to move Sears in after sealing the fate of the Hi-Ho Center, losing an opportunity to add Sears as a future mall anchor.

In 1993, Sears closed its store in Hamden due to declining sales, sealing the fate for yet another location, lessening the possibility of opening any brand-new store in the New Haven area. However, in the same year, another Westfield property saw Sears opening: in the Meriden Square, with its new 1993 expansion. It’s clearly possible Sears planned a retreat against the New Haven area due to two stores failing, seeing it only to be an area of decline.

But who knows what the future holds, especially with the new Sears prototype coming, and the proposed 2007 expansion, a Sears could possibly come to Trumbull better than ever.

Expansion '07
From the lost opportunity of being able to grab Sears, timing seems to be another challenging element not entirely on the side of this Trumbull mall. Like their other properties in Meriden and Milford (Connecticut Post), Trumbull is hoping to dose another expansion, to the scale of $250 Million in 2007. Talks of new anchors; Target, which hopes to occupy and demolish the vacant former Macy’s, and hopes to garner upscale clothier, Nordstrom; being a first for a Connecticut Westfield center and a second state-wide location aside the Westfarms Mall in West Hartford.

Some of the expansion boomers of the times; Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy, also current day saviors to mall expansion prospects and/or reviving dying centers are certainly ideal strategies which have helped other Westfield centers thrive; Best Buy at Meriden and Target at Connecticut Post.

But that card has already been played - over at the once struggling, since rebounded smaller Hawley Lane Mall on the Trumbull-Stratford border, also a wrench between the Westfield malls. Does Trumbull really need another Target store just a few miles off?

The proposal has been challenegd various times with hopes to add the hip discounter to the Trumbull mall's 20th century expansion roster is still being hammered against the backdrop of a decrepit, old Read's/Macy's building. There's also one over at Connecticut Post, so why another here? There's a good chance when Waldenbooks' lease is up this month, a likely candidate for replacement will be a Borders, which recently added onto the Meriden branch, but nothing has been proposed yet.

With the upcoming expansion, Circuit City is likely to renovate from the "plug-outlit" design into the 2001 "[bland] big box" design of the chain's new look.

A "Mall Entry" label scar from the Shopping Park-era behind a Westfield sign.

Lastly, we would like to thank Billholden over at TRUMBULLchat who shed some light on Trumbull Shopping Park history, John Lauria of TrumbullHistory for historic image. We'll be continuing our malls in Connecticut here at The Caldor Rainbow. If you've got any insight or clarity regarding the history of Westfield Trumbull, please let us know by throwing over a comment or two.


Anonymous said...

Nice piece! The Trumbull mall is definately an interesting place to visit. Just to let everyone know, A&S was an anchor at this mall for many years until 1995-1996. At that point, the anchor became Macy's. So, it was Read's, then A&S, and finally Macy's (now shuttered). In addition, Woolworth's had a very large store in this mall until the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

"A&S"? Never heard of that store; what kind of items did they traffic in? They must've had a less-than-impactful dent in the history of retail since I couldn't find anything mentioned in my travels.

Do you remember where Woolworth was? My guess would be in the foodcourt where Steve & Berry's is now. It was probably somewhere in the original mold of the mall since it was part of the original line-up when Trumbull Shopping Park was but a plaza.

Keep the history coming! I need some more actual accounts!

Anonymous said...

A&S was short for Abraham & Straus. That was a department store company that was owned by Federated for many years. Most of the stores were in the NY/NJ/CT area. Federated decided to change the name of those outlets in the 1990s to Macy's to save money. That same department store in Trumbull may have been a Jordan Marsh as well before A&S. A lot of name changes for one store!

Anyway, Woolworth's may have been where the current Old Navy is now (I'm not 100% sure though). I remember going there as a child in the 1980s. It was rather large (similar in size to one outlet in Stamford, CT) in comparison to the other five and dime stores. The current Steve & Barry's at the mall was a Kid's R Us for many years.

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

I knew it! I had only guessed in the slightest Steve & Barry's was Kids "R" Us by the "racetrack" and stripes around the store's interior face. I discounted it was Kids "R" Us eventually because I noticed there were no Toys R Us stores in the area (closest: Milford). The only mall Toys R Us or Kids R Us I ever knew of was at Holyoke Mall in Mass., and they were coupled.

I would've grabbed a photo of it, but mall security was patrolling that area in particular. Too bad because I came with shooting the food court as a highest priority. Next time, perhaps...

Thanks again, "anonymous".

Anonymous said...

I used to go to the Trumbull Mall all the time when I was in college at Fairfield University...never really thought of it as a military bunker but I definitely agree that once you're in there, it's so easy to get turned around and disoriented. Awesome piece!

Anonymous said...

Having grown up in the'70s and '80s with Trumbull Shopping Park only a few miles away, I've been there a lot over the past 30 or so years and I as far as I know it was an enclosed mall from the begining though quite a few stores were only accessable from outside(Connecticut Post Mall in Milford was an open air shopping center untill the early '80s when a roof was added with full enclosure a year or so later). Originally there was Reads at one end and Korvettes at the other with Waldbaums in Korvettes' basement. Woolworths was in the middle with a 2 floor set up (the upper level is currently the Gap and either the store to its right or left and the lower level is most of what is now FYE, the 2 levels were staggered side by side not directly over and under). The Old Navy store in lower level was a Herman's sporting goods, the food court and the hall leading to it (where Hot Topic, Forever 21, etc.. are) were office space rented out to Skikorsky Aircraft later converted into the New England mall which featured cobblestone floors, lamp-posts and old fashioned style storfronts opening to a plaza where the foodcourt is today featuring a large artificial tree at it's center complete with a soundtrack of chirping birds. Off to one side was a large book store called the Bookbeast (where Mcdonalds and Sieko of Japan are), a music shop (where the escalators are) and the infamous video arcade (where Taco Bell is). Steve and Barry's (yes, formally a Kids R Us) was shipping/receiving space. The entire rear section (JC Penny wing) was added later. Originally the rear stretched from the back of the Reads building to Walbaums, with Woolworths' lower level opening to the rear parking lot as well as Herman's a mall enterance and several smaller stores which were only accessable from outside. Also the front hall on the upper level and the Lord & Taylor court were later additions. From Waldenbooks to the jewelery store at the other end were the original oustside mall front. Evidence of this can still be seen in the stone pillar by the jewelry store's enterance. The reason for Circuit City being outparcel is it was built on the site of the former Trans Lux movie theater. Any other questions, just ask.

Anonymous said...

There was a fire tonight (1/30) at the Mall. Right now there's no link to the story on the website for Channels 3, 8, or 30. They said the fire started in a store under construction and spread to the food court. Extensive Smoke and Water Damage to both areas.

Anonymous said...

Before A&S came to Trumbull, Jordan Marsh took over the Read's spot. The JCPenney wing was built around 1986 believe it or not, it's fairly recent to the mall. I remember the "Grand opening" of the wing and shops.

The Woolworths was a 2 level store, occupying the space just across from the G.Fox upper level and had entrances on that level as well in back first level just below where Ann Taylor is now. Im not sure what store is there currently.

The mall was dumbell shaped until the JCPenney wing opened. It was expanded again when they hollowed out the lower level and built the L&T. In this process, a food court was built. Similar to WestFarms, Food courts were not common in malls during the 1980's, it was only shortly towards the end of the decade that they started appearing.

Also, the GFox although originally 3 levels, was not extended out beyond the basic footprint, it too went through an expansion in the 1980's adding another lower level under the Men's store. There was also a restaurant directly in front of the down escalator on the 2nd floor.

Read's had the best in-store bakery on the lower level near the escalators, and a restaurant as well, in the northeast corner of the store.

I also remember walking into Fox's on the main floor and just to the left was a new Fendi boutique.

That's all for now..its getting late!

Anonymous said...

I grew up about a mile up the road from Trumbull Shopping Park. Any questions or comments about past merchants I can probably answer or add information to. That place was great. I remember how it seemed to be a town unto itself. Lots of mom-and-pops obviously. That definitely had something to do with the feel of it back then. It seems cold and shallow now. It has morphed so many times, its amazing how they made all of the corridors connect.

Tim Parry said...


A&S (Abraham & Strauss) was pretty much a typical Federated nameplate, probably closer to Macy's than Jordan Marsh was. Pretty much one day the Jordan Marsh signs were removed and the A&S signs were slapped on.

Bennigan's just closed, one of 4 in the state to close for reasons that pretty much equaled a lack of business or rents that were too high. Ruby Tuesday is again the only restaurant.

Rumor has it a large plot of land between Exit 48 and a the Main Street entrance will become open-air retail as well. Whole Foods is a name that is being tossed around, as is Nordstrom's. If Target is going into the former Macy's space (demolition could begin very soon), then is disconnected Nordstom's could make sense. There really is no other logical fit, unless they build one between what will be Target and the Lord & Taylor.

Nicholas, it's too bad you didn't get to see the arial photos of the mall in the community room (if they are still on the wall). Showed all the original configuration with a lot of stores facing Main Street still having outdoor entrances. Super Drugs, Arthur's, and Waldenbooks come to mind.

Anonymous said...

They should bring back the YORK STEAK HOUSE! Anyone remember that place? Push your tray along and dont forget the pudding. LOL

I grew up in Monroe/Trumbull and have so many good memories of that mall. I still live in Trumbull. My grandma worked at Reads since the day it opened until the late Jordan Marsh days. That bakery rocked! I used to get spinach filled croissants. My gramps retired from sikorsky and became the groundskeeper at the Trans Lux theartre. My brother and I saw every single movie from 1981 till 1990 for free at that theatre. How can I forget the garbage bags full of popcorn he used to bring us with a flashlight during the movie. LOL Remember the middle theatre? It was 3 times the size of the ones to the left and right.

I remember that Arcade where Taco Bell is and I used to love the Bookbeast across the way. Dont forget Kay-Bee Toy and Hobby and Graf Wadman records. Two more of my favs. Woolworths was great too. I used to slide down those metal handrails next to the escalators to go to the first floor. Remember the resturant they had in there? My mom worked there when she was a teen. I rememeber going down the escaltor by gfox to hit waldbaums with mom to do the grocery shopping.

Ah the memories. I wish I could go back...

Miss B. said...

I just stumbled upon this trying to find out what new stores/restaurants are coming next.

I grew up in Trumbull, and live close by now. This brings up a lot of memories. Carl Graf's (or Graf Wadman) records was awesome. It was small, but a hip spot. I don't remember book beast and I especially don't remember A&S and I think I would. I remember Read's to Jordan Marsh to Macy's. Maybe A&S was short lived.

What was the drug store across from Woolworth's - Super 8 or something??

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Trumbull in the '60's and actually remember the mall being built. I am pleased to share my recollections of it. There were vehicle entrances from the front(Main St.)side and the rear(Madison Ave.)side. Entry into the mall itself was limited. A vast majority of the stores were only accessable from the inside. I do not recall there being as many outdoor entrances as others have said.
The two level mall was originally H shaped, and fully enclosed, with anchors D.M.Read's on one end and E.J.Korvette's on the other. A central corridor connected the two. On either side of the corridor were a variety of stores, with their entrances facing into the corridor. The stores in front also had storefront windows facing the parking lot, while the stores on the rear side had solid exterior walls since the way the mall was built they were actually one floor above ground level. At each end of the central corridor was a smaller perpendicular corridor separating the central corridor from the anchor stores. These corridors, particulary the Read's side, which was bigger, contained some small stores and kiosks. Because the upper floor was ground level in front and the lower floor was ground level in back, entry was tricky. Entry from the front was available only from the Read's corridor, the Super X drug store, which was about midpoint of the mall, and I believe Korvette's had their own front door. The bottom level was below ground in front and thus only accessable from the outside from the rear. The rear entrances were at the lower corridor of Korvettes, Woolworth's lower level, which was about midpoint of the mall since it was located directly across from Super X, the Waldbaum's food store, (which also featured one of those roll your groceries out on the conveyor belt things), had it's own separate entrance and Moony's sporting goods store, which later became Herman's. Read's also had a side entrance.
Once inside the mall the only ways to maneuver between floors was either through Woolworth's, which had escalators, or at either small corridor. The Korvette's side had a stairway to the rear where you could either exit or access the lower level, and the Read's side had escalators going up or down to the front where you could access the lower level but could not go directly outside.
The lower level featured the same central corridor as the upper level, but there were no central stairways or escalators. The lower level featured a few stores but it was mostly the boarded up basements of the upper level stores and shipping/receiving. The majority of the lower stores were on the front side with no outer storefronts since it was underground. The rear, which was ground level, was mostly solid wall except for the few stores.
As far as the stores go, memerable ones were Woolworth's, which contained a restaurant that served up everything from sandwiches and light entrees to banana splits. The booth seats were along the front windows looking out into the mall. They also had a pet dept. on the lower level with fish, parakeets, etc. Some of the other stores were Ray Pacific's, an upscale mens store, Arthurs mens store, and beneath Arthur's on the lower level was Artie's Place, the young persons version of Arthurs where you could buy bell bottoms and tie-died shirts, black lights, posters etc. After all this was the '60's. Alexander's was also on the lower level under Super X, as was a restaurant/pizzeria called Progresso's. There was also an Orange Julius. Food courts as we know today, were not yet invented. There were many more stores that I have forgotten. Perhaps someone can remind me. I've not been to the mall in a long time, but when I go I try to envision the original layout.
Last but not least, the Circuit City was originally the United Artists (UA) cinema. I believe it was just one screen at first since multi-plexes were not yet in-fashion and was later expanded to two or three screens.
This is my recollection of the mall as a child from about 40 years ago.

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

All this information is extraordinary. I thank you all for giving your first hands. Keep it coming! It appears I will soon have to edit the page.

I also want to announce an update: The former Macy's has been demolished and will make way for Target (after all) in Fall 2007.

Anonymous said...

And yes Korvettes too, I forgot to mention....along with Waldbaums, as I was told from my folks.

I do, oddly enough, remember the United Artists Theater. I remember seeing Aladdin back in 92' when I was only 4 years old. In 96' Circuit city possessed the former Theater...That I do remember.

There is one more thing that I must say about the renovation: I hope they don't scrape the Fountain away!

Anonymous said...

The original Reads Dept Store in Trumbull Mall had the restaurant on the second floor. My mom and I went their to eat every Friday night. Also remember the clothing store Together that had the clothes on a conveyer belt on hangers near the ceiling going around the store?

Anonymous said...

Remember Fabric Tree outside the original Reads--it was where Regis Hair Salon is now--? We used to shop at Arthur's where Express is now. There was a door on the exterior of the mall and also one on the wall opposite the Regis Salon.

Anonymous said...

Remember, Carol Shoes, near where FYE is today. They had great carpet in there. That was next to Mooney's sporting goods which turned into Herman's. Used to get all my school supplies at Woolworth's and to finish the trip off had a Waffle ice cream sandwich (vanilla, choc,straw slab between two waffles) Oh how vivid the memory. Hill's was there before Waldbaums. At the time, the food court consisted of Orange Julius and the Chocolate chip cookie factory (my first job)and not much else. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Adam Freedman said...

I grew up in Easton from 1975 - 1989 and went to the mall often. I think I was the only one of my group of friends that didn't work there; Baskin Robbins, Hermans and others. I remember as a VERY young kid fishing pickle samples out of a pickle barrel that I think was near where Baskin Robbins was/is. I remember the arcade and Book Beast across the deadend hallway. Decent memories!

Unknown said...

Here's a couple of additions to the collective memory:

The Pie Plate restaurant next to the music store in the lower level (they had all kinds of great pies)

I remember spending lots of time (and money) at that arcade which was right near the lower level entrance (which looked like a loading dock)

Anonymous said...

I grew up on the Madison Avenue side of the mall - what we considered the "front" of the mall. I can remember the mall being built. I was about six years old.

On the Madison Ave side, from left to right, was Hills Supermarket with E.J. Korvettes above it. Next to Hills was Kay's, then the mall entrance with the escalators inside, then the liquor store, then the card shop, then the lower Woolworth's entrance (where FYE is now), then Mooney's Sporting Goods (which moved from Bridgeport), then the lower level mall entrance, then Read's.

On the Main Street side, there was Read's, Arthur's, the upper level mall entrance, an Optometrist, the SuperX Drug Store, the Danish Hearth, the Bagel Barrel, a restaurant (I think on the corner), the mall entrance where Progress Pizza was just inside on the left. The O was crossed out on Progresso on the sign. A slice of pizza was $0.25. Then Korvettes. The wall of Presidents was across from Progress on the side of Korvettes.

At Christmas there would be huge Christmas trees in the circles at the bottom of both the Main Street and Madison Avenue sides of the mall.

There would be organized car races in the parking lot on the Madison Avenue side near Green Street. We would cut through Greet Street to walk to the mall.

For years the only stores on the lower level were Mooney's and Artie's Place. The walls of the rest of the lower level were painted yellow. Artie's Place had the clothes going around the ceiling perimeter on a conveyer track.

The UA Theatre played movies like the Sound of Music, the Singin Nun and Mary Poppins for months - not a few weeks like today's movies.

Korvette's closed about 1978. It was a great store. KorVal pharmacy items and KorSonic electronics were regular purchases for our family. I remember they sold Beatle wigs. They also had 4 foot above ground pools filled with water on display. A toy department, a great record department, and a lawn and garden department. Between the two escalators in the current Macy's, there was a marble staircase. Korvette's was like Sears but better.

Woolworth's had the diner and the cafeteria. They sold stuff Korvettes didn't like fish and turtles, Woolco appliances, plastic flowers and ceramic knick knacks. Someone mentioned the ice cream waffle sandwhiches. I can still see that freezer near the register on the lower level / Madison Avenue side.

The mall wasn't as big back in the 1960s but it had better "stuff".

Anonymous said...

Until the mid 1980s, the UA theater was a one screen theater. Huge screen. Then, they chopped it up into three theaters and fancied the place up. By today's stadium seating standards, it was laughable, but for then...

Anonymous said...

The Steve and Barry's in the former Kids R Us has shut down not too long ago! Also, one thing I find odd is that the new target dug out a whole new mall enterance on the bottom floor!

Anonymous said...

The entrance to Woolworth's on the upper level was in the corridor that connects Target to Macy's. The lower level to Woolworth's was where F.Y.E is now (the entrance closest to Starbuck's).

Anonymous said...

The food court sucks now. When I started working in the mall in 1987, there was a real Chinese food place not Panda Express. You could get Greek,Seafood,Mexican, and really good pizza. Can't forget Original Cookie Factory where Nathan's is now. Would gladly take Orange Julius over Nathan's anyday. There was a deli called Kam's on the other side of the mall and down a ways from that was Roy Rogers. On the corner where McDonald's is now there was a really nice bakery. Starbuck's used to be Gloria Jean's Coffee and before that it was a popcorn shop called Maison Du Popcorn. There used to be a little hole in the wall "French Bistro" called Paris Croissant.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Trumbull in the 60s. Around 1967, I saw two Hell's Angels in Progresso's. I was about 12 and my friends and I followed them around the mall until we got scared! Later, I read that Hell's Angels from California motored across the country to attend a rally in Vermont. They must have come up the Merritt Parkway.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog...I grew up in Easton in the 60s and 70s: The card store on the Madison Avenue entrance side was called "Winkler's Card and Party Shop"...they had those smiley buttons that were so popular in the mid 70s, halloween masks and cards. I also recall, that if you took a left out of Progresso's Pizza, and looked down the corridor, there was a travel agency at the other end. My Mom used to take me to the restaurant on the second floor at Read' seemed like a grown up place to eat - so, I thought it was very fancy. Remember the escalators back then at Read's? They always had a green light, from below, that was at the bottom and top of the escalator...probably to help people realize where to step: I was about 5, so, of course, it was a green monster living underneath.

Anonymous said...

I have an update about the mall. FYE and the Arcade moved their location closer to the food court. Forever 21 now occupies the old FYE space. It has also been announced that the mall will now undergo a renovation with a new food court that will actually have WINDOWS! Also, there will be an entire interior renovation!

Anonymous said...

Westfield Trumbull mall had just finished a 35 million dollar makeover and it was nice to see the malls before images like the fountain that was my favorite place and now they replaced it with a children's play area and they really down sized there chrismas tree it used to be two stories tall now it barley reaches 1 1/2 stories. bottom line i miss the old mall but the new one is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I lived 5 minutes away,used to cut through Green St.I remember the Pickle Barrel, Baskin Robins, Bookbeast,their was a Pizza joint upstairs that had awnings I think,DaDarrio music downstairs,I smoked so much weed then played all day in the at ade

Jody said...

Does anyone who grew up near the UA Theatre back in the 70's have any recollection of seeing the original Star Wars at the theatre? And when it premiered there? I remember stopping at the mall on the way back from a class trip to the Peabody Museum, (presumably to get lunch at McDonald's?) and seeing the sign at the theatre that said Coming Soon "Star Wars" Dec 17th? Think it would have been in 1977?