LIBERTY TREE MALL
Endicott Street and Commonwealth Avenue
Danvers, Massachusetts

Greater Boston's fourth regional-class interior mall was the first shopping complex developed by Stephen R. Karp's Newton-based State Properties of New England (today's New England Development company).

LIBERTY TREE MALL, named for the Revolutionary-era elm that once stood at Washington and Essex Streets in downtown Boston, was built on an 83.5 acre plot, located 19 miles northeast of the Massachusetts State House.

The single-level shopping hub, situated less than a mile north of NORTHSHORE CENTER in Peabody, was built between two freestanding department stores. A 1-level (211,300 square foot), Cumberland, Rhode Island-based Ann & Hope discount mart had been dedicated in 1969. A 1-level, Woburn-based Lechmere ["leech-meer"] opened for business November 2, 1970. It was the chain's third location and would be its first shopping mall-format store.

At its official dedication, held February 21, 1972, LIBERTY TREE MALL housed forty store spaces. The focal point of the facility was a large aluminum "tree" in Center Court. It commemorated the shopping center's namesake, an iconic Revolutionary era elm that had been cut down by British Loyalists in 1775.

Charter LIBERTY TREE MALL tenants included Giblee's men's wear, Anderson-Little, Tie Plaza, Fifth Avenue Card Shop, Paperback Booksmith, Spencer Gifts, Liberty Tree Pharmacy, Beaconway Fabrics, Pets & Things, the China Sails Cocktail Lounge and a Finast supermarket.

Three cinemas have operated in -or around- the shopping complex. The first, the Loews Theatre Danvers, was a freestanding structure adjacent to the mall's west end. It opened December 25, 1971. The venue was renamed the Sack Theatres Cinema City Danvers in 1973. It was twinned in 1978 and, after more name changes, was shuttered in December 1998.

A second motion picture venue, the freestanding Sack Theatres Cinema City Danvers 1-2-3-4, was located .27 mile east of the mall proper. It showed its first features on September 26, 1973. The complex was reconfigured as a 6-plex in 1977 and, as a 7-plex, in 1999. It also experienced several name changes over the years and closed for good in September 2016.

Meanwhile, an expansion of LIBERTY TREE MALL had been announced in 1980. Encompassing 100,000 square feet and twenty inline stores, it was added to the north side of the structure. The new North Wing included the 16-bay International Food Pavilion culinary complex, which housed eateries such as The Roast House, Fatted Calf and Fairgrounds Snack Bar.

A 1-level (40,000 square foot) Marshalls was also a component of the project. The first five stores in the North Wing opened for business October 3, 1981. 3 years later, Wellesley-based Filene's Basement set up shop in store space adjacent to "Lechmere's".

The second enlargement of LIBERTY TREE MALL was done during 1993. Marshalls was expanded to 55,500 square feet. A 1-level (44,000 square foot) Sports Authority and 1-level (20,100 square foot) Old Navy were added, with the latter being the apparel chain's first Bay State store.

A second commercial competitor was dedicated in August 1994. SQUARE ONE MALL {7.4 miles southwest, in Essex County} was a rebuild of the circa-1960 NEW ENGLAND CENTER.

The LIBERTY TREE MALL Lechmere closed on November 7, 1997. It was demolished and replaced by four exterior-entranced big box stores; all consisting of 1 level. A (45,100 square foot) Best Buy opened in November 1998. A (137,300 square foot) Target Greatland was dedicated July 25, 1999. Dollar Tree and a Staples, built east of Target, debuted soon after.

As an adjunct, the Loews Liberty Tree Mall 20 multiplex was built, utilizing existing mall space and a 51,400 square foot addition. It opened for business on December 18, 1998. The venue became an American Multi-Cinema operation in 2005. An IMAX auditorium was completed in 2010.

The circa-1971 movie house, adjacent to the west end of the mall, was razed in early 2002. It was replaced by a 2-level (80,000 square foot) Galyan's Trading Company, which welcomed its first shoppers on November 21, 2002. This store was eventually rebranded as a Dick's Sporting Goods.

With the completion of these modifications, LIBERTY TREE MALL encompassed 821,300 leasable square feet. A 50 percent interest was acquired by the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group in December 1999.

Ann & Hope went dark in the spring of 2001. The structure was gutted, with half its area rebuilt into a 1-level (106,000 square foot) Menomenee Falls, Wisconsin-based Kohl's. This store began business April 10, 2002.

The western half of the old Ann & Hope was eventually razed. Its replacement was a (91,000 square foot) Super Stop & Shop grocery, which began business in 2003. Pier One Imports, added west of the Stop & Shop, was completed in December 2004. LIBERTY TREE MALL now housed 858,000 leasable square feet and contained sixty-five stores and services.

Super Stop & Shop lasted only 5 years. The store closed January 8, 2008. It was divided into a (48,500 square foot) Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse and (42,500 square foot) Nordstrom Rack. These stores opened in November 2008.

The mall's most recent rectification involved a shuttered (30,000 square foot) Bed, Bath & Beyond. Its store space was renovated by Sports Authority, which relocated on October 20, 2012 and closed for good in mid-2016. Total Wine & More, using 20,000 square feet of the vacant area, made its debut in April 2017.

Sources:

C. Brickey, former Massachusetts resident
www.cinematreasures.org
www.danvers.govoffice.com
www.associatedcontent.com / Corey Sipe
www.bostonbizjournals.com
https://patch.com (Danvers Patch)
http://www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)
https://prezi.com / "Give Me Liberty or Give Me A Tree: The History of The Liberty Tree Mall in Photos" / Zachary Carey