Boston's Northshore Center

A southwestern view of the circa-'58 shopping center, showing the lower parking level which accessed the basements of the Jordan Marsh and Filene's department stores.
Photo from Malls of America Blogspot

The open central plaza -Court of Flags- area, fronting on Jordan Marsh. This store held its official grand opening August 1, 1958. The mall, itself, opened in September.
Photo from

Filene's NORTHSHORE store was the first operational tenant at the shopping center; opening for business in September 1957. Although the basic mall was designed by Seattle's John Graham, Junior, this particular store was envisaged by Raymond Loewy.
Photo from Library of Congress

NORTHSHORE CENTER 1958. The Bay State's second shopping mall featured two anchor department stores. In addition, there were two 5 & 10s, a supermarket and Lower Level chapel, which was dedicated in 1960. The nation's first "mall" twin cinema opened -in May 1963- as an outparcel of the mall.

And now, a photographic trip down NORTHSHORE mall memory lane. The following five shots were taken in October 1957, at the newly-opened Filene's. Above, we see a display in the Women's and Misses department.
Photo from Library of Congress

A broader view of the Women's and Misses department.
Photo from Library of Congress

The Filene's' Northshore Intimate Department. The 140,000 square foot store had 2 levels. It was the Beantown-based chain's fourth branch location.
Photo from Library of Congress

On to the 3 to 6 Years-old Department. I wonder if they have any Davy Crockett hats?
Photo from Library of Congress

The two shots above were taken in Filene's posh Picnic Room Restaurant.
Photos from Library of Congress

SHOPPERS' WORLD, the first mall in Massachusetts, featured a kiddie ride amusement area as one of its attractions. Following this trend was Kiddie Towne at NORTHSHORE CENTER, which included rides such as a merry-go-round, ferris wheel, Bullet Zipper, Boats, Flying Planes, Whip and Go-kart Track.
Photo from / Charles Dolan webmaster

NORTHSHORE 1978. The former open-air complex joins the ranks of the fully-enclosed and climate-controlled...with a new third anchor store being added to its north-facing front.

The new NORTHSHORE Sears encompassed 240,200 square feet and included a freestanding Sears Auto Center.
Photos from (City of Peabody)

NORTHSHORE 1996. The center had just emerged from a massive makeover, which added two anchor stores (Lord & Taylor and a new Filene's) and rebranded two existing ones (Jordan Marsh = Macy's and old Filene's = J.C. Penney). The complex now spanned 1.5 million leasable square feet and -for the next 11 years- was the largest shopping mall in Massachusetts.

The Limited Superplex, built into existing store space on the mall's southwest side, made its debut in 1992.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

The original center's primary anchor, which opened -in 1958- as a 301,000 square foot Jordan Marsh. Here we see the building during its 10-year tenure as a Macy's (1996-2006).
Photo from (City of Peabody)

The Lord & Taylor at NORTHSHORE, a component of the 1992-1994 expansion and renovation, was shuttered in 2006. It re-opened as a Macy's Men's & Home Store.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

Filene's built a new, 206,500 square foot store on the west end of the mall. It came inline in November 1993 and was "Macy-ated" in 2006.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

The mall's first Filene's was gutted, expanded and retenanted by J.C. Penney in 1994.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

A freestanding Barnes & Noble replaced the circa-'63 cinema and bowling alley complex in 1999.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

A rendering of the latest addition to NORTHSHORE MALL, which was completed in April 2009.
Rendering from (Simon Property Group)

NORTHSHORE 2009. The mall's latest renovation remade a vacant Jordan Marsh / Macy's (shown in light gray) into a new South Wing. This was anchored by a newly-built Nordstrom. The shopping hub now encompassed 1,685,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and forty-four stores and services.
Andover and Cross Streets
Peabody, Massachusetts

Greater Boston's second shopping mall was built on 100 acres, located 18 miles northeast of the center city, in suburban Peabody ["pee-bud-ee"]. The site was adjacent to a segment of the Route 128 "Circumferential Highway", which had opened to traffic in 1952.

NORTHSHORE CENTER was developed by New York City-based Allied Stores and designed by Seattle's John Graham. Jr.. The open-air complex encompassed 1,200,000 leasable square feet and was situated with a main level of retail and service basement, which included a small concourse of stores.

A 2-level (140,000 square foot) Boston-based Filene's ["fiy-leenz"] had become the mall's very first operational store, on September 23, 1957. A 3-level (301,000 square foot) Boston-based Jordan Marsh opened on August 1, 1958, along with many stores within the mall. When fully operational, it housed seventy stores and services.

Charter tenants included Sears Catalog & Appliance, Ligget-Rexall Drug, Jay's of Temple Place, Peter Pan Coffee Shop, China Sails and Brigham's Restaurants, S.S. Kresge and J.J. Newberry 5 & 10s and a Stop & Shop supermarket. The Society of Mount Carmel Chapel, the nation's first shopping center sanctuary, opened -on the basement level- in 1960.

An outparcel structure was built in the southwest parking area which housed the General Cinema Corporation's Cinema I & II and the Holiday Lanes bowling alley. The new movie house was the nation's first at-mall cinema duplex. It opened for business May 28, 1963. Boston-based R.H. Stearns opened a 2-level (52,000 square foot) NORTHSHORE location in 1968.

Regional-class competitors to NORTHSHORE CENTER were BURLINGTON MALL (1968) {14 miles southwest, in Burlington}, LIBERTY TREE MALL (1972) {.68 mile north, in Danvers}, and SQUARE ONE MALL (a 1994 rebuild of NEW ENGLAND CENTER) {6.7 miles southwest, in Saugus}.

As a keeping-up measure with the fully-enclosed LIBERTY TREE MALL, NORTHSHORE CENTER underwent a roofing renovation in 1977-1978. The construction project included a new, full-line store for Sears, which encompassed 2-levels and 240,200 square feet. The Stearns store, shuttered July 16, 1977, was carved into smaller retail spaces.

Massachusetts mall maven Stephen R. Karp (under the auspices of Newton-based New England Development), acquired NORTHSHORE CENTER in June 1992. The name of the venue was officially changed to NORTHSHORE MALL and a 13 million dollar renovation got underway.

The interior was given a spruce-up, a 12-bay Food Court installed in a totally reconfigured northeast corner and a 60,000 square foot "Limited Superplex" inserted into the center of the complex. In addition to The Limited, it included Express, Sam Goody Music and Bertucci's Restaurant. Wellesley-based Filene's Basement moved from a 9-year-old store at LIBERTY TREE MALL into new quarters beneath the NORTHSHORE Food Court and opened for business in November 1992.

The Filene's department store relocated into a 2-level (206,500) structure on the mall's west end and opened November 3, 1993. The original store was expanded to 132,500 square feet and retenanted by J.C. Penney. Lord & Taylor's new NORTHSHORE location encompassed 2-levels and 120,000 square feet.

With the completion of renovations in 1994, NORTHSHORE MALL spanned 1,550,000 leasable square feet and became the largest shopping mall in the Bay State. In 1996, Jordan Marsh was "Macy-ated". 2 years later, New York City-based Corporate Property Investors sold a majority share in the center to the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group.

The "Macy-ation" of Filene's, on September 9, 2006, left the old Jordan Marsh / Macy's store vacant. The Lord & Taylor location had been shuttered in the summer of 2006, with an eventual conversion into a Macy's Men's & Home Store. Filene's / Macy's was, then, devoted entirely to Women's merchandise.

By the mid-2000s, the "spruce it up or tear it down" American shopping mall cycle had left NORTHSHORE in need of another renovation in order to remain competitive. A three phase, 80 million dollar remodeling project was announced in February 2006. The first phase involved an expansion of Filene's Basement into adjacent area on the Lower Level. A new Food Court Entrance and freestanding Cheeescake Factory were completed in the fall of 2007.

Phase two saw the vacant Jordan Marsh / Macy's gutted and rebuilt into a 2-level "Luxury Wing", dedicated November 4, 2008. Tenants included Bare Escentials, Zara, Metropark and a new Express. An outparcel P.F. Chang's China Bistro had come inline during the summer. The mall, itself, was given a facelift and was rededicated in October.

Topping off the mall's makeover was a 2-level (135,000 square foot) Nordstrom, built at the south end of the new wing. This store was officially dedicated April 17, 2009; done in conjunction with the openings of new, 2-level XXI Forever and H & M locations, in the old The Limited / Express stores.

With all work completed, NORTHSHORE MALL housed 1,685,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and forty-four stores and services. Following the newly-expanded NATICK MALL, it is now the second-largest shopping hub in Massachusetts.


"Northshore Mall" article on Wikipedia / Comments by Jon Montgomery, Ron Newman, "JPH", "BJY" and "Dwodeyla" (City of Peabody)
The Boston Globe / Charles Dolan webmaster / Comment posts by Johnny Wowk, Tom Zalewsky and Mary (Parsons) Sulzer


From the Gottscho-Schleisner Collection / Repository: United States Library Of Congress Prints and Photograph Division, Washington, D.C. / Taken by Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc. / Gottscho-Schleinser, October 1957 / Raymond Loewy Associates - Client / Photographs are in the public domain: no known restrictions on publication /
Boston's South Shore Plaza

An early '60s view of the center's northwest corner and its Boston-based R.H. Stearns department store. Filene's is seen in the background.
Photo from / "Ron's Page-Braintree"

The original configuration of the mall, which had been officially dedicated in February 1961. In this circa-1968 site plan, we see the ginourmous "Jordan's" that was completed in 1967. At the time of this physical layout, the complex consisted of a single level of retail stores and a service basement.

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA was enclosed and climate-controlled in 1975-1976. Between 1978 and 1980, the mall was expanded toward the south and north (shown in shades of gray). Lord & Taylor and Sears joined the retail roster and a north parking garage was built.

A circa-1996 layout. Over the past 2 years, the mall had been expanded with an upper level of stores and services. A second parking garage was built and Jordan Marsh was "Macy-ated". As a footnote; in the early '90s, the section of Massachusetts Route 128 -adjacent to the north side of the complex- had been redesignated as Interstate 93 / US 1. However, locals continue to refer to this road as "Route 128". More than likely, they always will.

An exterior shot of the mall's west-facing facade, showing the Boardwalk Cafes Food Court on the Upper Level.
Photo from (Jacobs Engineering)

The SOUTH SHORE South Wing. The Boardwalk Cafes Food Court is seen in the upper right. Lord & Taylor looms in the background.
Photo from (Jacobs Engineering)

A stunning view of the glass-roofed Atrium area.
Photo from (Jacobs Engineering)

Another interior view of the PLAZA's double-decked mallway.
Photo from (Simon Property Group)

The latest incarnation of SOUTH SHORE PLAZA. With the October 2010 completion of its latest expansion (indicated in medium gray), the center encompasses 1,607,000 leasable square feet...with a retail roster of two hundred and twenty inline stores.

A rendering of SOUTH SHORE PLAZA, showing the East Wing and 3-level Nordstrom.
Drawing from (JP 2 Architects)

An interior view of the addition. It included a 150,000 square foot Target, which was situated in a basement level.
Drawing from (JP 2 Architects)

Granite Street and Interstate 93
Braintree, Massachusetts

The third regional-class shopping mall in Greater Boston was designed by Victor Gruen Associates, developed by Seattle's Winmar Company and built on part of a 125 acre plot, 11.8 miles south of the Massachusetts Capitol. The site was adjacent to the southern segment of State Route 128, which had opened to traffic in 1959.

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA was originally an open-air shopping center. Dedicated February 20, 1961, it consisted of a main retail level and service basement. The initial shopping hub was anchored by a 2-level (110,000 square foot), Boston-based Filene's. This was joined by a 2-level (85,000 square foot), Boston-based R.H. Stearns on October 30, 1962.

The center, which encompassed 757,000 leasable square feet, featured F.W. Woolworth and S.S. Kresge 5 & 10s, Krey's Record Shop, C.D. Perkins Tobacconist, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Pray's Home Furnishings, Peck & Peck, Sheridan's of Quincy and fifty other retailers. A 3-level (300,300 square foot), Boston-based Jordan Marsh was added to the mall's east end...beginning business September 30, 1967.

The mall proper did not include a movie theater. However, there were the South Shore Plaza Twin Drive-in and (single-screen) South Shore Cinema, which were west of the shopping center. In later years, these were replaced by the AMC Braintree 10, also to the west of the mall.

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA, a regional-class shopping venue, originally had no real retail competition in its immediate vicinity. DEDHAM MALL (1960) {7.6 miles northwest, in Dedham}, WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK / MALL (1963) {8.6 miles south, in Brockton} and HARBOURLIGHT MALL (1976) {4.5 miles northeast, in Weymouth}, were smaller, community-type shopping malls. In fact, the entire leasable area of the DEDHAM or HARBOURLIGHT centers could have fit into the Jordan Marsh at SOUTH SHORE PLAZA with room to spare. However, the regional-class HANOVER MALL {10.3 miles southeast, in Hanover} had come on the scene in 1971.

In order for SOUTH SHORE PLAZA to remain competitive, an enclosing renovation got underway in August 1976 . The construction project would be conducted in two phases. The first would enclose the existing mallways and add a 2-level (123,000 square foot) Lord & Taylor.

Phase two consisted of the addition of a 3-level (210,000 square foot) Sears and north parking garage. Filene's was also enlarged to 227,000 square feet, with newly-added floor space and the incorporation of the old R.H. Stearns store (that had been shuttered September 1, 1977). When the remodeling was completed in 1980, the mall encompassed one hundred stores and services.

A subsequent renovation was announced in December 1993. The mall concourses would be double-decked and a south parking garage built. With the completion of the project in 1996, the complex comprised 1,200,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and eighty stores and services. SOUTH SHORE PLAZA was now the second-largest enclosed mall in Massachusetts. (following the 1,550,000 square foot NORTHSHORE CENTER, in Peabody),

During the decade, Jordan Marsh was converted to Macy's (1996) and the shopping center was purchased by the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group (1998).

Anchor store rebrandings continued into the 21st century. Following the Federated / May merger of 2005, Filene's ceased to exist. The SOUTH SHORE PLAZA location closed in March 2006 and re-opened, as a Macy's, in May. The original Macy's (in the old Jordan Marsh) was shuttered permanently in July.

A fifth renovation of SOUTH SHORE PLAZA began in May 2007. The vacant Jordan Marsh / Macy's was razed and 3-level East Wing built. This was anchored by a 3-level (150,000 square foot) Nordstrom, dedicated March 26, 2010.

In addition, a 1-level (150,000 square foot) Target -situated in the mall's lower / basement level- opened in October 2010. As part of the renovation, the existing mall was given an update, with the installation of new soft seating, additional skylights and a remodeled Food Court.

With this expansion, SOUTH SHORE PLAZA encompassed 1,607,000 leasable square feet and assumed the position of third-largest enclosed retail hub in Massachusetts (following NATICK MALL and Peabody's NORTHSHORE MALL).

In 2009, SOUTH SHORE PLAZA faced a new lifestyle-type rival. Stores at LEGACY PLACE {7.6 miles west, in Dedham} opened for business between July and August . Construction on another potential lifestyle-format competitor was put on hold, due to a weak national economy, in 2008. However, in April 2012, it was announced that the prospective WESTWOOD STATION {6 miles southwest, in Westwood} would be renamed UNIVERSITY STATION and open for business in the spring of 2015.


"South Shore Plaza" article on Wikipedia
Norfolk County, Massachusetts tax assessor website
Craig Brickey, former Massachusetts resident
"Paragon On The Blizzard" by Mark Snyder
Carter & Burgess Construction website
The Boston Globe
"Northshore Center" article on Wikipedia
Boston's Westgate Shoppers' Park

Outdated (circa-2003) signage announcing WESTGATE MALL. In the present day, Filene's no longer exists. For the record, this Brockton,  Mass. retail hub was originally known as WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK.

In 1963, the 356,000 square foot community-class complex was the Bay State's first fully-enclosed shopping mall. A twin cinema opened in its periphery in 1965. Apparently, by 1965, the original "SHOPPERS' PARK" moniker had changed. The theater's official name was "Cinema I & II Westgate Mall".

By 1985, a new Northeast Wing (indicated in gray) had been completed. It added Marshalls, Child World and twenty-two inline stores.

Opening -as a Boston-based Gilchrist's- in 1963, the store structure seen here was rebranded by Jordan Marsh in 1977 and Macy's in 1996. It was demolished in 2008.
Photo from / "Caldor"

"Entry D", one of the mall's eastern access points, opens into the center
of the complex.

The Rainbow and Victoria's Secret stores are located in the original -circa-1963- section of the shopping center.
Photos from (CDI Commercial Development)

Sears, the northeast anchor of the present-day mall.
Photo from / "Caldor"

An interior view of the Northeast Wing, added to WESTGATE in 1985. At the time, the Sears seen in the distance was Marshalls and Child World stores. These lasted only 15 years and were razed -and replaced- in 1999-2000.
Photo from / "Caldor"

The mall's prospective lifestyle addition, known as THE VILLAGE, was to be anchored by the Showcase Cinemas 12 on the right of this rendering. The project was abandoned when Babcock and Brown, owners of the mall, defaulted on their upside down loan in late 2009.
Drawing from

Here we see a tentative 2010 floor plan of how the mall would have looked had THE VILLAGE expansion been carried out.

In a -for real- 2013 site plan, we see the reconfigured south end of the mall. The original multiplex renovation plan was altered to the construction of an outparcel Market Basket grocery and 3-store block (indicated in light gray). On the inside of the mall, Marshalls moved out of its spot (its second location in the mall) and assumed an outparcel store vacated by A.J. Wright. The old Marshalls was retenanted by C.W. Price.

Route 24 and Reynolds Memorial Highway
Brockton, Massachusetts

Massachusetts' first fully-enclosed shopping mall was developed by the Brockton-based Campanelli Brothers and was situated on a 48.3 acre tract, 20 miles south of the Massachusetts Statehouse, in suburban Brockton.

Originally known as WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK, the 356,000 square foot center opened its first stores on February 24, 1963. A 1-level (73,000 square foot), Boston-based Gilchrist's held its official dedication October 23, 1963. It was the largest of eight branch stores. Gilchrist's was followed by a 1-level (112,000 square foot), New London, Connecticut-based Bradlees discount mart, which began business November 7, 1963. It was the chain's fifteenth location.

The original mall also included an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and Cherry & Webb ladies apparel. The outparcel WESTGATE ANNEX and WESTGATE PLAZA, situated in the northeast and southwest parking areas respectively, housed additional store spaces. The mall site would eventually include the outparcel Chapel At The Mall, attended by the Franciscan Friars of Atonement.

A motion picture venue, Cinema I & II, showed its first features April 17, 1965. The theater was built, as a freestanding structure, on the western periphery of the mall. It re-opened -as a 4-screen venue- Oct 7, 1970. In 1976, a fifth screen was created. By the late 1980s, the Westgate Cinema Centre was operating with 8 screens. The theater closed in October 2004 and was demolished in the summer of 2005.

Meanwhile, in mid-1977, the Gilchrist's at WESTGATE was shuttered. The store soon re-opened as a Boston based Jordan Marsh. A new Northeast Wing was built onto the shopping center in 1984-1985, which included a 1-level (30,000 square foot), Framingham, Massachusetts-based Marshalls, 1-level (38,000 square foot), Avon, Massachustees-based Child World toy store and approximately twenty new retail spaces.

Shopping malls in the vicinity of WESTGATE included SOUTH SHORE PLAZA (1961) {8.6 miles north, in Braintree}, DEDHAM MALL (1965) {12.2 miles northwest, in Dedham} and HANOVER MALL (1971) {11.1 miles northeast, in Hanover}. 

Trouble arrived in 1992, with the opening of SILVER CITY GALLERIA, a 1.2 million square foot superregional center {15.6 miles south, in East Taunton}. Then, SOUTH SHORE PLAZA {in Braintree} completed a major renovation, which doubled its gross leasable area. WESTGATE began losing tenants. Jordan Marsh closed and re-opened as a Macy's. Child World and Woolworth were shuttered permanently. By 1998, WESTGATE had declined into a dead mall.

Marshalls relocated into an adjacent 28,000 square foot space. It, and the vacant Child World, were razed and replaced with a 2-level (126,000 square foot) Sears. The newly-expanded -552,900 square foot- shopping center was re-dedicated November 26, 2000.

Bradlees closed in 2001 and was demolished soon after. A 1-level (140,000 square foot) Filene's opened, on its space, March 26, 2003. Other new mall merchants included Best Buy, Old Navy and Dick's Sporting Goods (which was built on the site of the old cinema). Due to the Federated / May merger of 2005, Filene's was converted to a Macy's in September 2006, with the original Macy's (in the old Gilchrist's / Jordan Marsh) being vacated. This building was bulldozed.

Work was to begin on The Village, a lifestyle-format addition, in the spring of 2008. This was to be constructed over the old Gilchrist's / Jordan Marsh / Macy's space and be anchored by a Showcase Cinemas 12. The expansion, scheduled for a fall 2010 completion, was never built. The mall's proprietor, Australia-based Babcock & Brown, declared bankruptcy. WESTGATE MALL was foreclosed on in October 2009, with an auction attempted in December. This was unsuccessful and the shopping center remained for sale.

Newton, Massachusetts-based New England Development, who had owned WESTGATE MALL between 2000 and 2003, repurchased the property in June 2010. They started construction on the previously abandoned south addition in April 2011.

The plan had been drastically changed. Instead of a megaplex cinema, the expansion would be anchored by a freestanding (80,000 square foot) Tewkesbury, Massachusetts-based Market Basket discount supermarket. The grocery, and three new inline stores, were scheduled for an early 2012 grand opening. With their completion, the primary structure of WESTGATE MALL encompassed 571,900 leasable square feet and sixty-nine store spaces.


"Westgate Mall" article on Wikipedia
Plymouth County, Massachusetts Tax Assessor website / "Caldor", "The Questioner" and "Mike" / "Southern Masssachusetts Movie Theatres" / Mike Rivest
Boston's Liberty Tree Mall

Rhode Island-based Ann & Hope, an original anchor of Greater Boston's LIBERTY TREE MALL, was one of the most innovative mid-century discount marts. It was among the first "self-service" department stores in the nation and the first to provide shopping carts for its patrons.

The layout of the original shopping venue. It had been built between freestanding Ann & Hope and Lechmere locations and was the fourth regional-class, fully-enclosed mall in -or around- Beantown. It was also one of the nation's first "value-oriented" shopping malls.

A circa-1982 physical layout, showing the first expansion of the shopping hub. A North Wing (shown in medium gray) had been built, which was anchored by a 40,000 square foot Marshalls. This was a consolidation of two older locations in Peabody and Beverly; the latter being the chain's first operational store.

The International Food Pavilion, a 16-bay culinary complex, was a facet of the 1980-1982 expansion.
Photo from

The shopping center's 1993 footprint. The North Wing, added in the early '80s, had been expanded, with an enlarged Marshalls and new Old Navy and Sports Authority locations.