Boston's Northshore Center

A view of the southeast corner of the 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

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

The open central plaza "Court of Flags" area, fronting on Jordan Marsh. This store held its official grand opening in August 1958. The mall was officially dedicated in September.
Photo from

St. Therese's Carmelite Chapel (the "Church In The Mall") was the earliest devotional facility to operate in a suburban shopping center. The first services were held in January 1960.
Photo from / "Flickriver PhotoStream" / William Bird

NORTHSHORE CENTER in 1960. The Bay State's second shopping mall featured two anchor department stores, two 5 & 10s and a supermarket. The complex housed fifty-five stores and services, with its parking area accommodating 8,500 cars.


FILENE'S (with Picnic Room Restaurant) / JORDAN MARSH (with Skyline Restaurant) / STOP & SHOP supermarket / J.J. NEWBERRY 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / S.S. KRESGE 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / A.S. Beck Shoes / Barricini Candy / Breck's Home & Garden Center / Brigham's Restaurant / Charles E. Luriat Company / Charles B. Perkins Tobacconist / Charles Sumner / Coleman's Fashion Shop / Conrad & Chandler / Fanny Farmer Candies / Flagg Brothers Shoes / Frank Zona, Beautician / Handcraft House Gifts / Howard Clothes / Jay's of Temple Place / Kay's Newport Shoes / Kennedy's of New England / Kwik Cleaners & Laundry / Lerner Shops / Liggett-Rexall Drug (with luncheonette) / Merchants Warren National Bank / Morse Shoes / Murray's Stationery / Paine Furniture Company / Peck & Peck ladies' wear / Peter Pan Coffee Shop / St. Therese's Carmelite Chapel ("Church In The Mall") / S.S. Pierce Company / Shayne / Storktime Shop / The Cottage Yarns / The Disc Shop / Thom McAn Shoes / Thomas Long Company / Warren's Five Cents Savings Bank / Wethern's / William Ludlam Pet Shop / W.W. Winship 

And now, a photographic trip down NORTHSHORE MALL memory lane. The following snapshots were taken in October 1957, at the shiny new Filene's. Above, we see a display in the Women's & Misses Department.
Photo from Library of Congress

A broader view of the Women's & Misses Department. The 140,000 square foot Filene's Northshore had 2 levels. It was the Beantown-based chain's fourth branch location.
Photo from Library of Congress

Ladies Shoes are on display in this view.
Photo from Library of Congress

The Filene's' Northshore Intimate Department.
Photo from Library of Congress

And Layette Department.
Photo from Library of Congress

On to the Boys (3-to-6 years-old) Department. I wonder if they have any Davy Crockett hats, a very hot-selling item at the time?
Photo from Library of Congress

Moving along, we come to the Boys (age 7 & up) Department.
Photo from Library of Congress

Our virtual store tour winds down with a view of the posh Filene's Picnic Room Restaurant. There was also the similarly upscale Skyline Restaurant in the NORTHSHORE CENTER Jordan Marsh.
Photo from Library of Congress

Another circa-1957 view of Filene's Picnic Room.
Photo 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, whose rides were imported from Germany. These included a merry-go-round, ferris wheel, Bullet Zipper, Boats, Flying Planes, Whip and Go-kart Track.
Photo from / Charles Dolan webmaster

In addition to having the first "church in the mall", NORTHSHORE CENTER also had the first "mall twin cinema". The General Cinema Corporation Cinema I & II showed its first features in May 1963.
Photo from

By the time of this 1968 layout, the mall had been expanded on two occasions. The original Kiddie Towne area was moved to accommodate a Sears store (in dark gray), which opened in the fall of 1964. A northeast store block (in lighter gray) has just been completed.

NORTHSHORE in 1978. The previous open-air complex has joined the ranks of the fully-enclosed and climate-controlled. A large Sears has also been built on the north side of the center, replacing the smaller, circa-1964 store. The Kiddie Towne amusement area was dismantled in 1973.

The new NORTHSHORE Sears encompassed 240,200 square feet.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

The store included a freestanding Sears Auto Center.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

The complex, circa-1996. Known officially as NORTHSHORE MALL, it has just emerged from a massive makeover, which added two anchor stores (Lord & Taylor and a new Filene's) and rebranded two existing ones. The complex now spans 1.5 million leasable square feet and, for the next 11 years, will hold the distinction of being the largest shopping mall in Massachusetts.

The mall's Limited-Express Superplex made its debut in late 1992. It was built into existing store space on the south side and was nearly identical to installations added to Miami's DADELAND MALL and Louisville's MALL ST. MATTHEWS.  
Photo from (City of Peabody)

The original center's primary anchor, which opened -in 1958- as a 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 store on the west end of the mall. It opened for business 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 November 1994.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

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

A keeping up with the malls renovation was done at the NORTHSHORE property between 2007 and 2009. Above, we see a new South Wing, which incorporated the old Jordan Marsh / Macy's structure and added a Nordstrom anchor store to the mall directory.
Photo from Wikipedia / John Phelan

NORTHSHORE circa-2009. The recent renovation area is shown in light gray. With its completion, the shopping hub encompasses 1,685,000 leasable square feet and contains one hundred and forty-four stores and services.
Andover and Cross Streets
Peabody, Massachusetts

Plans for Greater Boston's second shopping mall were formally announced in December 1954. A 10 million dollar retail complex was to be built on 100 acres, located 18 miles northeast of the center city, in suburban Peabody ["pee-bud-ee"]. The site had previously been a country estate. Later it contained St. Joseph's Juniorate, a parochial school, and a dairy farm and gardens.

NORTHSHORE CENTER was developed by New York City-based Allied Stores and designed by Seattle's John Graham, Junior. The open-air complex was configured with a main level of retail and service basement, which included a small concourse of stores.

A 3-level (112,000 square foot) Boston-based Filene's ["fiy-leenz"] became the first operational store, on September 23, 1957. A 4-level (243,700 square foot) Boston-based Jordan Marsh welcomed its first shoppers on August 1, 1958.

Inline stores began opening in mid-1958. A Stop & Shop supermarket was dedicated in June, followed by an S.S. Kresge 5 & 10, in July. Thom McAn Shoes and Liggett Rexall Drug debuted in August.  

The mall was officially dedicated September 12, 1958. Foster Furcolo (D), Governor of Massachusetts, cut the ceremonial ribbon. Stores opening as part of the inaugural festivities included Kennedy's of New England, Lerner Shops and Howard Clothes. Breck's Home & Garden Center, Paine Furniture Company and S.S. Pierce joined the tenant list in October and November of 1958.

When fully operational, NORTHSHORE CENTER spanned over 600,000 leasable square feet and housed sixty-two stores and services. It was heralded, by The Boston Globe, as the largest shopping center in New England.

An outparcel was built in the southwest parking area which housed the General Cinema Corporation Cinema I & II, Holiday Lanes bowling alley and Yankee Beefeater Restaurant. The new movie house was the nation's first at-mall cinema duplex. It opened for business May 28, 1963, in a grand opening event hosted by Jerry Lewis.

The shopping hub was expanded twice during the 1960s. Sears added a 2-level store, with attached Auto Center, to the southwest corner. It opened September 23, 1964. A new northeast store block had been completed by 1967. Boston-based R.H. Stearns dedicated a NORTHSHORE location, in space previously occupied by J.J. Newberry, on February 19, 1968.

Regional-class competitors of 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}.

NORTHSHORE CENTER underwent a roofing renovation in 1977-1978. The project included construction of a 2-level (240,200 square foot) Sears, which replaced the smaller, circa-1964 store. R.H. Stearns, shuttered July 16, 1977, was divided into inline retail spaces.

Stephen R. Karp, under the auspices of Newton-based New England Development, acquired NORTHSHORE CENTER in June 1992. The name of the venue was changed to NORTHSHORE MALL and a 50 million dollar renovation began.

The interior was given a face lift, with a 12-bay Food Court installed in a gutted and reconfigured northeast corner. A (60,000 square foot) "Limited-Express Superplex" was also added to center of the complex. Wellesley-based Filene's Basement moved from LIBERTY TREE MALL into new quarters beneath the NORTHSHORE Food Court. This store opened in November 1992.

Filene's relocated into 2-level (206,500) structure on the mall's west end, which was dedicated November 3, 1993. The original store was expanded to 132,500 square feet and opened, as a J.C. Penney, on November 2, 1994.

Lord & Taylor also built a 2-level (120,000 square foot) NORTHSHORE store. With the completion of all renovations, NORTHSHORE MALL spanned 1,550,000 leasable square feet and reclaimed the title of largest shopping mall in the Bay State.

Jordan Marsh was rebranded with a Macy's masthead on March 31, 1996. In September 1998, New York City's Corporate Property Investors sold a majority share in the center to the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group.

Filene's was rebranded as a Macy's on September 9, 2006. This left the old  Macy's (or former Jordan Marsh) vacant. Lord & Taylor had been shuttered in August 2006. The building was converted to a Macy's Men's & Home Store, with the Macy's (or former Filene's) becoming a Women's Store.

By this time, NORTHSHORE MALL was in need of another renovation in order to remain competitive. A three phase, 80 million dollar remodeling project was announced. Phase One involved an expansion of Filene's Basement into adjacent area on the Lower Level. A new Food Court Entrance and freestanding Cheesecake 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", which was dedicated November 4, 2008. Tenants included Bare Escentials, Zara, Metropark and a new Express. An outparcel P.F. Chang's China Bistro had opened during the summer. Mall common areas were also given another face lift.

Topping off the mall makeover was a 2-level (135,000 square foot) Nordstrom, built at the south end of the Luxury Wing. This store was dedicated April 17, 2009, in conjunction with new XXI Forever and H & M stores. These had been installed in the old Limited-Express Superplex.

With all work completed, NORTHSHORE MALL housed 1,685,000 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and forty-four stores and services. It was now Massachusetts' second-largest shopping facility; following NATICK COLLECTION (NATICK MALL).

Sources: Branch Store.doc (City of Peabody) / "A History of Northshore Mall In Pictures"
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. The larger Filene's store looms in the background.
Photo from / "Ron's Page-Braintree"

Above we have a circa-1968 SOUTH SHORE PLAZA plan. Sections shown in black, along with the Filene's and Stearns stores, were dedicated between February 1961 and October 1962. A ginormous "Jordan's", and those store blocks shown in gray, were completed in September 1967.

Jordan Marsh's SOUTH SHORE store was the chain's fifth New England branch.
Photo from

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA was enclosed and climate-controlled in 1976-1977. 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. The mall has just been expanded with an Upper Level of stores and services, including the Boardwalk Cafes Food Court. A second parking garage has been built and Jordan Marsh "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.

Cheesecake Factory opened its SOUTH SHORE store in June 2007.
Photo from (Simon Property Group)

A view of the mall's western facade. Cheesecake Factory would be off to the left.
Photo from (Simon Property Group)

A view of the SOUTH SHORE South Wing. The Boardwalk Cafes Food Court is in the upper right. A Lord & Taylor mall entrance is seen 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)

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA, as it was configured in late 2010. With the October completion of the East Wing expansion (indicated in medium gray), the center encompassed 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)

Ireland's Primark chain, a trendy low price point fashion retailer, opened a SOUTH SHORE PLAZA store in June 2017. It was installed in Sears' upper level.
Graphic from 
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, located 11.8 miles south of the Massachusetts State House. 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 shopping hub was anchored by a 2-level (120,000 square foot), Boston-based Filene's. A 2-level (85,000 square foot), Boston-based R.H. Stearns began business October 30, 1962.

Among twenty-eight initial tenants were Chas B. Perkins Tobacconist, Fanny Farmer Candies, Kennedy's of New England, Thayer-McNeil Shoes, Wilbar's, a Stop & Shop supermarket and S.S. Kresge 5 & 10.

A 3-level (311,000 square foot), Boston-based Jordan Marsh was added to the mall's east end along with two dual-level store blocks. "Jordan's" store opened for business on September 30, 1967. With the completion of the new East Wing, the mall encompassed approximately 757,000 leasable square feet and housed seventy-two stores and services.

The mall proper did not have a movie theater. However, the General Cinema Corporation South Shore Plaza Twin Drive-In was situated .5 mile southwest. It had showed its first features July 22, 1960. The drive-in was joined by the General Cinema Corporation Braintree Cinema I & II, which was built on a pad situated .4 mile southwest of the mall. This theater was dedicated November 10, 1966. It was eventually reconfigured as the South Shore Cinema I-II-III-IV.

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA, a regional-class shopping venue, had no sizable competition in its vicinity. DEDHAM MALL (1960) {7.6 miles northwest, in Dedham}, WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK (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.

A more formidable rival, the regional-class HANOVER MALL {10.3 miles southeast, in Hanover}, came on the scene in 1971. In order for SOUTH SHORE PLAZA to remain competitive, a large-scale renovation was required.

This 2-phase project got underway in August 1976, with courts and concourses being fully-enclosed. Filene's was enlarged by expanding into the R.H. Stearns store, which had been shuttered September 1, 1977.

Phase Two extended the mall's South Wing to a 2-level (123,000 square foot) Lord & Taylor, which welcomed its first shoppers in April 1979. A new North Wing was anchored by a 2-level (210,000 square foot) Sears, which debuted October 11, 1980. An adjacent parking garage was also built. SOUTH SHORE PLAZA now housed over one hundred stores and services.

The South Shore Cinema I-II-III-IV was shuttered in 1992 and demolished. It was replaced by the General Cinema Corporation Braintree 10 megaplex, which opened in May 1993. The theater was rebranded as an AMC venue in 2002.

Meanwhile, a third mall renovation was announced in December 1993 and was underway by May 1995. Mall concourses were double-decked. Fifty-four stores were added, including The Boardwalk Cafes, an 11-bay food court. A second parking garage was built.

Filene's was enlarged, into a 227,000 square foot store, with a western addition. The renewed SOUTH SHORE PLAZA was officially dedicated on February 6, 1997. The complex now encompassed 1,200,000 leasable square feet, contained one hundred and eighty stores and services, and was the second-largest mall in Massachusetts (following NORTHSHORE MALL, in Peabody).

The Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group acquired SOUTH SHORE PLAZA when it bought the twenty-three-mall portfolio of New York City's Corporate Property Investors, in 1998.

Jordan Marsh had been converted to the Macy's masthead on March 31, 1996. 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 in July.

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

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

With this expansion, SOUTH SHORE PLAZA encompassed 1,589,000 leasable square feet and assumed the position of third-largest retail hub in Massachusetts (following the NATICK and NORTHSHORE malls).

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 The Great Recession.

In April 2012, it was announced that a prospective WESTWOOD STATION {6 miles southwest, in Westwood} would be renamed UNIVERSITY STATION. The mixed-use complex was completed in March 2016.

Ireland's Primark chain began opening United States stores in late 2015. The bulk of these were installed in downsized Sears locations at various East Coast malls. A SOUTH SHORE PLAZA Primark, occupying 41,000 square feet of Sears' upper level, opened for business June 15, 2017.


The Boston Globe
Norfolk County, Massachusetts tax assessor website
"Paragon On The Blizzard" by Mark Snyder
Carter & Burgess Construction website
"Northshore Center" article on Wikipedia (Simon Property Group)
Boston's Westgate Shoppers' Park

Gilchrist's anchored the south end of WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK. The store, which was the eighth branch in the Boston-based chain, opened its doors in October 1963.

WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK was Massachusetts' first fully-enclosed mall. The 356,000 square foot community-class complex was anchored by the aforementioned Gilchrist's and a Bradlees discount mart.

By 1985, the official name of the complex had morphed into WESTGATE MALL. A new Northeast Wing (indicated in gray) had just been completed. It added Marshalls, Child World and twenty-two inline stores.

Sears, a northeast anchor at WESTGATE, held its grand opening in November 2000. It took space previously occupied by Marshalls and Child World.
Photo from (New England Development)

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

In a circa-2003 site plan, we see new Marshalls, Sears, Best Buy and Filene's stores; these added as part of a mall makeover that was done, in stages, between 1999 and 2003. Macy's, on the south end of the complex, took the place of Jordan Marsh in March 1996. "Jordan's" had assumed a vacant Gilchrist's space in 1977.

Rainbow, selling moderately-priced teens and young ladies apparel, set up shop in the circa-1963 section of the shopping center.
Photo from (CDI Commercial Development)

Victoria's Secret, dealing in lingerie, ladies' wear and beauty products, also operates a store in the original section of the mall.  
Photo from (CDI Commercial Development)