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

The open central plaza "Court of Flags" area, fronting on Jordan Marsh. This store held its official grand opening in August 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 in 1958. The Bay State's second shopping mall featured two anchor department stores, two 5 & 10s, a supermarket and Lower Level chapel (dedicated in 1960). It 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 Candies / Breck's Home & Garden Center / Brigham's Restaurant / Charles E. Luriat Company / Charles E. Perkins Company / Charles Sumner / Coleman's Fashion Shop / Conrad & Chandler / Fanny Farmer Candies / Flagg Brothers Shoes / Frank Zona Beautician / Handcraft House Gifts / Jay's of Temple Place / Kay's Newport Shoes / Kennedy's of New England / Kwik Cleaners & Laundry / Lerner Shops / Liggett-Rexall Drug / Merchants Warren National Bank / Morse Shoes / Murray's Stationery / Peter Pan Coffee Shop / Sears Catalog & Appliance / S.S. Pierce Company / Storktime Shop / The Cottage Yarns / The Disc Shop / Thom McAn / 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 shots 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

NORTHSHORE CENTER was 10 years old in this depiction. The circa-1958 structure is drawn in black. By 1968, the mall had been expanded twice. A new southwest block (in dark gray) was in place by 1965. A northeast block (in lighter gray) had just been completed. Apparently, the Kiddie Towne area had been moved to accommodate the new southwest store block.

NORTHSHORE in 1978. The former open-air complex joined the ranks of the fully-enclosed and climate-controlled...with a third anchor store being added to its north-facing front. Kiddie Towne had been dismantled in 1973.

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

The complex circa-1996. Now officially promoted as NORTHSHORE MALL, it 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, held the distinction of being the largest shopping mall in Massachusetts.

The Limited Superplex, built into existing store space on the mall's southwest side, made its debut in late 1992. It was nearly identical to Limited-Express 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 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 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 circa-'63 cinema and bowling alley complex in 1999.
Photo from (City of Peabody)

A view of the latest renovation area at NORTHSHORE MALL. A South Wing, incorporating the old Jordan Marsh / Macy's structure, included a newly-built Nordstrom. The project was completed in April 2009.
Photo from Wikipedia / John Phelan

NORTHSHORE circa-2009. The aforementioned renovation area is shown in light gray. With its completion, the shopping hub encompassed 1,685,000 leasable square feet and 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 shopping hub 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 was devoted to 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 opened August 1, 1958. The mall was officially dedicated September 12, 1958. When fully operational, it housed sixty-two stores and services.

Charter tenants included Sears Catalog & Appliance, Liggett-Rexall Drug, Jay's of Temple Place, Peter Pan Coffee Shop, Brigham's Restaurant, 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, 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 soiree hosted by Jerry Lewis.

The shopping hub was expanded twice during the 1960s. Southwest and Northeast store blocks were added. In 1968, Boston-based R.H. Stearns opened a 2-level (52,000 square foot) NORTHSHORE location, in space previously occupied by J.J. Newberry. With these modifications, NORTHSHORE CENTER encompassed 1,200,000 leasable square feet.

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, with a 12-bay Food Court installed in a totally reconfigured northeast corner. A 60,000 square foot "Limited Superplex" was also 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 was dedicated November 3, 1993. The original store was expanded to 132,500 square feet and opened as a J.C. Penney November 2, 1994. 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. 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.

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 2006, NORTHSHORE MALL was in need of another renovation in order to remain competitive. A three phase, 80 million dollar remodeling project was announced in February. 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 opened during the summer. The mall, itself, was given a facelift.

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 XXI Forever and H & M locations (which were installed 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.

Sources: Branch Store.doc (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. The original complex consisted of a single level of retail stores and service basement. In this circa-1968 site plan, we see the ginormous "Jordan's" that was added in 1967.

Jordan Marsh's 311,000 square foot SOUTH SHORE store was the chain's fifth New England branch.

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. The mall had just 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.

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)

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)

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 late 2017. The operation took 71,000 square feet of 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 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 (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.

The retail center encompassed 757,000 leasable square feet and eventually housed seventy-two stores and services. Charter tenants included Krey's Record Shop, C.D. Perkins Tobacconist, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Pray's Home Furnishings, Peck & Peck, Sheridan's of Quincy and F.W. Woolworth and S.S. Kresge 5 & 10s. A 3-level (311,000 square foot), Boston-based Jordan Marsh was added to the mall's east end and opened for business on 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 located west of the mall.

SOUTH SHORE PLAZA, a regional-class shopping venue, originally had no sizable competition in its immediate 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, 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). 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 was 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 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 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 1,589,000 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. The mixed-use complex was dedicated in March 2016.

Ireland's Primark chain began opening United States locations in late 2015. The bulk of these were installed in downsized Sears stores at various East Coast malls. A SOUTH SHORE PLAZA Primark, occupying 71,000 square feet of Sears' upper level, opened for business in late 2017.


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 (Simon Property Group)
Boston's Westgate Shoppers' Park

One of the "Big Three" department store chains in Boston, Gilchrist's anchored the south end of the original WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK.

Massachusetts' first fully-enclosed mall was a 356,000 square foot community-class complex. Originally known as WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK, it was anchored by the aforementioned Gilchrist's and a Bradlees discount mart. A twin cinema opened in the mall's periphery in 1965.

By 1985, the official name of the complex had morphed into WESTGATE MALL. A new Northeast Wing (indicated in gray) had 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.

Circa-2003 signage announcing WESTGATE MALL.

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. By the way, Macy's, on the south end of the complex, had taken the place of Jordan Marsh in March 1996.

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)

A lifestyle addition, known as THE VILLAGE, was to be anchored by the Showcase Cinemas 12 seen in the right of this rendering. The project was abandoned when the owners of the mall defaulted on their upside down mortgage in late 2009.
Drawing from

Here we see a tentative circa-2010 layout of how the south end of the mall would have been situated had THE VILLAGE expansion been carried out. Alas, the remodeling plan would be drastically altered.