These large, outlying developments, and the new freeways linking them with the center city, led to the development of the suburban shopping center or "mall" as we came to know it.

A circa-1958 view of homes in Levittown, Long Island, the first of four planned communities built by the Levitt & Sons firm. Defining the term "postwar suburb", Levittowns were built on Long Island, New York (1947-1951) and in Pennsylvania (1951-1958), New Jersey (1958-1963) and Puerto Rico (1963-1970).
Photo from Library of Congress

An aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania. Located 20 miles northeast of Center City Philadelphia, this moderne metropolis comprised over 17,000 homes; all built within a period of six years.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Shauni"

Fair use of "NBC Peacock" logo and quadraphonic album art :

The images from the NBC television network, ABC Records, Columbia Records and RCA Records illustrate a key moment in mid-20th century history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made from them would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The images do not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the graphics in any way. The images are being used for informational purposes only, and their use is not believed to detract from the original graphics in any way.

We would also like to thank "VintageAppliGuy" for providing information for this article.
Maryland's Iverson Mall

A late '60s aerial of the complex, showing its unique design. The structure straddles a 4-lane thoroughfare, which passes beneath it at midpoint.
Photo provided by Ms. Jeannette Kainu, Marketing Director, Iverson Mall

A newspaper ad announcing the grand opening of IVERSON MALL, which was held September 21, 1967. Typical of the time is the perpetual springtime reference. It was used in copy promoting nearly every new interior mall built in the early-to-mid-1960s.
Graphic provided by Ms. Jeannette Kainu, Marketing Director, Iverson Mall

A circa-1967 site plan of IVERSON MALL. The 527,000 square foot complex was anchored by Washington-based Woodward & Lothrop and Montgomery Ward. There were over seventy inline stores, as well as office and bank buildings.

A cut-away view of the Wards-to-Woodie's (south-to-north) elevation. The complex would be remodeled on a couple of occasions over the ensuing years but would never be physically expanded beyond its original parameters.

A site plan depicting IVERSON MALL, as it commemorates its 40th year in business. No longer a regional-class shopping venue, the community-class complex of 2007 has -nonetheless- eclipsed rivals such as LANDOVER MALL and CAPITAL PLAZA, which have just been demolished.

The bi-level mall concourse and circular stairway, as they appeared in the early 2000s.
Photo provided by Ms. Jeannette Kainu, Marketing Director, Iverson Mall

Another early 2000s-vintage interior view. Burlington Coat Factory, a 2008 addition, replaced Value City. This store had set up shop in 2 floors of an empty Woodward & Lothrop.
Photo from (CB Richard Ellis Group)

The IVERSON property has been promoted with several logos over the years. Above we see a Mall Hall of Fame reproduction of its original trademark.

This graphic was introduced in the early 2000s.
Graphic from

A new owner came on the scene in July 2014, with a floor-to-ceiling renovation being announced in September 2016. A new mall name was also bestowed; THE SHOPS AT IVERSON.
Graphic from

As part of the twenty-tens refurbishment, "Main Street" facades were to be added to the building's exterior. In this rendering, we see where the shopping center is bisected by the Iverson Street underpass.
Drawing from (Renaud Consulting)

A rendering of the Upper Level of the mall's interior, post-renovation.
Drawing from (Renaud Consulting)

In a circa-2017 site plan, the 50-year-old THE SHOPS AT IVERSON is anchored by a Roses variety store, Forman Mills discount designer apparel outlet and aforementioned Burlington (Coat Factory). A Food Court, installed in the early 2000s, has been gutted and reconfigured with new outward-facing stores, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Quickway Hibachi and Wingstop. 
Branch Avenue and Iverson Street
Prince George's County (Temple Hills), Maryland

It could be said that Washington, DC developers were slow in getting around to building the region's first climate-controlled shopping mall. This seems especially odd when considering that Greater Baltimore, 30 miles north, had done so as early as 1958. Be that as it may, DC did catch up, mall-wise. Its first fully-enclosed retail center opened in the late 1960s.

IVERSON MALL was built on a 9.3 acre tract, located 4.6 miles southeast of the United States Capitol, in the unincorporated Prince George's County suburb of Temple Hills. The 10 million dollar facility was envisaged by Washington's Anthony A. Carozza. He had been the primary developer of the adjacent, two-thousand-unit, Hillcrest Heights subdivision between the years 1946 and 1965. 

The tentative name of the retail hub, ANTON MALL, was an amalgamation of Anthony (Carozza) and wife Anna Louise. Construction was underway by 1965. A 2-level (157,000 square foot) Montgomery Ward opened for business April 20, 1966. This was followed by the dedication of a 3-level (144,000 square foot), Washington-based Woodward & Lothrop ["Low-thrup"], which was held on July 31, 1967.

A mall-wide grand opening took place September 21, 1967, with tenants such as Lawrence Reed, Limited and Buster Brown Shoes welcoming their first patrons. IVERSON MALL encompassed 526,700 leasable square feet and housed seventy-seven store spaces.

The complex had a unique design, in that it straddled the Iverson Street thoroughfare, which divided it at midpoint. There was a multilevel parking garage along the rear, connecting into a bi-level shopping concourse in front. The Upper Mall stretched between the two anchor stores; with the Lower Mall divided into two sections by Iverson Street.

Major shopping hubs in the IVERSON MALL trade area included the adjacent MARLOWE HEIGHTS CENTER (1957), CAPITAL PLAZA (1963) {7.1 miles northeast, in Prince George's County}, LANDOVER MALL (1972) {7.2 miles northeast, in Prince George's County} and FOREST VILLAGE PARK MALL (1980) {3.2 miles northeast, also in Prince George's County}.

The interior of IVERSON MALL was renovated in 1985, with all fountains being removed. By 1995, one of two original anchor stores had closed. After this, the center evolved from a regional shopping hub into more of a community-class venue.

The north anchor spot, originally occupied by Woodward & Lothrop, was retenanted by a 2-level (136,000 square foot), Columbus, Ohio-based Value City apparel. A (42,000 square foot) Furniture Galaxy leased the lower floor. Value City opened November 1, 1996 and was shuttered February 15, 2008.

The vacant Value City space became a Burlington Coat Factory in the fall of 2008. When Furniture Galaxy was shuttered, a (27,800 square foot) section was reconfigured as a sanctuary for the Community of Hope AME Church.

The mall's south anchor, vacated by Montgomery Ward in March 2001, was divided into two sections. Philadelphia's Forman Mills set up shop in the (66,300 square foot) Lower Level and opened November 26, 2004. A (60,000 square foot) Total Save variety store assumed the upper level space.

In July 2014, IVERSON MALL was sold to a joint venture of Pikesville, Maryland's America's Realty and Washington's West End Capital Group. Soon after the transaction closed, a Henderson, North Carolina-based Roses discount store opened, which occupied space recently vacated by Total Save.

A comprehensive indoor-outdoor renovation was announced in September 2016. The 57 million dollar project, financed by a loan from the Prince George's County Economic Development Incentive Fund, would install "Main Street" facades along the mall's east facade, reorient various stores with exterior entrances, retenant the 4-story Office Building and refurbish all common areas. As part of the revitalization, the shopping hub was renamed THE SHOPS AT IVERSON.

The Washington Post / "Hillcrest Heights Community Survey" / EHT Traceries, Incorporated / January 2009
The Montgomery County Sentinel
"Iverson Mall" Flyer / H & R Retail, Inc. / Chevy Chase, Maryland
"Iverson Mall" article on Wikipedia
Buffalo's Thruway Plaza

A circa-1952 view of THRUWAY PLAZA, which was one of Western New York State's first post-war shopping centers.
Photo from / Buffalo Courier-Express

Our first THRUWAY PLAZA plan dates to 1957. It shows the original 1952 strip center in black. A mall-making mid-1950s addition appears in gray.


J.C. PENNEY / SEARS (Catalog & Appliance) / A & P supermarket / NU-WAY supermarket / F.W. WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / NEISNER's 5 & 10 (with luncheonette and beauty shop) / W.T. GRANT / A.S. Beck Shoes / L.L. Berger / Cavage's / Colonial House / Cotton Shop / Endicott-Johnson / Fanny Farmer Candies / Firestone Car Care / Dick Fisher / Glickstein's Jewelers / Goldin's / Gray Rexall Drug (with luncheonette) / Household Finance Corporation / Household Outfitting / Howard Clothes / Jacobi Brothers / Jay Bee Pastry / Kiddie Ranch / Kleinhans  men's wear / Lerner Shops / Little Colony / Loft's Candies / Manufacturers & Traders Trust / Master-Simon / Thom McAn Shoes / My Maternity Shops / Oppenheim-Collins / Record Rack / Russell Jay / Schiff Shoes / Singer Sewing Center / Susan Ives / Suzy Millinery / Thruway Liquor / Ulbricht's / Victor's / Woodrow

Above is an early '60s view of the open mallway at THRUWAY PLAZA. On the right, we see storefronts for Gray Drug and Woolworth's. On the left, one for Victor's Home Furnishings. Far in the distance (on the left) is an open space where an AM & A's (Adam, Meldrum & Anderson) anchor store will be built.
Photo from (Town of Cheektowaga, New York)

The open-air THRUWAY PLAZA was enclosed and climate-controlled in 1973-'74, reemerging as THRUWAY MALL. This was its new trademark.

In a provisional circa-1980 layout, we see the Adam, Meldrum & Anderson ("AM&A's") anchor store that was added to the shopping hub in 1966-'67. A South Court addition was completed in 1980. It is possible that a new J.C. Penney was built at this time, replacing a smaller (circa-1952) store.

A montage of  THRUWAY PLAZA / MALL logos covers stores that populated the shopping hub between the years 1952 and 1982.

After years of decline, most of THRUWAY MALL was bulldozed in late 1996. A few structures, including this Firestone Car Care Center, were left standing. Firestone has operated a store at the shopping hub since at least as far back as 1954.
Photo from (DLC Management Corporation)

Today's Value City occupies another structure remaining from the old mall. In the building's original incarnation, it was the aforementioned AM & A's department store.
Photo from (DLC Management Corporation)

The THRUWAY PLAZA Tops Market was built as part of the shopping complex's late 1990s redevelopment. The store welcomed its first shoppers in December 1999.
Photo from (DLC Management Corporation)

We conclude our THRUWAY segment with a contemporary aerial plan. The structure in the upper right housed a WalMart SuperCenter between January 1998 and April 2016. After that store closed, a portion of the space was leased as a Planet Fitness gym and Citi Trends store. The MovieLand 8 Theatres, in the lower right, closed in May 2015. A church now operates in the building.
Original photo from Google Maps

Walden Avenue and Harlem Road
Erie County (Town of Cheektowaga), New York

One of the earliest post-war shopping centers in the Niagara Frontier was built on a 75 acre site, situated 4.6 miles northeast of Buffalo's center city. The 8 million dollar THRUWAY PLAZA encompassed 300,000 leasable square feet and opened for business October 16, 1952. The open-air complex was adjacent to a section of the New York State Thruway that had opened to traffic October 29, 1951.

Promoted as the largest shopping center in Western New York, THRUWAY PLAZA was designed by the Walter Koppel firm of Miami, Florida. Charter stores included Sears Catalog & Appliance, W.T. Grant, Lerner Shops, Harvey-Carey Drug, Fanny Farmer Candies, J.C. Penney, A & P and Nu-Way supermarkets and F.W. Woolworth and Neisner's 5 & 10s.

The PLAZA was expanded with a 2-block group of stores, fronting on a newly-created open-air mallway, in late 1956. In 1967, Buffalo -based Adam, Meldrum and Anderson (a.k.a. AM&A's) added a 2-level (60,000 square foot) store to the northwest corner of the shopping hub.

An enclosing renovation was finished in 1974, with the official name of the complex morphing into THRUWAY MALL. A subsequent South Court expansion, completed in June 1980, added fifteen stores and services. By this time, J.C. Penney had moved into a new structure on the south end of the complex, which now housed ninety-three stores and services.

The General Cinema Corporation Thruway Mall Cinemas had showed its first features December 16, 1977. The original venue, built as a southeastern outparcel of the mall, was expanded into a 6-plex and eventually featured 8 auditoria. Other outparcels were added to the mall's periphery, such as a Super Duper Supermarket and Child World toy store.

Shopping centers in the THRUWAY trade area included SENECA MALL (1969) {4.7 miles south, in Erie County (Town of West Seneca)}, APPLETREE MALL (1972) {1.5 miles southeast, in Erie County (Town of Cheektowaga)} and McKINLEY MALL (1985) {8.2 miles south, in Erie County (Town of Hamburg)}.

THRUWAY MALL did well until the completion of WALDEN GALLERIA {.8 mile northeast, in Erie County (Town of Cheektowaga)}. This mega mall's first stores opened in May 1989. Within months, WALDEN GALLERIA had snatched AM&A's, Penney's and House of Fabrics from THRUWAY MALL. Kleinhans, a 1952 charter tenant, shut down completely in December 1990.

A shift to an off-price shopping center could not change the fortunes of the past-its-prime property. Owners came and went. Finally, a foreclosure auction was held in September 1994. Buffalo-based Benderson Development acquired the virtually vacant THRUWAY MALL for a rock bottom price.

As one might expect, a raze-and-replace plan was devised. The first, announced in November 1995, would have demolished only the southern half of the complex. A second proposal, from November 1996, became the accepted redevelopment plan. 600,000 square feet were knocked down, leaving the AM&A building -and freestanding Firestone Car Care, cinema and bank structures- standing.

News of a prospective retail complex, to be known as THRUWAY CONSUMER SQUARE, surfaced in March 1997. By April, the name of the complex had been changed to THRUWAY PLAZA. The first tenant, a 1-level (90,000 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter, opened its doors.


Buffalo Courier-Express Branch Store.doc / Old Fulton NY Post Cards By Tom Tryniski (Developers Diversified Realty)
http://rew-online.com (DLC Management Corporation)
Buffalo's Boulevard Mall

To see our write up on the Niagara Frontier's first fully-enclosed shopping center, please click on the link below.