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), 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 contained 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.

In 2007, IVERSON MALL 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 recently been demolished.


FORMAN MILLS / FURNITURE GALLERY / TOTAL SAVE / VALUE CITY / Alem's Edy's Ice Cream / All American Toys / Apsara Boutique / Ashley Stewart ladies' wear / Associated Security / A Tag & Title / Bank of America / Bojangles (outparcel) / Coley's Barber Shop / Deja Vu / Delta Wireless / Derrick Martin, Doctor of Dental Science / Dynamix Menswear / Electronics, Etcetera / Elite Jewelers / Exquisite Beauty Palace / Footaction USA / Foot Locker / Fragrance Center (kiosk) / Gannt-Mann Enterprises / GNC / Gift Gallery (kiosk) / Golden Names (kiosk) / Gold Plaza (kiosk) / Grant Communications / Head to Head / His & Hers Clothing / Hollywood Shot / Honeycomb Hideout / Illusion / Iverson Nails / Jacques Renee / Jewelry Connection (kiosk) / Kamal's Diamond Jewelers / Karibu Books / Kay Jewelers / Kid's for Less / King Jewelers / KLC Couture / LaModa / Last Stop / Lawrence Reed, Limited men's wear / Lucaya / Lexy / Myvan Tran, Doctor of Dental Science / Nathan's Shoe Repair / Newsstand at Iverson Mall / Okojie & Associates / PayLess ShoeSource / Queen's Accessories / Rainbow ladies' wear / Rainbow Plus ladies' wear / Rome Custom Tailor / Safeway Driving School / Seafood Palace Buffet / Secret Scents / Shoe City / Solmaz / Spartan Security / Star Braiding Gallery / Step 'n Style / Sterling Optical / Styles / The Jewelry Place / The Nut Shoppe / The Variety Shop / Tiffany's Bakery / Vizions / Young World
China King / Hot Dogs & More / Mamma Lucia The Italian Eatery / The Brass Hen / The Great Cookie

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

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 board 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 2010s refurbishment, "Main Street" facades were added to the building's exterior. A mall entrance was also rebuilt.
Photo from / Herman Stewart Construction

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

In 2021, THE SHOPS AT IVERSON is anchored by a Roses discount department store, Forman Mills discount designer apparel outlet and Shoppers World. 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

Developers in -and around- Washington, DC were slow in 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. 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, 2000-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 approximately 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 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 on 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 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. Burlington (Coat Factory) pulled up stakes in 2019 and was proceeded by Shoppers World, which opened its doors in November 2020. Other new mall tenants included Chipotle Mexican Grill, WingStop and Mamma Lucia.


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

An advertisement for the Luncheonette at the THRUWAY PLAZA Neisner's. Note that a "Home Style Meat Loaf Dinner" cost just 55 cents. I wonder if a beverage was included.
Graphic and advert from Neisner Brothers, Incorporated

A promotion for the PLAZA Woolworth's included mention of the store's Pet Shop. Back in the day, the typical 5 & dime always had a department that sold live animals. These included monkeys, canaries, parakeets, turtles, white mice and (even) baby alligators.   
Graphic and advert from the F.W. Woolworth Company

Our first THRUWAY plan depicts the complex of 1957. The original strip center is shown in black. Additions to the Penney's, Neisner's, Lerner Shops, Woolworth's, A.S. Beck and Bergner's stores have just been completed and are shown in medium gray. A recent mall-making addition also appears in medium gray. With these improvements, THRUWAY PLAZA contains fifty-five stores and services. An expanded parking area accommodates 5,500 autos.


J.C. PENNEY /  A & P supermarket / NU-WAY supermarket / F.W. WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / NEISNER's 5 & 10 (with luncheonette and beauty salon) / W.T. GRANT (with luncheonette) / A.S. Beck Shoes / Alcon Lock & Key Shop / Burns Barber & Beauty Salon / Cavage's Records & Cards / Colonial House restaurant / Dick Fisher Athletic Goods / Endicott-Johnson Shoes / Fanny Farmer Candies / Firestone retail store / Glickstein's Jewelers / Goldin's ladies' wear / Harvey & Carey Drugs (with luncheonette) / Household Finance Corporation / Household Outfitting / Howard Clothes / Janie's Youth Center children's wear / Jacobi Brothers men's wear / Jay-Bee Pastry Shop / Kiddie Ranch / Kleinhans men's wear / L.L. Berger ladies' wear / Lerner Shops ladies' wear / Little Colony / Loft Candies / Manufacturers & Traders Trust Bank (outparcel) / Martin, Limited men's wear / Master-Simon Hardware / My Maternity Shops / National Shoe Service Repair / Niagara Cotton Shop ladies' wear / Oppenheim-Collins ladies' wear (with Andre Beauty Salon and Simon Restaurant) / Record Rack / Russell Jay ladies' wear / Sattler's youthware / Schiff Shoes / Sears Catalogue & Appliance / Seeburg's men's wear / Singer Sewing Center / Susan Ives ladies' wear / Suzy Millinery / Thom McAn Shoes / Thruway Card & Camera / Thruway Liquor / Ulbricht's Books & Office Supplies / US Post Office /  Victor's Home Furnishings / Wahl Shoes / Wayne Optical / Woodrow

The strip plaza became an open-air mall with the aforementioned mid-50s expansion. A December 1958 snapshot shows the center section of the shopping concourse. Going from right-to-left, the stores are W.T. Grant, Howard Clothes, Russell Jay ladies' wear and Martin, Limited men's wear. 
Photo from Jerome Pinson

Another view of the open-air mall was taken on its north end. On the left are Victor's Home Furnishings, Kleinhans men's wear and the center's first Adam, Meldrum & Anderson ("AM&A's") store. Over its 43 years in business, the mall would house two.
Photo from / Town of Cheektowaga, New York

A THRUWAY logo montage consists of trademarks for stores that operated in the shopping center during the 1950s, '60s and '70s.  

By 1971, several PLAZA stores have come and gone. A freestanding Acme Markets grocery (in dark gray) welcomed first shoppers in June 1960. AM&A's (in medium gray) opened a brand new store in November 1971. The open-air shopping hub now covers approximately 760,000 leasable square feet and contains fifty-five stores and services.

THRUWAY PLAZA was given a thorough renovation in the mid-1970s. The northern section of the shopping concourse was enclosed, with the southern part -and stores such as J.C. Penney- left out in the rain and snow. A grand re-opening was held in July 1975. The remainder of the mallway would be enclosed as part of a "South Court" expansion. This project was completed in 1980.
Graphic from the United Nations Corporation

Our third THRUWAY layout depicts the fully-enclosed mall of 1987. A freestanding tri-plex cinema opened in December 1977. The outparcel supermarket was rebranded in 1979. The South Court wing is shown in light gray. With these -and other- improvements, the shopping hub encompasses around 860,000 leasable square feet and houses eighty-five stores under its roof. 

SENECA MALL opened for business in May 1969. It covered 700,000 leasable square feet and contained sixty-two stores and services. In its early years, it was a major competitor of THRUWAY PLAZA and MALL. 
Graphic from the Pyramid Management Group

Greater Buffalo's super mall, WALDEN GALLERIA, was dedicated in May 1989. This six-anchor complex, with 1.2 million leasable square feet and 185 stores, put the hurt on both the THRUWAY and SENECA malls. The SENECA property was shuttered and demolished in 1994. THRUWAY closed in November 1995 and was partially demolished in 1997.
Graphic from the Pyramid Management Group

Value City Furniture repurposed the old AM&A's building at THRUWAY MALL. The 50,000 square foot store was dedicated in October 1994. It became part of a redeveloped THRUWAY PLAZA power center, whose newly-built stores opened between 1999 and 2001.
Photo from / DLC Management Corporation

Firestone was one of the original tenants at THRUWAY PLAZA. In the early 1990s, the southwest section of the mall, including the original Firestone store, was demolished. It relocated into this new freestanding structure. 
Photo from / DLC Management Corporation

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 developed by the Sommers Brothers Construction Company, of Iselin, New Jersey. THRUWAY PLAZA was built on a 75-acre site, located 4.6 miles northeast of Buffalo's center city. The 8 million dollar, open-air complex was adjacent to a section of the New York State Thruway that had opened to traffic on October 29, 1951.

Promoted as the largest shopping center in Western New York, the 300,000 square foot strip complex was designed by the Walter Koppel firm of Miami, Florida. Among thirty-two charter stores and services were W.T. Grant, Lerner Shops, A & P and Nu-Way supermarkets. There were also a 1-level (12,000 square foot) F.W. Woolworth, 1-level (14,000 square foot) Neisner's and 3-level (25,000 square foot) J.C. Penney.

A grand opening celebration commenced on October 16, 1952. The festivities were hosted by Duncan Renaldo, "The Cisco Kid," star of the syndicated western TV series of the same name. Several retail store executives were present, along with officials from the Sommers Company. Benedict T. Holz (Town of Cheektowaga Supervisor) cut a ceremonial ribbon. Entertainment included animal acts from the Gengler Brothers Circus.  

THRUWAY PLAZA was expanded with a western section in the mid-1950s. Two new store blocks faced those in the original strip center, creating an open-air mall between them. A 2-level (35,000 square foot) Oppenheim-Collins opened its doors on November 1, 1956. Kleinhans' 2-level (16,000 square foot) unit debuted  on November 15th. Sears' 2-level (45,000 square foot) store opened its doors on February 13, 1957, with a 2-level (60,000 square foot), Buffalo-based Adam, Meldrum & Anderson (AM&A's) holding its grand opening on February 14th.

As the two west store blocks were being completed, several existing THRUWAY PLAZA stores were enlarged. Woolworth's, Neisner's, L.L. Berger, A.S. Beck and Lerner Shops expanded eastward. Likewise, J.C. Penney increased its square footage to 58,000 square feet. This was done by reconfiguring basement space as retail area. An eastward expansion was also constructed. The enlarged store was re-dedicated on May 2, 1957.   

The Nu-Way supermarket, a charter 1952 THRUWAY PLAZA tenant, initiated construction on a new freestanding unit, which was being built in the shopping center's northeast parking area. In August 1959, stores in the Nu-Way chain were acquired by Acme Markets of Philadelphia. The new (25,600 square foot) grocery -branded with an Acme Markets nameplate- was officially dedicated on June 2, 1960. 

An enclosing renovation of THRUWAY PLAZA had been proposed since the mid-1960s. Various plans were announced...and eventually abandoned. Ground was broken on August 10, 1970 for -what was considered to be- an enlargement and enclosure of the entire complex. This project began with the construction of a new AM&A's anchor store; this replacing the existing circa-1956 unit. 

Unfortunately, the new AM&A's would be the only segment of the prospective renovation to come to fruition. The new 2-level (100,000 square foot) AM&A's was officially dedicated on November 1, 1971. The enclosure and expansion of THRUWAY PLAZA was temporarily postponed, with plans getting back on track in April 1973. As the first facet of the up-and-coming renovation, the name of the complex was changed to THRUWAY MALL.  

New York City's United Nations Corporation, who had acquired THRUWAY PLAZA in 1969, were wanting to build a roof over the shopping concourse and add 60,000 square feet of retail area. A new East Mall, and third anchor department store, were also envisaged. Construction was delayed by problems securing building materials. However, by mid-1975, the enclosing project was completed.

The "Aloha To The New Enclosed Thruway" celebration commenced on July 9, 1975. Twenty-one new stores joined the tenant list, including York Steak House, Florsheim Thayer McNeil Shoes, Richman Brothers men's wear, So-Fro Fabrics, The Fashion Factory, a Child World toy store and Hickory Farms of Ohio. THRUWAY MALL now spanned approximately 820,000 leasable square feet and housed seventy-three stores and services.

While the mall had been enclosed and climate-controlled, it had only been a partial job. The southern portion of the shopping concourse had been left in the open. A construction project to fully enclose the mallway was completed in mid-1980. Twelve new stores opened as part of this "South Court" expansion, which increased the mall's gross leasable area to around 860,000 square feet. The tenant list included eighty-five stores and services.  

Neisner's shuttered their 25-year-old THRUWAY store in early 1978. The vacant building was thoroughly remodeled. It was re-opened, as a (32,300 square foot), Buffalo-based Sattler's Fashion Store, on October 11, 1978. The Sattler's chain began a retail retreat when the downtown Buffalo store closed, in May 1981. 

The THRUWAY MALL location went dark in February 1982. The building was reconfigured as an eleven-store Mini-Mall; this dedicated in November 1984. Sears, a mall tenant for 28 years, shuttered their store on July 31, 1985. Anderson-Little set up shop in a portion of the vacant Sears space and opened for business in late 1985. The shopping hub now contained ninety stores and services under its roof.

Meanwhile, the General Cinema Corporation Thruway Mall Cinema was built as a southeastern outparcel. Its first features were shown on December 16, 1977. Originally a 3-screen venue, the facility was expanded into a 6 -and then 8- plex. It was shuttered on November 30, 1999 and re-opened, as the Dipson Theatres Thruway Cinema 8, on June 1, 2001. The venue morphed into the JGM Entertainment Movieland 8 Theatres in 2004. 

Major shopping centers in the THRUWAY trade area included SENECA MALL (1969-1994) {4.7 miles south, in Erie County (Town of West Seneca)}, COMO PARK MALL / 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. Eventually, WALDEN GALLERIA would snatch the J.C. Penney and AM&A's from THRUWAY MALL. Kleinhans pulled up stakes in December 1990.

The abandoned AM&A's building at THRUWAY MALL was subdivided, with a (49,800 square foot) Value City Furniture setting up shop in its first floor. A grand opening was held in October 1994. This new store was part of an ongoing shift to remarket THRUWAY MALL as an off-price shopping center. Unfortunately, this new focus could not change the fortunes of the past-its-prime property. 

A foreclosure auction was held in September 1994. The Buffalo-based Benderson Development Company acquired the virtually vacant facility for a rock bottom price and shuttered the shopping concourse in November 1995.

As one might expect, a raze-and-replace plan had been 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 plan. 600,000 square feet were knocked down, leaving the AM&A's building and freestanding Firestone Store, 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 had been changed to THRUWAY PLAZA. The first tenant, a 1-level (90,000 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter, opened its doors on January 26, 1998. A newly-built (55,400 square foot) Tops Market opened in December 1999. This was followed by a 1-level (132,300 square foot) Home Depot, which held its grand opening in 2001.

Beachwood Ohio's Developers Diversified Realty acquired the real estate portfolio of Benderson Development in mid-2004 and became the new proprietor of THRUWAY PLAZA. They sold the 572,600 square foot power center, along with fifteen other properties, to a joint venture of Elmsford, New York's DLC Management Corporation and DRA Advisors. This transaction closed in October 2016.

WalMart at THRUWAY PLAZA had pulled up stakes in April. Its vacant store was re-leased in increments. A 12,000 square foot section was occupied by Citi Trends. Planet Fitness (with 25,000 square feet) was dedicated on March 21, 2018. The Movieland 8 Theatres had been shuttered on May 11, 2015. The building was sold to a local church in June 2017. 


The Buffalo News
The Courier-Express (Buffalo, New York)
The Cheektowaga Chronicle (Cheektowaga, New York) Branch Store.doc
Information provided by Bill Schultz and Robert Lackameyer, Greater Buffalo residents / Town of Cheektowaga / Developers Diversified Realty / Real Estate Weekly / 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.