Western Avenue / US 202 and Whitten Road
Augusta, Maine

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, which was the first long-distance, limited-access highway in the United States, opened to traffic in October 1940. The dedication of the nation's second modern motorway -the Maine Turnpike- took place in December 1947. A 66-mile, Kittery-to-Augusta extension of the so-called "mile-a-minute highway" was dedicated in December 1955. This roadway would eventually be incorporated into the route of today's Interstate 95.

Plans for a MAINE SHOPPING CENTER were first announced in March 1963. This complex would be built on a Turnpike-adjacent, 30.6-acre site; this located 1.6 miles northwest of the Maine State House. Zayre and Sears stores were proposed in November 1964 and January 1965, respectively. The project was being developed by Alan and Milton Green (a.k.a. the Kennebec Realty Company), of Brookline, Massachusetts.

Work commenced in July 1966. A 1-level (60,000 square foot) Zayre discount mart opened its doors on October 19, 1967.  This was followed by the dedication of a (77,500 square foot) Sears, on October 25th. An enclosed mall was built between the two anchor stores. Its first inline tenant, a (10,500 square foot) J.G. McCrory 5 & 10, held its grand opening on March 6, 1969. 

Subsequent inline store dedications included those for Thom McAn Shoes (May 1, 1969), Rix Health & Beauty Aids (June 4, 1969), the Esquire Theatres of America Cinema I & II (June 12, 1969) and (17,000 square foot) Cottle's Food Center (June 17, 1969). By October 1970, the fully-realized shopping center encompassed approximately 207,800 leasable square feet, with a tenant list of sixteen stores and services. 

By 1973, the official name of the shopping hub had morphed into TURNPIKE MALL. A late 1970s tenant list would feature stores such as Anita & Annette's Hair Care Center, Zane's of Maine Family Hairstylists, Leblanc's men's wear, Mr. Paperback, Hit or Miss ladies' wear and Sonnet & Song Records.

Shopping centers in the vicinity of TURNPIKE MALL included AUGUSTA PLAZA (1961) {1.3 miles east, in Augusta}, CAPITOL SHOPPING CENTER (1970) {.9 of a mile east, also in Augusta} and, eventually, MARKETPLACE AT AUGUSTA (1995) {2.1 miles northeast, in Kennebec County}.

The TURNPIKE MALL Zayre morphed into an Ames on October 26, 1989. This store closed in August 2002. The building would sit vacant for nearly 4 years. In the meantime, TURNPIKE MALL was acquired by Boston-based Taurus New England Investments. They renovated the vacant Zayre-Ames and divided it into two units; a (35,000 square foot) Bed, Bath & Beyond and (25,000 square foot) Christmas Tree Shops. These retailers, both based in Union, New Jersey, opened their doors on November 21, 2006. 

Sears, a charter mall tenant, was shuttered on March 24, 2017. T.J. Maxx went dark in November of the same year. Eventually, the struggling shopping complex was not generating enough income to cover its mall loan. In May 2019, it was sold to Eastern Retail Properties, a division of New York City-based Sun Equity Partners.  

A (5,100 square foot) ConvenientMD Urgent Care clinic was built in the mall's northeast parking area. The freestanding facility opened for business in December 2021. The abandoned Sears was divided into three store spaces. A (15,000 square foot) Harbor Freight & Tools commenced operation on November 26, 2022. A (43,000 square foot) Hobby Lobby was dedicated in early 2023.


The Bangor Daily News 
The Lincoln County News (Damriscotta, Maine)
The Gardiner Times (Gardiner, Maine)
The Daily Kennebec Journal (Kennebec, Maine) / City of Augusta, Maine / "Zayre88" / Eastern Retail Properties / Mike Rivest
"Maine Turnpike" article on Wikipedia