Monday, July 10, 2006

What's With All The Shoes?

Oh ... My ... God. I am speechless ... and trust me when I say this doesn't happen often. Over on Unspelled, we've been taking a trip down memory lane. This post started out by discussing what's better or worse about Springfield from 20 or 30 years ago. Today there was a mind blowing comment ... and I'm gonna give all the credit where it's due ...

Russ from Springfield Rewind contributed the most amazing list I've ever seen. Here's his post, in it's entirety ... cause it's just too good to cob. The only thing I've done is alphabetized the list of stores ... because ... um ... I'm anal. Plus, not having a life helps. Check this out:

This talk about the 'old' White Oaks gives me some ideas for Springfield Rewind. By the way, here are the stores that were a part of White Oaks when it opened in '77:

Air Step
Aladdin's Castle
Baker Shoes
Bottom Half
Bressler's Ice Cream
Brooks Fashion
Buster Brown Shoes
Byerly Music
Casual Corner
Circus World Toy Store
County Seat
Endicott Shoes
Florsheim Shoes
Gallery Sea Food
Gingiss Formalwear
Gordon Jewelers
Hanover Shoes
Helzberg Jewelers
Hickory Farms
Illini Sporting Goods
IPCO Optical
J. Riggins
Jean Nicole
Jo Ann Fabrics
Just Pants
Keepsake Photos
Kinney Shoes
Kirlin's Candies
Life Stride
Lowery Organ
Maling Shoes
MCL Cafeteria
Mermod Jaccard & King
Merry Go Round
Murray Shoes
National Shirt Shop
Nobil Shoes
Orange Julius
Oriental Gifts
Osco Drug
Paul Harris
Printer's Ink Bookstore
Roberts Brothers
Service Optical
Shaver's World
So-Fro Fabric
Spencer Gifts
Star of India
Susie Casuals
Swiss Pretzel Shop
Tanneberg & Sandorwitz Deli
The Carousel
The Children's Shop
The Cookie Factory
The Hub
The Ranch
Tinderbox Tobacco
Topps & Trousers
Union Jack
Wag's Restaurant
Walden Books

AND the 4 anchor stores - Famous Barr, Myers Brothers (now Bergner's), Sears, and Montgomery Ward (now Dick's)."

Jesus! Let's just name Russ our official "Springfield Historian." Do we have a post like that? If not, we need to create one immediately. His website, Springfield Rewind has the most awesome collection of Springfield photos I've ever seen. It's obvious he's put a lot of work into his project ... and it really shows.

I'd tell you to go check it out ... but common ... I have to be the last person in Springfield who hasn't seen this. But, in the odd chance that you've missed it, go to Springfield Rewind right now ... you'll laugh ... you'll cry ... you'll feel really freakin old!

Note: What stores I remember (and don't remember) from the list above is another massive entry all by itself. So consider this post ... ... to be continued ... ...

From now on you'll be history
You'll be his...
You'll be his...
You'll be history
And we will glorify your name
You will be a bust...
Be a bust...
Be a bust...
In the hall of fame!

The Wizard of Oz - Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead


  1. That's not a complete list. In the summer of 1977, I helped open The Bookmarket, a book store next to Myers on the upper level next to Radio Shack and accross from Musicland. I was 17.

    The mall had been "open" for a few months but the "Grand Opening" in August wasn't until after The Bookmarket was up and running so I'm not sure why it was left off the list.

    One other piece of trivia, the first time I was in the Mall was sometime in the spring of 1977. A buddy and I went to apply for jobs at Wags which was on the lower level near Sears. We went in on the upper level only to find out there were no stairs or escalators yet (things were still under construction). We had to go out of the mall and drive around to the lower level to get to Wags.

  2. I'm curious about Luca Pizza ... I wonder when they went in? They may not have been there for the Grand Opening in 1977 ... but I don't remember a time when they weren't serving that tasty pizza.

    Plus Hot Dog On A Stick ... wonder when that was added?

  3. Hot Dog on a Stick was open before The Bookmarket, if I remember correctly.

    Here's the thing, in the middle of 1977 stores were opening one at a time all over the mall. It's not like on day eight God created Whit Oaks Mall and all the stores were open and ready to go. It was a work in progress for a good portion of that year. I'm just curious what the cutoff date was for Russ' list.

    Also missing, I just noticed, is McDonald's. It was there from the beginning too, long before there was a food court. I used to get my coffee there when I would open and sort-of manage the store on Sundays (talk about a heady experience for a 17-year-old).

    The Eleventh Hour

  4. Anonymous12:16 AM

    When I've heard of Springfield Rewind before you, you know its time to step out from under your rock. :P

    ~college one

  5. Dave-
    The article is from January 23 of '77, and is titled 'First openings set for spring'. The list included the businesses that were already signed to open in March, so it's conceivable that a few more could have signed between March (the soft opening) and the Grand Opening in August. I know the SVC has the special SJ-R insert for the Grand Opening, so I'll check it for a complete list. Here's some trivia...who was the celebrity Master of Ceremonies?

  6. Russ,

    There were two:

    Bruce Jenner and Billy Carter. They wore white tuxs with white top hats.

  7. Damn, you two ... you're like trivia MACHINES! I was going to guess "Skip Spiceland" ... so ... I'm glad Dave answered first. LOL

    Does the Sangamon Valley Collection let you scan items? Or take digial photos? I'm just wondering if there's anyway to see that insert? I mean ... I could go down there, obviously ... but if we wanted to share, how does that work?

    And you, College One ... I do not live under a rock. I'd HEARD of Springfield Rewind ... I just hadn't visited myself. If I remember right, your Dad had the laptop out looking at Springfield Rewind months ago. I think he said I should take a minute to check it out ... but ... you know me ... I was probably watching Celebrity Fit Club or something.

  8. Bruce Jenner and Billy Carter in white '70s tuxes is not trivia, it's a bad dream come true. If I didn't talk about it the memories would eat me alive!

    The Eleventh Hour

  9. Oh Dave, so close!

    Bruce Jenner and Billy Carter were both in attendance for the Grand Opening - along with Bobby Riggs, Bulls star Artis Gilmore, and Miss Illinois Elizabeth Curran.

    BUT - the Master of Ceremonies for the big day was none other than Ed McMahon...also in white tux.

  10. NO freaking WAY? Ed McMahon? Who knew?

    "If I didn't talk about it the memories would eat me alive!"

    Dave ... get that poison out. It's like therapy ... entertaining therapy.

  11. DOH!

    For some reason I've forgotten about Ed McMahon. I vividly remember seeing Bruce and Billy so maybe I just never saw Ed and therefore don't remember him.

    If I recall correctly, and I may not, they were supposed to have one or more hot air balloons take off from the parking lot that day but the weather was too bad and they cancelled that part of the festivities.

  12. I found an article on the balloon race.

    They should have cancelled the balloon race, but despite a stiff breeze that caused a couple of mid-air collisions, 27 hot air balloons "raced" from the White Oaks parking lot to a field a few miles Southwest.

    Ed McMahon's balloon was declared the winner (in the Budweiser ballon, of course) but Billy Carter claimed he was the real winner because he ended up with the cleanest white tux.

    Also found out:
    McDonald's was one of the businesses that opened after the soft opening in March - looks like it opened in late June. Hotdog on a Stick opened around the same time.

    The theaters opened for business June 17.

    The Book Market opened at the end of July, and was located next to Myers Bros, across from Musicland.

    Tom Hallick, an alleged soap opera star was another one of the celebrities on hand.

    When the project was first announced to the public in 1971, the name proposed for the new shopping center was "Westroads Mall".

  13. Does anybody remember an oriental store? I distictivly remember my mom and dad purchasing a stick about a foot long with a small woodpecker on it. When you raised it up to the top it would peck all the way down. It was a toy of sorts. Anyway, I remember it being in a shop that had lots of nicknacks and things from the orient and the people that ran it looked oreintal too.

  14. Yeah, there was an oriental store at some point ... because I bought my first "grownup" item ... a nativity scene for my first Christmas in my first apartment.

    Having said that ... I bought that item in 1987 ... so that was ten years after the Grand Opening of the mall. I have no idea if they were there from the beginning ...

  15. Can you imagine? They proposed the mall in 1971, calling it "Westroads Mall" ... and it took until August of 1977 to officially open it. Five years? I'm not being snarky ... I'm seriously asking ... is that normal?

    Does it take that long to get a project of that size off the ground? Or is Central Illinois a land of looooong drawn out projects ... like Hunter Lake ... or Route 29?

  16. I remember the oriental store being there right after it opened. I was 5 or 6 when I got that toy.

  17. Was it 'Oriental Gifts' from the list?

  18. Sure Russ ... point out the obvious. haha :) Sorry ... I didn't catch that one ...