Eight-foot tall toy soldiers guard the facade of one of America’s most fondly-remembered malls, Phoenix’s Chris-Town, in this 1962 photo. The soldiers (and the candles, also eight feet tall) represent a type of decor element that is seen less and less today. Both the soldiers and the candles were manufactured by General Plastics Corporation, a Marion, Indiana-based firm that supplied Christmas decorations for malls, department stores, office buildings and city streetlights everywhere for decades.
The mall itself, which opened on August 24, 1961, was a superb example of interior design. It featured three gorgeous public areas - the Court of Fountains, the Court of Flowers and the Court of Birds, all delights for local shoppers, especially the latter. The mall’s anchors were J.C. Penney (one of the very last “yellow-letter sign” Penney stores), Montgomery Ward and the first and only branch of the 66-year old downtown Phoenix department store, Korrick’s. In 1966, Korrick’s sold out to Broadway-Hale Stores Inc., and the store was remodeled and rechristened with The Broadway nameplate.
To learn more about Chris-Town, of which now just a remnant exists, let me recommend this wonderful website, which is entirely dedicated to its history. It features many excellent photos, including some great night shots from the following Christmas, 1963.
All these scenes need now is a little snow, right? Oh yes, this is Phoenix we’re talking about. Then how ‘bout some white-colored pebbles?