Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Merry Christmas to All

Another evening of Christmas shopping winds down at one of America’s earliest and most famous shopping centers. This is Framingham, Massachusetts’ Shoppers World, pictured here all-decked out for the season in the early 1970’s.

A two-story outdoor shopping center, opened in 1951 and anchored by a magnificent “flying saucer-like” Jordan Marsh department store on one end (which is visible in the background of the photo), Shoppers World drew customers from a wide swath of the greater Boston area. It was a wonderful attraction at holiday time for years on end. Among its many distinctions, Shoppers World boasted the first of many shopping center-based indoor theatres of what would become the General Cinema Corporation.

The original structure survived more or less intact, despite a plethora of tenant changes and store remodelings, until 1994 when it was demolished. A completely different “Shoppers World” center now sits in its place.

My very special thanks to Michelle McElroy of the Framingham History Center for the use of this great photo. Michelle writes a blog called This Is Framingham, a mix of current event news and area history. Recently, Michelle started a fun new site called Different but the same, where she compares past and present packaging of household-name food items and consumer products.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you, friends and readers of this site, for your continued interest and for your comments and kind emails. Wishing you and your families the joy and peace of what Christmas brings and a wonderful and healthy new year!



  1. Looking forward to more posts in 2011!

  2. Merry Christmas Dave and a Happy New Year. We're looking forward to see what you'll be bringing us in 2011.

  3. Merry Christmas Dave, and thank you for providing one of the most interesting and friendly places on the web.

    The very best to you and all my fellow Pleasant Family Shopping fans for 2011!

  4. Makes me wish I had a memory of this place before 1994. But, alas, I never got the chance to go to Framingham. I was about 20 miles from there and didn't drive.

  5. Dave, thank you for the site. It is always interesting to go back in time to the stores of my youth.

    I was able to visit the original Shoppers World in Framingham back in the 80s. It was already in decline then, but was nevertheless fascinating to me -- it struck me that the design, with all its outdoor spaces and open-air walkways, was better-suited to a more temperate climate. Regardless, it was an interesting look at one of the earliest shopping malls. It was easy to imagine how wonderful it must have seemed to a resident of the area in the 50's.

  6. Rachel – Thanks very much, and Happy New Year to you!

    Mike-CS – Thanks, and the same to you. I’m looking forward to this year also, and thanks for all of your input!

    Steve – Hoping yours was a good one!

    David - You’re welcome, and thanks for the kind words – Hope you had a great Christmas and my best to you for 2011 as well.

    Nightdragon – I made one trip there, at age 9 in the summer of 1972 (the era this pic was taken!) to see the animated film “Snoopy Come Home” at the Cinema. It was the only theatre playing showing it near my grandparents’ place, where we were staying, which was about a hour away in northern Rhode Island. Unfortunately, I took no note of the shopping center at all!

    Greg – Thanks, and I’m glad you enjoy the site. Shoppers World was definitely a celebrated place in the day. The outdoor design does seem a bit ironic in light of the overall New England climate, I agree, although I’ve spent more than a few hot August nights up there!