Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

To this day, I never pass up a chance to visit Oakbrook Center, the famed open-air mall in the west suburbs. Opened in 1962, it has retained a high degree of elegance and charm, despite numerous expansions and the normal coming-and-going of tenants.

Most early photos of Oakbrook depict the majestic Marshall Field’s there (now Macy’s), or the superb modernist Sears (now- still - Sears), or perhaps the beautiful landscaping and fountains.

But here, from an original slide, is a rarely seen view of the “back side” of the mall, showing three stores and the Oakbrook Professional Building, tastefully decorated for Christmas, after hours and against the night sky, looking peaceful.

Left to right are Maurice L. Rothschild, part of a (now defunct) Chicago-based clothier, Lane Bryant, the still popular women’s apparel store (still at Oakbrook but in a different location) and a Jewel Food Store. The Jewel, like its fellow mall-based counterpart at Randhurst, moved offsite to larger quarters fairly early on.

Whether you celebrate Christmas Day or not, I hope the day finds you well, and that you were able to spend it with people special to you. And may 2015 be filled with joy, peace and health for you and your loved ones.

And whether you’ve been following Pleasant Family Shopping for years or just found us recently, whether you stop by frequently or just once in a while, I want you to know it is deeply appreciated. Your readership, comments, photo contributions and friendship make it all worthwhile, and provide the best possible reason to continue doing this. I can honestly say when it comes to uncovering great old photos of retail stores and the stories and personal memories behind them, we’ve just begun to scratch the surface. From the bottom of my heart, thanks again.



  1. Dave...have loved this site and Acme Style (I'm from Philly) for years now.

    Merry Christmas...and of course, a Happy New Year.

  2. Many thanks to you for your great posts. They certainly bring back some memories of days gone by in a simpler time.

  3. Dave,

    I couldn't agree with you more! Christmas and Oakbrook go together like Peppermint and Candy Canes for me. I live downtown in the West Loop, but make the trek out to Oakbrook quite often, especially this time of year. I am a retail designer for Walgreens, but my start of loving retail design was from family trips to Oakbrook in the late 1980s till now. My parents took me to the new Nordstrom Grand Opening in 1991 and I've been in love with Oakbrook ever since. Thank you for your awesome blog!

    1. Joe - Many thanks for your kind words. I think Walgreens has some of the finest retail design out there, especially over the last few years. Not just the nostalgia touches, which I obviously love, but in general. Best to you!

  4. Dave, the photo above is eerily similar (I think) to this screenshot of Dixie Square from The Blues Brothers: