A Little Help Here: North Shore Shopping Center 1970s

As was touched upon during yesterday’s podcast, I’ve been thinking about the giant holiday soldiers that once stood guard outside the North Shore Shopping Center for weeks now.  If I’m being honest here, I actually think about them each December.

Having lived in Middleton, Hamilton, Gloucester, and Rockport for my entire life I have years worth of memories that somehow include hours clocked at that mall.

Now, I’m not trying to say that the mall itself holds any special place in my heart…and, in all actuality, I’m happy to report that many months go by when I don’t ever step a foot in there these days.  While holiday shopping this year, I went to the mall exactly once.  I hit the Apple Store, J Crew, and the Gap and was out in less than 30 minutes.

That having been said, I do have very fond memories from way back when that involve that same shopping center in one form or another.  For example, I remember fondly the way my grandmother would refer to it as the shopping center rather than the mall when I was a teenager.  I have fond memories of Brigham’s…but, that could have been The Liberty Tree Mall.  Speaking of…remember that strange, silver Tree that once stood in the center of that mall?  In speaking with my mother last night to piece together my memories, she was able to tell me that that tree was at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York before being moved to Danvers.

I digress.

I did really love those big toy soldiers!

Likewise, I have such fond and vivid memories of what, in my mind, was miles and miles of Christmas decorations adorning the long corridors of the mall.  I remember holiday scenes set up the length of the mall.  Every 50 yards or so, would be a different mini village to gaze upon with the holiday wonder that kids eat up like crazy.  I also remember giant, brightly colored artificial Christmas trees.

The problem is…. I seem to be the only one who remembers those decorations.

Help me out here, would you?!  Did they really not exist?  That can’t possibly be!

My mother was able to fill me in on the rides in Kiddietowne (that evidently, according to our podcast, Joey remembers.  Or at least he remembers the train.)….but, it seems those rides closed in 1973…and since I was just 2 years old then, I don’t fault myself for not remembering them.  My mom confirmed the old grocery store….and that I did indeed get lost there once when I was little. Sorry, Mom!  She, likewise, can confirm my memories of the toy soldiers. I also managed to find a photo of those outside of Filene’s.  My grandmother always said “Filene’s” with a soft i sound like Fill ene’s.  Funny the things you remember.

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After an hour of my life that I’ll never get back, I came up pretty empty handed in regards to the shopping center of my childhood memories.

Here’s a link to the rides at Kiddietowne that stood outside of where Macy’s is today.  Who would have thought?  And, for the record, for anyone with warm fuzzies about Kiddietowne, it turns out that they have reunions.  I read about the last one on their website. Sadly, it took place in 2006. I’m not sure if there are more in the works.

I also found some information on this website.  It details some of the growth, change, and development…but, doesn’t fill in any of the missing information I was looking for.  Bummer.  I barely remember it being an outdoor mall.

I think, in piecing together my memories and Joey’s memories, that maybe the decorations that I’m speaking of ultimately became part of the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture.  Thoughts?

While we’re at it…check out the photo of the old movie theater.  Not as waaaay back as some of my other memories, but man, did I clock some time there during Middle School and High School.  Open the flood gates of memories with this photo!

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28 thoughts on “A Little Help Here: North Shore Shopping Center 1970s

  1. Being from Somerville, I remember Jordan Marsh and Filene’s windows in downtown Boston and of course the Enchanted Village in Jordan Marsh, also Jordan Marsh in Boston is where we sat on Santa Claus’s lap. We have taken the grandchildren to the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon.

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  2. I remember the rides, my Dad would take us there while my Mum shopped. I clearly remember the Ferris wheel and boats in water going round and round. We also took my grandmother to Filenes once a month and Brighams afterwards. They had a train that would pick you up in the area of your car and drive you to the store of your choice. It also would pick you up and return you. I too remember the soldiers and the holiday scenes set up in glass boxes the entire length of the shopping center. Animated, sparkly and so much fun. I think those went away when the mall was enclosed.

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  3. I remember Christmas shopping at the NS Shopping Center. I loved the soldiers and other decorations but the damned place was pure misery in the cold and snow, you could get blown off the face of the earth on top of that hill. Now that it is comfy I never go there. If it can’t be found locally or on line it doesn’t get gotten!

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  4. Thanks for the memories. There was a Brighams at the North Shore Mall, I remember going there with my grandparents. With my First Communion money I bought my first hardcover books at Jordan Marsh – “Stop that Ball” and “One Fish Two Fish” by Dr. Seuss. I still have them 50 years later. I also bought my first lipstick at Jordan Marsh when I was 13. Anyone else remember eating blueberry muffins at the Jordan’s restaurant on the 6th floor, or browsing at Lauriat’s book store?

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    1. My mom actually has the recipe for the Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins. I believe the animated holiday scenes were moved to the Liberty Tree Mall for a while + ultimately became part of the Jordan’s Furniture Enchanted Village.

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  5. Great post! On Christmas Day my family was reminiscing about the “shopping center” and some of us remembered the grocery store, others didn’t. What is still driving us crazy is the name of the grocery store. I’ve searche’d Google and Ask.com, but haven’t been able to find it. Can anyone help?

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    1. I was born in 81 so I remember the mall from when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I remember the grocery store called Sunshine Country. It was at the Toys R Us end, I remember when you went into the toys r us entrance (next to the delivery tunnel) it was Toys R Us then Herman’s world of sports and Sunshine Country was across the hall. I remember a field trip in pre-k to the mall to see the mini enchanted village, which was outside of toys r us. I remember Jordan Marsh and Fanny Farmer’s right outside the entrance. There was a Baskin Robbins across from Fanny Farmer and Jordan Marsh. I remember the Sears wing had Sears, I think there was Pennyworth’s, Radio Shack, the piano/organ store with the guy always playing the piano. Next to that was Papa Gino’s. There was a McD’s somewhere because I remember the big Ronald statue. There was also a Children’s place store that had a huge slide for the kids to play on. I remember my mom and grandmother shopping while I played on the slide.

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    2. the name of the supermarket was SUNSHINE COUNTRY!! it had a big logo of a sun inside a shopping cart!!! lol, went there god knows how many times

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  6. I remember the song my mother would sing “Filene’s is for women, Kennedy’s is for men, and what would little Janie do without the 5 & 10”. I don’t think there was a 5 &10 but there was a Kregskies (?) at the end next to the food store. I worked at Jordan Marsh in high school and I loved those soldiers. I recall several years ago seeing a house on the lynnfells parkway in Malden with a couple of those big guys in the front yard during the holidays. 🙂

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  7. The grocery store that I remember was much like a Heartland (discount grocery) store.. I think it may have been owned by Purity Supreme… My favorite stores were Casual Corner, Windsor Button Shop, Lerners and The Lodge…I remember I always wanted to eat at the
    Jordan Marsh restaurant, but, that was to fancy and expensive..we always drove down the road to either Vic’s or York Steak House..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mother said the exact same thing, Brenda. A discount grocery store possibly owned by Purity Supreme! I LOVED the Windsor Button Shop. I used to get my belts and gold whale, clam, and frog belt clasps there. And gimp for friendship bracelets and key chains! I think I got my whole smurf collection there too?!

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  8. It was fun to see those old pics of “the shopping center”! I too remember Windsor Button Shop, Jordan Marsh (nylon stockings!), Lauriat’s, and Brigham’s (my grandfather was diabetic and couldn’t have sweets so I used to sneak my grandmother out for “secret” ice cream sundaes!). Also Barricini chocolates (my mother would buy a box of plain chocolate triangles and dole them out one by one, always with a glass of milk). I remember the big soldiers — and the cold.

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    1. LOVED the Windsor Button Shop!!!! Was Lauriat’s down by where the food court is now? I remember the name, but can’t picture it!

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  9. Great post, Nicole, and it brought back many good memories. I loved the giant wooden soldiers, I remember when the shopping center was open and how chilly it could be, and shopping at some of my favorite stores like Lauriat’s and Jordan Marsh and the Windsor Button Shop. I have just one memory of Kiddieland. When I was in the hospital having our second son, my mother-in-law took our oldest son to Kiddieland. They had a wonderful time and she wanted me and our new baby to go back with her for an afternoon after we got home to see just how much fun they had. Son No. 1, who was 3 years old, decided to change cars on the ride while it was going, he fell and was hit by another car on the ride. We ended up spending the afternoon at J. B. Thomas Hospital’s ER in Peabody getting stitches in the cut on his head! Just the first of many ER visits raising a family. That was back in 1969. Your post are so enjoyable – thank you – and keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yikes! That is quite a memory to have. I can relate to the stitches in the head after Finn’s accident a little while back! Thanks for sharing your memories!!

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  10. Very nice indeed I remember you talking of this in the podcast and always your words carry much power and wisdom that’s why we have and need teachers to guide us…We call them spirit keepers and wisdom keepers also! The teachers that way growing up were like family to us kids jack of all trades! 🙂

    These are the words of a very wise teacher. You have much to share, If we listen carefully, with good heart, listen and learn what they may teach us through words. I hope so, for we, as a Nation, still have much to learn

    Well done thanks Nicole what a walk back it is…:-)

    Dave:-) & Kim:-)

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  11. Very nice to find this site, we, my family grew up in the neighborhood. All through the 1960’s we delivered the Globe, Record American, Herald Traveler an occaisonally the NY Times to some of the stores there. Many memories of the Holiday atmosphere from my early morning deliveries. Some of are customers were SS Kresgee. Polcaries barber shop, the deli beside Stop and Shop, Pet shop, Carmelite Gift and Chapel, Brecks garden Center, security center in the lower level and probably a couple of more.
    Boy did the winter wind blow through the parking lot and mall center back then. Oh maybe the other supermarket someone was trying to remember was SS Pierce more of an upscale market for the times.

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  12. Does anyone have a link to the podcast, old photos of the mall being ouside. My daughter ( 10 ) has asked me to write down memories that I had when I was little. Sadly a lot of them are gone, but your article brought a lot back.

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  13. Anyone have a picture of the northshore mall sign 1960s or 1970s facing 128 with Santa and his sleigh lighted up on top of the signcant seem to find one

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  14. For the best dose of reminiscing, the Salem Willows is where you will find “Kiddieland” and all of the original rides
    For the Christmas throw back, it’s Jordan’s Furniture in Avon; which adopted the entire Christmas Village that used to be in the middle of the Northshore Shopping Center in Peabody
    Enjoy!

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  15. Sure wish there was video of the animatronic holiday displays all through the mall when they closed it in… oh the memories but sure didn’t ever miss that hurricane force winds and the bitter cold…

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  16. Anyone remember the fireworks for the fourth in the parking lot.
    I can’t help but think we used to see the Boston pops by kiddietown but I was young.
    Woolworths soda fountain for lime Rickie’s.

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