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IronTiger

Memorial City Mall History

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Randyt7801    1

Same here with that photo . . . hmmmm, I dunno how to "fix" that.

If anyone here would like a better, cleaner, larger copy of that pic, send me an e-mail to bell-auto <at> comcast.net and I'll reply back with the file.

Really interesting to me is the fighter aircraft near the Goodyear store, sure would like to find out more about why it was on display @ MCM back in the fall of '74.

I'll bet it was a b!tch to get it trucked in there, LOL!

I've "googled" about that fighter 'til my fingers were just about worn out, with no success.

Lloyd you may need to find another photo hosting site such as Photobucket, to get the picture to work.

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TheBez    0

I totally miss the old mall; the new version looks like every other mall. I know that Wards always looked like a garage sale, but they had a really neat jewelry store just outside the internal mall entrance and my mom dragged me to that fabric store (I think it was called the Golden Needle) with weird antiques all the time. I also recall going to the movie theater with the balcony; and I think I might have seen that horrid movie 'The Legend of Billie Jean'. I still miss the old Foleys there.

The other thing is Sears.... I recall they used to have an all window front entrance and candy counter/icee machine by the Gessner entrance. I was sad when they covered up the outside and put up the new-ish logo. No matter what they do it is going to look like a yard sale in there :P

My main recollection is the mall always smelt mildewy because of the fountains and the Walgreens felt cramped. So far I am not really impressed with the recent renovation.

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IronTiger    721

I totally miss the old mall; the new version looks like every other mall. I know that Wards always looked like a garage sale, but they had a really neat jewelry store just outside the internal mall entrance and my mom dragged me to that fabric store (I think it was called the Golden Needle) with weird antiques all the time. I also recall going to the movie theater with the balcony; and I think I might have seen that horrid movie 'The Legend of Billie Jean'. I still miss the old Foleys there.

The other thing is Sears.... I recall they used to have an all window front entrance and candy counter/icee machine by the Gessner entrance. I was sad when they covered up the outside and put up the new-ish logo. No matter what they do it is going to look like a yard sale in there :P

My main recollection is the mall always smelt mildewy because of the fountains and the Walgreens felt cramped. So far I am not really impressed with the recent renovation.

Ha ha, funny you should mention Legend of Billie Jean. I actually scanned through the movie (on YouTube), jumping around until I found the part of where they show a picture of the then-thriving Sunrise Mall. It wasn't very a clear shot, but it was thriving...a pity, considering the only store that's lasted since the 1980s was a GNC.

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Triton    8809

Would anyone happen to have any photos of Kids' Kingdom or even Fame City? It's hard to find anything on this place except for some old commercials. I could have sworn they had like a kiddie roller coaster. It wasn't that tall at all... probably went to an average adults head (height wise). I've been trying to find more info on this place since my cousin just yesterday wanted to go back to this place but I was pretty sure it was closed long ago. All I can find now is something called FunPlex near 59? I'm assuming that was like a second location or something.

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NenaE    116

Yeah, it does kinda different now. Who decided to paint it that awful yellow color? http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/public/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/wacko.gif

Seems the cloudy day and/ or possible photo filter have distorted the color of Memorial City mall. I pass it frequently. Don't recall that deep yellow. I'm thinking its a cream w/ slight yellow tint.

Triton, have you used the search feature within this forum? Might help with that amusement park photo search.

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ArchFan    245

I'm glad to see this thread is still active, tho' I'm not sure whether the original participants may still be paying attention.

 

I'm old enough that I can remember when there was just a Sears store and no mall!  It's interesting how this mall has evolved over the years, with fits and starts, so to speak.  While I don't care for MetroNational's (the owners) design decisions, I'm glad they have continued to invest in the mall and the area around it.  For me, the mall was pretty boring in all of its previous incarnations ... which was kinda surprising considering its right next to what has (through its history) always been a very high-income neighborhood.

 

An earlier poster posted that the Beinhorn family owned land to the east of the mall that was used for riding horses.  I really enjoyed that post, because my big sister used to ride there with her friends.  They always referred to the place as "Forty Acres".  It think it extended more-or-less from where the Guadalajara restaurant is now to the Cobalt Tower.  In the 60's, it wasn't unheard of for families in that area to keep horses on their lots, which as i recall were always ridden by young women.  My perception is that that practice started disappearing rapidly after a young woman was hit by a car on Memorial while riding her horse there.

 

Another poster referred to the opening of the first movie theatre there.  I had just entered Memorial HS when that happened and was in the band.  We played at (what I thought) was the opening of the theatre, which featured the "premiere" of the movie "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows", with the star, Rosalind Russell in attendance.  Wikipedia gives 1968 as the date that movie was released.  

 

 

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johnnyham89    0

Would anyone happen to have any photos of Kids' Kingdom or even Fame City? It's hard to find anything on this place except for some old commercials. I could have sworn they had like a kiddie roller coaster. It wasn't that tall at all... probably went to an average adults head (height wise). I've been trying to find more info on this place since my cousin just yesterday wanted to go back to this place but I was pretty sure it was closed long ago. All I can find now is something called FunPlex near 59? I'm assuming that was like a second location or something.

 

Fame City was eventually changed to Fun Plex and it's located right off of Beechnut and Eldridge.  They tore down Adventure Bay a couple years ago though.  Here's a video that someone took of it a while back 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fVFiZk9wFc

Edited by johnnyham89

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Jessica1985    0

My parents moved to Houston when I was as in the 4th grade. Memorial City mall was the place to go on Saturdays from 1979-1981 in Junior High. HISTORY LESSON FOR THE YOUNGER FOLKS; stores were closed on Sundays until 1985. M/C mall was safe, and a totally < COOL > place to be seen shopping at any store in the mall or hanging out in the food court socializing. First, we had chain stores at M/C mall that no-one else had in Texas other than the Galleria. These stores were from NY and California. I read a few people stated the mall was out dated, I disagree!!! It may have been outdated to the 20 and 30 year olds of today, but it had well made, quality clothing that is the thing of the past. Everything from then is gone; silk dresses, virgin wool lined pants,100% an g o r a sweaters. POLO SHIRTS you could wash 200 times that would never fade. I wish I would have kept my clothes from back in the day.

FROST BROTHERS, I loved that store, was in the mall next to F o l e y s. I'm writting on a tablet, which did not exist when this thread was started.

Edited by Jessica1985

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nerevar59    2

I remember "Let's Play Games", the day Pong showed up. "Dales Celebrity Cafe", "York Steakhouse". I worked at Foley's in 1979-80, and Montgomery Ward, 1982-84. The old Theater was one big screen with balcony seats, and a dollar bought you a popcorn, soda and candy!

I remember "Let's Play Games", the day Pong showed up. "Dales Celebrity Cafe", "York Steakhouse". I worked at Foley's in 1979-80, and Montgomery Ward, 1982-84. The old Theater was one big screen with balcony seats, and a dollar bought you a popcorn, soda and candy!

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Subdude    1281

This was probably early 1990s, but America Online had a sales kiosk at Memorial City, left of the main entrance towards Foley's.  A friend of mine was a very early subscriber, but at that point it was so basic I was definitely underwhelmed.  

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Mayorb    3

I was looking for old photos also. The place has really evolved over the years, as has the hospital across the street. When I first went in about '73 Sears and Ward's were at the south and north end . There was a fountain in between, by Walgreen's, which had a small restaurant at the time. So did Sears.

 

Just across from Walgreen's was Weingarten's, a grocery store. There was also THE GAP which sold nothing but Levi's brand clothing at the time. Parker Music, Spencer's, 5-7-9, County Seat (for wrangler's), Lee Ward (think Hobby Lobby), Firestone (I think) which had service bays that opened to the west parking lot, Hickory Farms, Oshman's, Pipe Pub, Wicks and Sticks, Pipe Organ Pizza, Military Recruitment Office, The bible store, Craig's,  Battlestein's, Orange Julius, Celebrity Cafe, Waldenbooks, Piccadilly cafeteria, York steakhouse, Kinney shoes, the model shop, the record shop, and of course that wonderful LARGE screen movie theater with the balcony. In today's theaters I feel like I'm just watching a big screen TV.

 

The first Pong game I saw was in Sears near their package pick-up. There were two people playing and about 15 people watching. Later, Celebrity Cafe evolved into a game room, and Quiptar's moved in about 200 feet east of them. Green's was a game room that was built on the real estate previously occupied by Sears restaurant.

 

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Mayorb    3

Just a quick memory of the original theater...

At some point they turned the movie theater into a two screen venue. They did this by simply building a wall straight down the middle of the theater. They didn't change the orientation of the seats though. They were placed in a pronounced arc, probably due to the size of the original screen. This resulted in all the seats being aimed at the center of the old screen. But the new setup had people facing the far right of the left screen, and the far left of the right screen. You literally had to turn your head to watch the movie!

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nerevar59    2

I remember the pinball arcade called "Let's Play Games". I used to go play pool, Pachinko and pinball. Then, one day, there was a huge line, and I asked a guy why. He said it was for something called a "video game", and it was called Pong! So, I was intrigued and spent a few bucks playing. Good times.

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Rustin    1

I'm glad this thread is still somewhat alive. Does anyone have any photos of the mall before the 2003 remodel? Besides the one posted earlier from the 70s, I haven't been able to find a single one! I remember in the early 2000s there used to be a water fountain display in one of the mall's rotundas. Does anyone remember where it was located? I want to say it's where Starbucks is now.

Edited by Rustin

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TwainMark    0

I was actually looking for photos of the Ice Haus tornado in 1974 and got sidetracked by this thread.  I know there is an old thread on that, so I will go there to further inquire.

 

For now I thought I would kick in some memories of Memorial City.

 

Got to Houston in 1971 and we would spend a lot of time riding bikes on the trails on the east side of the mall, which I imagine is the horse riding area that was mentioned.   This was a pretty special place as it probably had the largest elevation changes in Houston that didn't involve a freeway overpass.   

 

On Sundays, when the mall would close, there would be car races in the parking lot.  Not kids and go-karts, but real racing with real cars.  I can't remember what they call this, but it seemed like it was some kind of car club or something.  They'd mark a course with orange traffic cones, run one car at a time.  Was pretty cool stuff for 13 yr old. .  

 

First time I saw Gone With the Wind was at that glorious movie theater, I'm guessing this was 1971.  Nothing like that movie on that big screen.

 

Somewhere in the area of the big theater was either a head shop or record store that sold concert tickets, and I recall getting there early and lining up for tickets to Jethro Tull; probably 1973, maybe 72.

 

Worked at Whataburger in the mall probably 1975.   Before that worked Jack in the Box on Kingsride.  Also worked off and on at the Ice Haus.

 

After I turned 16 I didn't spend much time there, other than to work at Whataburger.  One of my fond memories of that time was taking my grandmother, who lived in the apartments across... is that Barryknoll...,  to do a little shopping and then having lunch or dinner at what I guess was a precursor to Pappadeaux.  Can't recall the name, but it was a Pappas Bros. seafood restaurant on the east side of the mall.

 

 

 

 

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Tumbleweed_Tx    1231

Autocross!

 

 

 

On Sundays, when the mall would close, there would be car races in the parking lot.  Not kids and go-karts, but real racing with real cars.  I can't remember what they call this, but it seemed like it was some kind of car club or something.  They'd mark a course with orange traffic cones, run one car at a time.  Was pretty cool stuff for 13 yr old. .  

 

 

 

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Earlydays    20

Autocross!

 

That's right. I used to run there in the early 70's.....even designed some of the courses. They were put on by the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America). It's still a big motorsports today (all around the country) and now put on by many different car clubs in addition to the SCCA.

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soifan    0

Wow, I can't believe this thread is still going.  I haven't been on here in a long time.  I saw the Chronicle story about the Savoy being rehabbed and decided to come back here to catch up. Anyway, I was curious about pics too.  I found a few pics/ videos online and I thought I'd share the links.

 

http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2010/05/foley-brothers-dry-goods-co-houston.html

 

 

A TV commercial for MCM from 1993

 

Another TV commercial.  This one from 1989 with Fame City highlighted. 

 

 

 

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Wildcat51    0

In the early 70's the mall had an H&H music. I bought a guitar and Fender amp there that are now worth multiples of the price I paid for them. The mall also had record and tape stores, and odd little shops like the House of Fabrics and Spencer Gifts, Piccadilliy Cafeteria and an Orange Julius stand. Back then the mall attracted a nice crowd too. They ruined it in the 80's and now the only store worth going to is the Apple Store. Other than that, I avoid it. 

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Subdude    1281

Visible Changes has been there as far back as I can remember, although it used to be in a different location, across the main concourse from the little shop that sold corn-dogs and lemonade. 

 

What was originally on the far west (Gessner) end of the mall (between Sears and Montgomery Wards)?

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intencity77    117
5 hours ago, KDubRedRaider said:

Mervyn's.

 

Actually before Mervyns it was a Lord & Taylor. 

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Dolphin    4

Was the original one story Foley's structure demolished or integrated into the mall? I believe Dillard's is further east of where it was.

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Subdude    1281
7 hours ago, intencity77 said:

 

Actually before Mervyns it was a Lord & Taylor. 

Thank you both.  

 

I thought the original Foley's structure was demolished.

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Houston19514    2162

Yes the original Foley's store was demolished, as was the original Lord & Taylor/Mervyn's.  Lord & Taylor had two stints in the mall.  The first structure was filled by Mervyn's and then demolished.  The second one was filled by JC Penney when Penney relocated from Town & Country.'

 

At one time (circa 2000) it was announced that Neiman Marcus was moving from Town & Country to Memorial City and that Nordstrom was going to build what would have been its first Houston store at Memorial City.  I don't know what happened to those deals, but they obviously fell through.

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