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djrage

Old Gulfgate Mall

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Wasn't sure where to post this. I have to ask this because I don't know if I dreamed this or not. There's certain things about this make me believe it wasn't a dream. I have memory, though very vague, of arriving, being there and leaving. This has come to mind from time to time and I would like to know.

 

I was really young when this "happened", early to mid 1970's. I have memory of going to some kind of function with my parents at Gulfgate mall one night. Being in the northeast parking lot near the Sakowitz, possibly entering the mall from that side. I remember being in a hall or some kind of banquet room that apparently you had to take an elevator to get to because I remember there was an elevator outside of this room, you exited the elevator into a small landing turned left and it opened right into this room.

 

Anyone know if this was an actual place there? If so where/what was it?

I had been to Gulfgate many times as I was growing up and never found any evidence of this and don't remember any elevators.

Edited by djrage

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I watched Gulfgate being built in the 1950's as a young child. The thing that most impressed me was that the entire mall was built on a giant hill. I believe that this hill was actually built up above the surrounding landscape. The result was that many of the stores in Gulfgate wound up having basements - that is the basements were built at ground level, the dirt was piled up around them, and the mall was built on top.

 

There were many stores that had basements - Grants, Newberrys, Bonds, Walgreens, etc. Deliveries at Gulfgate were made underneath the mall with truck entrances at two locations, one near Joskes at that end of the mall, and the other at the end that was adjacent to what became the 610 Loop right at the pedestrian bridge.

 

In addition to the store basements there were several other areas under the mall, most notably the bowling alley, but also a club near the Joskes. In addition to these businesses, the mall offices were located under the mall on the other side near the Newberry's. There was a glassed in entrance stairway that led down to those offices. In that office area there was a large auditorium where I used to go to see free movies on Saturday (the only ones I remember were "Frances the Talking Mule" movies with Donald O'Connor).

 

If my memory serves there was an elevator that went down to that auditorium and that is, in my opinion, the most likely source of your memory. It is also possible however, that there was an elevator that went down to the club, since that club was located quite near the Joskes (and therefore also the Sakowitz), it is also quite possible that that club was what you remember and it does seem to fit your location more closely - I'm not really sure how big the club was.

 

Hope this helps.

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Wow yes that does help a lot. See it's all very vague because I was probably no more than 3 or 4 years old. That could be it. It was a large open room. I do remember a dance floor in the center of the room, people dancing and the band at the other end. I can remember sitting on (or climbing on) a couch to the right of that elevator. I never knew that about the mall having a lower level other then the bowling alley. It did strike me as odd that it was built under the mall. Had no idea there was more to it than that. I did go to the bowling alley as well with my parents and other family. I also remember there being a room for the little ones to hang out while the parents bowled. I spent some time in there as well.

 

Wow now that jogs my curiosity about what became of those places over the years. Probably just became storage space. I know the bowling alley was closed by the late 80s.

 

Thank you for sharing that info.

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I've studied Gulfgate's design quite extensively. It's predecessor was Northgate in Seattle. Maybe that's where the multi-level idea came from. Gulfgate fascinated me, as a kid, and still does. Never seen any mall quite like it. I ran across a blueprint online once. Have never been able to find it again. It would have shown the room you vaguely remember, probably. I do recall a banquet/ convention type hall somewhere in it's design, on a lower level. I personally remember some type of office doors on the west side of the south wing. I'll look again for those drawings.

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Thanks NenaE. I truly appreciate it. I would love to see that

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do a search for Mall Hall of Fame and specifically Gulfgate for a layout, all floors.

 

not the one I was talking about, but it does mention an auditorium, bottom floor.

...

 

Edited by editor

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Actually, looking at your description again, I'm more convinced that the room you remember was the club that was accessed from the area right next to the grassy hill between the bowling alley and the Joske's. The conference room was on the opposite side of the mall next to the mall offices (near the old Newberry's and Bond's). This grassy hill was bordered by huge blocks of granite that we used to climb down as they formed a sort of giant stair case leading from the "bridge" that ran along one side of the Joskes's down to the parking lot that lay adjacent to the bottom floor (basement) of the Joske's.

 

I have a picture of Gulfgate taken from the air that shows the area perfectly but I can't figure out how to attach it to my post. However, if you look at the Mall Hall of Fame site referenced in NenaE's post above it's next to the area marked "Plaza" on the layout. This plaza was a grassy area that was also a hill.

 

Edited by msteele6
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The design called for the sculpting of those hills, to create the different levels of Gulfgate. I find it fascinating. I remember a flag pole at the top of that hill, by Joske's.

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djrage,

 

Here is the picture. If you look at the right side of the mall you will see a semi circular area of grass. The large granite blocks form the top part of the area and the flagpole was located in the middle. The club was right next to this area.post-9739-0-28953000-1416415324_thumb.jp

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It's interesting how much open green space is evident in that photo.  I was a kid in the late 50s and early 60s, and I also remember being fascinated by the "topography" at Gulfgate.  Also, it is interesting to remember that -- despite living on the west side of Houston -- when we needed serious shopping, we either went downtown or to Gulfgate.  Eventually Sharpstown opened and for a few years, we always went there.  I think Sharpstown was the first mall here that was built with air conditioning, although I think it was added to Gulfgate later.  

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Again... never been able to find that Gulfgate blueprint. I'll probably will run across it when I'm not looking for something else. That's how it goes, a great deal of the time, in research. And the search continues.

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NenaE,

 

I think if you blow up the picture I posted you can actually make out that flagpole in the center of the semi-circular green space.

 

You can also see the old Tel-Wink drive in and Woodridge Baptist Church in the background.

 

 

Edited by msteele6
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I've studied Gulfgate's design quite extensively. It's predecessor was Northgate in Seattle. Maybe that's where the multi-level idea came from. Gulfgate fascinated me, as a kid, and still does. Never seen any mall quite like it. I ran across a blueprint online once. Have never been able to find it again. It would have shown the room you vaguely remember, probably. I do recall a banquet/ convention type hall somewhere in it's design, on a lower level. I personally remember some type of office doors on the west side of the south wing. I'll look again for those drawings.

Might be the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps.

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I am looking for anyone who remembers a sandwich place that was on back side next door to Weingarten's

in old Gulfgate Mall.  It was very small and think it was called "Smorga Bun" or something similar.  Run by

older man and had a thing that pressed the sandwiches back then.  Nothing fancy but soooo good.  Let me

know if I am remebering it correctly susan.obryan@yahoo.com, please. 

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