Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Radionagy

Memorial City Mall (History)

Recommended Posts

Was the food court around before the big renovation? What was it back then?

Any pictures of ANYTHING pre-remodel?

In the mid 70's there was no food court at Memorial city. The area where the food court is now, would have been York's steak house. York's was kinda like a Bonanza or Golden Coral (minus the buffet) type of place.

Wish I had pictures though.

Rhino

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to add a few things...I spent many weekends running around Memorial City Mall, but probably spent more time at T&C.

Every Sunday after church we would eat at Picaddilly, which had a surprisingly good rectangle of fried fish, and a bowl of strawberry's covered in some red goo. i loved it.

It also had a great arcade called Quiptars (sp?) that gave 10 tokens for 1 dollar and a robot that would exchange your dollar into tokens.(never saw it working though)...this would have been around 1984ish, another arcade called Video Celebrity that eventually started charging per hour, and you could play any game you wanted for that hour. I want to say it was 5 bucks? Both of them were at the end of the mall away from Sears...near the Whataburger and army, navy, air force recruiters.

The Sears end of the mall had an arcade called Greens..which seemed a little bit shady.

I seem to recall the original movie theater to have a balcony, that actually fell down after the theater closed. Don't think anybody was hurt, but it happened while the mall was open. Maybe 1985?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It also had a great arcade called Quiptars (sp?) that gave 10 tokens for 1 dollar and a robot that would exchange your dollar into tokens.(never saw it working though)...this would have been around 1984ish, another arcade called Video Celebrity that eventually started charging per hour, and you could play any game you wanted for that hour. I want to say it was 5 bucks? Both of them were at the end of the mall away from Sears...near the Whataburger and army, navy, air force recruiters.

The Sears end of the mall had an arcade called Greens..which seemed a little bit shady.

I rememer those arcades. I was a senior in high school and had this crush on one of the navy recruiters from the mall. We would go hang out in the arcades, or at the lanes on Bunker Hill on the other side of the mall, drinking beer and bowling. Greens wasn't so bad. It was mainly stoner nerds buying weed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Several weeks ago I went to the Memorial City Mall and wow, it's awesome. However, I heard that it wasn't always as vibrant, busy, unique, and upscale as it used to be.

Any anecdotes/photos?

What a fascinating thread. I used to hang out at Memorial City a lot when I lived in Houston in the mid to late 1970's and early 1980's. I'm surprised there aren't any pictures of the interior around, so I've posted a couple I have in an old album. They were taken by my Dad in 1975 not long after my family moved to Houston, and are views from the bridge over the fountain at the first crossover.

mc-north.jpg

This one is looking north towards Montgomery Ward's. The craft store mentioned in the earlier post is to the right. I recall someone telling me it used to be a grocery store somewhere back in the dim distant past, but I don't know if that's true or not. Up that end of the mall at the time was also the Houston Trunk company, a store that sold "party supplies" (mainly paper plates and plastic glasses) and a place that sold electronic keyboards and organs.

mc-west.jpg

This one is looking west towards where Lord and Taylor's first store would be built a couple of years later. At the time this was the main entrance to the mall, and had a portico over the door. Next to the entrance was an insurance office. Further down there was a barber shop, candle store, and a place called "Orange Julius" which sold a soft drink of the same name.

Just hidden behind the tree to the left of the picture was Walgreen's. They had their own entrance from the parking lot. At the mall end they had a coffee shop with an old-fashioned soda fountain where you could get ice-cream sundaes in tall glasses and triple-decker sandwiches held together with toothpicks. I was surprised to read that the mall was only built in the 1960's as the coffee shop looked much older (like it was from the 1940's or 50's) so it may have been transplanted from another, older Walgreen's.

I remember EJ's well. It had a model racing car in a glass case out front of the store -- a Bugatti or Mercedes (or something similar) from the 1930's. It was incredibly detailed, right down to the miniature car keys. Next door to EJ's was Record Town.

Another store I remember from that part of the mall was called Columbus, or Cornelius (or something like that). It had an eclectic mix of merchandise including wicker baskets and metal goblets. They had a suit of armor by the door that nobody ever bought.

The theater was nice -- until they divided it in half so they could show two movies at a time. I saw "Return of the Pink Panther" starring Peter Sellars there. Apart from the restaurants it was the only place open on Sundays at the time, which was kind of weird.

Next to the theater was a place that sold pizza by the slice. It was served up by really cute girls in VERY tight hotpants (well, this was the 1970's). All the fast food places seemed to shut down when the food court was opened -- this would have been about 1980-81. I don't know of this was a coincidence, or if the people running the mall wanted all the food in one area. Even Walgreen's ripped out the coffee shop and replaced it with a one hour photo processing lab.

I last visited MC around 1984, not long before I moved away from Houston. It looked pretty much the same as the photos -- except Lord and Taylor's had been built and the shack looking stores to the left of the lower photo had been taken down -- but the decor was starting to look tired and dated. I gather it looks a bit different now :o !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wasn't there a Whataburger in the mall at one time?

Yes, Whataburger was in the hallway to the left of Wards (now Target.) If you were approaching Wards from inside the mall, you would turn left before you went into the store. It was somewhere near the Army recruiting office.

Oh, and someone else mentioned a grocery store. There was a Weingartens located near where the skating rink is now.

It was closed some time in the 70s and United Jewelers took its place. I think this was before Lord & Taylor was built.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, Whataburger was in the hallway to the left of Wards (now Target.) If you were approaching Wards from inside the mall, you would turn left before you went into the store. It was somewhere near the Army recruiting office.

Oh, and someone else mentioned a grocery store. There was a Weingartens located near where the skating rink is now.

It was closed some time in the 70s and United Jewelers took its place. I think this was before Lord & Taylor was built.

I remember that the Mall was from Sears to where Wards used to be( before Wards was built) That was all the mall. Wards was built and then they added the automotive center next to Wards.

Then they made the mall into a "T" shape in the early 70's, and there was a Coin Shop on the right side almost to the end of the "T".

They lengthened the "T" and had a food court at the end on another "T" and there was a Game place there also.This was in the mid to late 80's.

Then they started a real remodel and adding stores to the west side of the mall. And on the east side of the mall some new stores came in and took up lots of the old parking lot areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I worked in the mall 1989-1990. Around that time, Memorial City was just like any other mall rat hang out- nothing fancy or special about it, but not too run down either. Retail was struggling at that time. I was on summer break from college in June of 1989 walking thru the mall when I got a job with Fame City, which was mentioned earlier had a location on Beechnut near Hwy6. That main location was an arcade/water park. They were opening up a new arcade location in Memorial City Mall. I was cash control manager, so I would stay late emptying coins from machines, etc. It was great having the mall to myself after hours, and sometimes staying until midnight playing video games all by myself. There was an arcade area in the food court, with an escalator that lead to an upstairs play area for kids that had some kiddie rides and was a good place to have kids bday partys, etc. Then on the other end of the mall was a skating rink along with another arcade area. Fame City eventually sold out to Jungle Jim's, who I think had a main location next to Sharpstown Mall. But they didn't own it long before selling to the Memorial City Mall Management (Metro National Coro or MNC or something like that- the same company that owns a LOT of property in the Memorial City/Gessner area). They were running it when I left. (They offered me a job in the corporate accounting department since I was studying accounting, but I was going back to college at Sam Houston so I turned them down- I wonder where I'd be now in my career if I'd have taken that job). A couple of stores I remember from my time in Memorial City Mall- I think there was a Pipe Pub on the corner of the food court area. And I was there when the movie theater opened up down near Sears. There was a cafeteria (Picadilly I guess) but it was on the end of the mall with Monty Wards and there was really nothing else on that side of the mall- so if you weren't going to Wards or the cafeteria, you'd never wander over there.

Holy crap, I worked that very same job in the summer of 1993!! Cash control for Kids' Kingdom and Outer Limits!! It was great being there late...but also a bit creepy. That's incredible! It was such a unique job, particularly for a college kid. And until it was time to do a "token run" or count back the tills, there wasn't much to do. I'd listen to the Astros and read a book back in that little locked room with the safe and with cameras on all doors.

There was a Piccadilly by Sears....on the other end of the mall, near Montgomery Ward's (which is now Target) was a Luby's.

What a fascinating thread. I used to hang out at Memorial City a lot when I lived in Houston in the mid to late 1970's and early 1980's. I'm surprised there aren't any pictures of the interior around, so I've posted a couple I have in an old album. They were taken by my Dad in 1975 not long after my family moved to Houston, and are views from the bridge over the fountain at the first crossover.

mc-north.jpg

This one is looking north towards Montgomery Ward's. The craft store mentioned in the earlier post is to the right. I recall someone telling me it used to be a grocery store somewhere back in the dim distant past, but I don't know if that's true or not. Up that end of the mall at the time was also the Houston Trunk company, a store that sold "party supplies" (mainly paper plates and plastic glasses) and a place that sold electronic keyboards and organs.

mc-west.jpg

This one is looking west towards where Lord and Taylor's first store would be built a couple of years later. At the time this was the main entrance to the mall, and had a portico over the door. Next to the entrance was an insurance office. Further down there was a barber shop, candle store, and a place called "Orange Julius" which sold a soft drink of the same name.

Just hidden behind the tree to the left of the picture was Walgreen's. They had their own entrance from the parking lot. At the mall end they had a coffee shop with an old-fashioned soda fountain where you could get ice-cream sundaes in tall glasses and triple-decker sandwiches held together with toothpicks. I was surprised to read that the mall was only built in the 1960's as the coffee shop looked much older (like it was from the 1940's or 50's) so it may have been transplanted from another, older Walgreen's.

I remember EJ's well. It had a model racing car in a glass case out front of the store -- a Bugatti or Mercedes (or something similar) from the 1930's. It was incredibly detailed, right down to the miniature car keys. Next door to EJ's was Record Town.

Another store I remember from that part of the mall was called Columbus, or Cornelius (or something like that). It had an eclectic mix of merchandise including wicker baskets and metal goblets. They had a suit of armor by the door that nobody ever bought.

The theater was nice -- until they divided it in half so they could show two movies at a time. I saw "Return of the Pink Panther" starring Peter Sellars there. Apart from the restaurants it was the only place open on Sundays at the time, which was kind of weird.

Next to the theater was a place that sold pizza by the slice. It was served up by really cute girls in VERY tight hotpants (well, this was the 1970's). All the fast food places seemed to shut down when the food court was opened -- this would have been about 1980-81. I don't know of this was a coincidence, or if the people running the mall wanted all the food in one area. Even Walgreen's ripped out the coffee shop and replaced it with a one hour photo processing lab.

I last visited MC around 1984, not long before I moved away from Houston. It looked pretty much the same as the photos -- except Lord and Taylor's had been built and the shack looking stores to the left of the lower photo had been taken down -- but the decor was starting to look tired and dated. I gather it looks a bit different now :o !

Thanks so much for posting those pictures.

I was born in 1974, so a lot of this is very early childhood memory for me....but I guess I must have spent a lot of my life in that mall :) I remember eating at the Walgreen's diner with my grandparents...getting a chocolate shake there as a little boy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember that the Harveys owned the property in the 50s and sold all of it to the developers. This was a huge amount of acreage north of that little road called Memorial Drive, and bordered by Gessner, Memorial Drive Way, Highway 90(Katy Fwy),and Barryknoll. They sold it for thousands of dollars, way over $200,000 (what's it worth today?). They hunted rabbits on it and they'd let the horses cool down at the artesian spring. They bought property around Blanco and settled there.

Memorial

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and I just recall a small theater at Town & Country where we saw Disney's "Tron"

very strange film. Courtesy of 101 KLOL circa 1982. :wacko:

There were two, actually. There was a Lowes Town & Country 3...and Lowes Town & Country 6. Both stuck around until about 1987, I'd guess...when AMC opened up it's T&C location (10 screens) just on the other side of the freeway, next to a Chili's and Bennigan's. The Chili's is still there. Bennigan's has gone the way of the do do. The theater is now used by HCC for performing arts and multimedia classes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There was a Piccadilly by Sears....on the other end of the mall, near Montgomery Ward's (which is now Target) was a Luby's.

Thanks so much for posting those pictures.

I was born in 1974, so a lot of this is very early childhood memory for me....but I guess I must have spent a lot of my life in that mall :) I remember eating at the Walgreen's diner with my grandparents...getting a chocolate shake there as a little boy.

Excellent photos! I started going to this mall in 1969/70, and I remember that, at that time, there was no anchor store at the north end... the mall just ended with some glass exit doors. Close to that end of the mall, at that time, was a beauty parlor (on the west side). I can't remember a grocery store, but I do remember that Sharpstown Mall had one attached to it in the late 1960's. It would have made sense that a grocery store would round out the shopping services provided by the mall to the housewife of the 1960's. I believe Gulfgate, originally had one as well.

In the 1970's, if you were a senior at Memorial High School, you were able to go off campus for lunch, and York Steakhouse was a hot spot for a quick steak meal for the football players! It was cafeteria style service and was located about where the present merry-go-round is in the current food court. I have some pictures in my high school year books, but am not sure about copyright. There is one shot that looks to the east, straight down the 1970's added cross-axis. It shows the edge of 'Albert's Hosiery' and a red brick-faced 'Casual Corner' on the south side. Foley's, with its old style, lower-cased lettered sign (with a flower for its apostrophe) is visible in the distance. The floor of the mall, typical of that era, is of durable terrazzo.

I loved Orange Julius on the little west side axis of the oldest part of the mall. It seemed to be gone by 1980. Mervyn's was later (mid-1980's) attached to the west end there, where the skating rink is now. I remember that, when Foley's was built to cap off the east end of the new east wing, it was floored with wooden parquet tiles, which were very popular at the time. Shoes would 'click' on the wood, and the tiles were not so durable and ended up popping off some years later. Foley's was 1 story and there was a small cafe, within the store, located at its extreme east side. (This was something you also found in other finer department stores of the time, such as Joske's).

Lee Wards was the fabric/craft store located on the west side of the main mall axis, about where 'Hot Topic' is, now. Further north from that location, on the same side, was a Spencer's Gifts which had the venerable 'black light room' to show off the psychedelic posters! Oh, I also remember that when the mall got a face lift in the later 70's, a 'Limited' was located at the NE corner of the main axis in the older mallway.

Across from the old movie theatre, which was built as a single screen with balcony originally, I remember that, in the 70's there were some curious and unique shops, such as a 'smoke shop'. I can't remember its name. The movie theatre was split up into 2 screens by the late 70's. I didn't go there often, as the theatre complexes at Town & Country (Town & Country 6; Loews 3) were the hotspots for movies back then. The multi-cinema had just been introduced in the 1970's, and the 6 theatres seemed like a lot back then!

Briefly, in the 1980's, when the old original theatre was closed, the mall built a multi theatre complex just to the north of Sears, on the west side of the mall. I remember seeing a couple of movies there. The seats were uncomfortable. Before that, in the same location, there used to be located a large clothing store. We used to shop there a lot, but the name escapes me right now.

Another tidbit of info, is that in the early 1970's, further north from the above mentioned clothing store and also on the west side of the older mallway, was a ladies' work-out spa named 'Slenderbolic'! My mom used to go there. That space later turned into an stereo store by 1980. I believe Slenderbolic was bought out by and eventually became 'President and First Lady' (now Bally's) which built a large, stand-alone edifice in the NE corner of the mall area, north of Foley's around 1980.

I have an old copy of 'Villages Magazine' (Nov. 1992, p. 14) which also explains that the lands to the east of Memorial City Mall, bordered by Bunker Hill and Barryknoll, were once owned by the Beinhorn family and they set up a horse riding area upon that land. There is a photo of a barrel rider, from the mid-1960's, which shows the new Sears in the far distance.

If you look at the old, separate building which stands at the NE corner of Gessner and Barryknoll, you can see it is still faced in the rock which was original for the building, originally the Sears garage and auto supply store. Sears used to have a southern entrance which was their 'garden supply and hardware' entrance. I remember it being a sort of enclosed porch area.

The Piccadilly Cafeteria, located in the mall, just outside of Sears (to the east) had nifty little tray garages in its wall through which you could place your used tray on a conveyor belt which was enclosed by the wall. The Almeda Mall Piccadilly still had this feature and similar dated decor when I went to it about 5 years ago.

Oh, I also remember that, if you continued walking down the mall from Sears, also on the east side were Margo's la Mode, an import shop (old Pier 1??) and Baker's Shoes. Memorial City always had art shows which were held in the mallway during the late 1970's and early 1980's. Those were always fascinating to me.

Pipe Organ Pizza was built onto the east side of the original mall axis, before you got to the Montgomery Wards. I believe it opened in May of 1977, or possibly 1978. Mickey & Minnie Mouse would appear at 6 pm every evening and Donald Duck would be there on Saturdays!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody really answered the original question. I do remember a mini mall, but can't recall if it was Memorial City or Town and Country. I ran around MC back when it was Sears and Montgomery Ward with a theater on the east end before it was expanded. There was a good record store and a hobby shop with a huge model plane hanging from the ceiling. Could the mini mall have been at T&C by the ice skating rink?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and I just recall a small theater at Town & Country where we saw Disney's "Tron"

very strange film. Courtesy of 101 KLOL circa 1982. :wacko:

The theater only housed 3 screens and is now where you can buy your Tollway Tags. I recall seeing Disney's "The Black Hole" there, also saw another movie there and a fire broke out and we all had to exit.

Edited by TJones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's some recent history...a 2003 floorplan shows the mall just after the major remodel, where Target, ice rink, etc. have come. There are big differences. Mervyns and Lord & Taylor still exist, a water feature is in the original "crossroads", Old Navy and Panera Bread are instead Borders and Cheesecake Factory, respectively. The fireplace is a Panera Bread. And the cinema is not finished. Remember, Town & Country is still alive at this point!

http://web.archive.org/web/20030820071745/...lease_plans.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- Some confusing aerial photography suggests that the mall never did a major expansion. It looks like Foley's was razed for Dillard's, and that was it.

- Was the original Foley's one story or two?

- When did the food court open?

- An upstairs area near Sears was once a Loews 6, and at another time it was an amusement park area. When were they these things, and what is it now? Please note that in looking in an aerial that shows the sides, it does NOT connect to the current cinema. So what is there now? A possible suggestion is that the escalators once led up to it is in the space reserved for that new sports grill. Do they occupy it now?

- I'm preparing a replacement to the Wikipedia article for the mall, which you can see here. Please edit and tell me what I did wrong/need to add.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
- Some confusing aerial photography suggests that the mall never did a major expansion. It looks like Foley's was razed for Dillard's, and that was it.

- Was the original Foley's one story or two?

- When did the food court open?

- An upstairs area near Sears was once a Loews 6, and at another time it was an amusement park area. When were they these things, and what is it now? Please note that in looking in an aerial that shows the sides, it does NOT connect to the current cinema. So what is there now? A possible suggestion is that the escalators once led up to it is in the space reserved for that new sports grill. Do they occupy it now?

- I'm preparing a replacement to the Wikipedia article for the mall, which you can see here. Please edit and tell me what I did wrong/need to add.

I'll try:

1. Foley's was one story...it was not where Macy's is today. It was on the east side of the mall...but the mall stretches out further east now than it did then, i believe.

2. The newly remodled food court opened in the last 4-5 years or so...before then it was just an expanse of space to the west if you entered from the south/central entrance. Before that...I'd really have to go back in memory...I don't remember a food court...I remember a York Steak House that was in the same general vicinity, though, within the mall.

3. There have been 3 movie theaters in MCM. The first was centrally located...my grandfather ran the projection there when that used to be a union job. It was near where Forever 21 is now. It was a Lowe's. It was an upstairs facility but I believe it only had 3 screens. It closed down and for a while there was no theater there in the mall...but about 89 or so they opened up the second Lowe's theater which was near Sears. It was all on the first floor, however. It had 6 screens, I think. And then it closed down and we didn't have a theater there again until the new Cinemark opened up about 2 years back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll try:

1. Foley's was one story...it was not where Macy's is today. It was on the east side of the mall...but the mall stretches out further east now than it did then, i believe.

2. The newly remodled food court opened in the last 4-5 years or so...before then it was just an expanse of space to the west if you entered from the south/central entrance. Before that...I'd really have to go back in memory...I don't remember a food court...I remember a York Steak House that was in the same general vicinity, though, within the mall.

3. There have been 3 movie theaters in MCM. The first was centrally located...my grandfather ran the projection there when that used to be a union job. It was near where Forever 21 is now. It was a Lowe's. It was an upstairs facility but I believe it only had 3 screens. It closed down and for a while there was no theater there in the mall...but about 89 or so they opened up the second Lowe's theater which was near Sears. It was all on the first floor, however. It had 6 screens, I think. And then it closed down and we didn't have a theater there again until the new Cinemark opened up about 2 years back.

Madmax - We are the same age (also born in 74) and have many of the same memories. I've been going to this mall as long as I can remember and will try to help out.

Point #1 - He is correct. It was on the east side, but the mall is MUCH longer now. It used to end about where the Starbucks rotunda is. It was a straight shot with the Foley's (one story) ending the mall there. As you were walking towards Foley's, I do remember a Palais Royal (or something similar) on the left hand side. I'm not sure how long it was there, but I know it was there in my high school years until they started rehabing the mall. (We did a school choir fundraiser there by helping w/ inventory one year. )

Point #2 - I don't personally remember the steakhouse, but have heard about it. I do remember the food court from the 80's and 90's. It was in the same area - just much smaller than today. If you take away that part that juts out by McDonald's and goes to more eateries, the bathrooms, and carousel, etc, and make it a straight wall down to the exit by Berryhill/ arcade, that was the food court back then. The whole side where Taco Bell and all those restaurants are and the part of the other side with storefronts near Chickfila were there then too. I also remember one of those recording studios that were everywhere in the 80's. You know the kind where you wore headphones and the gave you sheet music and they recorded you singing a famous song and gave you the tape. This one had a TV moitor where you could watch the people recording in the food court. It was located near the present day Marble Slab counter I think.

Point#3 -Our memories match up well except I was thinking the second theater (late 80's-2000ish) was a few more screens -maybe 8-10. My only memory of the first theater is a large curving staircase covered in red velvety like carpeting. My dad saw the Excorist there and the popcorm machine caught on fire during the movie and everyone had to be evacuated. He took this as a sign to never watch movies like that again -lol. (He said half-joking.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
- Some confusing aerial photography suggests that the mall never did a major expansion. It looks like Foley's was razed for Dillard's, and that was it.

- Was the original Foley's one story or two?

- When did the food court open?

- An upstairs area near Sears was once a Loews 6, and at another time it was an amusement park area. When were they these things, and what is it now? Please note that in looking in an aerial that shows the sides, it does NOT connect to the current cinema. So what is there now? A possible suggestion is that the escalators once led up to it is in the space reserved for that new sports grill. Do they occupy it now?

- I'm preparing a replacement to the Wikipedia article for the mall, which you can see here. Please edit and tell me what I did wrong/need to add.

Okay, I'm not remembering a Loews 6 upstairs at all. I don't think that is correct. There was the original balcony theater w/ red plush carpeting and a grand staircase near the current Forever 21. I'm not sure when that closed as my memories of that are few (see previous post). Then they opened the multiscreen theatre on the ground floor down in the Sears wing -across from the access to today's theater. As you were walking in the mall towards Sears, it was on the right hand side just before a hallway that lead to the parking lot (I believe this hall is still there w/ a restaurant - maybe Beck's Prime?) and then past the hall was Sears. I can't remember what is in that space now, but there were doors from that side hallway and the main corridor to access the theater. I think this theater closed in the late 90's.

As far as the upstairs amusement park, I've read alot about this over the years and it perplexes me as I have no memory of it at all. It might just be the timing is off for me to remember it as I think some dates put it around 93-94 and I was away at college then. I do remember hearing of a play place upstairs that existed when I was really little near the old original theatre (current Forever 21 area), but have no memory of accessing such a place later on in that location. I do remember a place I think that was called Exhilarama that actually had rides and I believe was 2 stories in the mid 90's. It started where the little arcade in the food court is today and went way back for a long ways (probably into what is currently some of Penney's space). There was a staircase to a 2nd floor w/ more stuff if memory serves me correctly. I only went there once or twice w/ my nephew when he was little. I remember a 2nd floor there, but all these things I read about a 2nd floor play area near Sears confuses me. CAn anyone help me w/ this? I've always wondered about this inconsistent memory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, I'm not remembering a Loews 6 upstairs at all. I don't think that is correct. There was the original balcony theater w/ red plush carpeting and a grand staircase near the current Forever 21. I'm not sure when that closed as my memories of that are few (see previous post). Then they opened the multiscreen theatre on the ground floor down in the Sears wing -across from the access to today's theater. As you were walking in the mall towards Sears, it was on the right hand side just before a hallway that lead to the parking lot (I believe this hall is still there w/ a restaurant - maybe Beck's Prime?) and then past the hall was Sears. I can't remember what is in that space now, but there were doors from that side hallway and the main corridor to access the theater. I think this theater closed in the late 90's.

As far as the upstairs amusement park, I've read alot about this over the years and it perplexes me as I have no memory of it at all. It might just be the timing is off for me to remember it as I think some dates put it around 93-94 and I was away at college then. I do remember hearing of a play place upstairs that existed when I was really little near the old original theatre (current Forever 21 area), but have no memory of accessing such a place later on in that location. I do remember a place I think that was called Exhilarama that actually had rides and I believe was 2 stories in the mid 90's. It started where the little arcade in the food court is today and went way back for a long ways (probably into what is currently some of Penney's space). There was a staircase to a 2nd floor w/ more stuff if memory serves me correctly. I only went there once or twice w/ my nephew when he was little. I remember a 2nd floor there, but all these things I read about a 2nd floor play area near Sears confuses me. Can anyone help me w/ this? I've always wondered about this inconsistent memory.

The second floor actually wasn't near Sears...it was above the old mall offices...there was a staircase to it (it was called Kids' Kingdom) from the site where Forever 21 is now...and a staircase to it from the old food court. It was particularly geared towards younger children. You are right...given you were born in 1974, it would have been when you were away at college. They had another spot at the exact same time down where the ice rink is today (general vicinity) called Outer Limits. It had roller skating and batting cages. So one summer I came home from college and worked the batting cages...and the next I worked cash control for both from the mall offices.

Exhilarama came later...and the people who worked for MetroNational were fired up about it. I think they envisioned it would last far longer than it did...and that it would be much more impactful than it was. Now it's just a Tilt....and doesn't have very much to offer at all.

I actually wrote advertising copy for the mall directed to high school kids when I was in high school. :) Remember the book covers that you'd have to use to cover textbooks at school? I got to know the management of Memorial City pretty well..particularly the marketing folks...and they asked me to design something. I wrote a top ten list and had someone help with other stuff...it ended up placing 2nd in a national competition, up against stuff designed by professionals! :) I sound like I'm patting myself on the back, but it's too long ago for it to really matter or for me to take any credit for it!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nobody really answered the original question. I do remember a mini mall, but can't recall if it was Memorial City or Town and Country. I ran around MC back when it was Sears and Montgomery Ward with a theater on the east end before it was expanded. There was a good record store and a hobby shop with a huge model plane hanging from the ceiling. Could the mini mall have been at T&C by the ice skating rink?

The mini-mall was at Memorial City on the east side, where theater used to be, circa: 1969-72. There was a hobby shop, record store and poster shop. No one seems to remember this though.

Got lotsa records and posters at the mini-mall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember Exhilarama. It was so cool. It was an arcade and back then Mortal Kombat 4 was so popular everyone wanted to play it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, did I get this correct: the mall opened in 1964 with Sears, Wards came in 1965, Lord & Taylor 1979, and Foley's 1967?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, did I get this correct: the mall opened in 1964 with Sears, Wards came in 1965, Lord & Taylor 1979, and Foley's 1967?

I would say that Wards came around 1972. We moved to that area in 1966 and there was parking in the spot that Wards later occupied. Lord and Taylor came in 1977 and Foley's in 1973.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could be completely wrong here but early on (around 1970), didn't the MCM just abruptly end at the first theater that was there ?

Seemed like forever before they added on......and have kept adding on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember the Foley's at MCM, it was an old gray building. I think they tore it down in 2002. Then they built that newer yellow Foley's which is Macy's now. Im barely 19 too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an old pic of the Katy Freeway frontage of MCM. I have determined that this photo was snapped between September 18 and October 26, 1974.

"Gone With The Wind" was re-released in Houston on September 18, 1974, and on the MCM marquee there is an art show through October 26.

Enlarge the photo and take special note of the U.S.A.F. fighter aircraft parked in the East lot, between the mall and the Goodyear tire store. Wassup with that?

post-8254-12609142129646_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an old pic of the Katy Freeway frontage of MCM. I have determined that this photo was snapped between September 18 and October 26, 1974.

"Gone With The Wind" was re-released in Houston on September 18, 1974, and on the MCM marquee there is an art show through October 26.

Enlarge the photo and take special note of the U.S.A.F. fighter aircraft parked in the East lot, between the mall and the Goodyear tire store. Wassup with that?

I can't seem to be able to enlarge the photo. When I click on it, the screen just goes to black.

I know that Gone With The Wind was also playing at Memorial City in the fall of 1971.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't seem to be able to enlarge the photo. When I click on it, the screen just goes to black.

I know that Gone With The Wind was also playing at Memorial City in the fall of 1971.

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...