Western Hills Mall, Plaza, and other stuff from the west side's past.
I'd just like to hear some stories/see some photos. The Western Hills Mall (was it even called that?) is something that has always interested me. Anyone have some old photos or know what stores were in there? My dad remembers a movie theater, but not much else as he lived in Springdale. Why did it close down? There aren't any malls near it and it's in a pretty good location.
Then there's the Western Hills Plaza. I find it odd that there's only a barber shop on the back side, did there use to be more shops back there? Also, what store use to be in the location where Media Play was?
The former Circuit City/now Electrical training facility. I know railroad tacks used to run through there. I see there is sort of a "half bridge" behind it that is now covered by a concrete wall. I guess the trains went under that bridge, but where did they come out?
Muddy Creek and Devils Backbone. They're broken up into a few different parts. I heard that there was a mudslide and they never bothered to open it back up. Is this true? And Delhi road is in a similar situation. I was helping western wildlife corridor one time and we walked down some of it. Did it have a lot of mudslides as well?
And if you have any other old photos of Miami Heights/Township(specifically around the Shady Lane Plaza), Green Township, Westwood, and Western Hills, I'd like to see them. Any other stories you have would be great, too. I don't know why this stuff interests me, I guess I'm just an old timer at heart.
I'm sure I'll think of more questions as time goes on.
Here are two responses I've received so far on city-data.
Growing up we'd call it the Westwood town mall I believe. Spent a lot of time in the arcade there. As far as media play goes I feel like it was new construction but I could be wrong.
The original Western Hills Plaza:
McAlpin's was on the east end and Mabley & Carew on the west end. McAlpin's is now Sears. Mabley & Carew was Dillard's for a while (I think), then Media Play. That end of the building was torn down, and then the western end of the complex was rebuilt and expanded. Target and Staples and some smaller stores are there now.
In the early and mid-70s there were Kroger, IGA, Marmer's Shoes, Schiff Shoes and a fabric store. In the 1980s there was Bookland and the neighborhood's first video store.
In the middle of the complex it was open (it was a REAL mall in the original sense of the word, an open-space walkway). There were a shoe repair, Red Fox Lounge, Merle Norman Cosmetics, and then in the back of the walkway were the barbershop and some rides (I remember the boats that went around a swimming pool with grimy water).
The mall area is built in now and that is where Bed, Bath & Beyond is. How that barbershop remains open behind everything else is beyond my comprehension.
Thanks to skippercollector for pointing me to this forum!
Western Woods Mall is where Dillard's, Home Depot and Factory Direct Candles are now.
The only original building is Dillard's. It was Shillito's. Shillito's was connected to an indoor mall that had Paul Harris and Stuart's (both junior/miss clothing stores), a record store that became a video store, an art supply store, a jeweler's and a sit-down restaurant. The other large store was Grant's.
The theater entrance was on the east side of the building and it had a separate entrance completely from the mall. You couldn't get from one to the other from the inside. It was called Western Woods Cinema. For many years it had one huge screen. I saw a lot of Disney movies there (both the animated and live action ones of the 70s, plus Family Plot, plus the re-release of 2001 in 1975. The theater was owned by General Cinemas and showed first-run non-action adventure movies, which were the domain of Showcase Cinemas. When it closed, it was bought by Thriftway, which had its supermarket there for a long time until the building was torn down.
The mall area and Thriftway were torn down, and new buildings erected. Home Depot is where the mall was and Factory Direct is where Thriftway was.
Three more stores I remember being at Western Hills Plaza were Globe Records (where the nail place is now), Walgreens and Woolworth's (where TJ Maxx is).
My all-time favorite store there had to be Bookland. It opened in the early 80s and I had never been in a store completely devoted to books and magazines before. I bought a lot of merchandise there. I wanted to cry when it closed.
Western Hills' Dillard's store is an outlet store now, with a bunch of leftovers. I was in there two weeks ago Although its dresses are still wearable and normal, women's shoes, which takes up half the main floor, are all open-toe with 6-inch clog heels. I didn't know there were that many in existence and I wouldn't touch any of them with a 10-foot pole!
Metro redid many of its bus routes at least a decade ago and completely changed the west-side bus map. The three main routes all end up going past Western Hills Plaza. Route 33 is basically the same, still the busiest route in the city with buses running every 15 minutes from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. up and down Glenway Avenue. Route 21 still comes up Harrison, but instead of ending in Cheviot it continues on and goes over Race Road to the plaza. Route 6 is completely different. Instead of making a right on to Glenmore and then winding through Cheviot and Bridgetown, it stays on Werk Road and goes to the plaza and then turns around. In other words, all three routes start downtown, take different routes (Glenway, Queen City and Harrison) but still end up at Western Hills Plaza. However, the buses no longer go through the plaza parking lot and instead just stay on Glenway.
I used to take the 6 bus from Bridgetown up to Mother of Mercy but that route no longer exists. You cannot get from Bridgetown to Mother of Mercy any more on a bus without walking at least a mile between bus stops both between the high school and my mom's house.
I've got plenty of personal photos of our house in Miami Heights from 1960 to 1967. My parents bought a house on Shady Lane in 1960 and I was born in 1961. We moved to Bridgetown in 1967. But I don't think my mother has any pictures of the entire neighborhood.
This is what I DO remember:
1. What was probably a small tornado flew over the house when I was 2 years old. I don't remember it, obviously. Mom said that when Dad came up from the basement (Mom and I were still down there) that the plate glass window in the dining room had fallen onto the floor. I don't know how much glass was broken, though.
2. People had chicken pox parties even in the 1960s, although they weren't called that. During the summer of 1966 (I think) I went to a birthday party and one of the other kids in the neighborhood already had it. Sure enough, I caught it, although I don't know how much time had passed since the party. I just remember being REALLY hot.
3. The Miami Heights firehouse blew its emergency horn one evening a week to test it. When we moved to Bridgetown in 1967, that was the last time I heard a fire station alarm again until the bizarre microburst storm in June 1993 (look it up) and power went out all over town because so many trees blew over. (It was the one in Monfort Heights that I heard in 1993. 1993 was still a few years before cell phones and the Internet became common, and the hand-cranked emergency siren was the only way to contact the volunteer firefighters.)
Do firehouses still have the hand-crank emergency sirens?