Woodmar Mall; Hammond, Indiana

Indiana State Line, I-90 Downtown Hammond, IN

Nestled on the south shore of Lake Michigan, within a stone’s throw from Chicago, is the prominent industrial region of Northwest Indiana. Hammond, the second largest city in this region, lies directly between Gary and Chicago and had a 2000 population of 83,000. Hammond was also home to one of Northwest Indiana’s enclosed shopping centers, Woodmar Mall. As of press time the mall is about to be destroyed in favor of redevelopment. The following is a chronological synopsis of important events in Woodmar’s history, ultimately culminating in its demise. More information can be found at John Lowe’s Woodmar Mall page.

  • 1954 – Woodmar Mall opens as a U-shaped open air center, anchored by Chicago department store chain Carson Pirie Scott. National supermarket, Walgreens, and J.J. Newberry variety store are among the major names in the mall’s roster of stores.

  • 1966 – Following a national trend, Woodmar Mall is enclosed. The mall continues to thrive.

  • 1975 – J.J. Newberry closes their Woodmar location, and the store’s space on the north end is converted to twelve mall stores with a square mallway. This newly created court is called the “Court of Lions”.

  • 1978 – Following the closure of the National supermarket chain, that store’s space on the south end of the mall is converted to ten mall stores ending in a fountain with ceramic turtles, called the “Court of Turtles”; seriously, I couldn’t make this up if I tried. So-Fro fabrics was a major tenant at this end of the mall.

  • 1978 – The same year the Court of Turtles appeared, plans were drawn up for a major expansion that would have tripled the size of the mall, and would have added two anchor stores. However, a recession and high interest rates killed this project.

  • 1984 – In its last hurrah, Woodmar is given its last major renovation as Walgreen’s restaurant is converted to a food court. Schoop’s hamburgers and Pizza Pizzazz were two tenants in the food court.

  • 1984-2000s – Things went steadily downhill for Woodmar Mall. Wal-Mart and a Food-4-Less store opened adjacent to the mall, providing not only competition to the mall but completely ignoring it (they could have opened in the mall?). At the same time, Hammond lost significant population and a lack of investment, while suburbs to the south like Dyer, Munster, Schererville, and Merrillville received significant economic boosts.

  • 2003Woodmar was purchased in a bankruptcy sale by David Fesko, head of some investment group which promised to renovate the mall. Ideas flew around about converting the mall to a discount-themed mall, such as Dixie Outlet Mall in suburban Toronto. These ideas never materialized.

  • 2003-04 – In a small glimmer of hope, a new mexican restaurant opened in the food court, which hadn’t seen a tenant in several years. It lasted less than six months before closing due to lack of business.

  • 2004According to an article by Andrea Holecek on NWTimes.com, management was not taking care of the mall, as there were leaky roofs and sewage problems. Also, the dozen or so tenants left expressed concerns that they were left in the dark regarding even the immediate future of the mall.

  • Feb. 2005In his article, Hammond Times reporter Steve Zabroski outlined the city of Hammond’s plan to redevelop the mall as a unified shopping district for the city of Hammond. It was announced that Praedium Development Corp. would spearhead the redevelopment.

  • Feb. 2006 – It was announced in the Times Online that the mall would be demolished in stages, beginning with the south mall structure/Court of Turtles. In addition, it was announced that the redevelopment of the mall would center around Carson Pirie Scott. However, Carson’s would be relocated from its current space to a brand new store in the former south mall area. The existing 1954-era Carson’s would be demolished once the new store is ready.

  • May 12 2006In her NWTimes.com article, Andrea Holecek writes that the existing plan for redevelopment may be stalled, due to Carson Pirie Scott being purchased by Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. A Bon-Ton spokeswoman is quoted to say that they honestly don’t know what they’re going to do about the Woodmar location.

  • May 17 2006In his NWTimes.com article, Steve Zabroski reports that Bon-Ton has indeed stuck with the original decision to remain at Woodmar (as Carson Pirie Scott) through redevelopment. Their current 1954-era store will remain while the rest of the mall is demolished. Then, they will move to a new 100,000 square-foot store on the southwest edge of the property. The mall’s demolition will begin in June.

I first visited Woodmar in 1999, as part of my plan to see all the malls in the Chicagoland area. Coming from Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana was the least accessible and therefore the last part of this mission. When I finally saw Woodmar, I knew the meaning to the phrase “saved the best for last” – I truly did. This mall was by far the most remarkable that I saw in the Chicago area, with so many notable and fascinating design features. The first visible attribute upon entering the site-the mall’s anchor, Carson Pirie Scott, is an amazingly huge behemoth – a reliced dinosaur in terms of the size of anchors built onto malls today. Inside the mall, the throwbacks to the past continue. Immediately upon entering from one of two Carson’s entrances to Center Court, my sense of smell overtook me – people were smoking in the mall. Lots of people. I haven’t seen smoking allowed in a mall since I was a kid – probably 15 years ago now, and there were numerous Carson’s employees as well as customers sitting around smoking. Throughout the mall, there were numerous people loitering, just smoking on benches. What an odd sight. Also at center court, the mall’s name is inscribed in red cursive writing along the top of the ceiling, simply reading “woodmarwoodmarwoodmar” – over and over.

10-09-05 009.jpg

To the north of the mall’s center court, the Court of Lions beckoned visitors. To do what, I’m not exactly sure. Certainly not to shop. Not in the times I visited, which numbered about half a dozen since 1999. The Court of Lions was created from the former J.J. Newberry anchor store in 1975, and had not been touched since. Well, since the stores all closed at least. There wasn’t one open, aside from the ones on the mall’s main hallway that did not extend back into the square-shaped court. Along the main hallway in that court, Fannie May, as well as some urban wear stores operated until about 2001. In fact, during one of my visits in 2002, a young man caujght me snapping pictures in the mall and immediately became curious as to what I was doing. He asked me if I was from the ‘newspaper’ and I lied and said I was, for lack of a better excuse. Without hesitation, he told me to take a picture of his new store, some urban wear store. I did. When I came back a year or so later, the store was ghostly vacant, as if nothing ever operated there for years.

To the south of center court, the mall continued for quite a ways. However, there were only stores on one side, as when they enclosed the mall in 1966 they only put a roof over the mall’s main walkway. Yet, at the end of the mall’s southerly extent, the mall took an abrupt turn to the right and continued down a significant distance to the Court of Turtles (once again, I am not making this up). The mall originally ended at this turn; but, with the demise of original tenant National supermarket, the mall took over this space and created the Court of Turtles. Along the way to the Turtles was the food court, Cafe Woodmar, which was the last addition or renovation whatsoever to Woodmar Mall in 1984, carved from Walgreen’s restaurant. During my first visit in 1999, I had a cheeseburger and fries at the Schoop’s Hamburgers located here. I think there were one or two other Cafe Woodmar establishments at the time; none of them were there on subsequent visits. According to a friend, a mexican place opened up here in 2003 and even advertised, but it was closed by my next visit several months later. Too bad. Also interesting at Cafe Woodmar was the huge 1980s-era lighted sign indicating the tenants of the food court – most of which were long gone by the time I got there. I felt like a paleontologist unearthing the strata of time.

Just past the food court and at the Court of Turtles, the mall abruptly dead-ended, another unique feature to this schizophrenic mall. At the dead-end was a small fenced-in fountain which was presided over by three ceramic turtles. I only ever saw it on once, during my first visit in 1999. During subsequent visits, the lonely turtles were without their aquatic existence as the water was shut off. On one visit in 2005, an elderly latina janitor came by as I was snapping photos. “Sure is sad,” she said wistfully to me as she continued cleaning. And it was.

Woodmar Mall represents more than the end of a retail era, or even the sentimentality associated with it. Certainly such things are important, but the bigger picture eludes to problems on a broader scale. What can Woodmar Mall teach us about urban sprawl, using space efficiently, and even environmental sustainability? Land ecology and urban planning aside, what implications does this have on our throwaway society and the ‘American way’? Some may say that this indicates merely a natural economic cycle, and that it’s fine. They wash their hands at the notion that blight and urban sprawl are more than socioeconomic problems, but environmental ones as well. Others say that these are legitimate problems, that will eventually catch up with us and by washing our hands of these problems, we’ll never get them clean.

Update 12/18/06:  Sadly, Woodmar is a memory.  During Summer 2006, most of the structure of the mall came down; however, the massive Carson Pirie Scott anchor remains and will continue to serve customers as their new store is built where the south part of the mall used to be.  Eventually, the entire development will be shiny and new and hopefully punch some energy into the economy. 

Pictures taken February, 2005

Center Court - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN South Hallway - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Cafe Woodmar - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

Cafe Woodmar - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Looking From Court of Turtles to Cafe Woodmar - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Court of Turtles - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

Court of Turtles Fountain - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Cafe Woodmar - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Schoops at Cafe Woodmar - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

Directory - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Cafe Woodmar Sign - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Cafe Woodmar Sign - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

Center Court Carson Pirie Scott - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Court of Lions - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Court of Lions - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

Court of Lions Entrance - Woodmar Mall, Hammond, INNorth Hallway - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN Fannie May - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

North Entrance - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, INCarson Pirie Scott Exterior Shot - Woodmar Mall in Hammond, IN

47 Responses to “Woodmar Mall; Hammond, Indiana”

  1. I should also add that there are quite a few Woodmar Mall pictures up at this website, including some of the exterior signage that Prangeway seems to have missed!

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  2. It’s sad my only experience of seeing this mall was driving past it in spring 2004, when I saw a Sleeping at Last concert at nearby Purdue University-Calumet in the evening, and saw the mall’s sign while driving south on Indianapolis Blvd. This mall definately was a gem I sadly never got to see in its dying years, and especially noted by the fact they never replaced their signs that mentioned the former Schoop’s location in this mall. And of course, the neon signage inside also showed its age, too(and of course other factors that I am sure that I may’ve forgotten to mention). R.I.P. Woodmar.

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  3. I should add that I saw the sign a few hours before the SaL concert, when I was driving south towards PU-C. So bad at remembering details when I type posts, lol(+ unfortunately).

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  4. i drove past this mall on my way to the train station in east chicago i am not from the area i am from Erie PA, i tryed to figure if this was a mall or not there were buildings torn down areound it and the only thing there was carlsons i tryed to figire out if this was a mall and it was. very said to see a mall like this go!

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  5. I remember this mall as a child, when it was open-air and bustling. Santa would arrive by helicopter, and had his “house” in the center of the mall, just past Walgreen’s. I am sad to see this mall go. Lots of good memories. I’m glad Carson’s is still there, that was always a nice store. I bought quite a few things there. Just to date myself further, we used to go to Newberry’s and buy yarn to wrap around our boyfriend’s class rings when we went steady. Loved the Fannie May candy store too.

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  6. Does the old Carson’s building still stand, or have they moved into their new building, as part of the redevelopment of Woodmar Mall?

    Since if it’s still there, I’d like to possibly go by here, and take a few pics of the old Carson’s building, before its demolished for good. Maybe someone reading this comment could post if the old Carson’s building still stands, or not.

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  7. The old carson’s is still there, it’s very sad, they havent even started building near there, i truly don’t think a new one will be built, there have been rumors that carsons will only be there till there lease runs out.

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  8. Unfortunately, since the new store never got built, Carson’s parent company Bon-Ton has decided to have their new store built in Schererville along US 41, near Omni 41. It’s sad that they’re leaving Hammond, but at least they’ll be relocating to where their demographics are. I just wonder if Wal-mart may have had something to do with Carson’s new store never being built. Wal-mart complained back in 2003 that they outgrew their store, and needed to add on to increase the floorspace. Since Carson’s new store never materialized, don’t be surprised if the original space will be used for Wal-mart’s expansion (possibly a superstore).

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  9. I can remember going to this mall all during my childhood. Fanny Mae was also a good place to stop and get a little bag of peppermint ice. I have alot of good memories of going Christmas shopping there with my Mom and Grandmother. It is sad to think that this once thriving mall has gone by the wayside.

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    Tina Reply:

    @Sherrel,
    Is or was your last name Sutton? I’m from Morton High Class of ’81, and I’ve only met one person named Sherrel who spelled her name the way you do: Sherrel Sutton!

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  10. Sad – Woodmar provided some of my earliest memories (circa 1957), esp the National supermarket with its little enclosed “igloo” at the front where my brother and I would read books while my mom shopped. I revisited Woodmar again about 2000 in the middle of a blinding nighttime snowstorm – almost deserted, ghostly, yet somehow pristinely beautiful.

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  11. I remember this mall very well growing up in the area. This mall was only about 3-4 miles from the much larger River Oaks Center in Calumet City. Up until the late 80’s- early 90’s both actually had a lot of the same stores. Carson Pirie Scott is in both, though the Woodmar store is much larger (a must see before its gone) Other stores were Kinney Shoes, Foot Locker, Rosalee, GNC, Kay Bee Toys, Foxmoor, Fannie May, Hush Puppies, Lerner New York, Armstrong Jewelers. What killed this was in 1994 River Oaks was fully enclosed and expanded and had a much better selection of stores. Sad to see this one go, was where we saw Santa and the Easter Bunny.

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  12. Thank you so much for posting these pictures. I went to Woodmar so much as a kid and even worked there as an adult. I miss it so much. Carson’s is still standing, and I went to a rally in January 2008 to try and save Carson’s. Apparently they may be moving locations, but the city is trying to get them to consider a different location IN HAMMOND, rather than down the road to S’ville and the other towns…

    Let’s support Carson’s so that they stay in Hammond!

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  13. I remember “woodmar records” and that nice little resturant you saw as you turned in at the “court of Lions”… I grew up in 80’s… Our day consisted of shopping for hours there, take pictures at the photobooth with friends, watch many performances on the center stage and then later that night after they closed go across the street to the “arcade” and watch the local bands play… great memories!

    The Carsons project is still in the works, Im hearing they will not go in schereville and that Hammond is fighting to keep them… then im hearing they gave up…. The area has gone downhill even with the new stores around. What sad is nobody is nice anymore… you cant simply send a nice hello to anyone as u walk by without a rude comment or look. Even the PAID greeters get rudeness. Back in the days people were respectfull, and if you werent… you were escorted out. Wish more people had manners these days. There is very few of them left.

    RIP woodmar …

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    zack schilling Reply:

    @brandy, What was that arcades name? It was on the corner of Indy and Joe Hirsch rd

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  14. I grew up in Schererville most of my younger years. My Grandma lived in Hammand and I would vist her alot with my family. We would go to WoodMar mall and walk aroun for a few hours shop and have a great time. This was from around 1986 – 89. When we moved away to Nebraska for a few years, I’d not come back to the mall till around 1994. When we moved back to Schererville. I’d spend hours at the Arcade, or looking around a the ToyStore. When my family moved to Hammond in 1998 for a few months, do do another move and selling of the house in Schererville, I was only about 1 1/2 f miles from WoodMar. I lived on the Munster/Hammond border. My buddies and I would go to WoodMar all the time. That place holds so many memories for myself and my family. I was sad to hear about it being tore down in 2006. So when I was about 23, I took a 2 hour trip up to Hammond and took some pics of the place before it was gone. Now 25, with kids of my own. Times are not like they used to be. And will never be. My partner and I now run a website and a myspace site to try and help out the town I live in. Peru, Indiana. By keeping jobs in the town, bringing better shopping, and letting people in the town know whats really going on. My partner Asa and I have been running the myspace site for over a year now and its been a huge hit with the town. The videos are the big hit. I’d love to see someday Hammond rebound to its former self. But I really don’t see that happening for a very long time. First off People have to really want to do something to fix there town, and not just talk about it. People have to care about there town and the people who live in it. Some people care, but most don’t. They feel its just a place were they live. Hammond has so much History and year by year it seems History fades away. If people want Hammond to Change, Then People have to change.

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  15. I grew up a few blocks from the mall. Woodmar mall is named after a section of Hammond that was considered a nicer area. I remember spending hours in the mall when I was a kid. It was always safe, clean and a fun place to be. I remember when they put in an arcade, as a pre teen it didn’t get better. It’s sad to see the mall go, I drove by when I was in town once and really wished I hadn’t. I want to preserve my memories and not what it became. Everything changes, includeing our memories, they get better has we get older.

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  16. I worked at K-B Toys at Woodmar Mall when I was 16. I also grew up in the 80’s. My brother still lives in the area and I am really surprised to find out that the mall is gone. He hasn’t mentioned it to me at all. I am sorry to hear that it is gone, I had a lot of good memories from hat place. It was a place that we could go to hang out with friends and have a good time.

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  17. When Walgreens moved out of Woodmar altogether, the mall really took a down turn. Woodmar thrived when I was a child in the early 70’s with the Burger’s Grocery store at the south end of the mall coming into Walgreens Restaurant, Walgreens Drugstore, Boston T-shirt house, Hallmark, Lerners, Carsons, Bresslers Ice Cream, so many more to name. Walgreens packed up and moved to a stand alone business, the empty store was converted into a bargain discount book store. Many of us had our first job at Woodmar, many of us enjoyed shopping there. It is a shame when good things come to an end, but as progress continues to push forward, stores like Walmart,.Target, Meijer’s ,etc, you can shop all in one place. The lot still sets empty will Carsons still hanging in, (which that I don’t understand, Carsons is expensive) I am waiting to see what will come of the lot. Rumors are that it will be a strip mall like in Schererville on Rt 41, but, for now, it’s an empty lot.

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  18. I recall that when I was a kid, in the early 80’s, there were sometimes real turtles in the fountain of the Court of Turtles? does anyone else remember. Later on this was not the case, just stone turtles.

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  19. In early 1976, I worked as a bagger/stocker at the Sterk’s Super Foods where Burger’s used to be. I think a father and two sons owned this Sterk’s. I remember one time an ice cream plant in Illinois (?) had a fire and the store owners worked out a deal for the ice cream. We had ice cream cartons crammed in every inch of freezer space. That week, there was a huge sale on ice cream and business was booming!
    Glad I left The Region before watching the mall deteriorate and close; I’ll just remember the mall as it was and not what it became.

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    Karl Reply:

    @Mike E.,
    The old National site was never a Burgers.
    When National closed, Dick Sterk and Dave Lee ( not a father and two sons) leased the space and opened Sterk’s Super Foods.

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  20. It deteriorated because Hammond is full of hoodrats. Gang members hung out there, stealing and just being a general nuisance.
    I was born in 1980 and lived in Hammond until 1991, when my parents moved to Schererville (because of Hammond getting awful). I remember getting shirts with unicorns heated onto them at Boston Shirt Yard, getting Simple Minds “Don’t you forget about me” from woodmar records. Riding the little carousel with 3 horses in the primary colors in the center mall area. Seeing Santa and the Easter Bunny there. Carson’s (or any reputable store) could not survive in Hammond now. I never see anyone in Hammond wearing nice quality clothing. Not that Carson’s is even all that great. I wouldn’t wear it. Hammond is full of junkies and losers (old folks aside). I refer to Hammond as the land of pregnant 14 year olds, because that is what it is.
    Also, people keep calling it Lerner, but before that it was Rothchilds. They had a really static-y carpet. My sister and I used to rub our feet on the floor and keep shocking each other.
    It would be dumb to put Carsons in Schererville, because one could just drive to Southlake (now Westfield, I see) mall in Hobart/Merrillville.
    The whole region really is just a crap-hole. I’m glad I moved to NYC. When I go back to visit…I am astounded by the lack of culture out there. I didn’t realize this when I was a part of it. On the outside looking in…and…..YUCK!

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    Karl Reply:

    @Sandra,
    Jeez, you’re right..NYC is so pristine and full of culture, isn’t it?

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  21. The idea of Woodmar Mall coming back together would be really uplifting. I cannot speak of the whole new generation of the youth in Hammond, but I do know all them are not trash. I feel like the young adults in that area are truly suffering becuase of the gang activity.
    Though I feel like it would be incredibly benefical that some type of building is to come back where Woodmar Mall had used to be. Bringing back jobs into the community would be beneficial. I truly feel like it would be a good thing, almost like giving back to the community. I know I didn’t like driving out all the way to Westfield Mall to find snouter people who think their better just becuase of the area someone had grown up there.
    I also truly hope that the owner of the property, since there was an article that he is going to do something with the property, that he can at least build something this early spring. I feel like things will prosper. Our community just has to come together and keep an open mind. I know it will be benefical.
    To further note, Carson’s being there has been really amazing as well. I al so glad that they still have nice, professional clothing are reasonable non Chicago prices. I do not know where I would be without that store. Carson’s gives me an outlet when I am bored, you find something new everyday there and opens up my mind to so many things.

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    Prange Way Reply:

    @Samantha, They still haven’t gotten anything together on the Woodmar site? I visited the mall numerous times between 2000-2005 and was amazed at its condition and continued usage; however, I do think this site should remain a retail center. It’s crummy that they promised a redevelopment and so far just tore everything down and replaced the Carson’s.

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  22. I don’t think they’ve even replaced the Carson’s yet.

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  23. Loved the arcade, woodmar records, schoop’s and the shallow, long and narrow fountain with the funny lights in it. I remember seeing the easter bunny and santa year. just at my parents’ house and saw the easter bunny photo on the wall! Always bored will mom shopped at rothschild’s and buying dad some chocolate at fannie may’s and a card at the hallmark. too bad those are just fond memories. miss you woodmar mall!

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  24. I was born and raised in Hammond and lived there until 1989 at age 14 when I moved to griffith. I lived there until 1992 when I moved to Florida. I had alot of memories going to Woodmar mall with my dad when I got to spend time with him. The photos on the website bring back alot of good memories as do other photos of Northwest Indiana. I didn’t even know that they had demolished it until I was looking at Hammond websites. I’m sorry to see it go.

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  25. I went to woodmar a lot as a kid. Lived in Hammond, Indiana for 22 years before finally getting out of that dump. I remember when nearly every store was filled (almost all of them) and it was still pretty lame. I went back often only because of the comic book store near the walmart side of the mall. Even they moved out eventually and I stopped going all together.

    It will always bring good memories but I am NOT sorry to see it go. It was an eyesore and a waste of money. Sadly, walmart and the food4less aren’t much better. Hammond has been on the decline for over a decade and I don’t see it coming back anytime soon. My greatest memory of Hammond was getting the hell out of that town and Northwest Indiana and living overseas.

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  26. I grew up in hammond and i use to go to the mall alot as a kid.My first job was at Schoops Hamburgers in Woodmar.Brings back alot of good memories and shows how time fly’s.

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  27. I just wanted to update that there are new stores (literally… they’re being built) going up on the northeast corner of the parking lot! Don’t get too excited! I have dibs on any combination of the following: a cell phone store, a tobacco shop, pawn shop. To clarify, Carson’s has never been replaced: it’s future is not yet known, that I know of. I still shop at Carson’s, they have a great sales AND a lot of the same women who have worked there for years! They remind me of the old days! Ladies that were true retail sales professionals!

    I live in Robertsdale and work in Chicago. I make my home here… anyone who doesn’t like that can suck it. The whole world is changing… even your precious Munster & Dyer! And, it’s easy to say the place has no culture after you spent some time in the true melting pot of cultures, NYC, ya goofball.

    Have a nice day!

    Love,

    A proud (not blind, just proud) Hammond resident

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  28. Lots and lots of Great memories!!!!!! But what was the name of the jewelry store I the court of Turtles? Across from Great Expectations ?????????? Driving me crazy…. thanks All and I do hope they do something with it…. Make it Great Hammond!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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    Amy Reply:

    @Christine, are you possibly thinking of Comay’s?

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  29. I remember Woodmar having so many people there when i was in my teens, we had to walk down the hall sideways. I can,t believe it went downhill so fast. Alot of great memories there. One day we won a radio from the arcade when it was next to the bank on the Northside,Me taking all day at Skeeball to win it. Also got My first Peter Gabriel Live tape at Woodmar records. Miss this place alot.The Food court was great too.

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    zack schilling Reply:

    @Ailin, that was Times Square – do u remember the arcade that was across the street outsde of the mall? it was on the corner of Indy and Joe Hirsch rd. Definitely agree with u on the food court, I loved the hot dog place that was on the corner by the front door – foot long cheese dogs and an icee – what more could a kid want?

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  30. Woodmar was a dump back in the 70s, not really sure where some of you get that this place was “da place”– but we still used to go there all the time. Anybody remember when the Walgreens had a restaurant? Also, the Carsons there was way overpriced based on their other stores including the flagship store (at the time) downtown Chicago on Madison. Glad the place is gone-good riddens. Hammond has way to much strip malls and crap like that for a town that has been loosing residents since the early 70s.

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  31. Does anyone remember the arcade that was across the frm woodmar on Indy and Joe Hirsch road? Me and my friends have been racking our brains to figure it out. Now i know Times Square and Aladdins Castle were both arcades in the mall, and its not friar tucks or wrights barnyard. Theres a Cars Collision there now. It was an arcade w/ a billard room attached. I can remember going there right about the time when Guns and Roses Paradise City was new (so like 87 88 maybe?). I have fond memories of my dad and I playing the game Xybots . Id really like to find it out so if anyone knows of its name plz let us know.

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    sheryl Reply:

    @zack schilling, rec-arena arcade!

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  32. Since my last posting in 2007, things have changed. Bon Ton’s plan to relocate Carson Pirie Scott to Schererville fell thru, after the developer of a proposed lifestyle center defaulted on the loan to the proposed site (the lifestyle center construction never got off the ground). Since that time, Carson’s was promised a new building at the current site in Hammond to replace their 1950’s 3 story building. That hasn’t materialized either. Since Carson’s closed in Calumet City, IL at River Oaks Mall last year, there’s rumors that Bon Ton is simply planning to close the Hammond store completely, & just focus on their store at Southlake Mall. If that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart buys the former Woodmar Mall property, & add onto their store at 165th St, & make it a superstore. I wonder if that’s the owner’s intentions, to simply wait for Carsons to close, & sell the property to Walmart. I don’t know how much longer Carson’s lease is for. The original lease expired in 2007 (original lease was for 50 years).

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    Don Reply:

    @David, the site of the “lifestyle center” has started construction as a strip mall with a Ross store definitely expected and talk about a Whole Foods in the place.

    I could see Walmart buying up the space and (re)building a superstore at the site. I’ve heard lots of rumors about Walmart moving to a long-abandoned K-Mart store since before the Woodmar Mall was torn up, have yet to see THAT happen.

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  33. I grew up in hammond and woodmar brings back alot of good memories,it was a great and one of the first closed shopping malls in america.But like hammond itself,the mall started going down hill in the 70’s,plus,who wants to drive through hell-hole hammond to get to woodmar??

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  34. well its sad to say that the mall is gone. i grew up in east chicago and loved going to the mall in the mid 90s to early 2000s before the mall completly shut down. i remember being happy and excited to go. i loved kbtoys, foot locker, jimmys, the thshirt store, walgreens, the turtle fountain, the photo booth, the kiddie carousel, cps, the center of the mall where santa came n the easter bunny too. yrah our mall was small and lonely, but only due to the fact that stores lost business, gangbangers came and tormented the mall and the economy period! who doesnt remember the good ol days of stolling the corridor of the mall window shopping or just looking. it was a blast back in the days! but now all i read is how people bash the city of hammond, and it being full of hood rats. i honestly dont care what you simple minded people have to say, all i know is that once upon a time people near and far had their fair share of lovely, wonderful and fun memorires of our beloves woodmar mall. its 2014 and yet the land stands vacant as the day it was demolished. i miss them good ol days like it was just yesterday!!!

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    Wanda Reply:

    @izabell, do you remember the name of the restaurant/tea shop that used to be on the second floor of Carsons? Way too expensive for us-we could barely afford a burger at Walgreens.

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  35. I remember going to woodmar & getting my brothers ears pierced at merle Norman & going to Zayres.

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  36. Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant/tearoom that was on the second floor of Carsons in the early 1970s? We never went there–couldn’t even afford a burger at Walgreens!

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  37. I grew up in Hammond. It was my dad’s hometown and we moved back from Boston in 1969 and I lived there til we moved to Calumet City in 1983. Woodmar was a great mall considering where it was. It did suffer from the opening of River Oaks and the competition it provided. But it suffered more from the economic downturn of the early 1990s. Once most of the mills closed much of the money was drained out of the area.
    Retail locations like this cannot survive without peole who care and that, most importantly, spend money. Slowly Hammond has been losing both and with that the area will continue to lose solid retail establishments. We all have great memories of Woodmar. It was a nice place to shop with plenty of variety, both high end and low. Most of us in that era saw Santa and the Easter Bunny there and it will forever be a great place in our minds. But time like life itself moves on and is unforgiving. We need to be thankful for sites like this that can let us see pictures of those wonderful times and share them with each other to keep the memories alive. Thanks for all your comments and the photos. Yes it is sad to know of the mall’s demise. But it is encouraging to know that this simple place meant so much to so many of you and that you are all willing to share your thoughts. Best to all of you!

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