CenterPoint MarketPlace; Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Anchored by two department stores, JCPenney and Green Bay-based ShopKo, with space for a third anchor, CenterPoint Mall opened with space for 60 smaller stores under one enclosed roof. The 220,000 square foot mall was never very successful, despite ample parking in the middle of downtown and only a few blocks from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, a campus with over 10,000 students. The mall never filled to capacity, nor attracted the quality of stores present in larger regional malls such as Wausau Center, located just 30 minutes north of Stevens Point in Wausau.

Hilldale Shopping Center; Madison, Wisconsin

Opened in 1962 on what was then the western edge of Madison, Hilldale Shopping Center has had a unique and intriguing history. Hilldale was one of the first major shopping centers in town, and it’s also one of the closest malls to where I live. The thing about Hilldale is that it falls under the radar – it’s not a traditional mall in any sense of the word, and never really was. Through the decades Hilldale has undergone some major changes and has continued to reinvent itself by eschewing shopping center norms, and, reflective of its status as an institution in this weird city I live in, remains as viable as ever.

Beloit Mall (Eclipse Center); Beloit, Wisconsin

Located in south central Wisconsin along the Illinois state line, Beloit is a hearty, working class city of almost 40,000 residents, with a historic past.  Located approximately 15 miles south of Janesville, the county seat of Rock County, and 15 miles north of Rockford, Illinois, Beloit has long been known for its roots in manufacturing and […]

Janesville Mall; Janesville, Wisconsin

Janesville, Wisconsin is a small city of some 60,000 people located in the south-central region of the state, about 15 minutes north of the Illinois state line, and the county seat of Rock County.  It’s also my hometown, for better or worse. Founded in 1835 by a wandering pioneer who apparently enjoyed naming towns after himself, Janesville got […]

Port Plaza Mall/Washington Commons; Green Bay, Wisconsin

With a population of just over 100,000 residents, Green Bay is Wisconsin’s third largest city and the largest of the string of cities collectively called the Fox Cities in the northeastern part of the state.  Interestingly, Green Bay is one of the oldest continuously settled places in the United States, having been established as a French trading […]

Grand Avenue Mall; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Located in the middle of downtown Milwaukee, the Grand Avenue Mall opened in August 1982.  Part of a larger civic revitalization effort, the mall premiered downtown during a time when retail (and nearly everything else) had moved out to the ‘burbs and downtown Milwaukee was left to the 9-to-5ers and the bums.  A nationwide problem not unique to Milwaukee, […]

Cherry Point Mall; Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

With nearly 10,000 residents, Sturgeon Bay is the county seat and gateway to the popular Door County tourism region of northeastern Wisconsin.  Since the advent of the automobile, tourists have flocked from Milwaukee, Chicago, and other midwestern cities to Door County for a beautiful, relaxing vacation.  For those who don’t know, Door County is Wisconsin’s “thumb” - a long […]

Southgate Mall; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Southgate Shopping Center, later Southgate Mall, was the first significant post-World War II suburban-style shopping center in the Milwaukee area. In 1949, local brewery supplier (how very Milwaukee) Kurtis Froedtert laid the framework for Southgate and three other major suburban-style shopping centers in the area, during a period of this kind of retail development nationwide. […]

Edgewater Mall (Edgelake Plaza); Manitowoc / Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Manitowoc, Wisconsin is a small port city in east-central Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan. With a population of 34,000 and micropolitan area (with Two Rivers and the rest of the county) of just over 50,000, Manitowoc is hardly a large place. Most of its roots are in manufacturing, shipping and agriculture, and thus […]

East Towne Mall; Madison, Wisconsin

Located in the south-central part of the state, Madison is not only Wisconsin’s second largest city, but the state capital, home to the high-ranking University of Wisconsin at Madison, and historically is known as a progressive hotbed of political activity.  With a population of over 200,000, metropolitan Madison has a population of over 500,000, including most of […]