Westfield Wheaton (Wheaton Plaza); Wheaton, Maryland

Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland

Westfield is one of my least favorite of the major mall developers because of their tendency to make every mall look the same. However, a recent renovation at the Wheaton Plaza (or “Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton,” whatever) in Wheaton, Maryland merits a quick ‘n dirty post.

As this is the first Westfield mall that we’ve written about, it merits a rant: Seriously, what gives with Westfield’s annoying naming scheme? Don’t they realize that labeling every one of their malls as “Westfield Shoppingtown _____” is a disastrous attempt at over-branding, an effort that strips malls of one of their few marks of personality and likely saps the lone strands of personal or community “connection” that anyone might have a remote chance of feeling towards their local mall? It’s a waste of the only shred of potential goodwill that a large shopping mall could ever hope to engender as part of their communities. People routinely complain that every town in America looks the same; that we all have Wal-Mart and Home Depot and Applebee’s. Why not at least let each individual enclosed mall exist as its own place, with its own name and logo? Ever notice how the band Chicago put out, like, 30 records, and numbered (rather than named) every single one of them and nowadays, no one ever starts raving that “Chicago X was soo awesome, man, so much more awesome than Chicago VIII!”? I don’t work for Westfield, but if I did I would abandon their misguided branding practices completely.

I didn’t expect much from this mall, and honestly Wheaton Plaza is not exactly a unique snowflake. Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton is organized in a pretty conservative “T” pattern, with JCPenney and Target at each end, Macy’s about 1/4 up from one end on a small side hallway, and a dead Hecht’s store at the end of the “T” wing. I have no exterior shots due to the way the entire front of the mall is surrounded up close by a large parking deck (which is a common problem in the DC area, I’ve found), but I got a few cool pictures of the interior, which has a few snazzy upgrades, best displayed in the above photo of the Macy’s store. This new Macy’s store actually opened as part of the mall’s recent renovation that was completed in 2005. It sounds like the Wheaton Plaza, which opened in 1959 as an open-air shopping center, had long struggled against nearby behemoths like Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery and White Flint, and this recent renovation brought the 1.3 million square foot mall situated just outside of the DC beltway up to par as a successful mid-tier mall, adding tenants like Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister. It’s not as upscale as its sister malls, but it doesn’t need to be: Montgomery is the higher-end yet mass-market mall, White Flint corners the higher end of the market, and the Downtown Silver Spring complex serves the entertainment-minded consumers.
Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland
Wheaton did have one large vacancy, created recently when Hecht’s vacated their space at the rear of the mall. Unfortunately a little foresight would’ve saved Macy’s from constructing a brand new store only to then close the mall’s Hecht’s just months later, but this is the way of corporate mergers I suppose. I did manage to scrounge the following picture (NOT taken by me) online, for those who’d like to see every last May-signed store they possibly can before it’s too late:

Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland

If you’ve got the goods on the Wheaton Plaza’s history, comment away. I came up empty-handed this time.

225 Responses to “Westfield Wheaton (Wheaton Plaza); Wheaton, Maryland”

  1. Westfield officially dropped the use of “Shoppingtown” in the USA. Existing Shoppingtown signage will not be taken down as a result of this policy change, but the official names for their US centers have had Shoppingtown stripped out. The name for Wheaton now is Westfield Wheaton. Last time that I visited this mall was before Westfield had come on the scene. I seem to remember it by the name of Wheaton Plaza.

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  2. For a modern mall, it ain’t bad.

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  3. That was my take. I thought that view of the Macy’s in particular was actually pretty neat.

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  4. Dude! I used to go there all the time as a kid.

    I don’t have much in terms of official mall history except from what I can recall. First off, I always knew it as “Wheaton Plaza.” I was aware that Westfield had bought it at some point (those signs couldn’t be less obvious), but the name never changed locally, as far as I know. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t always a “T” shaped mall; or rather, the branch where Hechts used to be was an extension of a what was once a much smaller arm. My older sisters once told me that the mall wasn’t always enclosed, though I have no memory of that. What I remember most is that back in the mid-80s they had these computer terminals which you could use to locate stores. Grossly impractical, but still pretty nifty.

    I am trying to think of the former anchor stores…one of them was once a Montgomery Ward, and another was a fairly upscale department store whose name escapes me (I’m pretty sure the chain went bankrupt a decade or more ago). But, yeah, by the time I hit high school nobody I knew went there anymore, and when my friends did the mall thing we went to White Flint or Montgomery Mall. Those pics indicate a lot less trashy mall than I remember.

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    RDW Reply:

    @RJ, Hi RJ… Yeah, the upscale department store you can’t recall is Woodward & Lothrup or “Woodies” as we called it in our family. I was born and raised in the “Wheaton Hills” area, just a few walking blocks from the “Plaza”. This was the shopping center that slowly killed the Silver Spring stores down Georgia Ave. Very popular place for all the Wheaton & Kensington youth to go to. Lots of fun times. I bet your older sisters remember Steak House resturant across from the movie theater. Standing in line for a show to start, the aroma coming off those grills would make your mouth water! Also the bell chimes & music that played @ the bank near by…WOW! Takes me back to a simpler place and time in my youth!

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  5. I used to go to Wheaton Plaza since it opened in 1959. Yes, it was an open mall with one plaza anchored by Montgomery Ward (where Target is now) and Woodward & Lothrop, which was converted to Hechts. In those days, shopping centers were not known as lifestyle or entertainment centrers, though we certainly regarded it as our entertainment center. The most important store for us was Variety Records, where we would buy each new Beatles 45. There was a single movie theater where I saw A Hard Day’s Night.. Also, Charcoal House, which was a decent sitdown restaurant. Hot Shoppes Cafeteria, Brentano’s Books, Beckers leather goods, a sports store I can’t recall, Hahns Shoes, Doctor’s Pet Shop, and various dress shops I can’t recall.. There was a Kresge’s drug store with a lunch counter. A major source of my clothes was Calby;s, where my mother often took my brother and me. I wish I knew what happend to Calby’s. I can’t find any history on the web. There was and still is also a Giant food store. Now, Wheaton/Westfields is a typical modern mall with a Starbucks. I think it will eventually get “Lifestyled”. Wheaton is trending up again with alot of interesting restaurants. Now, I live in Vienna, Virginia. The major shopping mall of the entire Washington area is Tysons Corner. Tysons is worth an article about what it is that makes a successful mall, i.e. good demographics, constant renovation and reinivention, etc.

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    Paris the third Reply:

    @MH, Word!. It was a place where some of my best childhood memories circle around..But I can’t believe you forgot Orange Bowl pizza and Farrells! The Hobbie store. But thank you for reminding of the names like Hot shoppes and Kresges drugstore, Variety records(where I bought my first Kiss records, and 45′s like shatter by the stones, or rock with you by Michael Jackson.) Giant food where I always managed to lose my mom in. It also was the place where I remember my very first arcade, across from the movie theatre,I wish I could remember the name of it. Yes a great place of the 1970′s it was for me! I was actually bummed when they coverd it, and turned it into a two floor mall! But past that point I had moved out to Gaithersburg where Lakeforest Mall became my new hangout of the 80′s… I feel so old now, like I’m sitting in a rockin chair writing this on my laptop with a corn cob pipe in my mouth!! haha! Those were simpler times..agreed. : )

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    Gnc Reply:

    YES, orange bowl, not pizza bowl, but I got the Ferrell’s right! YES I feel old too. LakeForest was never near as fun. :(

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    Gnc Reply:

    I practicallhy lived at Wheaton plaza. Woodies became Penneys, and Penneys went to where Hecht’s used to be. Macy’s is a new addition, but the May Company owned both Hecht’s and Macy’s so no two are usually at the same mall.

    The open air mall had two small halls off the center, very small. The lineup from one end to the other went something like this: Penneys at the North end, then a hall to the left as you left Penneys with a Lamp Shop, Movie Theater (used to be one screen), n eatery (single like a Burger King, across from the Movie (only after they closed it in), a bank at the end and coming back a seamstress. As you continued south, a woman’s lingerie store that sold bathing suits, many Kiosks for glasses and such, then a Pizza Bowl. An ice cream shop Ferrells? Can’t remember the name, a Roy Rogers. When you hit the next aisle it had a Cafeteria which you could access the minute you entered the mall, a luggage store, another store which I dont’ remember, then Woodies on the end. As you came around you had a Spencer’s Gifts, and on the corner on the left as you went toward Hecht’s the store was a gift shop, then a Candy Shop. On the strip heading to Hechts there as an Esprit shop, a coffee shop, a Kitchen store, an athletic shoe store, and after you passed Hechts, there was a shoe store with many brands of shoes, a jewelery store on the corner for the back entrance. Across from that going east you had another jewelry store, a nuts and candy store, a cigar/novelty store.

    One of the Kiosks sold small plants, another glasses, another smoothies, the lists goes on. Some sold cheese for the holidays and jewelry kiosks, etc. Especially during the holidays.

    I MISS our old Mall, it’s name, and its simplicity. I never go to the new mall. Later a Victoria’s Secret came in and the whole mall smelled like perfume. Ugh

    Oh well, I guess there isn’t much we can do to get back our precious mall.

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    Andrea Reply:

    @MH, Hiya, the sports store was called
    Irving’s Sports and the owner was named
    Irving!

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  6. Okay,as far as I’ve been able to gather(and I live in the county this mall is in),Hechts was the last original anchor in the mall until it closed earlier in 2006.
    JCPenney was orginally a large clothing store called Woodward & Lothrop.They had a flagship store downtown,and I know that beacuse I have a picture of me and my best friend posing by the sign, which has been there since 1995 when the company liquidated. Target was a M.Wards, and Macy’s has just been built in 2006.

    Intrestingly enough, that area had a whole boatload
    of vacant and/or closing stores in 2005. Toys R Us was closing, Kids R Us went dark and then the merger was anncounced, causing Hecht’s to shut their doors for good.

    Two more things before I’m out of here:
    #1:My aunt works literally right next door to the mall. Kaiser Permanente has their regional HQ right next door, and, well, you get my point.
    #2: The area around the mall, sadly, has a bad reputation for crime around
    this part of maryland. Caldor, I really hope you didn’t see any kidnappings, witness any murders, or hear any gunshots while you were down there.It’s a really bad area.
    Thanks for listening,
    Danny

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  7. The main thing I remember about Wheaton Plaza was a Roy Rogers fast food restaurant that had both a mall entrance and an external entrance. I never paid too much attention to this mall as I lived and worked nearer to Lakeforest, White Flint, and Montgomery malls. I may have visited Wheaton Plaza only once or twice. I remember going to the AAA office in one of the adjacent office buildings outside the mall.

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    Paris the third Reply:

    @Steven Wilson, What I miss about malls nowadays is that they don’t have those big pools or foutains in them where you used to throw pennys into, like they were wishing wells. Montgomery mall, Lake forest and White Flint, are the places where I remember this mostly.

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  8. To add to your Westfield rant: I too have been disenfranchised with the company’s attempt to over-brand their malls by stripping them of not only their logos, but their names! And not only that, they replace the mall’s pylon and all signage with the same boring Westfield logos at all their malls. For example, they bought the Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet, Illinois. The mall’s unique pylons and signage went away immediately, to be replaced with Westfield Louis Joliet signage. It’s even causing local media outlets and other people some concern, as they reference the ‘Westfield Mall’ in articles and other memoranda, no longer referring to it by Louis Joliet Mall or simply Joliet Mall which is what locals have called it forever. And, in many cases, a region will have more than one ‘Westfield Mall’ – so you have to differentiate! It’s quite exasperating, even if they did remove the ridiculous ‘Shoppingtown’ monicker.

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  9. Prangeway,

    Actually, the locals tend to call it simply “Louie” or “Louie Mall”, not Joliet Mall. Many don’t care for the Westfield garbage (but put up with it in hopes of expansion) as it was named for the explorer (as with a zillion other things here).

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  10. I can fill in a little more backgroun on Wheaton Plaza (I will never call it by any other name) and clear up come errors.

    The building at theend of the mall opposite Target was originally Woodward & Lothrop. When Woodies died JCPenny took over the space, as they did with most former Woodies locations. Hechts was not in the mall at all originally, the Hechts and the wing that leads to it was built around 1988-1990. That was also when the mall got what was probably only it’s second major renovation (the first being the enclosing of the mall, which I believe happened in the late 70′s.

    Montgomery Wards was the only other original anchor besides Woodies. (Can you imagine building a mall with only two anchors these days?) I am not certain if the part of the “T” adjacent to Mont. Wards/Target was original to the mall. It contained the theaters, a BUrger King, TIme Out Arcade, and Video Village rental store. (This is a mid-80′s list, though I think the theatre was always part of this wing. It looked very old. Giant was attached but had no mall entrance, you had to enter from the parking lot. THe Giant store there now is new construction, the “island” with Giant, Starbucks, etc. was built around 2004.

    One thing I do now know, but would love to know, is whether or not Wheaton Plaza originally had a lower level of retail. The old Hecht’s wing is two levels, with a food court and other shops on the lower level, but the rest of the mall was always one story as far as I can remember. I see that the new Macy’s wing is two levels, and had heard that the lower level now extends throughout the rest of the mall. This woulde be a major change from what I remember. I suppose they could have converted old access corridors used for mall personnel into retail, but I have never seen that done to a mall. Anyone local care to confirm any of this?

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    RDW Reply:

    Hi “The Questioner”… Yes, there was a lower level of stores on the south side of the plaza. I remember a staircase going down to the right of “Woddies” mall entrance. This also brought you down to street level at Woodies south street level entrance. I think there was a toy/hobby shop and maybe a pool hall down their?

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    Gnc Reply:

    @TheQuestioner, There was no lower level until they closed it in. There was a stairwell but it didn’t go to the shops. There used to be a loading area around back for large ticket items, and an automotive shop in the parking lot. I don’t know who owned that, probably Montgomery Wards.

    I wish I had payed more attention! Miss the good old days.

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    Laura Reply:

    @Gnc, That was Ward’s Autobody. I lived right over the hill by Kenmont Pool. The entrance to the underground tunnel started at Mont. Wards and went down under the Plaza and came out by Woodies. It was mainly for big ticket items from the anchor stores, trash pick up from the basement of the above stores, and deliveries to some of the stores. I worked at The Swiss Colony and hated to take trash out to the docks.

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    Mary Reply:

    @Gnc,

    wis I could get the image to download but… there was a row of shops closer to the W&L end. I remember going to Vincent & Vincent, there were other shops… names will come to me eventually

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    B Bolen Reply:

    @Gnc,

    There was indeed a lower end of the Wheaton Plaza…! It had a stairway & later an escalator that rarly worked & was later removed ! Yhe lower part was only on the back side & had a few small shops & One thing I remember well was House of Lords pool hall, that was down there !

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  11. Interesting! I can definitely confirm that, as of July 2006, the entire mall is two levels. I do know of at least one mall (Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, CT) where the basement access corridor was converted into a full mall level, so it’s been done before.

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  12. In the 1960s, the mall was one level of retail. One or both of the anchors may have been two levels. However, there was a limited access stairways in the mid-plaza cross section leading to a lower level for delivery and loading operations, which had their own restricted ramps. No customers were allowed downstairs. The T section referred to above included the movie theater, the Charcoal House restaurant, the Doktors Pet shop, and a barber shop. Many of the stores along one side of the main corrider (the side facing University Blvd) had two entrances, one mallside and the other to the parking lot. This side later included a Swenson’s Icecream parlor. This was the side that included Variety Records and Calby’s Clothes. The other side had Kresge’s, Brentanos, etc. I can also remember that I went to a circus held on the land plot that was razed before the construction of the plaza. The open plaza was like an arcade with a strip of shading along the stores. All the stores had small uniform style signs hanging above. I think this mall was basically in the European post-war reconstruction mode of small stores in a uniform style joined in an arcade.

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  13. Wheaton Plaza in the 70′s through the 90′s had only a couple of areas that were more than one level. These would be the two original anchors, Wards and Woodies, and later on, the Hecht’s and the annex corridor leading to it.

    There was also a section on the rear of the mall that had a couple of tiers on the outside only. This was facing the housing/trees (or currently, the multi-level parking lot built in the 80′s.), near the Woodies end, There was a staircase leading from the lower ground level up to the outside of the mall, which was the “normal” ground floor of the rest of the mall. This is because Woodies end was on ground that sloped down, so Woodies second story was level with the rest of the mall and had a sub-floor that opened out to the parking lot. This is opposite most mall stores, such as Wheaton’s Mont. Wards store, which had it’s first floor aligned with the first level of the mall, and then had an upper level. Anyway, I think the outdoor walkway above the stairs in the back originally had entryways to stores. I think there were store units on the “ground level” that was under the walkway. This was the only part of the mall I can think of that might have been two levels originally. This area had little to no activity by the 90′s, and I can’t think of any stores that were still open there. I’m not sure if those spaces were seperate store spaces, or if they were just rear entrances to current mall stores, and that the mall stores decided that they didn’t want or need those doors.

    I’m looking forward to my next trip to MD. I am sure to be shocked by what Wheaton Plaza has become. (That is, if I can find a place to park! Used to be so easy before the garages, ironically.)

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  14. The Wheaton Plaza Montgomery Wards was once the chains division headquarters. When the store closed there was a store fixture auction that I attended. In the basement I was shocked to find an entire suite of offices that looked like a mini office complex. There were executive offices, a gigantic conference room, etc. Unlike many stores that have a small basement for storage, this facility had an entire floor dedicated to offices.

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  15. Never knew that about the Wheaton Plaza Wards! I wonder if Target has any desire to expand into that space now that the malls former “basement” is exposed. From my trips there in 2004-05, I recall it being only two levels, the ground and the upstairs of the old Wards.

    Did they have any old 70-80′s store displays or signage in the auction? I always wonder if stores keep any of that stuff when they do a remodel, or if it’s all thrown away.

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  16. Westfield Wheaton (Wheaton Plaza) is actually the oldest mall in the area, being built in 1959 as an open air shopping center anchored by Woodward & Lothrop (Woodies) on the east and Montgomery Ward on the West. As with most malls at that time, it was built with one shopping level, with storage spaces and loading docks below. When the mall was enclosed in the early 80s, they added the “space frame” roof.

    The Hecht’s was added in 1987, and they created the “T” configuration leading to it. The extention was built with two shopping levels, the upper one matching the original level, the lower matching the truck tunnel/storage level. This was where the first food court was located. The original mall also received new brick flooring and large seating areas.

    In 1995 Woodward & Lothrop went bankrupt, and JCPenney took over the 4 level space. In 1997, the mall was sold to Westfield, and subsequently renamed Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton. Their intentions were to modernize and expand the mall to bring it to the level of their malls at Annapolis and Montgomery. They also wanted to add a fourth anchor. However, May Co. (the owners of Hechts) has a tradition of not letting competing department stores into malls that they occupy, and blocked the initial efforts. It took a community petition and other wrangling to finally allow a “mystery department store” into the mall.

    During all of this, Montgomery Ward went bankrupt and closed the store there. Target came to fill the space in 2002. This 2 story Target was one of the first locations in a mall, and features a Vermaport that allows carts to transverse levels. One interesting feature was that, while the Montgomery Ward had its shopping floors located on the mall level and a level ABOVE, the Target opened with one level opening to the mall, and the other level BELOW, in the former office space. Now why would they do that?…

    In 2003, Westfield announced the biggest expansion of the mall yet. Macy’s was coming to the mall (the first in Montgomery County, in fact), in a new structure built as an extention of the Target wing. A new Food court was coming upstairs to balance the amenities, being located where the former Old Navy once stood. Plus, they were going to convert the storage/truck tunnel level into a full level of retail, adding about 50 new retailers and numerous restaurants. This would not only connect to the existing lower level near Hechts, but hook up to that lower level of Target (those Target phycics were right!) A wing that shot off from Target would be demolished in the process, and a replacement Giant was built on an outparcel of the mall.

    As luck would have it, not long before the planned opening of the Macy’s, Federated announced their buyout of May, requiring the closing of the Hecht’s in 2006. Also, a new parking garage with incorrectly built, and the rehabilitation forced a delayed opening of the Macy’s. However, the mall received a complete makeover, with dramatic skylights, wood and stone paneling, and an upscaling of tenants. Even the Old Navy is coming back by Fall 2006.

    Westfield now owns the former Hechts space, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with that…

    Note: The conversion of a storage level into a retail level has been done once before in the Washington area, at Tysons Corner Center. That’s why the Bloomingdales there has only a partial retail level that opens to the lower mall level.

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  17. I, too, recall attending a circus in a huge tent on the grounds just prior to Wheaton Plaza’s construction (1959?).

    The Giant grocery store actually pre-dated the mall, which is why it had only an exterior entrance facing University Boulevard. It has recently been replaced with a more modern, freestanding store. Other prominent retailers were Brentano’s, Hobbies & Arts, Peoples Drug, Raleigh’s and the Sport Center. Variety Records was famous for allowing you to listen to the 45s before buying them (or, more commonly, INSTEAD of buying them!). The Charcoal House became an Arthur Treacher’s, and then a Burger King. There was a huge bowling alley in the building that now houses the multiplex.

    The ice cream place was actually a Farrell’s, not Swensen’s.

    There was a truck tunnel running under the plaza, where all of the stores had their loading docks, as opposed to the “service corridors” utilized in more recent malls. This allowed virtually every store to have entrances both interior to the mall and exterior to the parking lot. As exterior customer access began to be pretty much limited to only the anchors, it made the truck tunnel space available to be converted for retail expansion by 2005. This had previously worked spectacularly in Lerner’s Tysons Corner Center in 1989.

    Anyway, for kids growing up in Wheaton during the 1960′s, Wheaton Plaza was pretty much the center of the universe.

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    Andrea Reply:

    @Tom, Hi ~ also remember Little Bo Peep Shop,
    Irving’s Sports, Franklin & Simon, Garfinckel’s,
    Fannie Mae, Beyda’s Petit’s, Chandler Shoes,
    Parklane Hosiery, the lunch counters at Ward’s,
    People’s Drugs, EJKresge’s. Good times remembering and reading all the comments!
    I worked at Baker’s Shoes (my first job ever) in high school ”71-73. Even though they just sold women’s shoes I had to wear SOLID color dresses,
    no boots, no sandals or open toe shoes, stockings,
    yup pantyhouse were just coming onto the scene.
    Had to match a purse color w/ same color of shoes,
    store was closed on Sunday’s and at 6 pm on Sat. nights. Minimun wage was $1.60, and had to use carbon paper and ring sales on a Sweda register that had a manual crank in case the power went out along w/ a laminated tax chart to add to the price of shoes. The most ritzy pair of shoes were in
    $14.99-$16.99 price range and gas was .29.9 cents a gallon – great times!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oops, meant SSKresge – was about to say
    EJ Korvette’s – that was a ltitle later in another galaxy far far away (Rockville Pike)

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  18. Wheaton should add stores like abercrombie, apple, puma!!! They have hollister, american eagle yet that is more like middle/ high school kids…I being a student from university of maryland have to commute all the way to rockville for good clothing! I guess they are trying to appeal more of their own community…

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  19. Tom, thanks for the amazing info on the original Wheaton Plaza! I never would have guessed at several of the things you mentioned.

    How long was the Giant store there before construction of the mall? It seems very stange that it would have been built where it was with no surrounding shopping center. If it was just a year or two before the mall was built, I suppose they could have planned to be attached to the mall all along and just built early. From what I understand, the plot of land Wheaton Plaza is on was just woods before its construction.

    I never knew there was a bowling alley over in the outbuilding where the Loews Theaters are now! When did it close? What other retail was over in that section? Was the office tower always part of that “island”? That building was Roth Theaters and a place called Capt. Andy’s Rivertowne (a knockoff Chuck E, Cheese) when I was a kid, Capt. Andy’s closed in the mid 80′s and the Roth took over the space, expanding from 7 to 11 screens. Then it became Loews soon after that. Upstairs was Circuit CIty and VIdeo Village Video store. They had originaly opened in the mall itself, I think where Doctor’s Pet Store used to be in the “T” section attached to Giant and the old theaters. Anyone know when the theaters inside the mall were “multiplexed”? One of the posters above mentioned it being a single screen originally.

    Was Charcoal House fast food, or a “nice” sitdown restaurant? I always remember thinking that Burger King had a lot of seating compared to most mall-based fast food restaurants. Guess that explains why. Anyone recall what was in the “Time Out” arcade space before Time Out? It was a very slim space, I can’t imagine what other business might have fit in there.

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    Mark Reply:

    @TheQuestioner,

    Charcoal House was a nice sit down restaurant with a full menu and bar. There was an open flame grill visible from the corner windows and the smell of steak sizzling was a big attraction. They also had great steak and cheese sandwich..and a light fluffy cheesecake that was a mile high..

    Another better restaurant, The Sirloin & Saddle, was tucked in a narrow entrance next to Variety Records and the Tie Bar (an offshoot of Embassy Father & Son clothing store – another Plaza landmark).

    I worked at that Wards from 1971 – 1976, and it’s where I met this beautiful coworker, who later became my wife. The Executive Offices downstairs were the District Offices, where local media and merchandising was planned out. Imagine the joy of not only having your store management looking over your shoulder, but the District Corporates as well! The Wards cafeteria got a makeover in the early 70′s to become Wards Buffeteria.

    Other retail shops not mentioned: Bo-Peep Clothing, Federal Bake Shop, Tiara Gifts, Gilbert’s Cameras, Wheaton Plaza Hi-Fi, Lamps Umlimited, a Dry Cleaners, Guardian Federal Bank, a GEICO agents office, Jellef’s, Fannie Mae Candies, Peoples Drug Store, Lerner’s, a Travel Agency and more that will come to me after I send this.

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    Karen Ehrlich Reply:

    @Mark,

    Do you remember a high-end jewelry story near Woodies (as you faced Woodies, it was on the left)? We’re tearing our hair out trying to remember…. I worked at Danneman’s fabric store, then Leonard’s draperies (near Wards) in teh 1970′s.

    Thanks.

    Karen

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    RDW Reply:

    Hi Karen! I remember a jewlery their because I bought my girlfriend a ring from their. I can’t remember the name if thou….sorry

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    Andrea Reply:

    @RDW,
    Was it Theodore Nye?

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    Michelle Reply:

    @Karen Ehrlich, Melart Jewelers. It was near the Danskins (?).

    I don’t see any mention of Lerners, Ups and Downs, SPENCER GIFTS or Merry Go Round. These were big stores in the late 70′s early 80′s.

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    PYates Reply:

    @Karen Ehrlich, Winthrop Jewelers. Got engagement ring there 47 years ago.

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    Troy Reply:

    @TheQuestioner,

    I remember Video Village only they had a abundance of terrible movies so I always called it Turkey Village for a long time until Circuit City took over the place for a while and now they’re gone.

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  20. One note: Seven Corners Center, formerly in Falls Church, VA, predates Wheaton Plaza by a couple of years. My mother talks about it already having been built when she was a little girl (she was born in 1950) and this article seems to back up her memory.

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  21. The old theater across from Doctor’s Pet Shop and Charcoal House may have been expanded I think to a couple of theaters, but the multiplex is an entirely different site located at the former bowling alley. The Charcoal House was a full service restaurant. It also had a counter. I don’t recall if it had a beverage license. It was not a destination multi-star restaurant, but it was nicer than a food court or fast food joint for a place to go after the movies. Regarding the Calby’s clothing store, I found an old ad in the Washington Post archive for “Calby’s Clothes for Boys and Young Men”. The ice cream was Farrell’s indeed. It was a relative latecomer, I think in the seventies. Now I’m confused about the drugstores. I think there was a Kresge’s, but there might have been a Peoples too. Originally, there was a Hot Shoppes restaurant/drive-in on Viers Mill Road that also had its own entrance to the plaza. Later, this became a Hot Shoppes Junior (fast food), later a Roy Rogers, and finally a Shoney’s. The Hot Shoppes Cafeteria came into the plaza later as part of the “malling”. Across Viers Mill Road was the Wheaton Triangle shopping strip and a Little Tavern steamed hamburger joint, also the famous Chuck Levine’s Music Center.

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  22. Not the biggest mall ever, but I was able to find what I needed.

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  23. The Plaza (as it was known to the Wheaton kids of the 1960′s), had a Hot Shoppes Cafeteria in the mall itself, and the Hot Shoppes restaurant was at the end of the parking lot on Veirs Mill Road, across from Washington Music Center. In addition to Kressge’s, there was a Peoples Drug Store next to Variety records. The Charcol House made the best open flame burgers, and the aroma permeated the side down by Montgomery Ward. I seem to remember a Grand Union grocery store over by the bowling alley(which was on the Georgia Ave side of the Plaza..at the end of the parking lot across from Woodies). There was also an Embassy Father and Son clothing store, as well as a Raleigh’s, several shoe stores and a tie store who’s name escapes me.

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  24. The People’s (later CVS) lasted well into the 90s. Hecht’s moved to Wheaton from downtown Silver Spring, where their old store became the nucleus for the semi-dying City Place (which has been semi-dying for over a decade). Parkington (later Ballston Common) and Marlow Heights (always an outdoor mall) predate Wheaton by several years. The original parts of Prince George’s Plaza (anchored by Grand Union & GC Murphy; Woodies’s and Hects came several years later) opened at about the same time as Wheaton.

    May used to develop multi-anchor malls, that included competitors. A good example is Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (which had Woodie’s and Sears). Another is Ballston Common, which began as a humble strip with Hecht & JC Penney.

    The tunnel was opened up for the sunken Food Court that accompanied Hect’h’s. Before the current remodel, the mall did have close-in parking on the University Blvd side, but a confusing set-up by Hecht’s, which included office space.

    Despite the remodel and healthy sized crowds, the mall already has vacancies. The clienetele is quite diverse, economically and ethnically, but a lot of people are blue collar folks who are there for the kiddie amenities and fast food. The design flaws include very inconvenient access to the Metro and ridiculous distances to get from one escalator to another (there’s none in the central court)—-my guess is that this may be for purposes of security, but it makes shopping inconvenient. The area around the mall is ethnic shopping & restaurant central–lots of Asian and Latin American places. The immediate area is afr from upscale and the mall does not seem to draw from rejuevenating parts of Silver Spring or developing areas like Olney. More upscale White Flint Mall has had its own problems, although it has attained a certain degree of stability, while losing a fair amount of retail from its upper floor.

    Woodie’s was a fairly upscale, full-line department store (not a clothing store)–think the old Federated chains like Lazarus or Rich’s in their heyday or the better Associated Dry Good’s stores like JW Robinson’s or Pogue’s. JC Penney has done a nice job with the old Woodie’s store.

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  25. When I first moved to DC in 1990, I lived across the street from Wheaton Plaza. I thought it was rather strange that a grocery store (Giant) was in a mall — although it kinda made sense! The Hot Shoppes was still open as was a chinese restaurant that had a bar and you could smoke in! For the first couple years I lived here, I worked part time at the candy counter on the first floor of the Hechts. The candy counter is long gone … and now the Hechts is too.

    Here’s an article I ran across today about the Woodies at Wheaton Plaza:

    Woodward & Lothrop Plans Wheaton Branch
    The Washington Post and Times Herald
    Mar 27, 1958, p. B8

    Woodward and Lothrop announced plans yesterday to build a $3 million, air conditioned department store in Wheaton, Md. Andrew Parker, president of Woodward and Lothrop, said the firm has negotiated a long term lease in the Wheaton Regional Shopping Center which is situated on an 80-acre tract bounded by Viers Mill rd., University blvd. west, and Georgia ave. Construction of the three story building probably will start in June, Parker said. The entire shopping center which will include 55 other stores and parking space for 5000 cars, is expected to be ready for occupancy by the fall of 1959. A Giant Food supermarket, a Hot Shoppe restaurant and a gasoline service station in the center are already open. Parker said plans for the new store call for 150,000 square feet of floor space and a community auditorium. The exterior of the store will be colonial and will determine the architectural pattern for the other stores in the center. Parker noted that the development plan for the property provides that the Woodward and Lothrop store will be the major unit in the center. The new shopping center will be situated in the heart of the Kensington-Wheaton area, a rapidly expanding, predominantly middle income section of Montgomery County. The recently completed paving of six lanes on Viers Mill rd., the proposed repaving and widening of University blvd west, the proposed construction of the circumferential highway [i.e. the Beltway], and six-lane Georgia ave., will make the center easily accessible by car from all parts of lower Montgomery County. Rental agents for the center is Eastern Shopping Centers, Inc., of Yonkers, N.Y. The same firm is also developing the 56-acre Prince George’s Plaza shopping center in University Park, Md. Woodward and Lothrop has four other suburban stores, Seven Corners, Alexandria, Chevy Chase, and Bethesda.

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  26. I lived in Kensington from 1950 to 1974. I worked at Wheaton Plaza as a young woman from 1966 to 1970. I worked at Fannie May Candy Store, across from the Hahn’s Shoe Store. Next door was Tiarra Gifts, now located at Congressional Plaza. Next to Tiarra Gifts, was a store that carried plastic models (airplanes, ships, etc.), art supplies, etc. There was a bakery next door to Tiara Gifts. There was a Barricini Candy and Ice Cream Store. A Farrells Ice Cream Parlor and at least one bank was located in the mall as well. Wheaton Plaza was one story for customers. There was a Dannaman’s, a fabric store that was on the front end of Wheaton Plaza near Woodies. Every Montgomery County Junior and HIgh School girl student shopped there for all their sewing projects. There was Beckers, a luggage/leather store and many shoe and dress speciality stores. On the other side of Wheaton Plaza (back side) there was a bowling alley, a Grand Union grocery store, and C&P Telephone Company. Front end had a AAA office and on the hill there was a restaurant as well – I think it was a Hot Shoppes, turned Big Boy, turned Shoney’s, turned whatever else. Directly across the street there was a hotel with a skating rink, a McDonald’s restaurant, a Howard JOhnson’s restaurant in front of the hotel. Giant Food Store was also part of the mall (sort of) and the Hot Shoppes Cafeteria was the best place for eating. There was and still is a swimming club. There always was a small travelling amusement show that came every summer. I have fond memories of Wheaton Plaza and surely miss the old Wheaton Plaza. My brother actually was the Easter Bunny one year. Wheaton Plaza began to change when the riots occured after Martin Luther King’s death.

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    L. Smith Reply:

    @Katrina Blair,

    Thanks for posting about the Wheaton Plaza I knew. I spent my first ten years in that area and made some of my earliest and happiest memories there. It was wonderful that it was a single story, for customers, and that it was open air. I remember trips w/ my Mom to the Plaza, and she’d let me clamber up onto those elevated ledges that enclosed a number of planting areas. I remember People’s Drugstore, and the pet shop. And I have a memory of a water fountain with a sculpture somewhat resembling a large cheese grater, but I’m not at all sure that was at the Plaza. We moved around 1970. Wish I could go back in time some way, via pictures or home movies or something, and see it the way it was. Wish they hadn’t changed the name.

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    Andrea Reply:

    @Katrina Blair, Hi – I worked at Baker’s Shoes
    from 1971-73 while in high school. As far as I know it’s the only original store still there (well, since probably before I worked there) as well as Lerner’s which is now called NewYork New York.
    There was also a Parklane Hosiery, Beyda’s Petite’s, Chandler Shoes, I want to say Garfinckel’s but don’t think that’s correct – it was a high end store for the time where my dad would splurge once in a while on his suits (?). A women’s store
    towards the W&L where older women used to rip your dressing curtain open and tell you what you
    wore into the store looked “beau-tee-ful” ‘cuz they
    were on commission and trying hard to sell, ugh.
    Later came a jeans store owned by Giant Food, then The Gap, Wilson’s Leather, Ritz Camera.
    There was actually an escalator on the back side
    where you walked past the Hobby store which was under cover (so cool!) and below were IRS, and few other business type store fronts. There was a hair salon across from the theatres and my hairdresser would even smoke while cutting my hair (remember those times?) The stores would all
    close at 6 pm on Sat. evenings and NOTHING was
    open on Sunday’s, OMG I am old but still like to shop!

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  27. Interesting reading .I grew up in Wheaton and remember when ” The Plaza ” was the place to be seen.My friends and I used to hang out at the House of Lords Billiards on the lower level by the outside escalators. We also spent many a day at the Fairlanes bowling alley on the south side of the parking lot. When it was built I believe it was the fifth largest mall in the country.I recently visited the new facility and the old mall is virtually unrecognizable except for the old Woodies building on the east side (currently Penny’s). Thanks for the memories.

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  28. Eastern Shopping Centers (the original developer) was a partially owned subsidiary of Grand Union. Odd that they let the Giant open first.

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  29. I saw it when it was just stores & no roof as well as seeing it being built.

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  30. The old Hecht’s store is now a furniture store.

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  31. The Former South Lake Mall in Hobart , Indiana is now Called the Westfield ShoppingTown.

    What a cornball slogan.

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  32. I grew up right behind the wheaton plaza. I had the time of my life. I started going to the mall by myself when I was 8 and my parents did not know where I was. I remember the wheaton rescue squad use to sell Christmas trees in the new parking lot across from the old Montgomery wards. That is where the circus use to come when it was just a field. I use to help them sell the trees when I was small for money. I miss that. I also remember a place called the orange bowl next to peoples drug store. They had a slushey orange drink that was so good. They also sold pretzels. Does any one remember that. I did not see anyone write anything about that. I remember when I use to go to river town and get pizza. Then I remember the Loews theater was built and I went to see teenage mutant ninja turtles. I remember the day they started building the Weaton station red line. I would get on the train by myself when I was 10.
    I would not do that now at my age and I am 28. The metro brought a lot of crime to the area. I went back to visit 2 years ago and it was so different.
    Their use to be a tong bore Chinese restaurant in the plaza where my dad would always be getting drunk. now that restaurant is on University blvd. They have the best food. I use to go to Kenmont pool down the hill where
    wards was, now target. I have alot of good child hood memories. I use to make money by selling lemonade out side of Giant food store. I also use to help people put their groceries in their car. I worked alot around the plaza to have money to get stuff from the mall.

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  33. It’s so interesting reading all of these emails about Wheaton Plaza. I grew up in Silver Spring, walking distance from the plaza if you took shortcuts through neibhorhoods and a rec. center. It’s nice to read about what the plaza was like in the mid 60′s late 70′s as I remember it.

    Thanks for the memories!

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    Paris the third Reply:

    @Cindy, Yeah me too! That’s how I would get to wheaton plaza, by walking through neighborhoods, an then finally, through someone’s backyard then up a little wooded hill, on a dirt path, then…wala! Your in the back parking lot! I was like 8yrs. old., But it seemed almost” magical” how it worked. I would walk all the from Menlo Ave. off Capital View Rd.

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  34. Weaton Plaza was the best! I am soooo glad somebody remembered the Orange Bowl! AND Farrells??? The best place a kid could celebrate their birthday.OMG, going to “The Plaza” as a kid was the best, I remember when it rained and you ran in the stores! Raliegh’s, Merry Go Round, Hot Shoppes, Tung Bor’s egg rolls! I met my first boyfriend at the Arcade. Wow, I used to catch the bus with firends at 12 and13. My son is 16, and I won’t let him go anywhere near Wheaton alone. WOW, Thanks for the memories, and the reality check! Adding Starbuck’s and Ann Taylor still doesn’t it make the mall safe! Hey!! what ever happend to those little girls that disappeared? That was the biggest thing of the 80′s Truth or Myth???

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    RDW Reply:

    @Ecain, Hi Ecain… yes there was a kidnapping back in the mid 70′s. To sisters together were taken either on their way home or to the Wheaton Plaza. Last name was Lyon I believe. Their father was a well known area radio broadcaster for WMAL. This event totally shook up that Wheaton-Kensington area, as the two girls were never seen or heard from again….Very sad!!

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  35. i would like to add what i know about WHEATON PLAZA. but first an observation on the Westfield naming shenanegan: i get the impression that the marketing people at westfield are a little old-fashion, consider apparently they tried to push the logo “Shopping-Town”, as a 25 year old and a local, i think that is especially corny.
    Anyhow, i remember taking my new bike for a “hard” ride up Georgia Ave. from the Forest Glen Metro station, i turned around at Wheaton plaza, and on the way back, 3 or 4 hoodlum kids tried to fight me for my bike, i never got off my bike, i drove through them on the sidewalk going back south, i remember being quite scared.
    Also, Westfield Wheaton is a big attraction for a lot of students at Einstein High School, which is about a mile out from Westfield Wheaton. So is the Mc Donalds, i remember walking with friend to his house, and we’d usually walk through Wheaton plaza, we’d buy candy at Candy Stop, and then we’d eat the candy while lounging on the sofas at Hecht’s.

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  36. I remember there being an Arthur Treachers right across from the movie theater. On the other end of the plaza, next to the Woody’s there was a fabric store. Also there was a record store there for quite awhile, can’t remember if it was a Kemp Mill Records

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  37. No one mentioned County Seat? I worked there for years. Spencers gifts? Got my ears pierced there. Liked to look at the lava lamps. The Orange Bowl was great for pizza and soft ice cream. Farrell’s – man, half the kids from Kennedy High School worked or ate there (myself included), I still remember my favorite order: Rocky Road sundae with marshmallow topping. Green River sodas, ice cream volcanoes, happy face sundaes, and the old-fashioned candy store on the way out. I remember buying Duran Duran posters at the record store. Roast beef sandwiches at the ol’ Roy Rogers. Saw Star Wars, Predator, and Platoon at the old movie theater across from Arthur Treatchers, after buying candy at the People’s Drug Store to sneak in. Saturday matinées for $2. Loved the mashed potatoes with gravy at Hot Shoppes.

    I still remember when it was open air. Those were the days.

    The mall is completely unrecognizable now to anyone who used to know it. Kinda sad. But everything changes, I guess

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  38. I didn’t go to The Orange Bowl and Wheaton, but I remember them having locations at Manassas Mall, Seven Corners Center, and Springfield Mall. Of these, the longest-remaining one was Springfield Mall where it was renamed Pizza Xpress, I believe. The Orange Bowl’s pizza was always my favorite mall pizza. Pizza Xpress was still using the original The Orange Bowl recipe last time I was there…which was in 1996. I don’t know if they are still there or not or if they’ve changed the recipe. The Orange Bowl’s frozen orange drink was called the Ojoy.

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  39. Just wanted to answer some questions.
    The missing girls were the Lyon sisters, abducted from the Plaza in the mid 70′s…it is NO myth and they were never found.
    There was a record store, Variety Records, next to the People’s Drug Store, it may have changed over to Kemp Mill in the mid to late 70′s…but for years it was where you went to listen to new 45RPM records before you bought them…if you ever bought them.
    There were 2 grocery stores, Giant and Grand Union. The Giant was up next to the movie theaters and Montgomery Ward…the Grand Union was on the far end of the Parking lot across from Woodies.

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    Ross Goldberg Reply:

    @MW,

    Variety Records was there until the latter half of the 80s. My dad had started and owned it…if I remember correctly, he sold it to We[e] Three Records (a UK chain), which did not last very long.

    My uncle on the other side of the family owned Irving’s Sports Shop.

    That was a cool era…as kids, we used to hang out at Variety downstairs under the Wheaton Plaza store (where the additional inventory was kept). When he had the grand reopening/remodeling of the Tysons Corner store, Joe Theismann was there signing autographs.

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  40. The Lyon sisters were no myth.There father was ( and still may be ) a radio announcer on WMAL. Dont forget about Kresges, Hobbies and Arts,
    Embassy Father and Son,Ralieghs,Hot Shop Cafeteria,The Tie Bar,Fannie May Candies,Tiara gifts,and I believe what may have been the first self service post office ( all coin operated ) out in the north parking lot.
    Also there was a pet store across from the theaters ,a lamp and shade shop and Wards auto center.

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  41. OMG!!! Thanks for all the memories everyone! I grew up there in the late 70′s/early 80′s and remember county seat, merry go round, and the Orange bowl. The arthur treachers was next to the burger king (the burger king was new)…used to go the movies across from that bk as a little girl. I think I saw snow white there! I remember the roy rogers and right next to it was a store that sold lisa frank stickers during the big sticker-collecting craze of 4th thru 6th grades. The Kresge’s did not have the lunch counter any longer, but when I first started going to the mall it was open air. There was no extra wing with the Hecht’s…it was a super safe place, at least it seemed that way to me then…heard about a drive by shooting that happened right in front of the mall in the 90′s…very sad. Never had heard of the lyon sisters, but in the 80′s there were reports of a molester van trolling for children in the area taking pictures.

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  42. I don’t know how I came across this website but I am sitting here just smiling about the memories. I was born in 1970 and lived at the plaza from the 70′s through the 80′s. I remember going to the “open air” plaza when I was little and right in the center they would, once a year, have a petting zoo come. That was always a highlight. I lived in Kensington and when I started going to the plaza I would always here “Becareful, dont forget about the Lyon sisiters” I still think about them. They were last seen at the plaza, I believe around the Orange Bowl. My friends and I would hang out and shop at Merry-go-Round, eat at the Orange Bowl, at Kresges or in the restruant in Montgomery Wards. Thats the only place we saw movies in the 80′s (the theatres by Giant, not the new one). The movie I remember seeing the most was “Purple Rain”. In the summer, we swam at Kenmont and would go over and get lunch at Roy Rogers. The memories are endless but I have to mention Farrells. I remember going there for birthdays. They had that special named after a mountain that I cant seem to remember. It was like 30 some scoops of ice cream. When it was ordered, they would run up and down the restuant shouting. Then when you went to pay they had that candy store. Where did the time go. I also use to work at Tiara gifts in the 80′s and would eat at the Subway next door. The other big thing was when The Gap opened nest to Hot Shoppes. Everyone shopped there.

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  43. My Grandparents lived in Four Corners and would take my brother and I to Wheaton Plaza in the 70′s which was an all outdoor mall. I remember Hot Shoppes was the best with awesome food. I remember we would play on those stone knee-high bush enclosures that ran right down the middle. That’s where people would sit to eat or enjoy an ice cream. Later I loved going to Farrells and the Orange Bowl with friends after school. I remember applying for my first job at Ward’s Garden Center toward the back of the Mall in ’83 I think.. I snuck in under age to see Animal House at the theaters. As a side note, I worked at Anchor Inn as a busboy and bartender in the 80′s and was VERY disappointed to hear of its demise! I met my wife there and we would always go back to celebrate an anniversary or something. When they were digging for subway construction, I remember the whole restaurant would shake from the explosives or whatever as they tunneled below. They had the best haddock sandwich and cream of crab soup anywhere!

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    debra Reply:

    @Joe, is this joe clark? that married lindsay? i just found this website. so many cool memories of growing up in wheaton.

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    Joe Reply:

    @debra, hey Debra (S?) If you are who I think you are drop me a line some time. Sorry haven’t been on this site for a long while! Hope all is well:)

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  44. I remember talking to the guy at the Hobby and Arts store when they were closing. He was saying that the rents just kept going up and they couldn’t afford ‘em anymore. ISTR this was shortly before they added the Hechts wing, but I may well be confuesed about that. And of course the dissapearance of the Lyon sisters was HUGE NEWS and definately affected the amout of freedom we kids had at the time. I remember when the original theater expanded from one screen to several. The new screens were dinky by comparison to the original. And of course a fair amount of time was spent plalying BATTLEZONE at the arcade near there.

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  45. Wow – the memories. I grew up in Wheaton – behind Dick Steven’s Chevrolet and Wheaton Dodge. My first job was at the Limited at the Plaza. I still remember when I was 12 and being (finally) allowed to go to the plaza with my friends (no parents!). My mom and dad still live in Wheaton and told me about the opening of the lower level. I remember when I worked at the Limited that the downstairs was where we stored manequins for all the stores in the district. Also remember being scared to death to take out the trash b/c the “truck tunnel” area was just creepy as heck to me! I was a child of the 70s/80s so I remember Pants Corral (later County Seat), Ups ‘n Downs, Foxmoor Casuals and of course Woodies! I remember the old Kresge’s which was accross from the huge Lerner store (that was later turned into a nicer Lerner and a Lane Bryant, i think). And how about Gallenkamp’s and Hahn Shoes? They were accross from each other in the center of the mall. And yep, I remember Tung Bor. As a teen I was thrilled that they didn’t “card” – so we would go out and get a couple of beers with no hassle.

    Quick question for anyone who was at the plaza in the seventies. As a kid I remember a HUGE store near the woodies end. I think it was called “J. Franklin” – but not sure. It later became The Limited and Waldenbooks (they basically divided the space into 2 stores). Does anyone remember this store?

    The Wheaton area sure has changed….I still remember the old Country Boy market next to the Safeway…now its the Metro station with condos being built above it…

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    Sharon Reply:

    @Liz,
    I think the store you remember was Frankline and Simon. I bought my Senior Prom dress there in 1966.

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    RDW Reply:

    Hi Liz! Yeah…It was Frankline & Simone,and another store you might be thinking of was L.Frank. Right?

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    PYates Reply:

    @RDW, both Franklin Simon and L.Frank were there.

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  46. I think the store you are thinking of was J. Riggins.

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  47. According to wikipedia, the furniture store currently occupying the former Hecht’s is going to close, and by the end of the year, it will be a Kohl’s. It also says something about a Steve & Barry’s opening in the mall. Anyone have any more info on this? I can’t possibly imagine where S&B’s would go, unless the owners split level the old hecht’s/furniture store….

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  48. I just went to the Steve & Barry’s website and they list “Westfield Wheaton” – coming soon.

    I think you might be on to something…I can’t see either S&B or Kohl’s taking up both levels…maybe each will occupy one floor.

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  49. AJ – thanks for helping me jog my memory. It actually wasn’t J. Riggings I was thinking of – Rather “Franklin Simon” — But I guess in my memory I combined both of the stores names. But when I saw your response it made me remember Franklin Simon – go figure!

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  50. Liz,
    Glad I could help. I grew up close to you. Down the street from the CO-OP and Wheaton Dodge ( which used to be Mrs. Nichols house,with the wishing well ) . I saw Wheaton Plaza being built as a young boy.Lots of memories.

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  51. Don”t forget the Hechingers and the carpet store between Wards and Giant

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  52. I worked for years at Dannemann’s near Woodies in the late 60′s, it was the most wonderful fabric store, like a fabric supermarket with a ‘cutting island’ (four counters as I recall, and a big central shelf to put the bolts of fabric once they’d been used), a double-sided pattern counter where you could sit for hours and look through the really exhausting catalogues, a whole wall of haberdashery, a huge separate section of curtaining and upholstery fabric, a giant table of remnants (we were continually tidying them), aisles and aisles of bolts of fabric of all kinds, and as I recall, at least four cash registers. In those days every time anyone wanted to use a credit card (it was almost always Central Charge) we’d have to look up the number in a rather chunky booklet to be sure it hadn’t been reported as stolen. It used to slow up the checkouts terribly, especially as we had to manually ring up every item – no scanning in those days and the credit cards had to be put through a manual machine with a duplicate form that then had to be filled out by hand – how LONG it all took! Dannemann’s used to have wonderful ‘Everything 20% Off” sales and we salesgirls would be allowed to come in an hour earlier than opening time and have first pick, also adding our own assistant’s 20% discount to the sale 20%. I recall that the arrangement was that we could ‘charge’ our purchases against our paychecks – some of the girls would end up getting a paycheck of $2 after all their charges had been deducted…

    I remember Hobbies and Arts – I bought a set of lino cutters for making blocks for blockprinting there in probably about 1967 – I’ve lived in the UK now for 37 years and made my living at blockprinting – and I still use those cutters, they even still have the ‘Hobbies and Arts’ price ticket on the box!

    Wheaton Plaza was for sure the centre of our social lives – I too can remember sitting on the edge of those raised shrub beds in the centre of the mall – then of course open to the sky – and meeting up with friends there.

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    L. Smith Reply:

    @J Trahair, Oh goodness, I loved those raised shrub beds. When I was small, I’d climb up and run along the ledges. I’m thinking that Dad must’ve taken me to Hobbies and Arts to buy the materials I needed for a papier mache project at school. I made a papier mache Snoopy, then painted him yellow and black, instead of white and black. My 4th grade teacher asked it she could keep it for something, some display or such, but I declined. I still have it. : )

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  53. Back in the day (1980′s) before they opened the metro the buses would stop in front of what was Woodie’s and is now Penny’s and loop around behind what was Montgomery Ward’s and is now Target before continuing north. They just removed the pay phones from where the stop was in front of Woodie’s in the last few years. Last time I checked the marks were still
    on the concrete from where the pay phone bases were. Einstein High School was less than a mile away if you knew the short cut. The lower level did exist
    back then but it was just a truck loading dock- no stores. I can’t think of any of the small stores that are still in the same location as those days.There were video games throughout the plaza and at the old wheaton arcade on University Blvd. Not now . What do the kids do these days?

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    Mary Reply:

    @Dave, Originally… On the outside lower level there was a Beauty Parlor, as they used to call them, cannot remember the name. I think there was an optician.

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  54. I came upon this site while trying to find out if the Lyon girls were ever found. I got the answer after reading a bunch of remarks, which brought back some great memories for me too.

    I lived in Kensington and often rode the bus to Wheaton plaza. I remember when the movie prices went up to $3.50 and I thought that was outrageous! I also remember Casual Corner and Foxmore clothing stores near the Woodies.

    But most of all I remember when the Lyon girls went missing and how that affected my decission to go anywhere alone from that point on. Knowing what we know now about abductions, I have to wonder who got them. I will never forget that time in my life.

    I have not been to Wheaton Plaza in at least 20 yrs., but my sister filled me in on all of the changes that were going on. She said it’s a desparate attempt to keep the place going. Maybe it’s time to flatten the mall and start from scratch!

    [Reply]

    RDW Reply:

    Hi Jeannette! Yeah…The Lyon sisters were never found…very,very sad. I grew up in the “Wheaton Hills” area, north-east of the “Plaza” 1954 to 1972. The last time I drove past my old neighborhood, I noticed all the houses basement and first floor windors were barred up. Very sad! The area has gotten very dangerous. I’d be terrified to walk down to the corner mail box!

    [Reply]

  55. I am writing a history of Wheaton, Maryland. It is an Arcadia book so primarily a photo history of Wheaton since all their books have the same format of a few pages of text followed by 120-200 photos with captions. Since this is rather long I will mention up front that I am very interested in hearing from people who saw the circus in Wheaton. You can skip to the last paragraph if you want to know why and are in a hurry.

    I will send along information about the development of the Plaza after I meet my looming deadline in the next few weeks. There are not a great many photos of the Plaza in the early days (I have one from MNCPPC) but there are lots of aerials. A lot of photos of the parking lot exist which was one of the big selling points to many people.

    I would like to mention that the area is not a super crime take your life in your hands if you should visit place. It does have a rather unappealing facade but is in the process of change with the recent changes to the restrictive overlay zone. That was added before the Metro opened when the residents feared high rises in their neighborhood and destruction of their community. The overlay zone implemented at that time required property owners to invest in engineering studies for just about any type of improvement including awnings. The cost of the studies was so prohibitive that not much changed in the area until the recent amendments to the law. Much of the retail around the mall was built only a few years before the mall was constructed as were most of the homes in the area. Most of the retail construction was serviceable but not cutting edge. There was a lot of concern about parking and the creation of a parking district. My belief is that builder’s feared that what they put up might be condemned so they did not want to over invest. This is my theory which I have come to after reading public testimony from the late 40s and early 50s for the Kensington-Wheaton Master Plan completed in the mid50s.

    I am especially interested in the comments about the circus that was at the Plaza. I have photos (pr variety) and would like to use one for the cover but am looking for input from people who went to the performances. It seems that you are my group. Where can I send some photos to get some feedback?

    thanks in advance,
    Laura-leigh

    [Reply]

    L. Smith Reply:

    @Laura-Leigh Palmer, when your book is ready, will you post here and let us know? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  56. My sister and I used to regularly walk to Wheaton Plaza from our home in the English Orchard development off Randolph Road. We were the same ages as the Lyons sisters (12 and 10) when they disappeared. In fact, we had walked to the mall the day before the Lyons were abducted. We were never allowed to walk there again. I think the most terrible, haunting thing about that incident was the fact they were never found. Many years later, I heard their brother grew up to become a police officer.

    [Reply]

    Harley Reply:

    @Kim, I just wanted to add something as someone who also grew up in Wheaton with my sister and was not allowed to walk there. Just about a year ago on one of the ‘Have You Seen Me?’ flyers that come in the mail, the Lyons sisters were pictured with age progression photos. It broke my heart to see that after all these years we still don’t know anything. But it warmed me a little to see that the story is being kept alive and they are always looking for information. I hope their brother finds some peace of mind one day. Thanks for mentioning that.

    [Reply]

  57. Steve & Barry’s is STILL listed on their official website as “Coming Soon”. Cross your fingers. It ain’t gonna happen.

    [Reply]

  58. About the lower levels of this mall: Only Woodward & Lothrop was 3 stories – 2 full levels and a basement. Montgomery Ward was 2 stories. The mall originally was designed around an open (outdoor) court. It was a big deal in the late 1970s when the roof was installed enclosing the mall.

    [Reply]

  59. Wow, how things change but I have fond memories. From those big round globe lights at the entrance to the Charcoal House. My Dad and I used to see movies and we would eat there first. i still have pictures of my b-day parties at Farrrels in 1975. My sis and I would take the bus and spend the day at their annual sidewalk sales before down the street to the ice rink. I remember the toys at Murphys and Hecht co’s bargain basement. I loved the orage bowl and walking by Docktor pets. My sis worked at the Anchor inn in the early 70′s and I remember them building the i-hop close by. By the way the bank was Citizens Bank and Trust.

    [Reply]

  60. I must admit Wheaton has changed quite a bit from when I use to work there in the mid 80′s. I too worked at Anchor Inn and remember the stores close by that have since closed down-including Anchor Inn. I recall the girls from Noggins Hair would stop by after work. Bailey’s Pharmacy was always a frequent stop. After work we liked to go to Barnybys or Ferdinands, or Royal Mile Pub for a cold one. When our ice machine went on the fritz, we would get big bags from Elbe’s Beer and wine across the street…and maybe a few lottery numbers! Nicks was always nice joint for breakfast as was Ihop. Wheaton Rescue Squad was always there if you needed them. I recall the big postal facility that was next door to WRS. I think it’s a strip mall now. And of course Wheaton Lumber across the street which is now town homes if memory serves.

    [Reply]

  61. Laura-Leigh Palmer,

    I can only assume hat your deadline has come and gone, but I attended the circus there. It was in 1959, just before the plaza was opened. As I recall , it was under a huge tent down on the Viers Mill Road side, roughly where the Circuit City is now. I was in Kindergarten, and my most vivid memory is of the man being shot from a cannon.

    I am so looking forward to your Arcadia book!

    Tom

    [Reply]

  62. Can someone here please help me with something. Back in the 1980s, my mother used to take my young cousin to this restaurant in Wheaton. I believe it was a vegetarian restaurant, and I know for sure my young cousin loved the macaroni and cheese bowl they served. I’m also sure it was located on Georgia Avenue, where China Chef currently is. Can someone please help me with the name of this place. My mother would get a kick out of knowing. She can’t remember, and she brings it up from time to time. Thank you very much.

    [Reply]

  63. Michael,

    I believe the restaurant you’re thinking of was called The Fresher Cooker. As I recall, it was only open from around 1984 to 1987 or so.

    [Reply]

  64. I remember Wheaton Plaza 68-73 time frame. What I remembered most was the area. I remember the McDonalds and ice skating rink there. I also remember DUCK PIN BOWLING in Wheaton. And I also remember the HOUSE OF PANCAKES, and I remember the cute little house that sold hamburgers. LITTLE TAVERN. Best mini burgers, it put White Castle and Krystals to shame. I remember BURGER CHEF somewhere in the area. Somebody mentioned KEMP MILLS. I remember KEMP MILLS had its own plaza we used to go to all the time. Had a chinese place that sold great egg rolls. The plaza had a pond with a nice fountain in the middle where I would ice skate on when it froze over in the winter. I loved that place. I’m talking a very long time ago.

    [Reply]

  65. Oh, wow, the memories… I’m 37 so I only vaguely remember Wheaton Plaza being open-air.

    One of my earliest memories is of my dad explaining to me how far “a mile” is. I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. One mile was the distance from our first house to W.P.

    I remember Hobbies & Arts and how sad it was to see it close (late 80s). I worked at the Swensen’s ice cream kiosk in the mall. I think we were right across from the Orange Bowl – or some other restaurant that served crappy pizza.

    I’ll never forget the Cap’n Andy’s on the southeast outparcel. That was always good for video games.

    [Reply]

  66. You want a history on Wheaton Plaza? Well not sure I can provide a full history, but I can tell you that when my family moved from Takoma Park to Silver Spring/Wheaton in 1972 Wheaton Plaza was an OPEN mall. Montgomery Wards was the anchor at one end and Woodrow and Lorthrop aka Woodies was the anchor at the other end. And in between was Merry Go Round, Farrells Ice Cream Parlor, Orange Julius, Hahns shoes, Thom McCann Shoes, The Pants Corral (which shold Levi jeans brand), Hot Shoppes, Kresge’s etc. There was a slight awning/overhang just around the store front entrances and if it rained thats where we walked.

    [Reply]

  67. I believe that the enclosure of Wheaton Plaza happened around 1980 or 81, not in the 1970s. My parents have pictures of me as a first grader with my elementary school chorus, singing a concert in the center of the open-air plaza. (all bundled up in our coats, you can see our breath) And you can see the Hot Shoppes sign in the background.
    I got my first pair of glasses at Wood Opticians, which was then across Georgia Avenue from Woodies. I remember that the first thing my newly-corrected (nearsighted) eyes saw with my glasses on was the cursive “Woodward & Lothrop” sign on the building.
    My father worked his way through college selling shoes at Hahn’s.

    [Reply]

  68. Now I know why there were old, bricks it makes me wonder why there were bricks not tiles. I moved to wheaton in 2002, it makes me nervous living there knowing about crimes, but had no choice. I walk to the mall in daytime. Alot of things have changed since 2002 to 2008. I remember the giant before they closed it under construction and the eatery was downstairs. now leaving a hole in the ceiling where the escalator used to be right there in eatery area. During the first few years there was Kay bee toys which went out of business!!, I have seen them working on the bricks and tiles, putting big wall in middle of the malls where they made a hole to the floor to see the lower level. I went to the international store knowing that place is not going to last long, so I got a chance to see the cool stuff in that store just in time for out of business!! I’m happy for the eatery to be moved up to the JCpenney so i can grab something to eat on my way out the door to walk back home. I hate the most is walking from Target to giant as people do not stop at the crosswalk, I’m trying to get across to giant or Starbucks where people are driving so fast.. I did not know the mall was an open air.. is that why there is a bird flying in the mall LOL… a bird can’t get out!!! I wonder why there are 2 starbucks.. one lower level and other outside inthe parking lot across from Gaint. I have been going to the mall by bus and walking after hearing the recent shooting 2 days before christmas is scary. as I was there last week and thursday. I hope they stop all these crimes!!!

    [Reply]

  69. I WAS A SECURITY GUARD AT THE WHEATON ”PLAZA” IN 1980 81
    MY MOTHER WAS THE MNGR OF FANNY MAE CANDY FROM 76-90
    BEFORE THAT SHE RAN BARACINIS CANDY DOWN AT THE END BY WARDS ……….I WORKED THE NIGHT SHIFT …I KNOW EVERY INCH OF THAT MALL HA HA……. I USE TO GOON THE ROOF OF THE NORTH OFFICE BUILDING AND TAKE IN THE VIEW …………………..
    YOU CAN SEE THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT AND CAPITOL BUILDING FROM UP THERE ITS NOT TO FAR AWAY……ALSO WENT TO THE CARNIVALS THEY USE TO HAVE BY THE POOL …………IN THE 60′S THE MALL WAS OPEN AND AT CHRISTMAS THEY HAD THESE LITTLE HOUSES YOU COULD LOOK IN AND SEE SANTA’S HELPERS WORKING..I WONDER WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THOSE
    ANYWAY THE LERNER CORPORATION USE TO OWN THE MALL AND I HEARD THAT THE LAND ITS ON IS NOT OWNED BY THE MALL BUT LEASED………….A 100 YR CONTRACT SUPPOSEDLY

    OH THE MEMORIES….WHEATON WAS A GREAT PLACE TO GROW UP THEN………….AMERICANA…………

    [Reply]

  70. Wow…this is bring back so many memories. Thank you…every one of you for making this so exciting to read. I have a question….Does anyone remember the name of the little “boutique”, I believe it was next to the gift shop/Fanny Mae Candies and it had an parking lot entrance as well as a mall entrance. I thought it began with a B. It’s been driving me crazy for years.
    Also, I wanted to add something about Country Boy that was located on Georgia Avenue … my father and his best friend who happened to live across the street from us (Charles Wilhelm, Brenda’s dad) would always want to skip out and get a beer a few nights a week, but the wives didn’t like that too much…so the owner of Country Boy at that time got smart and stocked the place with bread and milk. So the boys would tell their wives that they were going out for milk and bread, which they did mind you, but also got a few beers also and had a good ol time.
    Ok..one more thing. Does anyone have any old pictures of classes at Glenmont Elementary School from 1963-1969. I would give anything to be able to walk through that building again. Unfortunately they did tear it down. Not sure what is there now. I was able to grab a brick for my sister Donna and I though….
    Again….thanks for the great memories everyone!!!..

    [Reply]

  71. Linda, did you attend Glenmont Elementary? I grew up on Billman Lane and went to Glenmont from 1969 to 1973. You say it’s been torn down?? I did not know that. I viewed a satellite photo of the area recently and can see there are buildings there but they look nothing like the old school. I see, too, the area behind the school, which used to be fenced-off behind a couple of old (and scary-looking) farm houses, is now a housing develoment. That gave me a pang. Oh well, you can’t stop progress!

    [Reply]

    L. Smith Reply:

    @Kim, Heartbreaking to hear that Glenmont Elementary has been torn down! I remember my first day of kindergarten, and a lot of good memories there. Many good teachers- Mr. MacIntosh, Mrs. Figleman (sp?), Mrs. Kabisch (sp?)- and maybe Mr. Rockwell, but he might have been at Pleasant View Elementary- in fact I think he was. This was during the mid to late 60′s. Driving from Maine to SC in the 90′s, I made a deliberate detour just to see the old neighborhood on Flack Street, and Glenmont, my old school. I asked permission to walk through the building and was given the okay. So many memories. I was by myself, and when I came out, I was crying like a child. Was amazed at the emotional response it called forth. I wish it was still there. : (

    [Reply]

    RDW Reply:

    Aah yes! Good old Pleasant View Elementary! I attended there from fall 1959 to spring 1966. Walked about 10 blocks or so from the Wheaton Hills area. Attended the triad of Kensington schools there…Pleasant View, Newport,and Einstein. I do remember our Dad would by us kites at Wheaton News Stand, and we would drive up to the Glenmont Elementary School field to fly them. Great times!!

    [Reply]

    MHendler Reply:

    @RDW,
    I attended Pleasant View Elementary during 1959-1960. When to Town and Country 60-61. Then back to Pleasant View 61-63. Moved and went to Rock Creek Palisades 63-68. Then the rest of the normal path, Newport, Einstein.

    [Reply]

    DDC Reply:

    @MHendler, must have gone with you too as looks like I did with rdw. Went to them all pleasant Newport n aehs class 72

    [Reply]

    DDC Reply:

    @RDW, don’t know who u are but I entered pleasant view at age 5 in 1959 we must have gone to school together

    [Reply]

  72. THE GIFT SHOP NEXT TO MY MOMS CANDY STORE
    ”FANNIE MAE” WAS CALLED ‘TIARES GIFTS”
    ALSO I PLAYES BASEBALL ON THE FIELD BEHIND GLENMONT ELEMENTARY………..IN THE 60′S THE SCHOOL IS GONE ALL
    BUT FOR THE AUDITORIUM…..WHERE I USE TO ATTEND BOYSCOUT MEETINGS………….THERE IS AN ALUMNI SITE AT REUNION .COM

    [Reply]

    L. Smith Reply:

    @RICK HAYSLIP, Remember that breezeway that connected two buildings, and the lunch area outside it?

    [Reply]

    RICK HAYSLIP Reply:

    @L. Smith, HEY THERE YEAH I DO REMEMBER ALL OF GLENMONT ELEMENRTY I PLAYED SOFTBALL THERE FOR THE WHEATON BOYS CLUB, AND USE TO MEET IN THE GYM FOR BOYSCOUTS….I REMEMBER SEEING THESE THREE BIG PICTURES ON THE WALLS OF ARIAL PHOTOS OF THE DEVELOPEMENT OF WHEATON FROM THE 40′S 50′S AND 60′S WONDER WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THEM…..

    [Reply]

  73. This is very interesting information. I actually worked at the Montgomery Wards from 1965 – 1967 when I went into the Navy. When I saw what Westfield did to Wheaton Plaza I was stunned. The original shopping center configuration was Montgomery Wards at one end, and Woodward & Lothrup at the other. 1/2 way down the center open air stip was a short (20 – 30 yards) branch to the right as you were walking from Wards toward Woodies. On the left of that branch was the Hot Shoppes Cafeteria.

    Now what stunned me is the lower level. In the original shopping center configuration there was a ramp that started out by the Wards Automotive center in the parking lot on the other side of Wards from University Blvd. This ramp ran down under the stores to an underground tunnel where each store had a loading dock. The current downstairs area of Target used to the the Montgomery Wards warehouse and offices. I found it fascinating that they turned the tunnel into the centerline walkway of the malls lower level, and all of the storerooms for the 1st level shops have been converted to storefronts.

    To me this is truly an engineering marvel.

    Does anyone happen to have any photos of Wheaton Plaza from the 1960 – 1990 range?

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    RDW Reply:

    Hi Jim! Yeah! I’d love to see a volume of photos of Wheaton Plaza From 1959 to present!

    [Reply]

  74. News: Kohl’s has backed out of the vacant Hecht’s space, but several other retailers may now be looking at the space:

    http://www.gazette.net/stories/072308/wheanew201457_32359.shtml

    Jim Hill, if you have not been to Tysons Corner Center since the late 1980′s, go stop by sometime. The lower delivery tunnel was converted into mall space in 1989 much like the loading area at Wheaton Plaza. It is an amazing sight to see!

    ()

    [Reply]

  75. Jim Hill,

    Garden State Plaza in Paramus NJ also a Westfield Property started as an open air center. Between 1981 & 1984 the center was enclosed. Some of the truck tunnels were converted into aditional retail space as a lower level with a food court.

    In the past 12 years 2 more expantions took place. The first opened in 1996 wich added 800,000 square feet including Lord & Taylor as well as Neiman Marcus. In 2007 another wing of 163,000 square feet including an AMC 16-screen theatre, Grand Lux Cafe & a new Borders were added.

    The 1996 expantion did 2 things, first it caused JC Penny to be enveloped by the mall & second all tunnel spaces were finally turned into retail.

    [Reply]

  76. Weaton Plaza has always been known as a hang out for young gangs and still is. I last time I shopped there (two xmas seasons ago), I noticed gangs are worse then ever, a fight broke out that the security failed to stop. Worst part, stores in the mall sell gang clothing in their windows, complete with backward baseball caps and underwear showing jeans- very telling. I won’t get any of my money and I wont let my wife or grown sons shop there either- it is just not safe!

    [Reply]

    RDW Reply:

    Hi John Doe! Guess what? Wheaton Plaza hasn’t been safe for years!

    [Reply]

  77. Wheaton was not a gang hangout until the ’90s. As a lot of people stated above it was an awesome family-oriented place through at least the early ’80s. The first film I saw was “Snow White” at the old theater. My dad took me when I was 3 while my mom was giving birth to my younger brother. It was a much cooler place as an open-air plaza-style shopping center.

    It foundered as a mall in the ’80s and ’90s because it was not as upscale as White Flint or as large as Montgomery Mall, all of which are about 20 minutes drive away from Wheaton. Personally, I hate what it’s become because Wheaton the area has such awesome potential with its incredible diversity of restaurants and mom-and-pop shops that still exist around that area.

    [Reply]

  78. OK, I have seen a lot of comments that are wrong about this mall
    To clear things up:
    Opened 1959 as open air mall, included Woodie’s and Montgomery Ward
    1987-Hecht’s wing and parking deck added.
    1995-Woodie’s converted to JCPenney
    1999-Montgomery Ward Closed
    2000-2001-Montgomery Ward Demolished
    2002-Target built a store on the former Montgomery Wards site, first store in DC Metro Area
    2002/3-Macy*s and Parking Deck Built, although they didn’t open due to structural problems
    2004-Macy*s Opened
    2005-Food Court Opened and Parking Deck opened
    2006-Hecht’s closed
    2008-DSW and Steve and Barry’s added in Hecht’s wing, Former AMC Theatres demolished
    2009-Steve and Barry’s closed, Circuit City and Newly Built Office Depot Closed, Former AMC rebuilt as Montgomery Cinema N’ Drafthouse
    Late 2009/2010-Kohl’s will open. I am not sure if they will demolish the Hecht’s circa 1987 store, but that’s most likely what is going to happen. I also am unsure if the Kohl’s will be 2 Floors, since Westfield is not very descriptive, and I haven’t been to the mall in a few months

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    @Dan, Hiya, I don’t remember any Cinema n’ Draft House except in Bethesda and one in Arlington.

    I recall Target being open on Cherry Hill Road
    when my son was born ’92 so I think Wheaton’s
    Target came after that.

    Was at Wheaton Plaza today (still call it that) and Kohl’s had a high tech kiosk w/ a PC for on the spot shopping there – interesting to see if they will in fact show up. No Kohl’s around this immediate area that have ever been in a “mall” type setting.

    [Reply]

  79. I can’t even remember how I found this blog, but man what memories! I was born in 1970 and vaguely remember the open air mall of the 1970′s- early 80′s. I had an H-O scale train set and used to buy all kinds of stuff at the Hobbies & Arts store. Was sad to see it go. Hot Shoppes- my mom always took my brother and I there after shopping. I remember they had great coconut cream pie. Fannie Mae was a favorite stop too. I don’t remember the Orange Bowl as some have mentioned here but Farrels and the Duck Pin bowling alley nearby were popular for celebrating birthdays in my family.
    Nobody here has mentioned Shredder’s Surf Shop- that was my favorite Wheaton store in the mid to late 80′s. This was around the time when all the “surf” clothing became popular- Ocean Pacific and Jams, etc. I think it lasted until abount 1992 or so. And County Seat- I used to buy my acid washed jeans there..lol! I think the last movie I saw at Wheaton was “New Jack City” back in 1991. I remember being apprehensive in the theater, wondering if the violence onscreen would inspire some in the audience to act out what they were watching- even back then gangs and related criminal activity were starting to emerge. Didn’t happen, fortunately.

    My brother is a cop now with the Montgomercy Co. Police and sees first hand how the mall and surrounding neighborhood has changed. It is dissapointing to see how the area has turned into gang territory.
    I live in San Diego now and all the malls out here are open-air just like the original Wheaton Plaza- to take advantage of the weather, no doubt!

    [Reply]

    L. Smith Reply:

    @BiffC, Sad to learn of the decline of the Wheaton area. It holds so many happy childhood memories for me. Hate to hear that it’s gang territory now.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    @L. Smith, Hi, I’m Caucasian and definitely a minority shopping there but I have NEVER felt unsafe or even harrassed shopping there. Often times malls will not reveal the extent of crimes
    taking place there because they want to keep the negative aspect out of the media. Similar to the
    original “Jaws” movie wanting to keep the tourists
    always coming but truth is ALL Malls – even the high rent districts (Tyson’s, etc) have their share
    of unfortunate circumstances. I was at Wheaton
    Spg. Ctr. today and I thought things were really looking up – they’ve got H&M (2 levels), Forever Young and many other stores up and running – didn’t see many vacancies at all. They also have a good selections of eateries and I hope older folks continue to use the facilities as a place to get some exercise safely. When Costco opens – it’s going to be crazy busy!!
    Cheers, Andrea

    [Reply]

    Wendy Keek Reply:

    @BiffC

    I owned Shredder’s Surf Shop from 1988 to 1998 and then sold it. It was my favorite store too:)
    Wendy Frank

    [Reply]

    BiffC Reply:

    @Wendy Keek,

    Hey Wendy, I think I remember you! You’re blonde, right? Didn’t realize that Shredder’s was there until the late 90′s. Good to see that you have a new business going now.

    Keith, aka BiffC

    [Reply]

    Justin M Reply:

    @Wendy Keek,

    Wow what a small world. I was reminiscing with a friend of mine about how we used bug the shit out a lady named Wendy back in the early 90′s. So i hit up google to find a picture of the store and i end up on this site, i read about a 1000 comments before finding yours. This is so trippy. Just wanna say thanks for not calling mall security on us. Think back young black guy named Justin, white kid name Tommy. Good memories.

    [Reply]

  80. Wow, there are a lot of memories here … I worked at Wheaton Plaza in the late ’70s in Bo Peep; it was a specialty kids’ clothing store near Wards. Spencer’s was a fun place to get cool gifts, and Farrell’s was a blast with the huge drum that they’d bang on while singing Happy Birthday to someone. I also remember a lamp store between Wards and the movie theater. They had fireworks on the Fourth of July behind Woodies when I was growing up, too. We usually got food at Arthur Treachers because it was a little creepy to go into The Orange Bowl for Orange Juliuses and pizza after the Lyon sisters disappeared. The last time that I was there, the place was saturated with illegal immigrants and accompanying gang activity, and I wouldn’t go back there now. If anyone wants to follow up on the Lyon sisters’ case, here’s the webpage for the link: http://websleuths.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=97. Thanks for the memories!

    [Reply]

  81. Westfield Wheaton is the worst mall I have ever been to. Even with the Renovation they had completed in 2005 I have constant issues with that mall. The walking isles in Wheaton are so small and its easy to bump into someone. You can lose phone signal in there easily even if your standing below those glass windows. The “ghetto” look found at this mall annoys me. With the constant crimes happening, (one happened a month ago with gun shooting in Macy*s) is setting off a bad example to go to this mall. Mall staff are lazy and careless and I looked everywhere to find a decent bathroom. The bathrooms are dirty. Toilet paper in the sink and floors and urine in the wrong place, and I’m not just talking about the Children’s Bathroom. The new store, DSW shoes has been placed at a bad location. Being placed at the Dead Hecht’s Wing will not attract any customers. If anyone realized, there is an escalator placed on the side hidden where people cannot see. What’s the point of having the escalator if no one knows where it is? I don’t think the DSW shoes will last long at Westfield Wheaton because of its hidden location in the mall. The food court was also placed in a bad location. The food court was placed next to stores and JCPenny making it a traffic jam for people passing through. Constant burglaries always cause us customers to go in and out of the mall because of the alarm system going off. I’m also surprised of how they keep the dead Hecht’s Store there. Overall, I would not recommend this mall to go to. Read the reasons, search the crimes and learn the facts about Westfield Wheaton. If you were to find any good malls, go to Westfield Montgomery, White Flint Mall and Lakeforest.

    [Reply]

  82. I was born in Wheaton, went to Einstein HS and worked at the Wheaton Plaza movie theatre in 1976-77. It’s been so fun reading about the history and the many stores I had forgotten about! — Looking for folks who bowled at Wheaton Triangle Lanes from ’73-’76 or at Wheaton Plaza Fair Lanes in ’76-’78. Trying to put a bowling reunion together. Also looking for pictures from the ’70′s of the area. If you know anyone who bowled and/or has pics from that time, please email me at dancebowl2@yahoo.com. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    RDW Reply:

    Hi Jackie! Always have to give a shout out to another fellow “Titan”! I graduated from AEHS in ’72. With Newport and Plesant View before hand. Yeah! This is all great reading and brings back a lot of memories!

    [Reply]

    DDC Reply:

    @RDW, we def know each other I too graduated aehs in 72

    [Reply]

    Marian Fryer Reply:

    @Jackie, Hi Jackie, Hope you are still here. I used to bowl at Wheaton Fairlanes during the 70′s and 80′s. I also coached adult/youth leagues there. It was a great place to bowl and for kids. My kids names are Allen and Allicia. We called her Tan. they graduated from Northwood High School.

    My husband was Lee, I tought him how to bowl there.
    Other names I remember are the Reuther Family, Joyce, Jimmie, Tommy, etc. I will check for any photos,and old trophies. I think i donated most of them.

    [Reply]

  83. I don’t know much about the history of the Plaza.
    Haha, that’s funny… I’m 15, and I call it Wheaton Plaza…
    As stated before I’m 15, I don’t know much about the Plaza…
    All I know is that it went from being an open-air mall to (apparently, according to my dad) the first closed in mall. And then it had a bottom floor like the one in City Place-all food, maybe smaller retail- and shops upstairs…
    But I really didn’t ever go there as much as I do now that I’m older, and it’s been renovated…

    It’s a good mall, not the best, but, we’re a small town (meaning not many people know where we are). It’s good for what we as a community use it for.

    [Reply]

  84. Boy, Wheaton Plaza, I remember it well. In the early 60′s my mother who didn’t drive would take me and my then infant brother is stroller on the bus wrestling with the stroller to wheaton plaza and we would shop and then wait for my father to get off work. Does any remember on the backsidee of the plaza there was Social Security Office and also Vitro Engineering. My father worked for Vitro. Also a side note if any of you follow cold cases the lyon sisters. In more recent investigations there has come to the attention of MCP a serial killer by the name of “Coffey” who worked for vitro in the Aspen Hill area. I wonder if the researcher at Web Slueths are aware of that fact?

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    The WebSleuths has a good amount on the Lyon sisters’ case, including the possible connection to Coffey. I didn’t know there was a Vitro office at Wheaton Plaza, though; I only knew about the one in Aspen Hill. Was Vitro in the lower level offices at the bottom of the stairs below Wards (where the tax and SS offices were), or was it out in one of the office buildings out past the parking lot? I’ve always wondered if their abductor used the tunnel, since it went out towards the path they used. Their brother saw them talking to Tape Recorder Man by the fountain in the middle of the mall, which would be right by the stairs to the area that was restricted to employees. If Coffey worked at the plaza, that seems even more likely.

    [Reply]

  85. Does anyone remember Mr. Peanut on GA Ave?

    [Reply]

    Florrie Spencer Reply:

    @Tori, I remember it, we used to go in to wait for our bus, It smelled so great! and had so many cute things for sale. Do you remember the “31 flavors” was a few doors away?

    [Reply]

  86. I remember Mr. Peanut. It was a few doors down from the Highs Store. My friends and I used to go there because of the assortment of gags they had for sale. Especially the ” Morning Breeze” which was a stink bomb packaged in what looked like a small perfume bottle.

    [Reply]

  87. Does anyone remember the name of the polynesian restaurant at Reedie and Georgia (I think)? It had slanting bamboo torches out front.

    [Reply]

    Irene K. Cornish Reply:

    @Joe,
    The other responders were right, it was the Hula Hut. Have a picture of my nephews sitting in the big wicker chairs they had at the head of the tables.

    [Reply]

    RDW Reply:

    Hi Joe! Yeah! The Hula Hut! Took my steady girl friend there for prom diner. WE HAD A BLAST!! Remember how cozy and entimate the little boths were? We got plastered on “Tiki Grogs”! Those were drinks that you could keep the decorative mugs….remember? I think we went home with several of them! Great fun!

    [Reply]

  88. I believe that resturant was the Hula Hut.
    Before that there used to be three businesses there. The Wheaton Tavern, A pool hall, and many different transient occupants in the other.

    [Reply]

  89. I remember Mr. Peanut! What a bizarre store. They sold whoopie cushions, hand buzzers and other bizarre gags.

    [Reply]

  90. Wow! Wonderful memories of Wheaton Plaza. Glad someone finally mentioned Bopeep. Going into that store signaled the end of summer. (St. Catherine school uniforms) Every December early to mid 60s, the mall would have the best Christmas displays I could remember. Small cottages were set up down the middle of the plaza with mechanically moving elves inside making toys, wrapping presents or engaged in other elf activities.
    How about Capri or Pop’s pizza just down the street.
    Sad to see Glenmont Elementary gone. Left after first grade but have never forgotten Mrs Green. Terrific teacher. And those duck and cover drills in the hallway would always produce at least one crying kid.

    [Reply]

    L. Smith Reply:

    @Charles K., I think my sister had Mrs. Green for a teacher one year.

    [Reply]

    Liz Reply:

    @Charles K., I remember Pop’s Pizza! Didn’t go there too often – if my parents wanted to take us out for a casual meal we usually went to Barnaby’s. For a nicer night out, it was Sir Walter Raleigh (loved their salad bar), Ferdinand’s or Anchor Inn. I was sad to hear Barnaby’s closed.

    Does anyone remember Mama Lucia’s??? or the Wheaton Newsstand?

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    Ah, the Wheaton Newsstand! I used to buy Sugar Babies there after drum lessons at Smith’s Drum Shop (on Georgia Avenue) above Reedie Drive). We played cadences for the Wheaton Majorettes, who had their studio in the back of that building.

    [Reply]

    RICK HAYSLIP Reply:

    @Charles K., HEY MR. K I WENT TO ST CATHERINES…….66- 76 ALSO DO VERY MUCH REMEMBER THOSE LITTLE SANTAS HELPERS COTTAGES IN THE MALL.I ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THEM ,
    ALSO LOVED POPS PIZZA AND A PLACE CALLED VENICE NEAR FERDINANS………..AND OF COURSE THA ANCHOR INN…….AND HEY DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE JET AIRPLANE THEY HAD AT WHEATON REGIONAL PARK THAT YOU COULD CLIMB ON AND GET IN!!!!

    [Reply]

    BiffC Reply:

    @RICK HAYSLIP,

    Hell yeah, I remember that jet airplane at Wheaton Regional Park! Used to love climbing in it and grabbing the controls. My brother and must have spent hours there…

    [Reply]

    Barbara Reply:

    @RICK HAYSLIP,

    I remember playing on them with my brothers. They are memories I will always cherish. I miss my brothers and wish they would call me. I have been very ill and would love too see them again.

    [Reply]

    Barbara Reply:

    @RICK HAYSLIP, I remember … my

    mom was the manager at Fanny Mae Candy for years before it was closed in.

    [Reply]

    RICK Reply:

    @Barbara,
    WHO ARE YOUR BROTHERS ……NAMES?

    [Reply]

    Barbara Hayslip Reply:

    @RICK, my brothers are Rick and Bobby. I can’t find my big brother Rick and I miss him so much. We use to go to Wheaton Plaza as children my mom worked at Barracini’s Candy and then at Fanny Mae.

    Do you remember Farrell’s and Kresgee’s 5 and 10 Store?

    [Reply]

  91. The Wheaton Newsstand was a great place for comic books or MAD magazine. I remember when the Wheaton Library was in that same center .Another favorite place was Seagreens Toys and the old Peoples Drug next door.

    [Reply]

    Florrie Spencer Reply:

    @AJ, I loved that store!!! My uncle used to take me, while he looked at mags. I had a ball checking out all the gag gifts……fly in the ice cube, snappinggum pack. rubber vomit just everything that a kid couldn’t get enough of!!!!! I remember buying my “flying purple people eatter ” there and oh yeah pea shooters!!! GOOD TIMES huh?

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    We could buy Mad Libs there, too.

    [Reply]

  92. WHAT IS YOUR BROTHERS NAMES……I MIGHT KNOW THEM!!!

    [Reply]

  93. @BARBARA…….
    WHO ARE YOUR BROTHERS?

    [Reply]

    Barbara Hayslip Reply:

    @RICK HAYSLIP, OMG

    Rick and Bobby Hayslip???? We grew up on Judson Road as well……if you know him could you ask him to call me? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven’t heard from him in years now. I have no phone number, no address and have no idea how to find him. I called his son but he has not called me back either.

    [Reply]

    RICK HAYSLIP Reply:

    @Barbara Hayslip, Ricks e-mail is richard_hayslip@yahoo.com

    [Reply]

  94. Had a cousin that lived on Judson Rd. who had a friend named Rick Hayslip. mmmmm…. I wonder…..

    [Reply]

    RICK HAYSLIP Reply:

    @Charles K., THAT WOULD BE ME, WHATS YOUR COUSINS NAME?

    [Reply]

    Liz Reply:

    @RICK HAYSLIP, If you were on Judson, I believe you are the same family my husband has mentioned before…he lived on Judson…Mike Donaway…

    [Reply]

  95. What a wonderful walk down memory lane. Remember driving by the site when Wheaton Plaza was under construction and my Dad telling me all the wonders of the new mall that was coming. Spent many, many hours at Wheaton Plaza over the years. Special memories include: Hot Shoppe’s chicken noodle soup, shopping on my own for my 7th grade back to school outifit, but calling my mom to make sure it was ok to buy flats with pointed toes, buying my senior prom dress at Franklin and Simon, having my children’s Santa pictures taken in the middle of the outdoor part of the mall, the unthinkable day when the Lyons sister’s disappeared and finally my 4 year old’s birthday party at Farrell’s the day before we moved out of the area in 1978. Thanks everyone for sharing. I sometimes think my memory is slipping, but there are some times I will never forget.

    [Reply]

    ROBERT Reply:

    I remember when it was all outside, & does anyone remember ‘PIC A DELI’ across from the movies then? I us to volunteer there & hang out there!

    Bugger King was another place!

    [Reply]

  96. do you all recall what corner of the intersection the hula hut / the wheaton tavern was located? was it perhaps obliterated by the construction of the wheaton metro station?

    [Reply]

  97. South West corner of Georgia Ave. and Reedie Dr.,
    directly across from the Country Boy.The Pool Hall had six tables and charched a penny a minute to play.

    [Reply]

  98. Anyone remember Maggie’s Pizza right across from the mall on Reedie drive? How about Barbarian Books? Is that still there?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Who remembers the Trolley Car restaurant on Ga avenue?

    [Reply]

    brenda price Reply:

    @Kevin, i remember the trolley car, now is popeys

    does anyone remember a burger chef on univ blvd

    or what fast food in twinbrook = now a mcdonalds

    [Reply]

    C. Kane Reply:

    @brenda price,

    And before it became the Trolley Car it was a cheap restaurant and bar called Town & Country Inn. I beleive they had a fire and that’s when the Trolley Car was built.
    But I always prefered Fat Man’s Pizza right next door.
    The Burger Chef became a fast food “Italian” place.
    Didn’t last too long. It was awful.
    Way before it became the McDonalds in Twinbrook,
    there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken at that location.
    I remember being there in the sixties as a kid with the family and while we sat in the (what else) station wagon eating we saw a meteor streak across the sky and learned the next day it had landed somewhere in the NYC area. Sizzlers was there for a while or just next door after the KFC closed. By the way, the McDonalds across from the White Flint Metro also used to be a Burger Chef. Then a Roy Rogers.

    [Reply]

    MHendler Reply:

    @C. Kane,
    The Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was actually called Tops. Tops served Kentucky Fried Chicken. All the orders were placed by using a telephone on the table.

    [Reply]

    MHendler Reply:

    @MHendler,

    Town and Country was where I first heard a Beatles song on the juke-box, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in 1963. There was also a coin operated sliding puck game. Pictures of hunting and hounds on the walls.

    [Reply]

    brownrice Reply:

    @Jon, read my comments below.

    [Reply]

  99. the sports store was near Wards and it was called Sports Center I believe. they sold scouting things.

    I still have two Calby’s Sports coats, that my mother got for me. LOL

    I use to drive in that delivery tunnel to deliver product to the Orange Bowl, as I was a sales person for a food company.

    The open air mall with the fountain was great, as so was the automated post office. Grand Union was at the base of a office building back of Woodies and behind it was Fairlanes Bowling as my first job was there in 1971 as I worked the snack bar.

    Wheaton Plaza caused many stores in Silver Spring, MD to go bankrupth as that was the case for my Dad’s Camera Shop in the Silver Spring Shopping center, as it was Camera’s Inc, next to Drug Fair. They went bankrupt and it pretty much killed his marriage as they struggled for 15 more years togethere.

    Hello Linda Morris.

    Mike Marmer

    [Reply]

    MHendler Reply:

    @Mike Marmer,
    I’m glad that there was at least one other person who got clothes at Calby’s. I was beginning to worry that I was the only one (with my brother) who were taken to shop at Calby’s. We got lots of corduroy pants and belts there. I remember the horizontally slotted doors to the dressing rooms/closets.

    [Reply]

  100. The bad thing is the SS unemployment line. It makes the mall look ugly. Not to mention less and less people speak english.

    [Reply]

    ROBERT Reply:

    @get the point,

    Yes, & it is harder to get things done, I think that the should speak English! Why is everything Spanish or from other countries?

    Why do people allow this for? It is like they are taking over the world, I cannot even get good service when I need it, being the malls or other places? I bet if I moved to their country they will deport me because I do not speak Spanish!

    [Reply]

  101. Retail Traffic

    Westfield Reaches Deal to Bring Costco to Three Markets
    Aug 23, 2010 12:19 PM, Staff Reports

    The Westfield Group and Costco Wholesale Corp. reached an agreement for the addition of Costco stores at Westfield centers in three U.S. markets: Los Angeles, Sarasota, Fla., and Wheaton, Md.

    “We are delighted to be welcoming Costco to Westfield,” Westfield Group Managing Director Peter Lowy said in a statement. “The introduction of Costco illustrates Westfield’s aim to introduce new goods and services into the malls—investing in new elements, new energy, new conveniences and new choices for Westfield shoppers. The integration of Costco into our U.S. portfolio takes the shopping experience to a whole new level.”

    In Los Angeles, an approximately 146,000 square foot Costco is to anchor the proposed Village at Westfield Topanga, which will sit between Westfield’s existing Topanga and Promenade centers. The Village will encompass nearly one million square feet of new retail, dining, hotel and office area along with community and cultural uses, courtyards and gathering spaces.

    In Sarasota, Florida, a former department store site will be redeveloped to house an approximately 145,000 square foot Costco at Westfield Sarasota Square. This would be Costco’s first location in a wide expanse along Florida’s Gulf Coast stretching across Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties. Currently, the nearest Costco warehouse clubs to Sarasota are located over 40 miles away. Westfield Sarasota Square contains more than 900,000 square of space and is currently anchored by JCPenney, Macy’s, and Sears, along with a diverse mix of more than 130 shops and restaurants.

    In Wheaton, Maryland, a suburban community just outside of Washington, D.C., an approximately 148,000 square foot Costco will occupy the second level of a former department store site, with Westfield planning for the addition of mini anchors and new retail shops on the ground level below Costco. Westfield Wheaton is a 1.6 million square foot regional mall anchored by JCPenney, Macy’s and Target, along with 195 shops and restaurants.

    The new Costco stores are envisioned to open in late 2011 and early 2012 at Sarasota and Wheaton, and late 2012 at The Village at Westfield Topanga.

    [Reply]

  102. Rather than posting a cut-and-paste article, you could’ve just clarified by giving a link. Anyway, Costco WILL open at this mall along with new junior anchors (two). Kohl’s then is NOT coming.

    Can this mall survive with two discount-style anchors?

    [Reply]

  103. The mall have changed over the summer by taking down papertowels from all bathrooms which is not appropriate to do this in the eatery area. We need papertowels to wipe off spills and they have removed papertowels from all bathrooms except a few still have them. It is not a good idea to remove papertowels because I use them to turn the water and and off and open the door by using papertowels. but without them I had to use my tissue. We need papertowels back!!

    [Reply]

  104. How come they replaced the paper towels in the restrooms? I mean it is harder to keep free of germs?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  105. There is a kiddy train that runs on the first floor that starts & ends @ Macy’s that is so cool! I road it today & it was fun!

    [Reply]

  106. @Dan – the Wheaton Target was *not* the first Target in the DC Metro area, as the Target Greatland store off Cherryhill Rd predated the Wheaton store by about 2 years .

    [Reply]

    Marian Fryer Reply:

    @Will West,

    To my knowledge, the Wheaton Target is the first one in the metro area to be located in a mall with two levels. Most others are stand alone buildings.

    [Reply]

  107. My family owned Maggie’s Pizza across from the mall from 1983-1985. Clearly, remember those couple years of my life in Wheaton.

    I remember watching the goonies/return of the jedi at the theater in the mall. I also remember some of the stores around us. Barbarian comics, the tropical fish store, the magic store, a chinese restaurant across from us and Dunkin Donuts, which was very popular at the time.

    That’s 25 years ago. My God, time flies!

    [Reply]

    Alexandre Silva Reply:

    @brownrice, I worked at Maggie’s Pizza in 1990 as a driver and i have really good memories about that time. The owner was a thailand man very honest. If someone know about him please let me know. Alexandre Viana (@ajviana)

    [Reply]

    brownrice Reply:

    @Alexandre Silva,

    Don’t know that guy. We left the place in the mid 1980s’. I think it was converted into a Irish Pub. Anyone remember something like that?

    [Reply]

    Alexandre Silva Reply:

    @brownrice, Do you have or remember the Maggie´s address? I really want to see it on google maps. Tks.

    [Reply]

  108. Does anyone remember the jewelry store near Woodies? High end, fine jewelry. As you face Woodies, it was on the left.

    Thanks!

    Karen

    [Reply]

  109. Does anyone remember the Wheaton Co-op that was opened in the 50s/60s? A while back, I saw a short, untitled film of the grand opening of the Wheaton Co-op, and I’m trying to get more information on it (where was it located and what happened to it).

    Much appreciated!

    EO

    [Reply]

  110. Yep – I sure do remember Wheaton Co-Op (Consumers). It sat roughly in the middle of the block bordered by Prichard Rd, Reedie Dr., Amherst Ave., and Georgia Avenue – and the front of the store faced South. I can’t remember what it was after Co-Op.

    [Reply]

    Liz Reply:

    @WT, After the Co-Op left, there was a store, either called memco or medco…then it became Dart Drug…after Dart went out of business, the location was replaced by a Fantle’s. the last store there before it was torn down to make way for town houses/apartments was Tuesday Morning. I actually worked at the Fantles for a few months in 1989 before they declared bankruptcy…fun times for a college kid!

    [Reply]

  111. Party City, Elevations Burger, and Panera Bread all have signed agreements with the mall and will open this year. Sear Appliance Outlet is renovating the Old Office Depot Office and they it should open by the end of April 2011. A bilingual University has applied and still awaiting accreditation from the state will open in-place of the defunct Circuit City. And finally, Kohl’s and Dicks Sporting Goods are still in negotiation with Westfield and most likely will both open on the ground floor, below the will be constructed Costco.

    [Reply]

    lilkunta Reply:

    @DCGUY, U sure a University is gonna be in former Circuit City? Gussini Shoes/Clothes is there now( 23 may).

    [Reply]

    DCGUY Reply:

    @lilkunta, Gussini is there temporarily. The University that applied to locate there is Ana G. Mendez University System, a nonprofit school based in Puerto Rico. This will be dual-language university geared toward working Spanish-speaking students who want to strengthen their English skills for the workplace, a county official said. The Commission of Higher Education is still reviewing objections submitted by U. of Maryland College Park and Montgomery College opposing the University.

    [Reply]

  112. I loved “Wheaton Plaza” when I was little. I am now 25, but I remember when I was a very small child going to this mall.
    My favorite part was the large stuffed animal stand that was full of stuffed animals! The roy rogers was always good back then! I do not even know if there are any left as I have moved to the west coast :(
    I remember Bob’s Big Boy when it was still in the parking lot .
    I also remember “woodies”! LOL
    The peoples drug also had two entrances like the Roy Rogers. One in the mall and one on the outside :)

    I miss that place and never will forget it. Things change but I wish I had some pics to look at!

    I miss you wheaton!

    [Reply]

  113. Were the fireworks at Wheaton Plaza better then Wheaton High School this year?
    Does anyone remember where the single greatest event of the summer,the annual carnival, was held?
    Thanks ELAine DOugherty

    [Reply]

  114. Wow, Wheaton Plaza sure has changed. I guess I’m not surprised.

    I used to go to the Orange Bowl, Farrals, the drug store (I think it was People’s when I went), the Hot Shoppe, the hobby store (where I used to actually by chemistry supplies AND chemicals for my chemistry set!), and there was a really cool camera store next to the hobby shop that later became Ritz Camera.

    I’ve since moved to Virginia and, looking at pictures of it, it looks pretty much like the Dulles Town Center where we go now. All of today’s malls pretty much look the same to me.

    Just a side note. I can’t believe you were able to take pictures of the mall interior. I got lambasted by a security guard for taking pictures of Christmas decorations at Dulles Town Center. He said that pictures of the inside of the mall are not allowed, EVEN at Christmas! Welcome to the 21st century!

    [Reply]

    Caldor Reply:

    @BobT, yeah, photos aren’t really allowed inside of any mall. It’s not ILLEGAL, it’s just not allowed by management, so the worst they can do is ask you to leave if they catch you. This has happened a few times but we’re used to being a bit stealth about it and have little guilt about doing so since we don’t mean any mal-intent.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Caldor, Yeah, it’s the public space owned by a private entity debate. I own it, but I let you “the public use it” under my rules.

    [Reply]

    BOB S Reply:

    @SEAN, Great thing you did. I been there & saw all the changes & comings of that mall & others. I am glad no pictures because these days people seem to do bad things with your picture & e-mail, I am sad that people have missed uses what God gave them. So have a blessed holidays!

    [Reply]

    BOB S Reply:

    @BobT, I been in all them stores! It is a shame to see them gone -(.

    [Reply]

  115. The Lyon sisters were Kidnapped by James Mitchell DeBardeleben II. I have written about it extensively all over the web. You will see that my theory has been “published” on this blog spot http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blogspot.com/2010/12/who-was-tape-recorder-man.html

    The Sketch of the Tape Recorder man was an excellent composite picture of DeBardeleben circa 1975.

    DeBardeleben died in prison in Jan of 2011. He was a serial killer, and a sexual sadist – he made Ted Bundy and most others serial killers you may have heard of seem like dime store amateurs. He was a serial criminal and considered America’s most prolific serial criminal in history.

    He likely stole Maryland State Police uniforms from a dry cleaning business in Baltimore in February of 1975. He went on arrogant romp posing as a Tape Recorder Man menacing young women and girls at DC area malls for a few weeks just prior to committing his heinous crimes against the Lyon girls.

    He had a passion for doing crimes at malls – especially crowded malls at holiday time.

    Imagine the next time you go to a crowded mall during holiday time of stealing an item from a store. Then imagine showing your face to all prior to stealing two human beings in broad daylight. DeBardeleben was a counterfeiter who alluded the Secret Service for all most 4 years and passed over $150,000 dollars of funny money – he was known as “the mall passer” because he traveled to area malls all over America buying $3 and $4 items and getting change for his fake $20′s.

    He got me once while working at the High’s in Kemp Mill. I remember the Secret Service came to ask my manager to interview me about my memory of the possible counterfeit transaction. I thought the question was strange – if I remembered why would I have taken the bill?

    I did not put the pieces together until recently – but I actually do remember DeBardeleben at the High’s. He was beyond strange. I remember sizing up customers as the came into the convenience store mainly because I would like to know how much work they may cause me to undertake.

    DeBardeleben watched me watch him. He just stood there. And instead of rushing up to an empty cash register he waited…when the line filled up he got on it. I am almost sure he ordered a pack of cigarettes, and then complained that the ones I picked out were wrong – and I fished him out another and again they were wrong and another…he complained more bought what I gave him and left.

    I knew I had been messed with but did not know how. I remember watching him drive away and thinking to myself such a criminal must have a terrible life and he will get caught. I wonder if it hit my consciousness that he was the one who took the Lyon girls because at that time I still would wonder about them and their fate. Sometime soon after that their memory faded more for me until I was reminded of their tragedy again in recent years.

    Please see the website blog referenced above…

    While some say the crime is unsolved – I believe it is solved. The family owns and lives in the home on Plyers Mill Road and Montgomery County Police hold the case as an Open Case. Such a status allows the police to protect the family from the public as curious onlookers and sadistic pranksters have exacerbated their suffering over the years.

    The case may be solvable but it would be difficult to do, the perpetrator died in jail, and the girls were very likely murdered. But DeBardeleben rented a safe house that he took the girls to – likely in Virginia. Also another boy Farnum Burton was shot in the face and 5 other times and dumped in a pond near Lorton at the exact time the girls went missing. I believe Burton likely saw something and that got him killed.

    Burton’s case too is unsolved….

    [Reply]

    MHendler Reply:

    @Adam,
    Can you solve the William Bradford Bishop case? Where is he now?

    [Reply]

  116. I followed your link to DeBardeleben’s crimes. You’re right, Adam – his photo is a dead ringer for the composite sketch, and the information on him is chilling. If it’s accurate, he had everything in his storage locker that would be necessary to commit that crime, including briefcases and evidence of an unbelievably evil mind. I’ve always hoped that somehow the Lyon sisters would be found safe and their abductor would be caught. Now, though, I just hope that it’s not DeBardeleben. It’s too disturbing to think of children being with him.

    [Reply]

  117. Sick world we live in, & now we all cannot be nice to people [kids as well as adults]. No one knows who is out there ‘stalking’, whether it be the Internet, mall or where we live. Even the people we date & trust can be bad people!

    Thanks & God bless us all & help us all!

    [Reply]

  118. I remember Farrell’s, one of the best Ice cream sundae places around, great place to go for your birthday and liked the atmosphere. I was very sad when they left. Also, I remember the escalator on the side of the plaza going up to the southern entrance of the place and the hobby kit store would be there on the right. Also, anyone remembers the Brenantos bookstore (not sure if i got the name right…)

    It was an improvement when they put the roof on.

    Also, I remember Woodies and one certain period in ’77 when they had a jukebox in the store near the doors and I pushed the buttons and the theme from STAR WARS played.

    It seems that once a store comes in and the next time you go to Wheaton Plaza, the place is gone. Just went last week and the FYE store vanished.

    [Reply]

    Andrea K. Reply:

    @Troy, believe that it had to be relocated due to larger stores need available connected space.
    Supposedly, their third move was to be to the now lower level – at least that’s what their sign in the window indicated.

    [Reply]

  119. What I remember most about this mall was that it was open air for the longest time, then finally enclosed and then expanded. For a while they were feuding with Metro, and the Metro bus stops at the south end of the mall were closed and buses were no longer allowed to pass through the mall roads.

    [Reply]

  120. I discovered something disturbing at the mcdonald’s eatery. I asked for apples for my oatmeal and noticed it was OUT OF DATE used by 4 days ago.. it said use by the 17th, and it was the 21st… next time you go to mcdonalds always check their apples. I went to wendy’s outside of the mall and same thing… their apples were really bad, moldy out of date. beaware where you go that they don’t care about the foods as they want to sell them. eatery is not a good place to eat as they allow food to sit and get dried. What if it is leftover from the day before> another thing there is a new place at the eatery where the cookies fields use to be. is now crepes. i discovered the meats look dry and old, the avacodo had brown spots all over it like it was old. Does people realize that the eatery is a bad place to eat as they use WHOLE milk not skim milk.

    [Reply]

  121. I was there a few days ago & went by a place called HERESY’S & they have fruit punch that was left over night, so I found out the machine was broken, but the next day I saw it still there. The man told me that someone will fix it tomorrow [Friday], but the machine was on mixing.

    [Reply]

  122. Subject: How healthy is the food court?

    Is there any bugs around? I mean where the stores make it?

    Thanks & God bless you all

    Bob:

    [Reply]

  123. I remember going in there, remember the water fountain in the center of the mall?

    Blessings

    Bob

    [Reply]

  124. can anyone remember the name of an exotic import type store near Wheaton Plaza in the early 1970s? It was kinda like Pier One back in the day, a little like World Market, but not at all upscale. If you wanted tiki or tropical or exotic furnishings, beads to hang in doorways, incense, that sort of stuff, you’d go there. It was across from Wheaton Plaza in the triangle area.

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    Lynn Reply:

    @philip greene, Port of Call.
    But not in the Triangle, the one I remember was on Georgia Ave, between Coop and the Mustard Building. The Triangle had Red’s Hobby Store, though. Don’t forget Juvenile Sales. Remember having to go downstairs off the sidewalk, before they moved to University Blvd?
    Thanks for the Wheaton Regional Park airplane memory.
    And more about the park…the entrance off of Kemp Mill Road used to lead to their campground. I spent many weekends camping there with my girl scout troop. I don’t agree that Wheaton is all that dangerous, but maybe i wouldn’t camp there anymore, either.

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  125. Thank you everyone for the trip down memory lane. I grew up in the Wheaton area as well and spent MANY weekends at Wheaton Plaza in the 80s and early 90s. I worked at The Gap throughout high school. Have found and vivid memories of Hot Shoppes, Spencer’s, Woodies, Orange Bowl, The pet store, etc. Will throw out one additional store that hasn’t been mentioned – any one remember Cuddle Corner? It was a stuffed animals and gifts kiosk in the middle of the mall. I remember loving that place as a little girl!

    Best,
    Julie

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  126. My earliest memory of Wheaton Plaza was when it was a semi-covered strip mall. The pavement had glittery stones inside the dark grey concrete tiles. I loved how it looked. When it was covered & became a one story ‘mall’ most of that surface disappeared except by the JC Penny outdoor area where you could go down the stairs to walk around to the Giant Food store. I always wondered how they got those pretty glitter stones in the pavement. Once that area was remodeled and the Giant Food moved away from the mall the ground became like everywhere else, plain boring white concrete. Then the beauty disappeared & has only lived in my memory of it.

    -My favorite store in the early ’80s was a free standing kiosk that sold unique earrings, I still have some. Every time I wear one, I remember that time in my life.

    -I was thinking recently, how long ago did Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor close. I’ve read the history of it online & how there’s new stores (in CA & HI only) refurbished to their original concept. Farrell’s was a classic landmark before Marriott bought the franchise & ruined it.

    -Wheaton Plaza (or mall) is a completely different place now that it was then. I rarely go there as its not as safe as it once was, Wheaton itself is like traveling to another country. Thankfully White Flint is just as it was & some company hasn’t ‘fixed it’ to be just like any other mall.

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    Nobe Reply:

    @Carla,

    You haven’t been to White Flint lately, have you? Just about every store is gone wtih the exception of H&M, Lord and Taylor, and for a few more weeks Cheescake Factory. Bloomingdales demolished their store there last spring. Lerner (the owners) wants to tear down the mall and build a town center.

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    Carla Reply:

    @Nobe, No, I haven’t. Though I did read about its demise online & heard through acquaintances. Its been about 2 years since I’ve been there. My last visit was to Dave & Busters. I remember then it seemed empty since Borders had gone out of business. I think Borders is the store that really brought in most of the business & when it died, so did most of the traffic.

    - I believe Cheesecake Factory moved to Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Talbots & Lord & Taylor are in Friendship Heights (very close to metro). Haven’t researched the other stores.

    - I will miss White Flint. I liked the pretty glass elevators (though were really too small) & it had that fancy elegance about it that just isn’t found @ other local malls.

    -It was very obvious its demise this past Christmas time, where going to Wheaton Plaza was actually scary. The amount of people were like that of those leaving a fireworks event. I drove by & decided I didn’t need to go there. Heard Montgomery Mall was just as bad. I purchased all my gifts elsewhere.

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  127. Recent trip to DC had me visiting this mall on a rainy day. Thanks everyone one the history of this place. Dick’s Sporting Goods moved in under CostCo. Would have loved to seen the place before Westfield whitewashed the place (looked exactly like Louis Joliet or Fox Valley to me). I did not feel unsafe here and didn’t notice any gang activity going on during my visit.

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  128. I knew Wheaton Plaza in the 1960s. It was such an elegant place. My mother loved to shop at Franklin & Simon. Even the Hot Shoppes felt upscale. In those days, simple places, like a Kresge’s or People’s Drugstore, felt luxurious. People were well-behaved, even if they were middle-class or lower, and they dressed up to go shopping. Wheaton and Silver Spring were magical areas then, as was Langley Park, which had its own amazing department store, Lansburgh’s. I visited these areas again a few years ago and was shocked and broken-hearted to see so much decay.

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