Westgate Mall; Madison, Wisconsin

Westgate Mall exterior in Madison, WI 

Located on the bustling west side of beautiful Madison, Wisconsin, Westgate Mall is a small enclosed retail center totalling just over 250,000 square feet in size.  It is located along Whitney Way between Odana Road and Tokay Blvd, near the West Beltline Highway.  Westgate is flanked by anchor stores TJ Maxx, Hancock Fabrics, and Dunhams Sports.  The mall also has a DMV Service Center, Cosmetology School, Art Cinema, several apparel stores, other retail outlets and two fast food establishments.  In addition, the mall contains a great deal of office space for tenants such as healthcare software author Epic Systems (partially in an old Sergio’s Mexican restaurant, no less; see pictures below).  Adjacent to the mall are several large office buildings including the University of Wisconsin Research Park, where stem cell research and biotechnology occur.  Across from Westgate Mall are several other large shopping centers, including a Copp’s grocery store, Marshall’s and several sit-down restaurants.

Westgate is owned by Denver-based real estate investment and management group J. Herzog.  They acquired the property in 1990 and were responsible for the center’s major renovation during the mid to late 1990s. 

The city of Madison is the second largest as well as capital city of Wisconsin with a population of about 220,000 and a metro population of about 500,000.  It is frequently ranked as one of the best places to live in America and boasts one of the better (and larger) state universities in the country, UW-Madison.  Madison currently has four enclosed malls: West Towne Mall, Westgate, and Hilldale mall on the city’s economically bustling west side, and East Towne Mall for the east side.  There was a substantial enclosed mall on the southeast side called South Towne, but it was disenclosed and turned into a strip center in 2000 and currently remains mostly occupied.  Also, there is a lifestyle center in northwest suburban Middleton called Greenway Station, with many upscale shops and restaurants. 

Westgate is our textbook definition of an ancillary enclosed mall.  An ancillary mall is one that lies in the shadow of a larger, often very successful dominant center.  Westgate is about one mile from the Madison area’s most dominant center, West Towne Mall, which was recently renovated and expanded to include Dick’s Sporting Goods, H&M, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and soon J Crew.  Westgate’s success lies in being distinctly ancillary to the retail dominance of West Towne, with off-price and specialty retailers, services, and even a hybrid of office space.

Westgate Mall exterior in Madison, WI

The current decor of the enclosed portion of Westgate Mall is currently rather modern, as it was last renovated in the mid to late 1990s.  The color scheme is predominantly white: white ceiling panels, white walls, and a tiled floor with alternating white and gray tiles.  Westgate’s floorplan is mostly shaped like an L, with a small circular court looping around to the back of the mall near the crux.  Also notable is the fact that a strip mall of stores extends on both sides of the enclosed L-shaped mall, elongating it, with exterior entrances only on those portions. 

I’m not exactly sure when Westgate opened, but I first visited with family in the early to mid 1990s and it had a markedly different and older decor.  There was a lot of wood paneling, darker tile and overall color scheme, and even a B Dalton Bookstore location.

Despite Westgate Mall’s recent success as an ancillary to the West Towne behemoth one mile down the road, there have been a few vacancy issues as of recent.  Radio Shack and several other in-line stores, particularly in the TJ Maxx wing, are vacant, and there’s even a Hit or Miss labelscar.  Also, the back loop of the mall which contains the DMV Express, Cosmetology College, Theatre, and offices, has experienced a loss of the Cost Cutters location recently. 

Hopefully these closures aren’t indicative of a trend and Westgate can continue to retenant the vacancies and further establish itself as an off-price, specialty, service alternative. 

The pictures below were taken August 2006.  If you know anything more about Westgate Mall’s history, stores, or have an anecdote or just a comment to share, feel free to post.

UPDATE 12/12/2008:  After years of sliding downhill, a developer wants to breathe new life into Westgate Mall, bringing Iowa grocer Hy-Vee to the south end of the mall.  The proposal indicates a teardown of the existing portion of the mall south of TJMaxx, which mostly consists of stores facing outward to the parking lot in strip-mall style fashion.  It doesn’t look like, as of yet, that the majority of the enclosed portion of the mall would be affected.  However, we think a great idea would be to relocate Dunham’s sporting goods and the other businesses on the south end of the mall to the enclosed portion which has lost several tenants recently, including Epic Systems, the theatre, and the cosmetology school.

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45 thoughts on “Westgate Mall; Madison, Wisconsin”

  1. If I remember what Matt A. told me, the “loop” section was once a JC Penney store. I believe that there were also Woolworth and walgreen’s in the TJ Maxx wing at one point.

    By the way, which pic is the old Sergio’s restaurant?

  2. I’ll see what I can recall reading about this mall. I don’t have a source, unfortunately.

    The mall actually opened in 1960, as a long “L”-shaepd strip that wasn’t enclosed. As I told the above poster above, some of its original stores included:

    – Walgreen’s (closed 1993, having relocated to an outparcel /freestanding building),

    – Wooworth (possibly in the current TJMaxx slot, which actually encompasses this, and another former space next to it),

    The ‘major’ store was a JC.Penney, where the ‘loop’ area of the current enclosed mall is now. (I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say this Penney closed in 1970 upon West Towne’s opening, when they became one of that mall’s major anchors)

    Along with B.Dalton, Hit or Miss (which slot were they in…I’ve been in this mall twice), and Sergios, I know of several other former tenants.

    – Winslow’s Hallmark
    – National Record Mart (aka NRM Music)
    – Brauns Fashions (They were retitled Chistopher & Banks chain-wide in the late 1990s. Westgate’s store closed in the first half of 2005)
    – Two Plus Two
    – Tilt! (videogame arcade)
    – id Boutique

    Dark wood paneling, as you detailed, tells me that it got enclosed sometime in the mid-to-late 1970s.

    This mall really never had true ‘anchors’ in the sense of the retailing term. West Towne was just too close by. Across the street

    The odd, but cool design element I like most about Westgate, is how it seems to be a constant ‘incline’ as you start from Dunhams and make your way through. After the ‘Center court’ area, it jogs up a few steps to that ‘loop’ area, then there’s another set of steps that jog up to the other wing, where Hancock Fabircs / Wisconsin Craft Mart / Famous Footwear are. That kind of design to me makes the mall seem bigger than it really is.

    You mentioned HIlldale, South Towne, West Towne and East Towne also. I’d elaborate on those too, as I’ve visited all of them, but that would be off-topic of this blog on Westgate, so…I’ll reserve those for another day.

  3. Hit or Miss was located south of TJ Maxx in the enclosed portion, on the way to Avenue and USA Baby. The labelscar is still visible today.

    The mall also recently had a Christopher & Banks, which was Brauns before 2000. It closed recently along with Radio Shack, and is hopefully not indicative of a trend.

    I’ve always appreciated the different ‘levels’ of the mall and it does indeed make the mall seem larger than it is. The spacious ‘center court’ area by Milio’s and Rocky Rococo also opens up the mall and makes it seem larger than it is.

    I worked behind this mall for a total of 3 years and unlike most of the malls on this site, the mall was utilitarian for me. I frequently got my haircut at Cost Cutters, used the DMV, have seen movies at the theater, and got lunch at Rockys. It’d be sad to see the mall slide away especially after surviving for over 35 years in the shadow of West Towne.

  4. Madison is the lone location where both mine and Prangeway’s paths crossed: I spent a year as a student at UW in 1998/99, and during the time we took a lot of trips together. This mall–while technically unremarkable, I suppose–brings back some memories for me. Hopefully I’ll make it back to Madison someday.

  5. Thanks for hinting the old Hit or Miss location for me. I’ll keep an eye out for it next time I get down there.

    South Towne, which you hinted at, and I mentioned in my initial response to this blogging….I wonder if you guys got down there before they converted it in 2001? That was a former enclosed mall…abelt, very small. 20 or so shops connected by one straight-shot concourse from Kohl’s to Shopko. A movie theatre took up about 1/3 of the backside of inline space. This theatre is still there, and is also the only sliver of enclosed mall left (they had to keep it intact to allow theatre access). The rest was gutted, and boxed. Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby and Famous Footwear are the tenants in there now. It opened in 1981, and was converted in 2001 to its current format. Kohl’s never got a remodel inside, but got new signage outside, and Shopko got a full inside-and-out remodel in the mid 1990s.

    For some reason, the smaller malls like this, and so-called ‘ancilliary malls’ interest me much more than the behemoth ‘super regional’ malls that for the most part (unless there’s extreme circumstances)..are successful no matter what the business climate is outside their walls.

    Another great post guys.

  6. Yes, we’ve both been to South Towne numerous times. I’ve lived in and around the Madison area most of my life, so I remember it distinctly. And you’re right about everything. The only thing I regret is not going in and taking pictures when I still could, but I didn’t know they were planning anything until I rode my bike past one day and they were clearly tearing the entire middle section out. I was pretty mad about that one, considering that today South Towne is this rather soulless strip mall with a much fewer store capacity than when it was enclosed. Many of the stores that were in the mall relocated to the strip mall outlot or to Pier 57 which opened in 1999 about a mile east on Monona Dr. Maybe someone has some pictures of South Towne as an actual mall and will send them. I’ll put it on my Amazon.com wish list.

    And yes, we also appreciate the smaller malls. Not only do they have a more eclectic mix of stores, but the decor is often more inventive/dated and not that whitewashed, sterile, shiny look of all the megamalls today. Also, they have more of a neighborhood-y feel. Thanks for the comments.

  7. Not only is this mall one floored but the stores take up more space than the walkway.

    looks more closed and small rather than large and airy.

  8. I have a book called “What Mkes Shopping Centers Tick” by Samuel Feinberg. It gives a good history of shopping centers around the country as of 1960.
    Westgate is mention in the Milwaukee section It was anchored by JC Penney and Manchester’s department store of Madison.

  9. Speaking of Madison, WI, I’ve only been to the outside of East Towne Mall, but never inside it(as I ate at the Culver’s just outside of the mall loop road a few years ago). I can tell by reading your entry about this mall that the Madison area definately has some interesting enclosed malls I’ve never been to that I’d like to see, even if they don’t get all the hype that East Towne gets.

    The narrow hallways to me seem like this is probably an older mall that got renovated at some point to make it look brighter on the inside. I wonder if this was one of the earliest enclosed malls(or just maybe(though probably not), the 1st) built in the Madison area by some chance..

  10. It was indeed the first enclosed mall in Madison, opening in 1960. Hilldale came next in 1962, and then East Towne and West Towne came about 1970. South Towne, a smaller, 250,000 square-foot enclosed mall, came later about 1979-1980 and was disenclosed into a strip mall in 2000.

    Westgate’s original anchors, as mentioned above, were JCPenney and Manchester’s (a local, defunct Madison department store). JCPenney moved to West Towne when it opened about 1970 and the mall has hobbled on since as an ancillary, local center.

    You are also astute about the latest renovation, which occurred in the mid 1990s. Before that, I had only visited a couple times as a kid and it was very dated and brown inside.

  11. Stumbled on this site, and the info on Westgate brought back memories. I think the most remarkable thing about Westgate is (though I could be wrong) that Famous Footwear, now headquartered in Madison and a huge national chain, opened Westgate and has ALWAYS been there. I think.

    I grew up a block from Hilldale, and remember what a big deal it was when Westgate was enclosed (yes, I’m old). I distinctly remember the Buster Brown shoe store, where the owner kept 2 talking mynah (sp?) birds in the back, a HUGE draw for us, as kids.

    I don’t remember there ever being a department store there (Penneys or Manchester’s), but much of my memory is clouded. I do remember the Rocky Rococo’s moving in, in the 70’s and that, though Westgate has faced stiff competition, over the years, it’s always been there.

  12. I live across the street from this mall and it’s not the type of mall that would draw a younger crowd. A fabrics store, rocky’s, tj max, a rock/mineral store, a ballet school, no fashionable clothing stores, only two food stores, milios and rocky roccos.

  13. I also stumbled on this site and I’m pretty sure I’m older than Martha.

    I do remember Penney’s and Manchester’s (which had opened a store here to escape the decline of downtown Madison.) I also remember Sears Roebuck and Kresge (this would have been about 1965-1968) and a Rennebohm Drug Store.

    The Rennebohm chain (there seem to be one every block as I was growing up) was sold into the Walgreen chain. I also remember a Super Market – Piggley Wiggley? – at the far end.

    When WestTowne opened Penney’s, Manchester’s and Sears all went to it. Sears on the left, Penney’s on the Right and Manchester’s in the center.

    Another big draw to the area was Topp’s Discount Store across the street (in a strip that now contains Office Depot.) A standard 1960’s super discount store (i.e. K-Mart, Woolco) I believe it was owned by the White Front chain. Topps and White Front all disappeared from Madison in the 1969-1972 time frame.

    Westgate is currently aimed at middle aged/ middle income folks but seems to be doing OK. Bead store, rock shop, crafts, fabrics, sporting good, wood working – you see quite a few fathers/mothers with kids out for the day. The parking lot appears pack quite a few days.

  14. Back up the choo-choo train a second here….. TOPPS!?

    I didn’t know they had any stores in Wisconsin. I heard of them thanks to sites like this and others on the ‘net, but I always figured they kept out of cheese land.

    Then again, not many know that Zayre, a predominantly New England based chain, had stores in Miwaukee either. So I guess it works both ways.

    Appleton had Grant’s, my hometown (Fond Du Lac) and Sheboygan had Murphy’s stores, and Sheboygan and Milwaukee both had Arlen’s.

    My hometown also had Tempo, which like Topps, I’m sure is a name not many heard of either. They lasted from 1965 until around 1977.

    To think K-mart pretty much did in all these discounters long ago.

    Can’t forget the regional banner Prange Way either, which really seemed to blossom in the 1980s, taking over some of the old Copps Department store locations, and the entire Schultz’s Discount stores chain.

    Manchester’s I’ve never heard of before. Would that have been up front? I thought Prange’s was an original anchor. If they did anchor W. Towne, they probably were what is now considered a ‘junior anchor’…part of the inline stores, but large (20,000 Sq Ft or so). I know East Towne had one of these….it’s where Gordmans at that mall resides now.

  15. Visited this mall several times as a kid in the mid- and late-80s. We used to go to a baseball card store here. Even then the place seemed spooky, derelict, and a bit lonely. Probably because of all the wood paneling, as you say. (The lack of people didn’t help.)

    Haven’t been there since. I have to admit the white walls and ceiling probably look better, but also remove some of the ‘character’ the place had back in the day.

  16. Westgate did have Manchesters and Penneys was app where the center court is today but there was not a Sears there. Rocky Rococo was added in the mid 90s when the mall was updated in the former space that was BDalton books there was a Sergios mexican restaurant in the 80s that became CJs in the 90s the Dunhams Sports in in the former Eagle food store at the far end of the mall Rennebohms became Walgreens and then moved across Whitney Way near the Copps Foods There was a Copps Variety store there in the 70s and a Bishops Buffet near by

  17. I remember going to the mall in the early 70’s to see a Christmas train. Does anyone else share this memory?

  18. In the late ’60s and early ’70s the grocery store (which is now Dunham’s) was Eagle Foods. I also remember WJ Rendell’s, which I believe was a woman’s clothing boutique that my mom would bring me to. I remember it because they had a children’s play area with great wooden blocks and trains that would keep me busy (seemingly) for hours while my mom shopped. I also recall Uncle Paul’s toy store, which was located where half of the TJ Maxx store is now. My parents would occasionally take the family to the Friday night fish fry at the Westgate Rennebohm’s (eating out was a BIG deal for us). During my high school years in the mid-’80s I worked at TJ Maxx and the mall hasn’t changed much since then. We would go have beers after work (even as a 17 year old) at CJs, which was the fancy restaurant in the mall located near the open area around the now Rocky’s location.

  19. WOW!!! What has happened to Westgate Mall?

    I used to do security there back in the mid to late 80’s and back then it was a happening place compared to now. TJ Maxx, The Avenue, Famous Footwear, and the shops on the North side strip part are about the only ones left from when I worked there. Now it seems like a ghost town with at least 40 to 45 percent of the Mall being empty. Can a big box grocery store really bring Westgate Mall back from the slow death it seems to be facing? It seems like the big stores all want to go to the big mega type Malls instead of the small family type Malls of the old days. I can’t believe that Marcus closed the movie theater. Yeah it was a small 3 or 4 screen theater but it was nice and comfrontable compared to the big mega theaters. CJ’s was a nice family restaurant and there used to be an ice cream shop in the center of the Mall, and a snack shop down by TJ Maxx (Lunch N Munch). Karate America was next to Cost Cutters and the Cosmotolgy school. Tilt was next to the movie theater and the kids were always hanging out there. I hope someone that knows how to run a Mall can get things going again and bring Westgate back to what it used to be. The company that owns Hilldale Mall seems to know what it takes to keep an old but yet nice Mall going. Maybe the day of the small Malls is gone just like there doesn’t seem to be any small movie theaters anymore. Everything now days has to be big and it seems the bigger the better.

    I also really liked going to Southtowne Mall when that was still a Mall. Who was the person that decided to change it from an indoor Mall to a strip Mall? Now the movie theater there is closed and Famous Footwear moved out to. I heard a company that didn’t have any Mall experience bought it and things went down hill from there.

    A rumor was going around that someone was thinking about building a Mall in Fitchburg around the same time the super Target was being built but nothing every came of it, yet!!! I think the West side has enough Malls. Maybe someone can build another Mall on the North or South side this time. How about another Mall of America type Mall? They keep saying bigger is better!!!

  20. I grew up with this mall. Way back in the day when the grocery store on the south end was there. I think it was a Piggly Wiggly. I remember Uncle Paul’s Toy store, back when it was a strip mall along with Rennabaums,s Rexall drug store, Kresge,s was a like a Woolworth’s Dime store. There was a mens store called O&V. It stood for Olson and Verhusen and was there til Hart Schaffner Marx bought it and changed the name to Baskin’s. JC Penny and Manchester’s were the anchors. I remember when they enclosed it and tried to make it more like West Towne, where most of the stores had moved. Boreman,s Department store came in later and I remember back in the early 80’s when the mall added the walls and a movie theater. There was a Pizza Pit pizza on the far north end that was still outside and I remember an 1812 Overture record store. I miss the good ol’ days and boy it makes me feel old. I grew up in the area and I went to Odana elementary school and used to run through the farm fields that are still to the north of the mall.

  21. I remember my mom shopping at Westgate, but I do not remember it being enclosed. Neither was Hilldale enclosed. I’m fairly sure that those stores were enclosed several years after they first opened.

  22. I went to UW-Madison from 92 to 96 and my only visit to this mall was to see Braveheart at the theater (I went to South Towne only once to see a movie too…but I can’t remember which one). To me, it was always just part of the gigantic, crowded, sign-filled mess that you had to drive (or bus) past to get to West Towne. But looking at the interior pictures, the narrow hallways remind me of the Hilldale Mall, which I did visit on a few occasions. I wonder if the same design firm enclosed both malls?

  23. I attended Odana Elementary School next to Westgate in the early 1960’s and remember it very well. Penney’s & Manchester’s were the anchors with Piggly Wiggly and Rennebohms at the other end. I also recall the shoe store with the talking birds, Uncle Paul’s Toy Store, Kresges, and Richman Bros menswear. Vern’s barber shop was in the alcove next to Penney’s — 50 cents for a buzz cut in 1961. Every Christmas they would move a red “Santa House” to the parking lot where kids could visit Santa.

  24. @Martha,
    Yes, in the ’60’s there were Penney’s and Manchesters. Another clothing stores included 3 Sisters–> was that the one w/ the play corral w/ toys for the kids, Uncle Pauls Toy Store, Piggly Wiggly grocer, Forbes Maher music, S.S. Kresge, there was a candy store, a sporting goods store and a dry cleaners on the south end. A beauty shop was located there as well. We used to have lunch at the counter in Renebaums Drug store when we came down from Odana School
    Anyone else recall these?.

  25. There was a HUGE toy store there when I was kid, before Madison got the big box toys – r – us places. Can’t remember the name of it but they really did up the windows. I would come visit family in Madison and they would take me there and I thought it was just like what you would see in old movies. Remembered the name – Uncle Paul’s Toy Country!

    Moved to the city in 90 and Westgate was well on it’s way to ghost town. My dad would hang out with his retired buddies at a place called CJ’s [they had a couple other spots in Madison but I think that this was the only mall based one].

    Westgate did have one heck of a movie theatre. I’ve seen so many movies there I couldn’t even try to count them, It was trying to hang on for a while in the 90s and would do theme weeks….Kubrick, Hitchcock, that sort of thing.

    A Hyvee is working on demoing a huge part of the mall to build underground parking as part of a proposed store there.

  26. @Rick,

    When I moved to Madison in ’75, the grocery store at Westgate was Eagle Foods. The discount department store on the west side of Whitney was called Copp’s Department Store. There had been three in Madison, the other two were at Northgate and off Broadway where the Menards is. A good decade after Copp’s closed their discount operation in Madison, they opened grocery stores, one only a few hundred feet north of their old store on Whitney.

  27. Until the mall updated in the 1990s, I remember the outside of the buildings had tile and it looked like an orange. like the fruit. and it looked like it was radiating orange color into the air around it. I can’t remember the background color. I was pretty young though, but my mom took me there alot. I was born in 1985.

    Any pics of it before it was enclosed?

  28. I cannot resist sharing my memories. Growing up in the 80s I used to frequent this mall on bike rides, especially after swimming at West Side Pool. Who could forget a game of pinball at Tilt, right next to that restaurant that the neighborhood seniors visited? I keep thinking it was Bishop’s Buffet, but that may have been across the street. Anyway, it was dark and had lots of orange and brown hues to it! There was also a hobby shop at one point, which may have been moved from Midvale Plaza near my house when either the liquor or vacuum store moved in. We got pizzas from Pizza Pit almost every Friday night. One of my favorite things to do was to buy jelly bracelets and neon, geometric shaped earrrings at Two Plus Two. I got my first lunchbox at Eagle Foods. It was the Muppets “Pigs in Space”.

  29. Oh wow I remember renebaums pharmacies as a kid. They had a fantastic grilled Danish there.

  30. @TJ,
    My sister and I visited Santa there, and I remember the picture of us wearing our matching yellow winter coats. I remember the Myna birds at the shoe store too! We used to shop at the grocery store.

  31. Went here all the time circa 1990, as a 10 yr old kid. Remember the tilt arcade, the hobby shop, ice cream store, baseball card store (which appears to still be there), and bookstore. I didn’t get the impression this mall was on the decline back then. Dunhams always seemed oversized. Went there recently and the place seems dead. Looked like someone dumped a bunch of money into it in the late 90s and probably haven’t seen that money back.

  32. @Matt,

    I grew up near Westgate from 1960 to 1881. I was hoping Rennebohm’s Drug Store was still there. Odana Elementary was on the hill behind Westgate and a group of my 5th and 6th grade classmates plan to meet in Madison June 18th. It would have been fun to meet at an old haunt from our childhoods. Unfortunately the shopping center looks completely different now.

    Lynn Friedman

  33. According to what I just head, The DMV is no longer located at Westgate Mall. A friend of mine went into Westgate not too long ago and was told that they moved out about 4 months ago. I also heard that they have temporarily put plans for Hy Vee to move in on hold for some unknown reason. I”m actually hoping to go over to Westgate very soon and do a historical fact finding tour cause I”m interested in submitting it onto deadmalls.com.

  34. @Maxwell, The DMV is over on Odana now. Not sure if anything is operating at the back of the mall anymore.

    Hy-Vee was still interested in the site as of December, and the project received full approval from the Madison Plan Commission back in 2009. However, Westgate’s owner, J. Herzog, encountered a problem with its lender regarding the demolition of the southern half of the mall for Hy-Vee’s construction. Apparently the lender has a problem with demolishing some of its collateral, even though the new construction (Hy-Vee) would be worth far more, which is a bit puzzling to me. Anyway, the last thing I saw in December 2010 stated that Hy-Vee was now interested in purchasing the entire mall from Herzog in order to go forth with the project. I hope this happens, because the mall is now more vacant than ever before.

  35. I don’t find it very surprising because I remember the last time I went in there. It was just a few years ago, my dad wanted to take a visit out to the hobby store that was in there(don’t know if it still is by the way) and lets just say when I went in there, I was just bored half to death in there. All the fun stuff that I remembered from back when I was a little kid was just gone. Like all the other people that posted on here, I remember the center area right by where Milio’s and Rocky’s are at, there was also an ice cream place, they had a CJ’s Family Restaurant, there was the movie cinema that was pretty popular for a good long time, and then I remember that arcade that was in there. At that period, Westgate was more and more appealing to younger folks. Oh yeah, I also remember watching a news story about part of the roof blowing off on top of the dance studio that was in there on a very windy day, which leads me to believe that its not just vacancy issues at Westgate, there were obviously maintenance issues that were a big factor as well. All I can say, is that Westgate has certainly seen better days.

  36. Spent many years going to Westgate in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember a store where they consigned crafts from senior citizens to sell (knitted and crocheted goods, woodworking etc), there was also a nice small gift shop in the front of the mall. We always enjoyed going to this mall as something different than the bigger ones in town.
    Did go back this October for the first time since 1980 and went to the hobby store which I thought was very nice and wandered around the rest of the mall. Was rather sad to see all the empty storefronts. Hopefully Westgate will carve out a niche such as they had back in the day.

  37. I was doing some research, and from what I have read, HyVee has completed the purchase of Westgate, back in December, 2011. They will begin remodeling the mall this Spring. Looks like Westgate will be saved! Sure it is an empty, sad looking mall. However, it is full of nice memories for me, from when I was a kid. I’m pleased to see it being revitalized by HyVee and I am looking forward to enjoying it for many years to come. If you walk around it now, it is every empty. TJ Maxx is pretty much the only store of consequence in the place. HyVee certainly has its work cut out for it. Thankfully, they are well funded. OK, I need to go get a slice of Rocky’s pizza now.

  38. Does anyone remember a story of a freak psycho kid burning down Odana School?

  39. 1990 Directory of Major Malls says the Manchester’s space was Bormann’s, and the supermarket was Kohl’s Foods. Oddly it also lists Dunham’s — maybe they just forgot to take Kohl’s off the list after it closed?

  40. If there was a Woolworth’s, it was gone by the mid-60’s. There was a Kresge’s there at that time (I got my first bicycle there — a lime green flake Huffy singray for $35). One other fixture was Uncle Paul’s toy store. I also recall a grocery down on the Dunham’s end. It was probably a Sentry. They also had a Santa’s House trailer that was brought out into the parking lot for the holidays, and of course, a Rennebohm’s.

  41. Any pictures of the old Santa house from the 60’s?

  42. @Prangeway,

    Neither Westgate nor Hilldale were built as enclosed malls. That came later, after West Towne and East Towne.

  43. I grew up with Westgate between the mid-70s and 80s, the same time Valerie who posted above about the muppets lunchbox. I remember all that and Uncle’s toys.

    Rennebohms (not sure on the spelling, we called it Rennie’s) didn’t close until around 1986, we would go there all the time for ice cream.

    Eagle’s supermarket was where Dunham’s is (was?) now.

    They also had a movie theater in the back for years, it went under the first time when Marcus Point opened up, then reinvented itself as an art films/cult classics/old favorites theater. It seemed to be doing OK until Sundance opened up @ Hilldale and put it out of business again.

    I remember the old carpeting, too. Was a forest green/orange/brown/goldenrod pattern in the mall proper, and red and yellow pattered over in the theater area. The steps in the raised mezzanine area and in the back were a fun place for us little kids to play.

  44. I remember going to this mall in the mid nineties(can’t believe it’s been 20 years!) when there was actually people in it. I remember going into the fossil store and playing with all of the rocks and buying some geodes there. One time I was watching kids doing karate at Karate America with my father while we were waiting for my mom and sister. I think the fossils and relics store moved to a different storefront, I thought they used to be by the carpeted area if I recall correctly and not by the Milios. I saw the movie daylight in the movie theater back in 1996 and even though the screens were small I still remember the movie fairly well. They sold concessions and I think I had some sort of candy when I saw it. It’s strange to think of all the memories of this place back when it was a happening place to be, and now when I walked through it a few months ago it’s sad to see the memories dying with this place. The Rocky’s has been there for as long as I can remember but on my most recent trip I saw that even the Milios isn’t there anymore. How much longer can this mall go on for until they say enough is enough? Some of the pictures make the mall look bigger than what it really is until I walked through it again myself. They put mirrors in the main lobby when you walk in to make it seem larger than what it really is. It’s also sad to see the directory pretty much empty. I wish someone would take a camcorder and walk through the entire mall just one final time to see the entire mall and post it on YouTube so everyone can see it before it shuts it’s doors for good.

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