Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where We Shopped: Scottsdale

Scottsdale: 79th and Cicero (southeast corner)

If you do a GOOGLE photo search of "scottsdale shopping chicago," you'll see all kinds of beautiful stucco shopping centers with tall, majestic palm trees out front; and if you're like me -- often sleepy; frequently confused -- you'll start wondering, "Did I really live in such a place? Was Burbank even more beautiful than I remember? Was the southwest side actually Xanadu, and I just didn't realize it?" And then you see the word "Arizona" attached to one of the photos, and you realize that, no, where you grew up was full of mostly ugly strip malls, and the sky was often overcast.

Let's face it: the glory days of Scottsdale are over. In fact, I'm not sure I was ever alive during its glory days, but it was certainly more of a staple for shopping when I was a kid, and it certainly had more character than today's strip malls, what with its big-ass sign (not the one pictured above) and its asymetrical design. I realize I'm pushing my case a little too hard here, but I'll go so far as to say that Scottsdale Plaza was ahead of its time. If you go to L.A. today, all you hear about is the trend of the "open air" shopping center, which is usually a couple of blocks of stores, where walking outside, usually amongst some professional landscaping, is a huge plus. Now, Scottsdale didn't have the greenery, per se, but it did have the potential for it. And, as I said, it was structured interestingly.

The anchor store was GOLDBLATT'S.

Here's what I remember best about Goldblatt's: the pet store. If I remember correctly, it was just inside the entrance and off to the left. Just before my fourth birthday, I talked my mother into buying me a baby turtle.

A few days later, our trailer (we lived in Guidish Park) burned completely down in the middle of the night. (We made it out safely.) My father threw a few things out the front door before the fire engulfed the entire trailer: our finch (in its cage, of course -- it was probably brain-damaged afterward); a Code-a-Phone answering machine (a high-dollar item back then), and a few other strangely disparate odds and ends. It wasn't until a few days later that I remembered the turtle. When I asked my mother where it was, she had to break the news: the turtle, whose name I no longer recall, didn't make it out alive. So there you go: my indelible Goldblatt's memory for you. (Hold on a second: I need to blow my nose and dab my eyes.)

But hey: Do you remember the photo store? I believe that, too, was a Goldblatt's enterprise, but it was in a building by itself. I loved going in there and looking at the Super-8 projectors and seeing what movies they had for sale. (For the younger readers, here's a "I-walked-fifty-miles-in-my-bare-feet-to-school-every-morning" story for you. Probably about a year after Star Wars came out, a Super 8 movie of Star Wars was released. This was a BIG DEAL for anyone withe a Super 8 projector. I'm assuming Star Wars ran about two hours, give or take several minutes, at the theater. Well, a Super 8 movie ran, on average, 8 minutes. With sound (that is, if you wanted sound), it would cost probably twenty-five bucks. If you were wealthy, you might be able to spring for the twenty minute version, which cost probably in the neighborhood of forty or fifty bucks. To own even the eight-minute version of the movie back then would be the equivalent today of, I don't know, owning a Hummer and a Rolex.)

For the life of me, I can't remember any other store in Scottsdale. Help me. There was a furniture store down the way, right? But what else was actually in Scottsdale?

All right, folks: time to chime in with your own Scottdale memories. And if anyone has any old photos of Scottsdale, please (please) send them to me at for posting.

Ah, but to imagine what Scottsdale could have been with a little imagination...

(Photo of Scottsdale sign, courtesy of Renee Greco)


Mike Bates said...

In the mid-60s, Scottsdale had a Walgreen's with a lunch counter and a fountain. One memory of Walgreen's is seeing hundreds of "Sing Boy Sing," a song by Tommy Sands, on sale for one cent each. I could've locked up the "Sing Boy Sing" monopoly, but opted for a "garbage Coke" at the fountain instead.

Scottsdale also had a dimestore, either a Kresge's or Woolworth's, at the time. And a meat market that I believe was called Joe's.

The week before school started, Goldblatt's would teem with Moms and their kids.

Scottsdale was a pretty good place for summertime girl-watching. If one were interested in that sort of thing.

YellowRose said...

Now I do remember Scottsdale, my mom and Grandmother shopped at the stores there for as long as I can remember!!

Let's see, there was a Tally Ho coffee shop, and a Joe's Meat Market that my family would use a lot. My mom would shop at Morris B. Sachs for her office work clothes. And there was another store there that I think the name was "Lady Bugs?" that I shopped at a lot that sold Sergio Valente Jeans along with some of the cutest clothes that a teenage girl could buy!

Walgreens was a regular stop for us for those drug store needs and when I was young I loved to visit the soda fountain!

Scottsdale always had a big sidewalk sale in the summer also. We never missed it!

Oh and for Mike's information, it wasn't so bad for boy-watching either. ;)

YellowRose said...

Ok, the store wasn't "Lady Bugs" I think it was "Fashion Bug"...makes much more sense! lol

Mike Bates said...

Oh and for Mike's information, it wasn't so bad for boy-watching either. ;)

Duly - or is that dully, I always get it mixed up - noted.

Kevin said...

I think I remember two things:

1) some kind of ice cream or candy shop that was pretty much right on 79th street. I can remember starting further down Cicero and walking north and the last thing we would do is get some kind of treat and walk back to the car.

2) summer carnival. Scottsdale has like the biggest and emptiest parking lot which made a great place for a carnival.

Anonymous said...

Was Jerome's the ice cream shop?

There was the dry cleaners.

Along 79th Street:
Dunkin' Donuts
"Chicken Unlimited"
Shell(?) gas station.

Religious store (St. Anne's?)
Children wear store
Currency exchange
Camera Shoppe
Tally Ho
Women's clothes store
Joe's Meat Market
Goldblatt Garden Store

Anonymous said...

A gas station (Shell?)
Jerome's Ice Cream
Dunkin' Donuts
Chicken Unlimited
Dry cleaners
Hobby shop
Barber shop
Women's salon
Tally Ho restaurant
A religious store (St. Anne's?)
Children's clothing
Camera shop
A women's store
Joe's Meat
Goldblatts Garden Center

leomemorial said...

I remember the Goldblatts and Fashion Bug, where as a teen I would buy my clothes. There was a beauty salon and a few other places. My brother and I would walk there sometimes instead of going to Ford City

Josie said...

My dentist was on the second floor right above the Walgreens. Not a very pleasant memory!

Also worked at the TJ Maxx in Scottsdale...or was that a little further south? Hated that job!

Ironically I'm now living in Scottsdale...AZ.

tlee169 said...

Until the 1950's Scottsdale was Ashburn Field, a small general aviation airport. The last thing I can remember there was a Goodyear Blimp which was destroyed in a storm over Michigan right afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Scottsdale Shopping Center was also a hangout of my youth. Most of my time was spent in the Hobby Shop, Walgreens and Goldblatt's. Most of what's been posted looks pretty accurate. A couple omissions were the Goldblatt's (smelly) Deli which was a stand-alone store and the veterinarian hospital. Before it was the veterinarian, it was a music store. My sister took piano lessons there.

My favourite was Goldblatt's. If you went in the Kilpatrick side entrance you would see the candy counter to your left. There were bicycles there too. Behind that was sporting goods and the pet department. I think small appliances were also near there. To the right of that entrance was the sewing notions and yarn, I think. Beyond the candy counter on the left was the men's and boy's clothing. Across from that on the right again was a camera counter, and behind that was the record/music department, in sort of a cubby hole. I think perfume was also in that general area. There were two separate entrances at that mid-point that fed into the center of Scottsdale. As the store was "L" shaped, you would turn left at that point. I think the shoe department was on that corner on the left side. I think the womans clothing took up most of the remainder of that wing. There was another entrance/exit at that end.

I think John mentioned a furniture store at the end of Scottsdale. That was part of Goldblatt's as well. Someone else also mentioned the Goldblatt's Garden center. Used to go there a lot too. At Christmas, they would convert the garden center to the toy center. Also at Christmas they would put that long green trailer in the parking lot where children could go see Santa.

There were a couple shoe stores in the mall too. One was a Thom McAnn. I believe there was a jeweler in there as well.

Lots of time and money was spent at the Hobby Shop. Remember the old coke machine he had? All those Aurora models of the Universal Monsters were there too. I used to have to bring a letter from my mother in order to be able to buy the Testors model glue. He would decorate the windows at Christmas the same way every year. The poor guy had to leave when they put in the law prohibiting the sale of spray paint within Chicago city limits.

I can't say I remember a Tally-Ho there, but the Kresge's used to have a lunch counter.

The woman's clothing store may have been a William A Lewis, or something like that. All I can remember is that the name was similar to some other local department store.

There was a Jewel Food store and a National Tea store too. The National moved across the street then became Elm Farm. The Jewel moved out and became two stores. One was a medical supply store and the other was Pier One Imports.

Walgreens was great too. They also had a lunch counter and a liquor department. We used to buy their ice cream.

So many memories, I could go on forever.

P. Wrubel

Debbie Morack said...

Scottsdale was the place to shop back in the day. Thank you for the memories. There was a jewelry store there "Kopps", I believe was the name. I still have jewelry from there. My very first cool bike came from Goldblatt's and two weeks later it was stolen from the carnival up at Korvets on 87th Street, because I didn't lock it up like my father told me too. I grew up in Burbank, lived at my parents home from 1962 to 1982 and back again a few times until 1988. Life was grand in Burbank.....then.

PATRIC said...

i grew up in between scottsdale and ford city mall.

my favorite was the hobby shop(now on 83rd street in burbank,i dont know if its the same owners, can someone check?)...then jeromes ice cream i would get a sherbert rainbow cone every time...chicken little...dunkin donuts was always dentist was on the 2nd floor(worst elevator ever!)...flower shop...walgreens...jewel(which later became pier 1)...tally ho (great little pizza's) shop on the other side...kreskies 5@dime...joe meat market(great smell)...polk brothers( i think)...goldblatts had a great record dept....we used to do donuts in the back in winter time and race...thnks to everyone for the memories

does anyone have pictures???

there is a, theres a section on ford city with pictures and a great blog

Anonymous said...

Patric, I too grew up between Ford City and Scottsdale.

To partially answer your question regarding the Hobby Shop, the last time I was there around 1999, at least one of the two original gentlemen (owners?) was working there. It was the taller thinner guy. I didn't see the other bald fellow.

They were forced out of their Scottsdale location with passing of the law banning the sale of spray paint within Chicago City limits. A large portion of their sales was from spray paint.

P. Wrubel

Anonymous said...

Lived in Scottsdale in 60's to early 70's. My favorite memory was when the Batmobile came to the shopping center. If I can recall correctly, it was parked outside of the Goldblatts.

I picketed with the neighbors on Keating when Goldblatts put their Home Center.

Ford City Gal said...

Scottsdale was kinda swanking in hind-sight! I forgot about the jeweler. I do remember Joe's Meat Market, the dentist, Dr. Petty had one of his many offices there and that's where I got my braces put on. There was also a women's clothing store called "Fran's" - I remember that because I had a friend who's mom worked at "France" and I couldn't imagine that she went that far to go to work eveyr day! There was also a laundry mat in the back near Goldblatt's.

Allison M said...

I am thankful to have been raised in neighboring Ashburn in the era just before the commercial areas of Scottsdale/Burbank saw their glory days in rearview. I was about 12 when we moved from Chicago, right about when the changes started happening. I remember Goldblatts was becoming a dying-breed in the department store genre, but can still picture myself walking through the center of the store, passing the wood-sided jewelry counter and heading towards the "toy department" in the Southeast corner (I quote that because my last visits to Goldblatts were during a period of liquidation for that department)
One of my fondest memories is getting off of the bus at Kilpatrick and walking through the outdoor entryway to the mall. Most of the stores were starting to close or saw little to no business, and really the only places to see regular customers were Goldblatts, the Dollar Store, Walgreens and (forgot name) the shoe store near Goldblatts. I'm so fortunate to have experienced a piece of American mall history, before the local mall became a local conglomerate of a New Zealand tycoon or what have you.
And I am quite surprised no one has mentioned the car wash.
P.S. Does anyone remember Bak'n Eggs (may have the name wrong but in that category of cooking!) on 79th St. next to the mall?

Anonymous said...

I remember in the early 70's the White Sox had a baseball clinic for kids in the parking lot of Scottsdale. Bart Johnson, Johnny Jeter, and coach Al Monchak or Joe Lonett were there. Myself and a buddy, Mike O. went to see what was going on. Since Mike never learned how to ride a bike, we walked there from St. Denis parish. It was a long walk for a couple of ten year olds, but it paid off. We had our picture taken with each of the players, and got their autographs on a ball that I absconded from the batting cage that was set up there.

The old part of the mall is torn down now but I seem to remember in the 80's there was a womans clothing store, "Ann Klein?" I think, I bought my girlfriend at the time some clothes from there as a Christmas present.

Also there was a jewlery store in the mall, Begemans, which closed in the late 80's. I bought my ex-wife's engagement ring there.

Used to love going to the Wag's restaurant located in the parking lot in the n/w corner.

Anonymous said...

blurry, but i remember all the way in the back of goldblatts was a toy section that was almost impossible to find, also i think what allison m is thinking of was steak and egger, also there was a hot dog stand that was run by a family named flutas, i think, the bank across 79th street always had outdoor small carnivals every year, got an autograph of tom paciorick on a team white sox poster, they had pony rides and food and i remember playing a joke on my best friend and tying his key chain to a few helium balloons and letting them go. but pretty much everything else about that strip mall besides goldblatts is blurry, loved mcdades across cicero though and riding under the shopping carts at the a&p, those shopping carts were super tall, good stuff

Anonymous said...

Loved reading everybody's great memories. I used to work at the Goldblatt's in Scottsdale from the late 70's to about 1982. They started me in the "bargain bin" right before Easter and I was surrounded by Lilly plants for over a week. I swear i still have nightmares of gigantic Lillies coming to get me. But seriously I loved working at that store and the people that worked there were great. I ended up working in the candy department the last couple of years I was there which was also a nightmare around the holidays. I grew up on the SW side of Chicago and now live in the NW suburbs but I sure miss those good old days back at Goldblatts. I was very sad to see how much has changed the last time I took a ride around there a few years ago. It's like that whole area only exists in my memory now.

Matthew said...

Matthew Berkin said, The name of the Jewellery store was Begeman for Diamonds. Ken was the manager and I was a salesman. They had 4 stores. However Kopp's Jewelers was inside Ford City Mall,accross from Wieboldts and The Tie Rack was in between. The store had a big window at the end in which you could look in and see a young man engraving his life away. Spiedel ID bracelets,prom charms and pewter wedding mugs. You could harrass him all day long with finger pointing,window tapping,spilt pop on the window,the occassional obscene gesture as well as the occasional overt one as well. You could do all that 5 days a week from 1971 to 1976. ....and I loved every minute of it!

Anonymous said...

Great memories all.
Tally Ho was in a small stand alone building on the sidewalk just outside of Goldblatts. There was a second of these small buildings and it was occupied by Jack Marquardt State Farm Insurance. The Children's clothing store was Pam's Young Folks. They had a second store in Ford City. When Pier One first opened, they actually sold tropical fish there in the back. I remember there were a couple of old fashioned phone booths just outside the Walgreens. Remember Scottsdale Bowl (now an Aldi's) just south of the shopping center at 83rd & Cicero?
I believe Scottsdale was named for the son (Scott) of the real estate developer who developed the shopping center and surrounding neighborhood.
About 2/3 of the mall were torn down and recently a Lowes Home Center was built on the spot.

Just north of the mall on the other side of 79th St. was United Savings, Gossage Grill (later became Huck Finn Donuts) and a Standard Gas Station on the corner.


Anonymous said...

Oh no !!!!! Most of that mall has been torn down.... I guess it was inevitable but it still makes me sad to think all the memories that I had of Goldblatt's is gone forever. Sometimes I'd give anything to go back to those days of being young and stupid and still live under the misguided conception that my sad little weekly earnings could buy me the world. But then again, what did I know I was only 17 then. I'd sure love to hear from ANYBODY that worked at Goldblatt's during the late 70's to the mid 80's. My main department was the candy counter but also worked as a "floater" whenever they needed somebody.
Ah...Good times !!!!!

Marietta said...

Wow .. I too grew up in the area .. we were at 95th and Kostner but frequented Scottsdale .. and LOVED Goldblatt's, having shopped them in the city, on Ashland ..

And a comment by someone I knew -- Matt Berkin! I believe he went to Brother Rice, was taking some form of "drafting" .. and had a bird named Euripides ..

If you remember me, hello!

Anonymous said...

I remember the music store.Took guitar lessons there in the late sixties.I was eight years old and my mother would have me walk there by myself from 79th and Lavergne.Can't do that nowadays.

Anonymous said...

I remember SCOTTSDALE in my younger years and it's recent attributes of today. I even worked shopped and exeperince all the wonderful store excepted the meat market. The book store is pretty vague to me.

Anonymous said...

Yes it was a wonderful place to live and work - There was also Vickies card shop which was right next to the Jewel Food Store and Richman Brothers clothing store for men which was I believe next to Frans - There was a bakery - Fluffy Flake - at times Goldblatts had their toy department down in the basement that was later converted into the offices - also Cupid Candies was right when you came out the door of Goldblatts and near by Tally Ho

Anonymous said...

I had the dubious distinction of having worked at two Scottsdale stores. I lived in Burbank. My first job was at the Dunkin' Donuts, where, on my first day, the owner unceremoniously ripped the hem down on my uniform because she said it was too short. My second job was at Goldblatt's where I folded enough sweaters that even today it is instinctive when I am in a clothing store, to start folding messy stacks! Good times. I worked there during part of my H.S. years ('70-'72)

Ed said...

Some time ago, my north side in-laws were reminiscing about the Walnut Room in Marshall Field's at Christmas time. Sure enough, they asked me about my Christmas traditions, and I had to admit to standing out in the cold, in Scottsdale's parking lot, in line to see Santa in his trailer.
(Wouldn't have traded it for the world.)

Anonymous said...

my mom worked at Goldblatt's for 0ver 20 years. She lived in her home behind Goldblatt's on Kilpatrick for 50 years. It was great revisiting all of the stores mentioned. Does anyone remember the name of the shoe store that was located in the pass through with the shoe guy "John". Always wore a white shirt and had the best personality. Also sidewalk sales....the best. Green Rivers at the Walgreen's snack bar. Fresh sliced ham and bakery rolls at S.S. Kresseges. I could go on. Thanks for a great trip down memory lane.

Linda said...

The shoe store was called "The Shoe Tree." The owner was a man named Barney. John worked there as a manager of sorts. He wore white pressed shirts and despite his appearance, he was only 18. He was attending Coyne Institute in the evenings. That was my first job. I lived on Kenneth Avenue, so it was within walking distance. After that, I worked at the make-up counter at Goldblatts, even though I had never used make-up. It didn't last long.

Anonymous said...

So much has changed and began changing around 1982. The mall became somewhat run-down looking. Rusty. I actually worked in Scottsdale Shopping Center for a year in 1995. It was, by that time, a discount mall. Even Walgreen's left!

But that's the story of Scottsdale: Everyone left. I guess that's the story of every South SIde neighborhood. Damn postindustrial America....I would like to have seen Scottsdale in its glory days. I was born in 1970 and can't hardly remember them....

Anonymous said...

It's about this time every year i think back to when i started working at Goldblatts.
It was 1977 and right before easter and they started me in what they called the "bargain bin" which was right next to the candy dept. and there were lily plants and easter baskets everywhere you turned. I worked in various departments at Goldblatts for the next 4 years. I have the best memories of that place and also the people that worked there. I remember the lady that hired me was Marge and her husband Chester who worked part time security.