Thursday, July 31, 2008

Old Market Square Kenosha Wi.

Old Market Square Mall came to life in late 1981 or early 1982 in a building that had been vacant for several years that was once a Topps Department Store. The malls anchor store, so to speak, was the Market Square Theatres which was a twin movie theatre at that back of the mall. In line stores accounted for the rest of the space. There were maybe twenty to twenty-five stores most of which were never occupied. The only chain that I am aware of to ever be in the mall was Merle Norman Cosmetics. The rest of the stores were small mom and pop which were mostly gift orientated stores. There was a video arcade near the theatre. The mall would close in stages becoming the Kenosha Job Training Center and local job service offices. The theatres would be the last to close, doing so in the late nineties.


RcktMan Rick said...

WOW! I can't believe someone got pictures of Old Market Square! I grew up mere blocks away from Topp's/Old Market Square and remember what a big deal it was when it opened. Of course, it was never much of anything-- just the fact that the old Topp's store was actually going to be used for SOMETHING was a big enough deal. It had been empty for at least 10 years before someone finally decided to do something with it.

Old Market Square holds a lot of great memories - we bought our first VCR at Mr. Video, and rented TONS of movies there. The Driver's License center was located in the building for many years, and it was there where I got my first driver's license. There were other nice places too- a photography studio, a craft store, a music store, and a couple of clothing stores. Everything was locally owned, and had that sort of nice flavor. There were two fountains - one on each end of the mall - for the first few years the mall was open, but they were eventually removed. My parents both were members of the Gateway Rose Society, and the Society held many rose shows at the mall. And of course, countless movies at the Theatres.

Topp's closed in 1973, so I was much too young to remember it at all... but I vaugely remember going there with my mom a few times. It was within walking distance, so my mom shopped there a LOT. Too bad it couldn't have become something else soon after it closed, it would have been nice to have that kind of retail close to home.

I wish someone had pictures of Topp's in its heyday. It'd be nice to see what it looked like.

Thanks for sharing this! Lots of good memories there.

Matt said...

What road was this on? I think I missed it. I know the old drag through town (heading west) is now home to a new(er) ShopKo, an older K-mart, Pick 'n Save, and Wal-Mart.

The newer drag (Hwy 50) is home to the bigger names like Kohl's and Target, both of whom anchor the main 'mall' of Kenosha....a ridiculously loooooong strip that fronts the north-south Green Bay Ave. strip. Further down the road is an ancient 1960s-era Sears that's seen several remodels over the years.

It's obvious what killed this mall from the get-go. Four words....."Kenosha Factory Outlet Centre". That enclosed outlet mall, up until the outlets in Pleasant Prairie and Gurnee Mills' opening in the early 1990s, pretty much pushed back (and also killed off) any other efforts to get some sort of 'traditional' retail to Kenosha. Not to forget Lakehurst and Waukegan IL to the south, and Racine / Milwaukee to the north.

Didn't help that the mall didn't have an anchor either. Rule #2 in mall building (after the first one, which is 'Location'), is 'Anchor stores'.

I didn't know Topps got up as far as Wisconsin either. By the sound of it, not many remember the chain because it left so early in the 1970s. There WAS a department store chain called Copps (very close in name)....but they mostly kept to East-Central, North-Central and South-Central Wisconsin in geographical area, never entering the Milwaukee/Racine/Kenosha market.

John Gallo said...

The Mall was on Sheridan rd. just at the souther edge of Kenosha. thank you all for the comments. have a lot more to go including pershing plaza in Kenosha (Sears) from back in the day when it was more mall like if any one wood like to talk more contact me at

RcktMan Rick said...

Hey John.. I would love to see your Pershing Plaza photos! I have many more memories of that center - especially Grants! Looking forward to seeing those!

jernaf said...

Does anyone know who Pershing Plaza or Pershing Blvd in Kenosha is named after?