Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Southgate Plaza Shopping Center

Southgate Shopping Center
Postcard of Southgate Plaza Shopping Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Photo by Madelyn Hendry.
Published by Marquart Photo Service, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

If you'd like to see a gigantic view of this picture, just click on it and it will take you to a much larger version on flickr.

There's no date associated to this postcard, but guessing by the cars pictured, it was sometime in the early 60's (although I am not a big car follower - I'm just wildly guessing here and I'll wait for one of you car buffs to correct me!).

I haven’t been to Southgate Shopping Plaza in years. By the time I was born, Penney’s had moved to Southtown Mall and of course, we never shopped at Kroger’s because the gigantic Scott’s shopping experience was on the other side of the road.

If and when we stopped in here, it was to visit the paint store (I think Ream Steckbeck Paint Co.). I also remember a shoe store too but we always walked by it without actually purchasing anything.

The Southgate Plaza, north of Pettit Avenue and east of Calhoun Street was opened April 18, 1955. It contained 40 store units at the outset on an area of 40 acres. Developed by the American Shopping Centers, Inc., it was the city’s first large center and provided parking for 2,500 cars. Major stores included Stillman’s, J.C. Penney, F.W. Woolworth, W.T. Grant, The People’s Trust Bank, Richman Brothers, Walgreen Drug Stores, and Kroger Supermarket.

Twentieth Century History of Fort Wayne, John Ankenbruck (1975) - Page 499

So I guess the parking was a big deal back then but for me - as a little kid - my biggest memory is how lost and disoriented I felt by the layout of the place. I was so used to shopping with my grandparents downtown or at Southtown Mall and this particular arrangement was confusing and to tell you the truth - lacked "eye candy".

Downtown, there was hustle and bustle and a connected sense of community. At Southtown Mall, once you stepped inside, it was like you were in another mini-city. Southgate was just a bunch of connected 'things' to me and an after thought to a Saturday shopping/outing.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Photo Credit:
Life Magazine, September 1967

Caption - "Lost child being traced in supermarket by store wide public address system."

So...when I last spoke to Mr. John Elliott (spokesman for Kroger), I had requested to take pictures of some special places within the store before it closed. He said that he was fine with my request and that I should contact the store manager to arrange a time that would be least disruptive to employees.

Although I've been very upset about the closing of the store, I have been looking forward to being allowed in to take photos of all of those hidden places (gems) that we employees were aware of that maybe shoppers either didn't know about or didn't have access to.

I took the day off of work today (vacation day) and placed a call to the Scott's Decatur Road Store manager this morning. After speaking with Dave, he said that he needed to run this by his management and that he would return my call.

About an hour later, John Elliott returned the call. It went to voice mail because I was on another line. He stated that my request was being turned down for two reasons.

First, because my presence would be a disruption to current employees. Second, it was his understanding that without prior authorization, I had already been inside the store taking pictures.

When I returned his phone call - it went to voice mail. I explained that I had followed his instructions to me - to the letter of the law - and that I hadn't been to Fort Wayne or Scott's Decatur Road and I had not taken any pictures. I do have pictures that were sent to me by readers of this blog however, they weren't necessarily the shots I was intending to take myself. I did not request for them to take pictures and frankly, I would have never posted them if I thought that this would invalidate the agreement.

It has been three hours, and I still have not heard back from him. I'm assuming my opportunity is lost and to say that I am upset - well - it's an understatement.

5:00 P.M. Update - John Elliott returned my phone call and said that the store's management was not comfortable with me because according to them, I had made an appearance at the store a few week's ago and while I was there, they confronted me.

It's just too bad it never happened. I haven't been to Fort Wayne since sometime in 2008.

Not sure why someone would feel the need to impersonate me and not sure why the store management is being a bunch of jerks.

Goodbye Scott's. It was nice knowing you.

Does Scott's at Decatur Road Have A Date With The Wrecking Ball?

I've received two emails and one blog comment indicating that this is the case. I'm really hoping that it's bad information/just a prank...If anyone has any information - please let me know.

Update @ 5:15 p.m. Thanks to Stephen Parker from AroundFortWayne - he checked with the City of Fort Wayne's Public Information Officer, Rachel Blakeman


I just checked with Kroger. Following the store's closure, the exterior
Scott's signage will be removed, but the cornucopia itself will remain.
Kroger has made no decision at this time about the future of the sign.

Sorry, but no pipers, Mayor or pomp and circumstance.