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.