Monday, June 4, 2012

wheaton plaza in 1971, and blair high school today

Two videos:

Friend of JUTP Mike, who writes the Bowie Living blog, sent me a link to this Mother's Day TV ad for Westfield Wheaton Wheaton Mall Wheaton Plaza from back in 1971, when it was a "whole new shopping scene" where you could find gifts for your "with-it mom."

At the time, Wheaton Plaza was a small, open-air shopping center. The roof was added in the 1980's, along with a new wing for Hecht's department store. That ended up killing their existing location in downtown Silver Spring which, of course, was later repurposed as City Place Mall.

This ad is well before my time, but I enjoy learning about the history of one of America's oldest shopping malls, which opened in 1959. It's no surprise that mall owners want to downplay a mall's age or history, but I was disappointed that Westfield didn't do anything for Wheaton Plaza's 50th anniversary in 2009 but, after all, mall owners want to keep their properties (and customers) perpetually young and trendy. Besides, they were probably too busy organizing fake flash mobs to sell shoes.

If you'd like more Wheaton Plaza nostalgia, check out this Facebook group.
In recent months, I've written a lot about Tolu Omokehinde, the amazing photographer from Blair High School who makes stunning timelapse videos of his school and downtown Silver Spring. He's graduating next week, but not without posting one last clip of Blair's hallways, which I'm told included some 23,000 photos.

Congratulations for finishing high school, Tolu! He's a great talent, and I look forward to seeing what he'll do next. (Thanks to Chip Py, also amazing photographer/friend of JUTP/Tolu's mentor, for the heads-up.)

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