For the architects, Jones and Emmons, the design of the surrounding neighborhood was just as important as the homes themselves. Integral to the design and development of neighborhoods were shopping centers, parks and greenbelts, community oriented spaces were the centerpieces of the subdivisions.
Long before the Boulevard Mall and Sears opened up down the street in the 1960s, rounding out the initial development was a shopping square built around 1955 that would service the newly built neighborhood, called Parkway Plaza.
The original tripod sign said, Parkway Plaza, however, in 1961, it would be given a Googie face-lift and was re-dubbed, “A Mall.” At one point the mall was anchored by a Pantry Pride market and later a Smith’s Food King, before Smith’s moved across the street. (Currently this historic tripod sign now says “Planet Fitness.”)
The corner anchor Gas Station tenant was a Phillips 66.
FUN FACT: In 1948, Phillips formed a new subsidiary, Phillips Chemical Company, and became one of the first oil companies to install electrostatic precipitators at refineries to reduce air emissions. Later, in 1951, Phillips invented polyethylene plastics and discovered and developed a new process to produce high-density polyethylene resins, launching Phillips’ entry into the plastics business. It also began producing a polyolefin plastic trademarked as Marlex. Wham-O Manufacturing used Marlex in the production of the hula hoop, which became popular in that decade. In the early 1950s, Phillips began expanding the company’s marketing beyond the Midwest by opening Phillips 66 stations in Texas and Louisiana.
It is unclear whether financial backer Gifford Phillips had an associated with the Phillips 66 company?
In the 1970s Parkway Plaza hosted the Lollipop Shop, a head shop that sold incense, music, and non-traditional smoking supplies.
Thank you to George Thomas Apfel for the following recollections. Additional shops that have been located in the Parkway Plaza Mall include:
- Lucky Pierre’s
- Plaza Drug
- Tip Top 5 & 10 (Later Tandy Leather)
- Bob Ray’s Restaurant and Bakery
- Hudson Dry Cleaners
- L Bar L Supermarket (primary anchor at one point)
- L.V. Liquor and Beer Bar
- Bob Evan’s Shoe Tree (children’s shoes.)
- Western Auto
- a Barber Shop
- Frank and Eddie’s Beauty Salon
- Harriet’s Apparel
- Skrenes Realty (owner Lloyd Skrenes owned Parkway Plaza in the 1960s)
- P.J. Russo’s Italian Deli
- Parkway Laundermat (Still a laundrymat!)
- Mr. Fish & Chips
- Radio Shack
THE GOSPEL: Newest topic of conversation in the smart set, is commercial artist Ray Irwin’s chic new studio in the Parkway Plaza Shopping Center. Ray, in addition to being a top artist, is also a noteworthy painter. He has on display the works of Leo Nowak, Bob Till, B. koster and James Grenvold. A visit to his studio will net you one of the most charming experiences you’ve had in a long while….
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