October 5, 1951

Shoppers' World Launches Mall Era

Greater Boston

On this day in 1951, Shoppers' World in Framingham opened for business. The first suburban shopping mall in the Northeast, and only the second in the country, the complex was a revolutionary design. Anchored by a branch of Boston's Jordan Marsh Department Store — housed under a futuristic "space age" dome — the mall was a sign of things to come. Over the next decades, retailers would concentrate their investment in auto-friendly malls in the suburbs rather than downtown shopping areas. With its large middle class and new housing developments, Framingham was an ideal location for this new style of shopping. Eventually the original Shoppers' World design would become dated, and in 1994, over the protests of preservationists, the landmark was demolished.

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