Where Did Crossroads Mall in Portage Get Its Name?
Have you ever wondered where Crossroads Mall got its name?
Recently, I received second hand info that the Betty Lee Ongley gave the mall that name because of its proximity to I-94 and US-131. In the late 70's/early 80's those crossroads were considered the life blood of Southwest Michigan. Ongley was the mayor of Portage at the time and Michigan's first female mayor.
According to Wikipedia, outside of JC Penny, Crossroads Mall was very different when it opened,
The Crossroads Mall opened in Portage, Michigan, in 1980. At the time, it was the only two-level mall in Michigan outside Metro Detroit. JCPenney and Hudson's were the first two anchor stores, with Sears opening in 1982.Westcor built the mall in association with Dayton-Hudson Corporation, which owned the Hudson's chain at the time. The mall was built on South Westnedge Avenue south of Interstate 94. Tenants on opening day included Arby's, Casual Corner, Claire's, County Seat, B. Dalton, Hickory Farms, Kinney Shoes, and Consumer Value Stores.Mervyns was later added as a fourth anchor, opening in 1989.
Crossroads Mall opened its doors in 1980. That seems like a lifetime ago, but it's no where close to the longevity of the first outdoor mall in America that calls Kalamazoo home according to Wikipedia,
The Kalamazoo Mall, the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the United States, is a section of Burdick Street in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Built for $60,000 and opened in 1959, the pedestrian mall became the first of several hundred built in the United States. The bold effort to make a downtown street car-free as a spur to urban vitality and a defense against suburbanization drew national attention to Kalamazoo, which was dubbed "Mall City".