Lloyd Center, 1962

Lloyd Center shopping mall was originally designed and built as an open-air shopping center. This 1962 color postcard shows the ground level splash fountain which I’m guessing was on the west end of the mall; the Meier & Frank sign can be seen in the upper right. Best’s Apparel was bought out by Nordstrom in 1963. Lloyd Center was remodeled and enclosed in the early 1990s.

(City of Portland Archives)

29 thoughts on “Lloyd Center, 1962

  1. Welcome back Dan.

    I wonder if water of some fountains was tinted to get that unique aquamarine color back in the day. I vaguely remember this fountain and the color of the water and the design of the fountain brings back memories of the Washington Park Zoo during its own “mod” sixties revamp. Being very young at the time, I was envious of the animals’ “playgrounds.” Especially in the monkey house.

  2. Yes, welcome back, Dan.
    Growing up in Irvington, I spent a lot of time at Lloyd Center as a kid. I was sad to see it get remodelled since it was an architectural timepiece from 1960. The building that Nordstroms (a shoe store at the time) was in at the left had a texture of marbles on the outside walls.
    Jim, the bottoms of the fountains were painted aquamarine. If they’d tinted the water there would’ve been a lot of angry parents with kids blue from playing in them.

  3. Kind of funny that it was the largest mall in it’s time, and the whole “outdoors” thing was sort of unusual, especially here in Oregon.

    Fast forward 20 years, and now we’re building outdoor malls left and right, while the first has been safely covered for many years.

    I too miss that old Lloyd Center. The entire building doesn’t have the same character it did back then.

  4. I believe that the fountains were painted blue which explains the blue water. I too miss the “old” Lloyd Center. The remodeled mall looks like every other mall out there.

    Some of the old mall is still there……if you search for it. The one thing that comes to mind is the underground parking near the Dollar Tree store and the old abandoned furniture store on the basement level across from the old Newberry’s. There used to be escalators down there but I believe they closed it down. I have no idea why they left that store empty? It always intrigued me for some odd reason.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I posted a link to this photo on my Facebook page yesterday, and a lot of my HS classmates and I shared our memories of the old Lloyd Center.

  6. Yes, I bought a lot of popcorn at Morrow’s Nut House. We’d take it to eat on the bridge & watch everyone below on the rink.

  7. I haven’t been to Lloyd Center in years – I live in San Francisco now – but I remember the restaurant above the rink. I’m pretty sure it was called Alladin’s. Is it still there? The public bathrooms were also up there to the right.

  8. The first link was foiled by a period. Copy and paste into your browser and delete the extraneous period at the end to access the link.

  9. I, too, can remember all the hub-bub about the Lloyd Center and how we were the first ones in the country to build anything like it, and how crazy everybody thought we all were… putting all those stores together like that, way out here in a state people STILL can’t pronounce right! Yeah…well, they didn’t laugh long, did they?

    Okay, it may have been a bit cold in the winter time, but so was downtown, so that excuse didn’t really last very long. As we used to say-That excuse didn’t hold water! Then they came up with that great slogan: “It Never Rains at the Lloyd Center!”

    It was also the concept of free parking that attracted a lot of people…no meter maids…and you could stay as long as you wanted, shop as long as you wanted and didn’t have to worry about your car…well…you kinda had to remember WHERE you parked your car! (Was it inside or outside, main level or underground and how on earth did I get myself to the inside of the mall in the first place?! And now, how do I get out?) Oh well, if you forgot, it was still fun…I learned a whole lot of new swear words from my mother there looking for our car! She denies every @$*+!*ng word!

    Still, a lot of good memories…it also makes for a great game…how many stores can you name and where were they located? And, as seen in the above photo, I ALWAYS forget that it was Nordstrom BEST, but I usually get ‘em by remembering places like Aden & Josi and Leed’s. Aden & Josi was THE place for guys to shop for clothes and Leed’s was for women’s shoes, and that was next to the Lerner’s Shop. There was also a small little cubicle on the lower level that made keys…that’s all, just keys!

    Still, like I said…a lot of good memories…and a lot of trips to Morrow’s!


  10. Right. At first, Nordstrom’s was a shoe store across from Bests. Then they merged and were called Nordstrom Bests. There was a Bests downtown, too. Somewhere along the way it just became Nordstrom again. There were a lot of department stores downtown at that time: I Magnin in the Pacific Power Building, Olds & Kings where the Galleria is and Lipman’s across from M & F on 5th.

  11. My dad and I moved to Portland in ’85 from New Jersey, and I fondly remember the open air mall. Whenever I was homesick, I’d loiter around there because it reminded me of New Jersey. haha! I recall the feeling among people about a renovation plan felt long overdue.

  12. Does anyone remember at christmas time, the christmas nativity sets set up under the grages at Lloyd Center when back when?

  13. I don’t remember those, Melissa. But then we always walked to Lloyd Center so didn’t usually go down into the garages. I do remember the Christmas displays by Alpenrose, tho.

  14. Melissa – the nativity scenes and live animals was called Storybook Lane, I believe. I remember being down there several times. Great memories of the Doorless Door at Meier and Frank, all the great fountains. Now it’s just a mall.

  15. I watched the building of Lloyd Center from my school room window. I went to the old Holiday School on 7th Ave. across from Lloyd Center. I have Cerebral Palsy and went to the special school for kids with disabilities at the time which was housed in part of the old Holiday School. My mother said I would come home with a report each day on the progress. I watched them bulldoze the existing houses in the area which nowadays would be worth $400,000 to over a $1,000,000. Lots of them were of the popular Victorian and Old Portland style. Then I watched the build Lloyd Center. I started school at age 4 which would have been 1955 and was age 9 when it opened in 1960. After it opened they transferred me to my normal school which was Alameda School. I remember riding my bicycle over to Lloyd Center numerous times until I got my drivers license then I drove. They completely destroyed it when they enclosed it. Except for the 8-9 months my daughter worked at Sears in 2006 I never go there. The reason was I had to be her taxi. I remember everything the above poster’s have stated and it is a shame they are no more, especially the Christmas time decorations. On a side note I have a humorous and sad story to tell about one of the live Christmas animals. I grew up on NE 31st and Siskyou. After I had moved out of the house and was on my own I went to visit my mother one day after Christmas it might have been after New Years. The house had a living room that was 12 X 24 ft with a large 7 ft wide window on one side facing 31st Ave. The couch was on the opposite side of the window. As I was sitting on he couch and visiting with my mother, I saw a reindeer run through the front yard. I told my mother and she thought I was crazy. A minute like later about three or four pickup trucks went up the street looking like a scene out of the movie Hatari. We later found out that the poor animal had escaped when they were taking down the Christmas exhibits. Unfortunately the reindeer’s leg was broken during the capture and had to be put down. It still to this day makes me sad.

  16. I was ten when the mall was built. I remember how novel it felt to be able to move from one store to another without getting soaked. Although it was open, there was plenty of cover. I was under the impression that it was the first mall in the country. According to Wikipedia though, it was billed as the largest, which may not have been true either. It was originally concieved by Lloyd in 1923. I’m not nearly as nostalgic as some. I like being in a warm mall in the cold portion of the winter. Once there was compitition with other malls that were being built locally that were covered, there was little choice but to remodel if Lloyd Center wanted to stay open. I too remember the great Christmas trees they had over in a large open area that was on the south side if I remember it correctly. I left a message on my facebook page asking if anyone remembers or knows about a backhoe or cat that was buried under one of the parking areas after it got hopelssly stuck in mud and would have caused a late opening to have it properly removed?

  17. I worked at several shops back then. Yes the fountain was tiled with aquamarine tiles. The downstairs below Newberry,s and Pay N Save was changed after crime hit the area. I was working there when Bobby Kennedy and Faye Dunaway with Warren Beatty came thru years later. I left my store and went out and talked to them. Days later Bobby is killed.

  18. My brother worked at Aden and Josi in the 70’s and my sister in law worked at Meier and Franks. After that she transferred to Casual Village

  19. Thanks, everyone, for all the great memories. I can remember many shopping expeditions to Lloyd Center, growing up in the ’60’s and living in NE Portland.

    All the sales ladies at Meier & Frank’s wore black dresses — so sophisticated! I forgot about the “doorless door” until an earlier poster mentioned it. I worried about all the heat escaping. Since we were often last minute shoppers, we often heard the closing song played at Meier & Franks: “Good Night, Ladies”, which was a hint for everyone to get going. (Come on, Mom….we gotta go….they’re gonna lock us in here!….would we have to sleep on the couches in Furniture all night?)

    Yes, I do remember the monkeys in the window of Nordstroms….fascinating then…..weird to think about now.

    I remember Holiday Lane and, also, the giant Christmas Tree set up in the center of the mall, across from M & F’s main entrance. After all the stores were closed the mall itself was still open with people still strolling around. I remember gazing at the beautifully illuminated tree in the quiet, crispy night air, arm-in-arm with my sweetheart.

    My favorite store was a “junior’s” shop, down the west end, towards Best’s (same side as Best’s, I think). Was it a branch of Berg’s? Can’t remember the name. Yummy teen fashions.

    Summer of ’65, being almost eighth-graders, my friend and I decided to head on down to Lloyd Center by ourselves. We wore cut-off jeans, big, wide-striped “surfer” t-shirts and bare feet! Yep, it was the fad back then. Hopped on the bus and were there in 15 minutes or less. Big purchase? Giant slices of pepperoni pizza at Woolworth’s for 25 cents.

  20. I too remember Lloyd, the world’s largest shopping center, I got my first job there in Lloyd Center’s Newberry’s store after graduation from high school and still 17, I had to get a work permit to even work in Oregon. (I was from Washington) Lloyd Center was brand new, and I was hired before it opened to the public to help get the store stocked and ready for the big day! I worked in the makeup counter and cashiered in that area, and was hired at $1.10 an hour! I remember seeing Pres. Nixon coming there to the skating rink, standing at a podium and giving his campaign speech as he was running for President. I was up above with the crowd, looking down on him at the rink. I remember one day a baby elephant, (Packy?) came waltzing down the aisle of our store, with some people leading it. Very cute baby elephant, but not sure what they were advertising. Maybe the store opening, I don’t remember, but the elephant sure was a cutie. I didn’t know they remodeled the center years later, as I haven’t been back to it since I quit Newberrys’ after two years, got married, then moving to Hawaii. Thanks for the memories. fun reading about the shopping Center. Brings back my youth!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s