WC History: October 29, 1947 opening of Midtown Shopping Center

October 30, 2014

Images and text courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot:

67 years ago (October 29, 1947) 10,000 people crowded into the site labeled as the Midtown Shopping Center. Today, generally, we call the area Wards Corner – as many called it before the Midtown Shopping Center was constructed – and continued to call it after. Those on hand that evening witnessed the formal opening of the Shopping Center which was arranged by the developers, owners and operators of the 20-odd retail outlets there. The Principal speakers for the opening were Lt. Gov. L. Preston Collins, and the Norfolk City Manager C.A. Harrell. A second night of celebrations was scheduled for the 30th with an even larger crowd expected. Photos by Virginian-Pilot photographer Charles Borjes c/o The Sargeant Memorial Collection.

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The PHR Center Shops at Wards Corner – Norfolk 1952

January 10, 2014

The following was taken from the Virginian-Pilot Archives Facebook page.

Back on January 9, 1952, Virginian-Pilot Photographer Charles Borjes stepped into the new PHR Center Shops at Norfolk Wards Corner.  Borjes was invited to the store to take a few shots of the new facility that would open on Monday the 14th.  On Sunday the 13th PHR Center Shops placed several pages of advertisements in the Pilot to announce their opening – a few which we feature along with the photos.

A few details about the store at Wards Corner –
The new store opened just a little more than 10 years after the Paul H. Rose Corp. founded the first Center Shops on 21st in the Fall of 1941.  The entire store is illuminated with florescent lighting called “slimline” which is the newest type of store lighting meant to bring out the truest colors of merchandise.  The store features an escalator to carry customers between the first and second floors.  The store has 150 employees.  Adjoining the store with both an outside and inside entrance is a Rose’s 5-10-25c Store.

Photos courtesy of the Sargeant Memorial Collection.


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