The first shopping mall in Grand Rapids? Not Woodland Mall, and not Eastbrook Mall, now CenterPoint.

Carol L Amidon/Facebook
Carol L Amidon/Facebook
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Nope, It was Rogers Plaza! The first mall in Grand Rapids! And, Rogers Plaza was the first enclosed shopping mall in the state of Michigan! Pretty amazing!

CONSTRUCTION OF ROGERS PLAZA

Matt McCarty/Facebook/Wyoming Michigan History Room
Matt McCarty/Facebook/Wyoming Michigan History Room
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Rogers Plaza was originally built in 1960, on 28th Street in Wyoming, and opened in 1961. It was an exciting time back then because the mall originally included S. S. Kresge and W. T. Grant variety stores, Kroger and A&P supermarkets, Cunningham Drug, and Montgomery Ward.

Matt McCarty/Facebook
Matt McCarty/Facebook
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Guess what? They are all gone, out of business, except for Kroger. My how retail changes.

Arthuro-Placencia/Facebook
Arthuro-Placencia/Facebook
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Reading a post from a  local website GR Retro, that site is gone too, brought back memories of my moving to Grand Rapids in 1969, just after Woodland Mall opened, along with Eastbrook, across the street. They were the real anchors of the Southeast side, and Rogers Plaza, along with Rogers Department store, which was across the street from the Plaza, were the retail anchors of Wyoming on the Southwest side.

In the good old days the Plaza had all kinds of "wacky" promotions to draw shoppers to the stores from a Juggling Ice Skater.....

Matt McCarty/Facebook
Matt McCarty/Facebook
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to kids having fun with Farm Animals!

Matt McCarty/Facebook
Matt McCarty/Facebook
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Did anyone get any shopping done?

At any rate, in the '70s, Turn Style discount store moved into Rogers Plaza, but, by the 1990s, the mall was having difficulty attracting business, and slowly went downhill. By the 2000s Ward's had closed, as had many other stores.

Google Street View
Google Street View
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Today, it's known as the Rogers Plaza Town Center with The City of Wyoming and the Southwest retail community re-inventing themselves.

They are a survivor, and time will tell what the future brings to Rogers Plaza.

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Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer

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