This Is Framingham

This Is Framingham
Life in the ‘ham

Looking back at the Natick Mall

December 13th, 2011

Another non-‘ham post but I couldn’t resist sharing these images of the old Natick Mall.Β  I always considered Shoppers World and Natick Mall to be retail and community sisters. Many times kids (like me) had trekked through the woods (before Flutie Pass) to get from one to another.Β  As much time as I spent at Shopper’s World growing up, I have just as many fond memories of the old Natick Mall.
Even though it was smaller than the monstrosity that is it now, I feel like it was more “grand”. It probably had something to do with the ample sunlight, large potted plants, hanging lights and the ever-changing choreography of the main water fountain by Sears (don’t forget the delightful little rock waterfall by Filene’s)Β  I hope some of these photos bring back some nice memories for some of you as well.


  1. Great photos! I have fond memories of the old Natick Mall. I loved the fountain outside of Sears (first picture) and used to get my haircut as a kid right near that fountain. I loved that mall, I spent my youth there, and at the old Shoppers World. I miss those places.

    Comment by Scott — December 14, 2011 @ 2:55 am

  2. Those are great pics. They bring back great memories, especially at Christmas time. I too miss the Natick Mall and Shopper’s World. That was truly an end of an era

    Comment by AnnMarie — December 14, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  3. I definitely miss both places. I am not as opposed to the new Shoppers World as you are, but I can’t stand the Natick Collection…which I guess is now called “Natick Mall” again. As Channel 2’s Emily Rooney has said, it is a “disaster”. I have been there maybe 4 times. That was all I could take!

    Comment by Rev. Bob Baril — December 14, 2011 @ 10:28 am

  4. Wow do I miss that place… I must have dropped $5 worth of pennies in that fountain in front of Sears in the 1980s. I’d take the “Natick Mall” over the “Natick Collection” any day!!

    Comment by mike — December 14, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  5. When’s the last time anyone referred to the Natick Mall in earnest as the Natick Collection? Not sure who’s bright idea it was to refer to a mall as a collection. Probably the same people who had the brilliant idea to make luxury condos next to the mall. Er, collection.

    Comment by Chris — December 14, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  6. they dropped the collection……Its now Natick Mall once again

    Comment by FRANK g — December 15, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  7. I loved the blue Xmas lights outside Filene’s.

    Comment by Tony Corman — December 15, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  8. Just a head’s up to the author…. It’s “Flutie Pass” as in Doug Flutie….. not Flute, like the musical instrument.

    Great post though… I loved Shoppers’ World and the old Natick Mall…. we used to go to York Steakhouse all the time back in the day there. Since we mainly went on a Sunday night, and back then the mall wasn’t open on Sundays except for a few weeks before Christmas, it was always eerie and very cool to be at the mall when everything else was closed except for York… and the big fountain of course….

    *michelle here: autocorrect changed it to flute, and I hadn’t noticed. Of course most of us remember what an honor(?) that was for Doug πŸ™‚

    Comment by Scott Souza — December 16, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  9. Shoppers’ World being the first suburban shopping mall in the Boston area, was the place to go and a great destination for people in the greater Boston area. As a young family with little children, it was the place to go during the Christmas season to view the displays and small zoo accompanying the Christmas displays including the soldiers standing guard throughout. It was sad to see the origninal mall go, but the memories will always be.
    Paul C

    Comment by Paul C — December 21, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  10. I remember when there was a grocery store at Shopper’s World and you would put your groceries on the rollers and they would get sent outside to load up your car that you drove to the front of the store. How about General Cinema’s and they had one theatre that had a balcony which they never opened except for when the movie was a success like for Star Wars.

    Too many memories. It is ashame we didn’t feel the historic value for Shopper’s World as we do for old homes in the town. It is something we will never get back and was something that just needed a little more thought from planners to keep its footprint.

    Don’t get me started on the Natick Mall. It is an abomination and Natick should be ashamed as well for what they have allowed to be built at the mall.

    Comment by Tom D — December 30, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  11. Nice set of photos! Do you know the year/decade these are from? Looks to me like either late 60s/early 70s.

    Comment by BF — January 3, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  12. Yes, we all miss those two old places (I know I do ;(). But I think what we have to remember is that both the Mall and SW were incredibly dated by the 90s and need substantial improvement in order to carry themselves into the rest of the 90s and beyond. The owners of both malls gave them very few renovations (if any). My mom bought some maternity clothing at the old Mall in the 70s, and she says it remained exactly the same till it was torn down. Shoppers World was really showing its age, too.

    Personally, I don’t like the new SW at all. Think they should’ve rebuilt a modern version of the old one, more pedestrian-friendly. The Mall now I think is just too much and too overrated. Just wish they could’ve kept it simpler and more navigable. Oh well, times change I guess.

    Comment by Ben F — January 20, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  13. Personally, I don’t like the new SW at all. Think they should’ve rebuilt a modern version of the old one, more pedestrian-friendly—Ben F

    Not sure what the trend was when they redeveloped SW but what you just described is what Legacy Place in Dedham is like. Stores resonably conncected to each other and easily walked from stor to store. Probably the restaurants help make the place a destination.

    Comment by Rich — January 30, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  14. I remember ordering the cheeseburger special at the Sandwich Board next to Bay Bank and the owner scolding the girl for giving me TOO MANY french fries.

    Comment by D-INCARNATION — July 22, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  15. Great pics. Like so many, I also miss the old shoppers’ world, and the REAL Natick Mall. Being taken there on a Saturday was a treat. As a young adult, in the 70s and early 80s, I did my share of hanging out there. Hmm, perhaps more than my share. I remember that Sears being mobbed on weekends in the 70s. Anyone remember that tough looking woman who seemed to be the Natick Mall’s one and only security guard? Man, teenagers were scared to death of her.

    I seriously doubt that decades from now, anyone will be sharing memories of the present Natick mall, or shoppers’ world.

    Comment by Bruce B. — July 29, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  16. I can’t believe someone remembers the little rock waterfall fountain to the left side of the Filene’s entrance. That was my “Fantasy Island” (although I will now admit that as an 8 year old boy I would steal quarters from this fountain to buy baseball cards at Woolworths). That was an oaisis. The other side was nice too, but no water.

    Great mention of York Steakhouse, too. That’s where I developed my love of cheesecake.

    Comment by Brian — July 30, 2012 @ 1:32 am

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