Retail shopping took a extraordinary transform in the 1950s, and the Alle-Kiski Valley was component of it.
The Heights Plaza Searching Center opened Nov. 10, 1955, and transformed procuring behavior.
The plaza was developed by brothers John P. and Alex Marino, who saw identical services going up somewhere else.
The to start with shopping centre in the Pittsburgh region was Caste Village in Whitehall, constructed in 1951. Up coming was the Northway Procuring Heart in 1953 on McKnight Road in Ross, afterwards known as the Northway Shopping mall in 1962. In 1954, Wonder Mile Shopping Center opened in Monroeville, a calendar year right after the Parkway East was concluded.
At that position, the Marino brothers felt it was time to get in on the action.
The Heights Plaza changed the traditional browsing districts in the Alle-Kiski Valley’s riverfront cities.
The new searching location — constructed on the edge of what was a previous airport residence — caught on swiftly. Rather of hunting out a curbside parking area and feeding the parking meter in the outdated towns, buyers at the Heights Plaza had suitable, free of charge parking.
Perhaps the most well-known retail store was an anchor tenant, the Joseph Horne department store, affectionately identified as “Horne’s on the Heights.”
The plaza was also recognised for its fountains and the clock at the entrance off Freeport Street. The water turned colours at evening with spotlights beneath the surface.
Other than Horne’s, other well-liked retailers integrated G.C. Murphy’s, Klingensmith Components, A&P Grocery store and a Howard Johnson’s restaurant.
And do not ignore Isaly’s.
Besides regional and countrywide chains, privately owned modest enterprises thrived. Some had been Herbert’s menswear, Princess Pastries and Ken Kamera.
Between young people, no place was more well known than the National Record Mart. Not only could tunes supporters acquire their favored vinyl documents, the regional chain was the place to purchase tickets for significant concerts coming to Pittsburgh.
Folks stood in line to seek tickets for acts these kinds of as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, James Brown and quite a few a lot more in the days right before digital ticket-purchasing.
Adjacent to the main strip of the plaza ended up functions for the complete spouse and children these as miniature golfing, The Plaza Lanes bowling alley and slot cars and trucks at American Family members Raceways.
Co-founder Alex Marino died in 1979 and John P. Marino in 1992.
With rumors that an enclosed mall was on its way to the Allegheny Valley corridor, the Marino household bought the plaza in 1986 to Terra Enterprises.
The to start with chink in the Heights Plaza armor came in 1994 when Horne’s was purchased by Federated Section Shops and merged into its Lazarus division. Then Lazarus was rebranded Macy’s in 2005.
A impressive fireplace Dec. 18, 2012, brought about practically $10 million injury to the Heights Plaza.
In the long run, Wild Blue Management, which operated the plaza, defaulted on its mortgage loan and New Jersey-based mostly Pretium Home Administration took above in 2018.
Allegheny County reassessed the property’s value and dropped it from $17 million to $6.6 million.
The plaza, like most searching facilities of its sort, struggles in this period of on the web browsing — an upheaval similar to how purchasing centers adjusted the public’s routines in the 1950s.
George Guido is a Tribune-Assessment contributing author.