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Woodfield Mall

Credit: Woodfield Mall

The ’70s and ’80s saw businesses and families leaving urban centers and setting their sights on building a life in the wide open space of the suburbs. Meanwhile, Chicago’s retail giants were scrambling to keep their business. Woodfield Mall opened in 1971, and was the creation of Sears chairman Robert Wood and Marshall Field of Marshall Field & Company (hence the name Woodfield). The mall lured such businesses as Motorola to the area and Sears abandoned its space in the Loop altogether, relocating their headquarters to an adjacent suburb. 

Woodfield was a source of childhood memories, a teenager’s sanctuary, and a consumer’s paradise. What wasn’t there to love about the mega mall? The days of scrambling from store to store in the brutal Chicago winter could finally be avoided. The mall featured 160 stores, an indoor ice-skating rink, slides, an aquarium, and pet store, making it an attractive destination for parents and their kids to spend the day and a little dough, too.

Did you know?

Singer Carol Lawrence and actor Vincent Price were present for the opening day ceremonies, gracing the carpet department of Sears and even moderating a discussion on the “arts of domestic living.”