Colonie Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Saturday afternoon. It first opened in November of 1966.
The shopping center -- the Capital Region's first enclosed mall -- was built on the site of the former Colonie Country Club along Wolf Road. The mall posted the above construction photo on its Facebook page today. It's kind of amazing comparing the scene there in the mid 60s with how it looks today. (The population of the town of Colonie grew from almost 30,000 in 1950 to almost 70,000 in 1970.)
An interesting bit about the origin of Colonie Center is that it was built by a subsidiary of Sears Roebuck and Co. The ownership of the mall has since changed hands multiple times, but Sears still owns the chunk of the mall which its store occupies. (You might remember that fact came up when the Colonie Center Whole Foods was announced.)
Reading through a Schenectady Gazette article about the mall's opening, and the Sears subsidiary's involvement, this part caught our eye:
A distinctive feature of each Homart center is the attention given to meshing the center with the mood and tempo of the specific community to be served. ... At Colonie, the country-club atmosphere has been retained with much of the architectural accent upon conveying the urban mood which is inspired by the booming growth of the Great Northeast.
It's country clubby -- but, you know, with an urban mood.
The early ads played up both the country club angle and the fact that mall was fully enclosed -- er, "INclosed." Check out this grand opening ad that ran in the Gazette...
The ad is in large format at the top -- click or scroll all the way up.
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