Visiting Lloyd Center today, one would never suspect it was once a marvelous example of mid-century architecture. It was designed by John Graham Jr. architect of Seattle's famed Space Needle and many other 1960s shopping malls. It opened on August 1, 1960 amid a flurry of 700 homing pigeons and a ribbon cutting by Mayor Terry Shrunk which signaled the crowd of 5,000 to start shopping. It was an open air mall and was heralded as the largest shopping mall in the world.
According to Rick Bella's May 22,1989 Oregonian article-
"In 1960 it was unheard of for U.S. retailers to dedicate precious, leasable
space to anything but shops and stores. But because of the figure skating
prowess of Teresa Von Hagen, granddaughter of namesake financier-developer-
futurist Ralph B. Lloyd, the Lloyd Center was built with an 78-by-180-foot ice
rink. It also was unheard of at that time for U.S. retailers to invest
heavily in public art. But Lloyd Center is dotted with sculpture and
fountains, creating an uplifting feeling. The free-standing spiral stairway
from the East Mall to the Lloyd Medical Center cost $26,000 alone."
Meier & Frank was the largest department store in Lloyd Center and located in the center of the mall in Macy’s current location. M & F’s Aladdin Restaurant was a “high class” eatery located over the ice rink. The entire eastern face of the restaurant was a wall of windows.
The famous 'five and dime' Newberry's boasted 54 departments and 2 miles of counters in their 2 level store located adjacent to covered parking. The Columbia Room served cafeteria style food on the mall level.
"The rumble and roar of earthmovers all but trample the gentle background
music for shoppers at Lloyd Center. And the acrid smell of tar overpowers
the warm and familiar aroma of caramel corn. The skaters are gone.The ice
is gone. So are the spiral stairs, the sculptures, the fountains and most of
the comforting features in the 30-year-old landmark shopping center. The fuse
was lit quietly in 1986, when the Lloyd Corp. decided to sell Lloyd Center to
Melvin Simon & Associates Inc. of Indianapolis. The company also sold 70 blocks
to Portland's Pacific Development Inc. and donated about one-third of the land
necessary to build the Oregon Convention Center. When it opened in 1960, the
center was the largest in the world, the first to devote space to publ ic art or
an ice rink and the only one to serve as a hub for community affairs. But time
caught up with Lloyd Center. Newer malls were entirely enclosed and offered
more parking. The center began needed updating to remain competitive."