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Commercial Development & Shopping Centers

Shopping on Wall Street, Uptown Kingston, mid-1960s. Courtesy of I’m From Kingston Facebook page

Wall Street was a vibrant shopping area, featuring a mix of local and national chain stores.

Wall Street, Uptown Kingston, mid-1960s. Courtesy of I’m From Kingston Facebook page

Note the absence of the canopies that currently shade the stores.

Proposed Wall Street Mall, Uptown Business Area, Kingston Comprehensive Plan, 1961.  Courtesy City of Kingston Planning Department

There were to be many Urban Renewal improvements to Uptown Kingston, including a pedestrian mall on Wall Street. Note the width of the proposed mall versus the relatively narrow width of the existing street. This and other recommendations were strongly opposed by Uptown Kingston merchants.

Rendering of “Pike Plan” canopies on Wall Street, Kingston, c. 1969.  Collection of Herbert London

Woodstock artist John Pike advocated adding Colonial porches to the late-19th-century commercial buildings on Wall Street. The scheme was initially carried out in the early 1970s and rebuilt in 2011. What was devised to aid retailers is now derided by some as a failure.

HiWay Pharmacy and D-D’s Drive-In, 1958.

As can be seen on its façade, D-D’s had many menu options, though in an ad in the Daily Freeman in 1956, they were offering “Quarts-Handpacked-60 ¢” and “Half Gallons-75 ¢.”

Wallace’s, Ulster Shopping Plaza, 1962 or later.  Collection of John F. Matthews

This shopping center opened in 1962 on Albany Avenue Extension, just over the Kingston city line in the Town of Ulster and convenient to the IBM plant. The developer boasted in December 1961 that it would be “the only truly modern shopping center in the trading area….” The three anchor stores were Woolworth’s, Food Fair, and Wallace’s.

Advertisement for Wallace’s, Kingston Daily Freeman, 1966. Courtesy of

“Come see us at the KINGSTON LION’S CLUB 15th annual industrial EXPOSITION & HOME SHOW.” Note that Wallace’s characterizes itself as “a lovely combination of the complete metropolitan department store with the casual friendliness of suburban shopping.”

Sign for Kings Mall with Mayfair Theater in background, Route 9W, Town of Ulster, 1960s.

This is a screenshot taken from a commercial for the Kings Mall on WTZA-TV in 1985. Many IBMers remember going to large, company-sponsored events in the Mayfair Theatre, which was almost adjacent to the IBM property.

Caldor, Route 9W, Town of Ulster, late 1970s.  Courtesy of I’m From Kingston Facebook page

Caldor and Waldbaum’s occupied a shopping center just south of the Route 209 arterial in the Town of Ulster by the mid-1960s.

Kingston Plaza Shopping Center, 1982.  Courtesy of Richie W. St. Remy

Britt’s, on the right, opened in 1964 and advertised itself as having “Shopping facilities comparable with "big city" stores.” Kingston Plaza was developed by local businessman Robert H. Herzog on land once occupied by the New York, Ontario & Western Railway.