Re: The old Tyson's Corner
Date: June 27, 2012 01:10AM
Worked at Bar Mart during late grad-school years -- no head shop in the back, as mentioned by previous poster, as the owner was a retired Navy sub captain -- they had two retail levels, with stairs to lower retail level located within the main retail floor. There was a third level below the second retail level, which was a storage area that opened out onto the underground tunnel area loading docks. Trucks used to go into the one-way tunnel from the Landsburgh's (now Bloomingdales) end of the Tysons Mall -- tunnel entrance was located in the Bloomie's parking lot area. The loading tunnel ran down the center of the mall, three levels down from the main retail floor level, and was large enough to drive medium-sized semi-trucks through. The tunnel ran from Landsburgh's/Bloomies down to Hecht's, where it turned right and continued onward, all the way down to Woodies. The tunnel exit came out in the Woodie's parking lot. As far as I know, originally, all of the main level stores had a storage area at the tunnel level, and a second storage area located directly above, with their main retail floor space on top. Some opened up the second storage area as retail space -- don't know how that worked or was done/decided as to which stores were able to open two retail floors. All stores originally had access to the tunnel loading docks, as far as I know. Early in my budding career, used to drive a box delivery truck for a couple of the retailers, and always loaded/unloaded in the tunnel area.
Someone mentioned that Lums was on the lower level area, between Hecht's and Woodies, next to the Roth's Theaters, but did not understand where the loading tunnel would be located, when considering all of those lower level establishments -- i.e., where would the tunnel fit? The loading tunnel was either one level BELOW Lums and the Roth's theaters, or directly BEHIND them -- don't recall specifically.
Another mention of unmarked stairways going up, out of the tunnel -- there were quite a few of them, and they all exited up on the mall main level, one way or another. Some would exit onto the main level via blind painted unmarked doors -- you would open the door, and would find yourself exiting onto the main retail space from an unmarked door placed between two retail storefronts -- or sometimes, directly into a retail store space, as mentioned about Castro Convertibles.
What was the store that was in the Bloomies space before Bloomies took over? Originally, it was Landsburgh's (or was it originally Jelleff's?) -- then ???? -- then Bloomingdales. Tysons Corner Mall was designed around three large anchor stores -- Woodies on one end, Hecht's in the middle, and Landsburg's/Bloomies on the other end. Tysons Shopping Mall opened fully in 1968.
Recall how there would be school kids who would pour bubble-bath soap into the main fountain, outside of Hecht's, and watch the fun as the fountain would froth up the bubbles mix, which would spill out into the mall main floor area, much to the delight of SOME of the mall patrons -- typically a Friday or Saturday night event, when lots of kids would be hanging out at Farrell's and/or the movie theaters..
Also remember the concerts given at various times of the year -- often local school choirs, but also would occasionally have semi-professional mens choruses with 50-60 men singing some great musical arrangements of well known or seasonal songs. Wow -- have not thought about that in 40+ years.
Remember the Aviary Court bird cages, too -- and the "outdoor" birds that had gotten trapped inside the mall -- occasional sparrow, robin, Jay or whatever -- would be flying around the ceiling areas.
Was recollecting how the Roth Theater patrons (read: 75 or more standing in a single file line) would stand on the sidewalk, outside of the theaters, waiting to go inside -- 1974 perhaps? -- typically a warm summer night -- we would swoop through with our handy-dandy electric-pump powered, custom-built industrial-grade "water cannons," backed by 5-10 gallon water tanks and pumping/pressurizing mechanisms hidden in the trunks, dual hose feeds into the passenger compartments , adjustable squirt ends with squeeze valves, usually pillaged from old garden bug-spray cans. -- this is LONG before super-soakers became all the rage -- would slowly drive down the line, hosing as we drove, all from the comfort of the back seats of our convertible cars --typically, nobody was soaked down, rather more of a damp spritz per person -- an example of one of the "fun" summertime things that bored, home-for-the-summer college engineering geeks/majors would put together -- would also occasionally catch a Friday night dating couple sitting at a stoplight, windows rolled down (this is the time-era before car AC was typical) rock music blaring -- a couple of quick spritzes from a hidden source always produced delightful mayhem, with the girl ducking and not knowing where the water was coming from, worried about their makeup and hair, and the guy confused and bewildered as to WTH was going on, with the light turning green and traffic moving away at about the same time -- 'tis one of the things that date-less geeks would do for entertainment, in the pre-internet/computer/game era.
Anyone remember the night, right around closing time, that Hecht's caught on fire? -- had to have been springtime 1977, IIRC.
Moving to Vienna -- remember the W.T. Grant store in the Giant Food shopping center? Or, the Peter Pan store, located next to the Acme supermarket (now Magruder's) ? Rolling Road restaurant, located where the Herbert & Burke bank now sits, across from the Vienna Inn, which was owned by the same families who now own and run the Amphora restaurants? Or Lowes, which used to occupy the Whole Foods supermarket space? Or that Lowes had their own railroad siding, directly off of the W&OD railroad (now the W&OD bike trail), which is how they received their lumber? Do you recall what year the last trains ran on the W&OD railroad? How about the A&P supermarket, located in the shopping center next to Giant Food? Ketterman Jewlers? How about the hobby shop, next to the A&P, which had a huge slot-car track inside, where you could race slot-cars? Or the Burger Chef, located where the Wendy's is, now? Or, Kinney shoes?
Onward to Oakton -- do you recall that the Oakton Market (became Appalachian Outfitters, at the corner of Hunter Mill and 123) was run by an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Myers, who lived above the store? How about Moyer's Hardware, located next to the Oakton Market (also became part of the Appalachian Outfitters retail space). How about the E&O market, in Oakton? Clay's Welding? That the Oakton Post Office was in space attached to the Oakton Amoco gas station? The very large oak tree that used to split Hunter Mill Road at the 123 intersection? No stoplight at Hunter Mill Road and 123?
Lastly, remember when Dulles Airport was being built, and also when 66 was being built through the Oakton area (both somewhere in the 1960-1962 timeframe), and that 66 ended in Gainesville, exiting all traffic onto Route 29. Or, that Route 28 was a two-lane road with a blinking yellow light/blinking red at the route 50 crossing, in Chantilly?
Great thread -- thanks for the discussions and remembrances -- enjoyed! Was a different era, perhaps even a magical time, with innocent values and hopes and wishes -- now to exist only in fading memories and faint echoes.