I mentioned in a previous article about the innovative design of the neighborhood center: an elementary school, park and community shopping center, all “uncut by roads” so that “children can go from school to park to shopping center without crossing a single street.” So I wanted to expand a little on the shopping center.
The first phase of the Highland Park West Shopping Center (facing Fairview) was built in 1952, opening in October 1952 as the “Highland Park Community Center”. It started out with four businesses, “the 11th of the Checker Front Food Stores, the Highland Park Pharmacy which is an expansion of the Prescription Laboratories, the Highland Park Barber Shop and the Highland Park Real Estate Sales Office”.
After completion of the second section (facing Hancock), a grand opening was held from May 12 to May 21 in 1955. At that time there were around 15 merchants in the center:
- Keko’s Drive-In (restaurant)
- Winn’s Highland Park Pharmacy – Eventually moved to Northwest Hills
- Kelly Smith Cleaner Branch Office – Opened his first cleaners in 1919
- Highland Park Conoco Service Station
- Arvol Smith Garden Supply
- Henrilee’s Gifts
- Breaux Beauty Salon
- Ben Bishop’s Highland Park Barber Shop
- Checker Front Store – Every Checker Front store had a Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery department for fresh baked goods. Motto was “Better Foods for Less”.
- Highland Park West Sales Office
- Highland Park Insurance Agency
- The Little Bit’s Children’s Wear
- Camera Shop & Sporting Goods
- Winn Stores, Inc.
Touted as “one stop shopping with all stores adjacent and a large all-weather awning protecting the entire walk area”, the opening was accompanied by raffle prizes as well as balloons, candy and treats for the children.