On October 4, 1951 Shoppers' World opened in Framingham, MA with forty-four stores. There were twenty-five thousand people including John E. Hurley the State Treasure present. The only anchor store of the mall in the beginning was the southern ends Jordan Marsh. The dome which could be seen from the air was used as a visual reporting point for approaching aircraft to the Logan Airport in Boston by placing it on aeronautical charts.
After London's St. Paul Cathedral and Rome's St. Peter's Basilica the Jordon Marsh done is thought to be the third largest unsupported dome in the world. Shoppers World also has two six-hundred and seventy-five feet two level wings that flank each other and are separated by a two story one-hundred foot open courtyard mall. These are surrounded by open parking lots.
A multi-purpose theater called the Cinema originally which had a balcony, full stage with a curtain fly area, lighting grid, scenery and a large seating section for an orchestra was included in the Shoppers' World original design. There was also live summer productions at the theater during the 1950's in addition to the movies that were shown there. When General Cinema took over the theater it was turned into a movie house alone.
Eventually Jordan Marsh's Basement Store and a Stop & Shop were later added to the mall's northern side as an anchor. The mall while remaining roofless began to take the shape of the newer malls as the size increased. A long, two-level, rectangular shop with no roof covering the central area of the mall which meant that customers had to go outside to get between stores. The roof line of the stores was extended to keep customers out of the snow and rain.
A permanent water fountain containing colored lights that are synchronized and picnic tables with sun umbrellas in a garden area; there are flowers planted seasonally in the garden. There were several kiddie rides including a merry-go-round, boat ride and Ferris wheel at the courtyard's north end at Shoppers World during the 1950's. The mall was decorated for the holidays and Santa made an appearance with live reindeer every year in from of the Jordon Marsh Basement Store.
The kiddie rides were replaced by a Gazebo area during the 1980's. During the 1980's and 1990's there were regular performances by brass and ragtime bands at the near the Gazebo. The first shopping center to have a musical water fountain show was Shoppers' World. The 1939 New York World's Fair fountains was the basis for the Dancing Waters attraction at the mall which is programmed to colored lights and music.
In 1995 a modern, U-shaped Shopper's World opened after the current owners decided that the facilities were outdated. Best Buy, Starbucks and a number of other chain stores were included in the new development. If you are ever in the Framingham, Massachusetts area you should make it a point to visit Shopper's World. There is something for everyone in this modernized mall that has managed to keep its original charm.