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Suburban Square is a shopping center located in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, United States, in the Philadelphia area. The center opened in 1928, and is notable as one of the earliest shopping centers in the United States. It has also been generally credited as being the first such shopping center to include a true department store, when Strawbridge & Clothier opened in May 1930. The complex currently includes Suburban Square, Times Building, and the adjacent Ardmore Farmers Market and features more than sixty retail and dining establishments.
Planning for the center started in 1926, when work by architectural firm of Dreher and Churchman began, and construction commenced in 1927. The original (and rarely used) name was "Hestobeen Square", a combination of three of the developers' names. It was renamed in a 1936 contest as "Suburban Square."
A number of shopping centers have made claims to be the "first" shopping center (depending on the definition used) in the United States, including Roland Park Shopping Center (1907), Country Club Plaza (1923), and Highland Park Village (1931). On some occasions, Suburban Square has been reported to be first, such as in some 1970s editions of the Guinness Book of World Records Later editions of Guinness since 1979 list Roland Park.
The original Strawbridge's was converted to Macy's in 2006. The Macy's would eventually close in March 2016. In early 2017, it was announced that the former Macy's store would be replaced by health club Life Time Fitness and furniture retailer West Elm by the end of the year.
- Gillham, Oliver & MacLean, Alex S., The limitless city: a primer on the urban sprawl debate p.38 (Island Press 2002) (ISBN 978-1559638333)
- Spector, Robert. Category killers: the retail revolution and its impact on consumer culture p.87 (2005)(ISBN 978-1578519606)
- Feinberg, Samuel. What makes shopping centers tick? (Fairchild Publications 1960)
- Suburban Square, Lower Merion Conservancy, last updated January 22, 2004, Retrieved February 24, 2010
- Guinness Book of World Records p.252 (1975)("The world's first shopping center was Suburban Square in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, built in 1928.")
- "L.M. Boyd column". Reading Eagle. June 19, 1973. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
- "Setting the trend for, not in, stores". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 25, 1999. Retrieved February 24, 2010.("Suburban Square is possibly the oldest suburban shopping center in the nation. ``We argue about it all the time,...")
- Ardmore Real Estate, ThunderThornton.com, Retrieved February 24, 2010("The square's record as the first shopping center in the world accorded by the Guinness Book of World Records proved erroneous after many years. In the 1979 and later issues Guinness has credited a shopping mall near Baltimore with predating it.")
- Rybczynski, Witold. City Life p.204 (Scribner 1996) (ISBN 978-0684825298)
- Adelman, Jacob (January 12, 2017). "Posh health club to take over Macy's building in Suburban Square as Ardmore evolves". Retrieved May 8, 2017.
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