“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Greenbelt in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Roosevelt Center

Rosevelt Center Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 24, 2006
1. Rosevelt Center Marker
Inscription. Greenbelt's 1937 Roosevelt Center Mall is one of the first planned shopping areas in the country—a precursor to the modern shopping mall. Greenbelt's planners positioned the mall to be within easy and safe walking distance from all the town's homes. Immediately behind you is one of the town's unique pedestrian underpasses which enabled residents to walk to the center without crossing a major street.

Originally, Greenbelt residents owned all of the center's commercial businesses cooperatively. These member-owned businesses distributed all profits to their members. Boston merchant and philanthropist Edward Filene loaned the residents start up funds. The center's cooperative businesses included a grocery store, a gas station, a drug store, a barber hop, a movie theater, a valet shop, a beauty parlor, a variety store, and a tobacco shop. The movie theater located to your right opened in September 1938. It was the first and perhaps the only cooperative theater in the country. Residents decided upon the films and ticket prices.

In 1954 the U.S. government sold the center buildings to a private real estate firm, and in 1956 the cooperative stores
<i>Mother and Child</i>, by Lenore Thomas image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 24, 2006
2. Mother and Child, by Lenore Thomas
From the marker: The Mother and Child statue, located directly in front of you, dominates the view of the mall. The primitive abstract style reflects the sculpture's intended placement among everyday people, especially children. New deal artist Lenore Thomas carved the statue from Indiana limestone and installed it in November 1939. She worked on the statue at her studio in Accokeek, Maryland, for over a year.
vacated. The first stand-alone Co-op Grocery Store building, constructed in 1948, burned down and was rebuilt in 1962 on the current site to the right of the Mother and Child statue. Surviving Greenbelt cooperative ventures include the Co-op Grocery Store, the Greenbelt Nursery School, and the Greenbelt News Review newspaper.

The Roosevelt Center buildings exemplify a modern streamlined style associated with International Style architecture which originated in Europe after World War I. Notice the rounded corners, the flat roof lines, and the recently renovated Art Deco style theater sign.

In 1982 the City named the mall after President Franklin D. Roosevelt to commemorate both the 100th anniversary of his birth and his key role in founding Greenbelt.
Erected by Greenbelt Museum.
Location. 39° 0.078′ N, 76° 52.577′ W. Marker is in Greenbelt, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from Centerway between Southway and Greenway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Greenbelt MD 20770, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other
Underpass image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, January 12, 2008
3. Underpass
This was taken with Ektachrome E100GX film
markers are within walking distance of this marker. City of Greenbelt (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Swimming Pool (about 400 feet away); Gas Station (about 400 feet away); Eleanor Roosevelt (about 500 feet away); Community Center (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenbelt.
Also see . . .
1. Mother and Child Restoration. From the Art Deco Society of Washington website. (Submitted on March 22, 2006.) 

2. Lenore Thomas's Friezes at the Center School. More of her work in Greenbelt. (Submitted on March 22, 2006.) 

3. Old Greenbelt Theatre History. (Submitted on March 25, 2006.)
4. In Greenbelt's Town Center, a Fine New Deal. Washington Post July 8, 2000 article. (Submitted on March 25, 2006.) 
Categories. 20th CenturyNotable Buildings
Centerway Renovation image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, January 12, 2008
4. Centerway Renovation
Gil Weidenfeld, Mayor Thomas White, Mayor Pro-Tem Antoinette M Bram Joseph C. Isaacs Edward V. J. Putens Daniel B. Hobbs, City Manager James K. Giese, Former City Manager Michael P. McLaughlin, Assistant City Manager Oella G. Wilson, Director of Planning and Development James L. Sterling, Project Supervisor Coffin & Coffin, Landscape Architects Greenbelt "is an experiment that ought to be copied by every community in the United States." The success of the Greenbelt experiment is evidenced by the continuing high level of community services, programs and citizen involvement. These are the standards with which this community is endowed. This project is dedicated to the citizens of Greenbelt past, present and future. This picture was taken with Ektachrome E100GX film.
The Greenbelt Movie Theatre image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 24, 2006
5. The Greenbelt Movie Theatre
The New Deal Cafe at the Roosevelt Center Mall image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 24, 2006
6. The New Deal Cafe at the Roosevelt Center Mall
Check their web site - - for list of performances, etc.
The Co-Op Supermarket image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 24, 2006
7. The Co-Op Supermarket
Check their web site - - for recipes, weight loss programs, etc.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 22, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,246 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 22, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   3, 4. submitted on January 28, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   5, 6, 7. submitted on March 22, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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