Lenox Square is celebrating 60 years as a destination mall in not only the Southeast, but for international tourists as well.

The massive mall at Peachtree and Lenox roads opened Aug. 3, 1959, in a very different form – an open-air shopping center with 60 stores. Now it’s a multilevel icon with well over 200 stores. And for the summer, it is featuring a display about its own history.

The opening celebration of the mall on Aug. 3, 1959. (Special)

“We celebrate Lenox Square’s 60th anniversary with pride,” said Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, in the written version of remarks he delivered at an Aug. 1 anniversary event at the mall. “It has been such a powerful force changing retailing from downtown to suburbia, labeling Buckhead as the retail mecca of the southeastern United States.”

He praised it as remaining “first-class” through its many changes over the decades.

Lenox Square as it appeared in the 1960s. (Special)

In the 1940s, the property was an estate called Joyeuse and owned by John Ottley. A developer named Ed Noble bought it for the Lenox Square development.

A decade after the Lenox Square opening, it drew competition at the opposite corner of the intersection in the form of the Phipps Plaza mall. Today, both malls are operated by Simon Property Group, but Phipps Plaza is not conducting a similar 50th anniversary celebration.

Movies were part of the Lenox Square mix in the 1970s. (Special)

At Lenox Square, the next big change came in 1980, adding a food court, atrium and plaza level. In 1986, the neighboring JW Marriott hotel and an office building were added to the site.

A 1960s promotional photo for the mall. (Special)

In 1994, the mall added a fourth level. And the changes continue up to this year, with a massive expansion of the Zara store coming and a new “flagship” store under construction that the mall won’t yet name.

Lindsey Jones, the mall’s marketing director, noted that it originally opened under the motto, “There’s everything there at Lenox Square.” She attributed the continued success to that motto holding true, with a mix of luxury and neighborhood-oriented stores, as well as more than 50 retailers whose only Georgia location is there.

An entrance to today’s Lenox Square. (Special)

With the anniversary display, Jones said, she’s heard many personal stories, such as couples getting engaged at Lenox Square. “That’s what really warms my heart,” she said.

The anniversary display stands along a wall in the Mall level across from Banana Republic. For more information, see simon.com/mall/lenox-square.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.