Tidbits on the History of Echelon Mall/Town Center and Tilt Studio (Makes me want to raise my kilt)

Voorhees Town Center in Voorhees, New Jersey.

Looking for something to do on those cold and rainy days in South Jersey? Well, look no further! Tilt Studio is located in the Voorhees Town Center. Since not many folks frequent the mall any longer, this place avoids the crowd which The Yummygal loves!

The Tilt Studio makes me want to raise my kilt…..

The Voorhees Town Center was once called the Echelon Mall. It opened in 1970 and was built on an old air field called, Echelon for which it was aptly named.

In 1939, Jeanette and Rogers Smith purchased 150 acres for only $1,000 dollars. It contained a small farmhouse built-in the late 1800s. Their first hangar was the barn. The Smiths first used flares at night for the runway. Rogers made brakes from Jeanette’s aluminum kitchen bowls for his planes! The airfield was mostly used for crop-dusting of nearby farms and for recreational flying. It eventually held over twenty planes.

As per a Philadelphia Inquirer article in 1986, Jeanette and Rogers Smith also attempted to break the record for flying the most outside loops, their stunts sometimes frightening their friends. “My family used to say, ‘Rog and Jean are crazy, and they’re going to kill themselves,’ ” Jeanette said.

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Tilt Studio at Voorhees Town Center.

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Lets play with some balls!

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Bowling balls that is!

The Smiths were a couple resembling a real-life Mr. and Mrs. Smith movie. The Echelon airport eventually grew to three unpaved runways, several hangars, a café and fuel station. Eventually, the Smith’s purchased an extra fifty acres. By the time the Airfield was sold it was over 200 acres.

After Jeanette’s husband, Rogers, died in a horrific and bizarre plane crash in 1950, she leased the land to a friend. In 1962, Jeanette sold the Echelon airport for $1,000 an acre to developers, who later built the Echelon Mall.

The developers were the Rouse Company. The company was founded by James Wilson Rouse. He was a pioneer of urban planning and real estate development. He lost both his parents when he was sixteen years old. The home he grew up in was being foreclosed on. He was determined to not let this stop him. He enrolled in college and faced many financial pitfalls in graduating. However, eventually he made it!

After graduating in 1937, he worked for the Federal Housing Commission. By 1939, he was a partner with Hunter Moss at a mortgage banking enterprise. It later was called, the Moss-Rouse Company, which would eventually become the Rouse Company.

After World War II, he became heavily interested in rehabilitating Baltimore. Rouse’s company fixed up many buildings and thus, started his empire. He purchased up many properties in the United States and started developing and planning malls. He was a pioneer in this effort.

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Vintage Echelon Mall postcard.

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No wait for the ride!

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More games? Yes, please!

In 1970, the Echelon Mall opened to the public. It was the 2nd largest mall in South Jersey (Cherry Hill was the biggest at the time.) By 2000, the mall traffic declined. Its decline was due to the lack of direct route access. If you look at the Deptford, Cherry Hill and Moorestown Malls they all reside on somewhat busy highways; Cherry Hill and Moorestown have Route 38 and Deptford is right off of Route 42. The Voorhees Town Center is a bit out-of-the-way for most traveling. It requires driving on a few back roads to reach the Town Center.

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Glow in-the-dark miniature golf.

In 2007, the Echelon Mall’s name changed to Voorhees Town Center. A few anchor stores were knocked down and condos and apartments put in its place. Developers also added a tree-lined outdoor mall. The Town Center is still struggling a bit to find its niche. Most days are pretty quiet. Which is what makes this place rock!! No crowd!

Tilt Studio opened its doors in 2011. The Yummygal arrived on a cold and wet winter day, which is next to the food court. Their accoutrements include; a restaurant, arcade games, rides, bowling alley and a glow-in-the dark miniature golf course. The kids had a great day and Yummygal did as well!

This place rocks and I highly recommend it if you want to stay warm and get out of the house. It will not break the bank. Just twenty buckaroos kept two kids entertained for two full hours!

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My the mall is sooooo packed!

Tilt Studio is a great addition to the Voorhees Town Center.

Until our next adventure, my friends! ~ The Yummygal

33 thoughts on “Tidbits on the History of Echelon Mall/Town Center and Tilt Studio (Makes me want to raise my kilt)

  1. Thanks. I just came back to this area after having been gone 30 years — had no idea there was no longer an “Echelon Mall.” I lived in Lindenwold in the mid-seventies and spent a lot of time there — and at the library across the street. I knew all about Rouse, but had no idea of the airport history. Good story.

  2. I love your blog. I’m a fan on Facebook,too. I grew up in South Jersey (Pennsauken) and it’s so much fun to be re-discovering the area through your posts!

    • Thanks BA. I try to incorporate old, new and everything here in SJ. Appreciate it. Lately working on old pictures organized per town in South Jersey. Holy bejesus. It has been a project. Haha. Glad you enjoy and hope you enjoy when I put up Pennsauken because I have a lot!

  3. I was also unaware of the Echelon Mall’s history, and did not know it was not a mall any more. My brother worked at a record store there in the ’80s. Thanks, Yummygal!

    • Those were the days of the Echelon and Exhilarama. That is hilarious. I’ve seen photos of the airport, but they are copyrighted and unable to air. Very cool though. I enjoy your sites weekly photos, btw! Best, YG

  4. i suspect you are NEVER going to run out of places to explore. yes, it’s nice there’re no crowds — and i certainly hope that THAT doesn’t hurt business.
    looks like fun!

  5. After the Mall first opened they had a huge Rock n Roll concert there with Redbone and other groups. I remember listening to it on WFIL radio. George Michael WFIL disc jockey and John Lennon (yes the one from the Beatles) were the DJ’s for the concert. Sorry I don’t remember the date or who else was there but I was about 10 or 11 years old at the time and listened to their broadcast on the radio.

    • i was there….omg…this is the 1st time i ever say anyone write about this concert…. i think 3 dog night was there
      jerimahia was a bull dog always reminds me of that concert

  6. Just found your blog tonight! I was born in Westmont, NJ right between Haddonfield and Collingswood, so your adventures are like a trip down memory lane. Actually, I worked at the Echelon Mall on and off during college from 1974 through 1976 at The Limited. South Jersey was a great place to live, it still is, I visit from time to time now. Great blog, anxious to read the rest of your entries.

  7. (I just submitted but the internet freak out so sorry if it comes up twice) My friend and I went over there last week, and though the parking lot was crowded, the mall was pretty much empty except for kids doing magic in the food court, beauty school students and everyone that was in Tilt Studios. Tilt was probably the most populated but my friend and I noticed that the games were for sale, so I don’t think they will be hanging out much longer. MY family used to go here all the time when I was younger and it’s kinda sad to see it like this. Great blog! I’ll be sure to check out the rest of your posts.

    • Thank you for reaching out! That’s a sin. I hope they aren’t leaving (TILT) that would be crazy and probably brings a lot of business to the mall. Thank you for the heads up and update!! (And also for reaching out!)

      • TILT isnt closing, I work for this location. We are simply selling some of our games to rotate out our selection. We have game sales about twice a year, one for the xmas season and one for the summer season.

  8. Many memories here from my “mallrat” days in the 90’s! That place was literally infested with grungy teens on weekend nights…enough for security to put up barricades outside the foodcourt to confine the loitering. Fond memories at Echelon Mall, but VTC is nicely renovated and hopefully will remain successful.

    • I will not comment. .. Lol No just periodically. I did like this one store they had there. Sort of hippyish and forgot the name! I like the mall because it is probably one of the better places fo Christmas shop as it doesn’t get outrageous like the Cherry Hill mall.

  9. Remember the Eric movie theater that was there before food court and exilarama. I saw E.T. There for half price.

  10. Echelon Mall in 1981-82 had a fitness center (actually I think it was on the outside of the mall before you went in, does anyone remember the name of this fitness center?

    • Club Nautilus and then Club 24. It was also a San Diegos restaurant and Funway Freeway. I grew up 1.1 mile from the mall. I worked at about 7 places there starting in 1982 through 1989. I remember a lot and I spent a lot of time and money there.

  11. Just like all malls. I remember it being a great hangout for us teenagers back in the eighties, so many different stores to spend hours in just looking at stuff. Malls today just suck, nothing but clothing stores, that’s what is killing the malls.

  12. I grew up in woodstown nj in the 70’s and 80’s and remember traveling to Echelon mall as a child.
    There was a Strawbridges and Gimbels as anchor stores. Your vintage picture brings back many memories! Thank you…
    I have lived in NC now for the last past 30 years so your blog is going back in time for me.

    Oh and I spent overnights at Camp Crockett and remember it being kind of creepy and scary at night
    Just saying…ha

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