The first thing visitors see at the former Rite Aid is a turquoise 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, parked next to a Sinclair gas pump with vintage Dino the dinosaur graphics.
All traces of the Perry Hall store’s shelves and pharmacy counter are gone. In their place is a simulated streetscape right out of small-town America, with a series of storefronts that hark back to the walkable shopping districts where people bought goods before big box stores (and Amazon) came along.
Visitors can pick up a Life magazine or Saturday Evening Post from the corner newsstand. Take in a ’50s movie at the town cinema. Select songs from a jukebox in the diner, or play records on an old Victrola.
This time machine of sorts is the central feature of Town Square, an 11,000-square-foot daytime activity center tailored for seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It contains areas for games, exercise, dining and socializing, like other eldercare centers. What makes it so unusual is that everything inside the building is designed to bring back memories of the post–World War II era.