Archive for the 'Shopping Malls' Category

Westwood Mall, Michigan, 1972 – 1984


Just before grand opening, August 3, 1972


Grand opening, August 3, 1972


Swimming pool demo, 1974


Car show, 1975


Christmas shoppers, 1977


Mall centerpiece, 1981


Mall centerpiece, 1981


The Gap, 1981


Record store, circa 1984

All of the photos are via MLive, where you can see more, including the original floor plan. Jackson, Michigan’s Westwood Mall is still around.

Can anyone see what the poster is on the record store wall—just to the right of mom’s head? I have another shot of a mall Gap store here.

UPDATE: Thanks to all who identified the Cyndi Lauper poster. The Welsh Piper found the actual item (below).

Lauper 1984

More Empty Shopping Malls, 1985

Mall 1985-1

Mall 1985-4

Mall 1985-2

Mall 1985-3

Mall 1985-5

The first installment is here. All photos are via Jeremy’s Jae’s Flickr.

Board Games: The Mall Game (Richmar, 1977)






A gorgeous relic and one of the earliest board games based on a shopping mall. The game board actually looks like a then-contemporary mall directory. I worked in a couple of malls during and after high school and remember quite a few of these stores, especially Waldenbooks, where I spent a lot of time as a kid. Kaufmann’s was an east coast chain, and so was Circus World Toys.

Also check out two other mall-themed board games, Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Electronic Mall Madness (1989), the former based on the classic zombie film directed by George A. Romero.

(Images via eBay)

Kid Sitting on Spider-Man’s Lap, 1980

Spidey 1980

That “kid” is way too big to be sitting on Spidey’s lap. The boy on deck wearing the Spidey shirt looks profoundly bored. The kids deeper in line may be playing with a Spidey Mego doll.

Not sure what the Superman “head in the hole” is all about, but it’s sad-looking. The web I like.

The location is East Towne Mall in Madison, Wisconsin.

(Photo via Chuck Patch/Flickr)

Inside J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward, 1973


Women’s clothing


Main aisle at housewares


Housewares, featuring power tools and the `cook ‘n shop’ section


Camera department, with sportswear in the far background on left


Sporting goods and toys


Men’s suits


Furniture department with bar sets

I found the photos at News Tribune Attic, an archive of the Duluth News Tribune. Miller Hill Mall opened in 1973, anchored by J.C. Penney (above) and Montgomery Ward (below). JCP is still there. Ward was replaced by DSW Shoe Warehouse, Barnes & Noble, and Old Navy in 2001.

What I noticed right away was the lavish amount of space, not just in the aisles but in the respective sections themselves. The mall wasn’t just a warehouse of merchandise, but a place of comfort, a journey into the fantasy of the American Dream.

I wish the photos enlarged. The toy section in the fifth shot down stretches out on both sides of the aisle, and I can’t make out a damn thing.

My obsession with shopping malls goes back a ways.


Food court/’buffeteria’


Sporting goods. The sailboat is on sale for $499.88.


Juniors (‘Reflections’) and women’s clothing departments


The Real Mustaches of New Jersey, 1980

Mustaches 1980

The photographer is Joel Sternfeld. I found the shot at The High Line Blog.

If I had the facial hair, the muscles, the jeans, and the balls, I’d be one of these gentlemen for Halloween.

Empty Shopping Malls, 1985

Mall 1985

Mall 1985-2

Mall 1985-8

Mall 1985-3

Mall 1985-6

Mall 1985-7

Mall 1985-9

Mall 1985-10

Mall 1985-4

Mall 1985-5

I’ve said before that I’m comforted by images of malls as they used to be. But these shots are haunting too. I hear the echo of my footsteps on the tiles, and it sounds like the end of the world.

Nostalgia is just a longing for the cozier home and less troubled life and times we thought we had when we were younger. But when we were younger, we desperately wanted the perfect freedom we thought came with adulthood. The expression “You Can’t Go Home Again” is not quite true. You never were home.

So, if an old mall is an emulation of an ideal home (or ideal neighborhood), my wanting to wander and linger inside of it is just a longing for the idealization of a home (or neighborhood) that never really existed. Does that make me a ghost?

All of the photos above come from Jeremy Jae’s unmissable Retro Vintage Architecture and Interior Design Sets.

Board Games: Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Electronic Mall Madness (1989)

DOTD Game 1978

DOTD Game 1978-2

DOTD Game 1978-3

Mall Madness 1989

Mall Madness 1989-2

EMM 1989

EMM 1989-3

What a double feature.

The Dawn of the Dead game is a collector’s item, and it’s priced accordingly. Luckily, you can download the whole thing at Home Page of the Dead. From Board Game Geek:

Dawn of the Dead (based on the classic 1978 horror film) can be played as a two-player game (humans vs. zombies), as a solitaire game, or as a cooperative game with two to four players controlling the human heroes. The game map represents the shopping mall from the movie. Cardboard counters signify the human characters and zombies. To win, the zombie player must kill any three characters; the human player must secure the mall by closing all four entrances and eliminating all zombies within.

SPI (Simulations Publications, Inc.) was a leading publisher of board wargames throughout the ’70s. The company went bankrupt in 1982. Because SPI defaulted on a loan from TSR, Gygax and co. acquired its trademarks and copyrights in 1983.

Electronic Mall Madness precisely represents the degenerate vanity and vacuity satirized by Romero in DotD. I’m not sure where that leaves me, because I think it’s really pretty and I want to hear the mall talk.

Northglenn Mall, 1971

northglenn mall 1971

Northglenn Mall, Colorado, March, 1971. (Photo: Denver Post)

Partial caption:

Mall Offers Easy Access to Stores. Shoppers can walk right into stores at the air-conditioned Northglenn Mall.

As opposed to traveling through a wormhole?

northglenn mall 1971-2

Northglenn Mall, Colorado, March, 1971. (Photo: Denver Post)


Pedestrians Also Get Break at Mall. A pedestrian walkway at the Northglenn Mall is separated from the huge parking lot. This gives customers a chance to walk by stores with ease and in quiet surroundings.

Parking lots very quickly assumed priority over pedestrians and “quiet surroundings,” as the suburbs and tract housing sprawled. Today’s aseptic strip malls are the result.

Holyoke Mall, Massachusetts, 1982

holyoke mall 1982

holyoke mall 1982-2

That’s a lot of wood paneling. I’m getting warm just looking at it.

The store directory is fun, yet kind of sad. Kaybee Toys is long gone, as are B. Dalton and Waldenbooks, Record Town. I thought Radio Shack was gone too, but they’re still hanging on—somehow. I worked various mall jobs in high school, and I remember all those weird cheese and specialty grocery stores—Hickory Farms, etc.

The Gap is listed under “Specialty Fashion”? Was it that cutting edge in ’82?

(Images via The Caldor Rainbow)




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