- In the 1960s through the 1990s, malls were the place to be to hang out, shop, and grab a bite to eat in the food court.
- Some malls in the United States date back as far as the 1850s, long before there were such things as “anchor stores” or food courts.
- Some malls have been demolished, redeveloped, or abandoned, but others remain just as popular as they were decades ago.
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Today, malls all over the country are dealing with the effects of the retail apocalypse and suffering from closures. But in the ’50s and ’60s, malls and shopping centers were popping up all over the country.
Some of those earliest malls are closed and abandoned today, while others have received a complete renovation and are still opened as a historic landmark.
Keep reading to learn which mall in your state is the oldest and if they are still open today.
ALABAMA: Eastwood Mall in Birmingham opened in 1960.
When Eastwood Mall opened in 1960, it was the third-largest mall in the nation with 300,000 square feet. It had 43 stores and 2,200 parking spaces. The mall was closed in 2004 when tenants went out of business, and the mall was demolished two years later.
ARKANSAS: The Phoenix Village Mall in Fort Smith opened in 1970.
The Phoenix Village Mall was the first mall to open in the state and had 489,000 square feet. It was a popular destination for shoppers until Central Mall was opened in the ’80s. The Phoenix Village Mall was closed in the early 2000s as retailers went out of business.
CALIFORNIA: Lakewood Center in Lakewood opened in 1950.
When Lakewood Center opened in the ’50s, it was the first shopping mall in the state. At first, it was a four-story shopping center but it grew to include additional shops, offices, a hospital, a bowling alley, and a post office. It quickly became a “shopping city.” Today, the mall is still open and houses hundreds of stores.
CONNECTICUT: Ridgeway Center in Stamford opened in 1947.
Ridgeway Center was not only the first mall in Connecticut, but it was also the first one in New England. When it opened, it was 110,000 square feet of space, housing stores like Pennsylvania Drug, Deena’s, and The Lurie Company. The mall is still open today and has over 40 stores.
GEORGIA: Lenox Square in Atlanta opened in 1959.
Ten years after Lenox Square mall opened in Atlanta, it was the largest shopping mall south of Washington, DC. It was estimated that 30,000 people came to shop at the stores every day on average. Today, the mall is still in operation with close to 300 stores.
ILLINOIS: Market Square in Lake Forest opened in 1916.
Market Square is said to be the “first planned shopping center” in the country, dating back over 100 years. Today, the shopping center is still open as a historic landmark in the community, and it houses brands like J.Crew, Talbots, and Lululemon.
INDIANA: Washington Square Mall in Evansville opened in 1963.
When Washington Square Mall opened its doors for the first time in the early ’60s, it was the first enclosed shopping center in the state. In its 200,000 square feet, there were 30 stores, a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a bowling alley. Today, the mall is still open.
MAINE: Pine Tree Shopping Center in Portland opened in 1959.
Pine Tree Shopping Center had only 12 stores when it first opened in the late ’50s and eventually grew to 20 retailers. Some brands at the mall included W.T. Grant, Woolworth’s, Child World, Rexall, and Zayre. The mall today has been completely renovated and now includes big box stores.
MASSACHUSETTS: Shoppers World in Framingham opened in 1951.
As people moved out of Boston, many settled down in Framingham, and a shopping center was needed. Shopper’s World was the result, and it had 44 stores and 6,000 parking spots. The mall was torn down in 1994, but a new Shoppers World has taken its place and is still open today.
MISSISSIPPI: Jackson Mall in Jackson opened in 1970.
Jackson Mall was the first mall in the state of Mississippi. When it opened its doors, the mall had Penny’s, Gayfers, and Woolco as its anchor department stores. Although the mall was successful for several decades, it eventually closed down and was turned into Jackson Medical Mall, housing several doctors’ offices.
MISSOURI: Country Club Plaza in Kansas City opened in 1922.
Country Club Plaza was designed to look like the city of Seville, Spain, and housed several high-end retailers, like Saks Fifth Avenue. But the shopping center also had Sears and Woolworth’s for its anchor department stores. Today, the strip mall is still open and hosts retailers like West Elm and Kate Spade.
MONTANA: Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls opened in 1959.
Holiday Village Mall opened with Albertson’s as its anchor store. The mall is now anchored by Bed Bath & Beyond, Big Lots, Hobby Lobby, JCPenney, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, and Scheels All Sports. The mall is still open.
NEBRASKA: Crossroads Mall in Omaha opened in 1960.
The mall originally opened with the Brandeis department store and has held major chains like Sears, Target, and Dillard’s. However, the mall is in talks to be demolished and redeveloped, as many of its anchor stores have closed.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Nashua Mall in Nashua opened in 1969.
When the Nashua Mall first opened, it was one of the many malls that featured a Woolco Discount Mart. The mall closed in 2003.
NEW JERSEY: Garden State Plaza in Paramus opened in 1957.
The original anchor was Bamberger’s, with Gimbels and JCPenney added in 1958. The mall has since been renamed Westfield Garden State Plaza and is one of the most profitable shopping malls in the country. Its current department store anchors are Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom.
NEW MEXICO: Coronado Center in Albuquerque opened as an open-air mall in 1965.
The mall was remodeled to become an enclosed mall in 1975. Its original anchors included Sears and Rhodes Brothers, which was rebranded as Liberty House. The Sears has since closed, but other anchors like The Cheesecake Factory, Macy’s, and Barnes & Noble remain.
NORTH CAROLINA: Charlottetown Mall in Charlotte opened in 1959.
The mall became the first enclosed shopping mall in the Southeast. Over the years, the mall gained “dead mall” status as developers failed to revive it. In 2005, the site was torn down and later redeveloped to hold a Target and a Home Depot Design Center, which was later replaced by BJ’s Wholesale Club.
OHIO: The Arcade in Cleveland was built in 1890.
Not only is The Arcade Cleveland the first indoor shopping center in Ohio, but it’s also one of the oldest indoor shopping centers in the entire country. It cost $875,000 to build, and began to deteriorate over the years. However, in 2001, a massive $60 million renovation brought the shopping center back to its original glory.
OKLAHOMA: Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City opened in 1960.
Penn Square Mall was originally built as an outdoor shopping center, before being enclosed in 1982. The mall is still open today, with JCPenney, Macy’s, and two Dillards stores acting as the mall’s anchors.
OREGON: The Lloyd Center in Portland opened in 1960.
When the Lloyd Center first opened, it claimed to be the largest mall in the country, and it was the largest mall in the Northwest. After Marshalls and Sears both left the mall, Macy’s was left as the mall’s only anchor.
PENNSYLVANIA: North Hills Village Mall in Ross Township opened in 1957.
The strip mall opened in the 1950s with Gimbels as its main anchor. It was enclosed in 1976 before reverting back to a strip mall in 1996.
SOUTH DAKOTA: The Western Mall in Sioux Falls opened in 1968.
When the Western Mall first opened, it had 25 stores inside its enclosed shopping complex, the first of its kind in the state. Western Mall is still home to a movie theater, a Best Buy, and more.
TENNESSEE: The Arcade opened in Nashville in 1903.
Remodeled after an arcade in Italy, The Arcade in Nashville is now home to 50 tenant spaces and offices, 23 restaurants and cafés, 18 art spaces, and more.
TEXAS: NorthPark Center in Dallas opened in 1965.
When the NorthPark Center first opened, it was the largest climate-controlled retail establishment in the world. Today, the shopping center remains busy and a leader among US malls, with more than 235 stores and a commitment to remaining innovative with virtual reality exhibitions and free performances happening frequently.
UTAH: Cottonwood Mall in Holladay opened in 1962.
Now closed, Cottonwood Mall was the first enclosed shopping mall in Utah. In 2008, the main building was demolished. The TGI Friday’s and Macy’s located on the property both shut their doors not too long afterward. The site is now undergoing plans for redevelopment.
WASHINGTON: Bellevue Square in Bellevue opened in 1946.
The open-air shopping center, which originally had only 16 stores, has since grown to its current 5.5 million-square-foot space and been renamed “The Bellevue Collection.”
WEST VIRGINIA: Middletown Mall in White Hall opened in 1971.
Middletown Mall was the first large-scale shopping center in the state, as well as the first enclosed mall to open in the state. However, parts have since fallen into disrepair and abandon.
WISCONSIN: Bayshore Town Center in Glendale opened in 1954.
It was originally an outdoor mall but was enclosed in 1974. The mall has struggled in recent years, with many of its vacant retail spaces becoming replaced by offices and apartments. However, many of its now-outdoor retail spaces continue to remain open.