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Mall Memories

By: Lazlo

Some of the best memories of my '70s childhood and '80s adolescence took place in shopping malls. Nowadays there is talk that the age of the shopping mall is passing (although you couldn't tell it from some of the malls where I live, where there are several thriving), but in the '70s and '80s the mall was at its height as a center of commerce and popular meeting place.

I have so many good memories of being in these limate-controlled, air conditioned shopping centers, and here are some.

The Style. Malls in the '70s and '80s had such a different style than today. Back then the typical mall aimed for a futuristic style that resembled the city in Logan's Run. Modern sculpture, water features, and lighting were common.

Fountains. Most Malls of the '70s and '80s featured fountains, usually with the same modern style. Lots of them too, often in different locations of the same mall.  I loved those, and the fun ambiance they created.

The Stores. I remember the specialty stores that you sometimes found only in malls, where you found them in abundance. Food vendors like Fanny Farmer Candies and Hickory Farms. Bookstores like Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Books. Record stores like Camelot records. Big department stores, some no longer in existence, like Burdines, Robinsons, Maas Brothers, and Jordan Marsh. There always seemed to be a store selling electric organs, featuring someone hired to play it and attract customers. Chick Fil-A was, at that time, found almost always in malls. Some of those names and experiences are now forgotten, others continue as much cherished establishments.

Growing up, my family used to eat at York Steak House, a family restaurant commonly found in malls. The decor at York often had the dark wood style so often found during that era, with a certain "Olde English" decor. We would then walk over to Doctor Pet Center, a typical mall pet shop where we would look at the various animals they had on display. And then we would go through the mall to enjoy the various sights and sounds of the mall. As a teen, this would involve bookstores and record stores, where I would indulge my musical and reading tastes as a nerdy teen.

Now, it is said that internet shopping and outdoor shopping centers are eclipsing the old malls. But I will always remember fondly the ways malls used to be. They were a safe place where you could stroll, get the latest record, and get something to eat. Here's to malls of the '70s and '80s.

This article is from the writer of Retro-Awesomeness (An '80s Blog)


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DirtyD79 Posted on Nov 02, 2018 at 06:47 AM

People can make all the noise they want about Amazon but if you really want to see what's killing malls, pay attention the next time you're out driving around. Take a look at how many shopping centers, unattached stores, and strip malls you see. I know going to this one mall near me depending on the route I take I could pass either two or four different shopping centers and several unattached stores on the way there. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a mall.

Lazlo Posted on Sep 23, 2018 at 09:40 PM

It does seem as if a lot of things from our past are fading away. At least in some part. Malls, bookstores, old style video games. At least its good to remember. Im glad they were part of my youth.

Superman Posted on Sep 22, 2018 at 03:47 PM

I think the thing I miss most about the malls of my youth is Waldenbooks. Book stores, in general, seem to be so hard to find these days, but I love them.

Benjanime Posted on Aug 30, 2018 at 07:24 AM

i can't say there's much that i miss from my old mall, aside from funcoland and eb games, before gamestop took over. at least their trade in deals were a lot more fair.

NLogan Posted on Aug 28, 2018 at 03:01 AM

Sadly all of the malls near me are in decline and some of my childhood ones are gone already.

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