Harrison Avenue and Perryville Road
Village of Cherry Valley, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois' mall metamorphosis began in 1954 with the completion of the MEADOW MART strip center. NORTH TOWNE CENTER, another strip complex, opened in 1956. It was eventually made into a partially-enclosed mall. COLONIAL VILLAGE CENTER made its debut in 1962. Like NORTH TOWNE, it was remodeled into a partially-enclosed facility.

The first regional-class, fully-enclosed shopping center in Greater Rockford was developed by Cleveland's Richard E. Jacobs Group and built on 75 acres, which were part of a 233 acre parcel. This site was located 5.8 miles southeast of center city Rockford, in the Village of Cherry Valley.

Work got underway on THE MALL AT CHERRYVALE in January 1972. A 2-level (121,900 square foot) Sears began business on September 26, 1973. A 3-level (154,000 square foot), Chicago-based Marshall Field & Company welcomed shoppers on October 1st. Twenty inline stores also commenced operation at this time.

An official mall dedication ceremony was attended by Coleen Ann Meternich, "Miss Illinois 1973", who released one thousand balloons. U.S. Representative John B. Anderson (R) was also on hand for the festivities. Music was provided by the East High School and Harlem High School Bands.

The 2-level, shopping hub encompassed approximately 713,900 square feet. Charter stores included Lane Bryant, Brentano's & Kroch's Booksellers, Casual Corner, Chess King and Disc Records. A 2-level (129,000 square foot), Sheboygan-based H.C. Prange (a.k.a. "Prange's") opened, as the mall's third anchor, in September 1974. It was accompanied by a Prange Way discount mart.

A freestanding movie house, the Plitt Theatres CherryVale 1-2-3, was built adjacent to the northeast parking area. Its first features were shown on August 29, 1975. The Plitt CherryVale Mall 4 opened, inside the mall proper, on February 11, 1983. The CherryVale 1-2-3 was in business until 1999. The inside 4-plex closed in early 2000.

Rockford's DOWNTOWN MALL (1975-2009) never provided any kind of commercial competition for THE MALL AT CHERRYVALE. The only other rival, MACHESNEY PARK MALL {8 miles northwest, in Machesney Park} was completed in 1978. It eventually fell on hard times and was gutted and rebuilt as MACHESNEY PARK TOWNE CENTRE, a big box-based power center.

Meanwhile, THE MALL AT CHERRYVALE was renamed CHERRYVALE MALL in the early 1980s. The first renovation of the complex was done later in the decade, when its early '70s decor was updated and a 9-bay Pavilion Food Court installed in vacated Prange Way space on the shopping hub's Lower Level.

Anchor rebrandings commenced in November 1992, when Prange's stores were rebranded by Des Moines-based Younkers. A Peoria-based Bergner's nameplate was installed on the store in June 1996.

Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates acquired the shopping hub in January 2001. They conducted a second renovation of the property between March and November 2004. New lighting, ceilings, elevators and escalators were installed. Moreover, stores such as Ann Taylor Loft, Hollister Company, Charlotte Russe and Dress Barn were added to the tenant directory.

The highlight of this project was the construction of a 1-level (93,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, at the mall's North Entrance. This store held its grand opening on August 1, 2004. The gross leasable area of the complex now stood at approximately 806,900 square feet. On September 9, 2006, the mall's third anchor rebranding converted Marshall Field's into a Macy's.

A third mall renovation got underway in 2007. A "lifestyle component", known as THE DISTRICT AT CHERRYVALE, was constructed in the southwest parking area. Encompassing 75,000 square feet, it housed upscale tenants such as Coldwater Creek, Barnes & Noble, Jos. A. Bank, Chico's, Talbots and Granite City Food & Brewery.

An official dedication was held in November 2007. With the completion of THE DISTRICT AT CHERRYVALE, the mall encompassed approximately 849,300 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and thirty-four store spaces.

Bergner's anchored CHERRYVALE MALL for 22 years. The chain became a division of Pennsylvania's Bon Ton Stores conglomerate in 2006. As a result of the bankruptcy of Bon Ton Store, all Bergner's locations were shuttered in August of 2018. The beleaguered Sears chain shuttered their 45-year-old CHERRYVALE store in March 2019.

Sources: / Mike Rivest
Comment posts by Brandon and Randy (CBL & Associates Properties)