In the 1960s and '70s, everything in Huntsville was situated along its Memorial Parkway, commonly referred to as "The Parkway". The thoroughfare had four shopping malls within a 3 mile stretch by 1976. The city continued to grow at an alarming rate during the 1980s and '90s. A big time, superregional shopping hub, MADISON SQUARE, opened in 1984 and the city was (finally) connected into the national Interstate Highway grid in 1991.
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The first of five shopping malls built in the Rocket City, HEART OF HUNTSVILLE, was completed in 1961. This was just a year after the state's first interior mall, EASTWOOD, had opened for business in Birmingham.
Our LOST MALLS-HUNTSVILLE section will cover four past their prime properties, which opened for business between 1961 and 1976. Three of these have been completely demolished, while one has been repurposed as a medical facility. These shopping centers are listed henceforth, using their original names.
*HEART OF HUNTSVILLE MALL [1961-2007]
*DUNNAVANT'S MALL [1965 to present]
*THE MALL [1966-2001]
*PARKWAY CITY MALL [1976-1999]
The four LOST MALLS flanking Memorial Parkway should probably not be classed as "freeway-friendly" during their early years, as The Parkway was upgraded to a limited-access highway on a piecemeal basis.
For this reason, MADISON SQUARE, in the western environs of the metro area, became the city's first freeway-accessed shopping hub in August 1984. It was built adjacent to an interchange on the Research Park Boulevard expressway.
This shopping facility opened with an incredible amount of ballyhoo (I was present at its grand opening). It hit the proverbial skids in the Twenty-tens and was given a wrecking ball renovation in February 2017. Its successor, MIDCITY HUNTSVILLE, is a mixed-use project, which -naturally- is open-air.
With these revelations, MADISON SQUARE becomes the Rocket City's fifth LOST MALL. However, our focus right now will be on Huntsville's first...