EASTGATE MALL ceased to exist in a retail capacity in the twenty-tens. It was auctioned off in 2007...but was not demolished or repurposed as -yet- another power center. The mall was extensively renovated and rebuilt into a technical park and data center.
Photo from http://www.businesswire.com

East Washington Street / US 40 and North Shadeland Avenue 
Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana

The first mall-type shopping center in the Hoosier State was designed by Welton Becket & Associates of Los Angeles and Indianapolis' C. Wilbur Foster & Associates. The 1,200-foot-long EASTGATE CENTER was developed by Indy's Arthur L. Frankel, under the auspices of the Eastgate Corporation

A shopping structure of 370,000 leasable square fetet was built on a 40.6-acre parcel, located 5 miles east of downtown Indianapolis. At the time of its completion, the complex was situated in a section of unincorporated Marion County known as Warren Township.

The first operational stores in EASTGATE CENTER were a Sears Catalog & Appliance and 2-level (100,000 square foot), Indianapolis-based H.P. Wasson & Company. These opened for business on March 18, 1957. A mall-wide grand opening began September 19, 1957, which was attended by Indiana Governor Harold W. Handley (R). Forty stores participated in the celebration, which included a 1958 Ford Edsel as a grand prize.

The open-air EASTGATE consisted of an upper retail level and small section of lower level stores that ran along the north end of the facility. Among the fifty-six charter tenants were Richman Brothers men's & boy's wear, Craig's at Eastgate Candy & Restaurant, Hook's Drug, Thom McAn Shoes, Harry Levinson's men's wear, National Shirt Shops, Morrison's ladies' wear, a Sam's Subway Buffeteria and dry-goods-only J.C. Penney. A kiddie ride amusement area known as Wonderland was situated in the shopping center's north parking lot.

EASTGATE was followed, in August 1958, by GLENDALE CENTER {7 miles northwest, in Marion County}. In 1970, the Unigov consolidation of Indianapolis and Marion County into one political jurisdiction brought EASTGATE CENTER and GLENDALE CENTER into Indiana's capital.

In November 1971, a newly-renovated EASTGATE CENTER re-opened as an enclosed and air-conditioned structure. During its refurbishment, seating areas, planters, fountains and a public performance stage had been installed. Soon after, the General Cinema Corporation Eastgate Mall Cinema I & II was built as a southwestern outparcel of the mall. The venue showed its first features on June 28, 1974.

In April, WASHINGTON SQUARE {3 miles east, in Indianapolis} had been dedicated. Penney's and Sears moved to WASHINGTON SQUARE, leaving EASTGATE in a rapid state of decline. Its Wasson's store closed in April 1980. The mall was sold to Indianapolis' Melvin Simon & Associates in August 1981. A second renovation was done. This time around, the exterior was given a face lift, with most of the parking lot entrances to stores being sealed-off.

The complex was repositioned as a value-oriented shopping center and renamed EASTGATE CONSUMER MALL. Burlington Coat Factory, filling a 93,000 square foot section of the abandoned Wasson's, welcomed its first shoppers on August 16, 1982. Front Row apparel leased the entire southwest corner of the mall. Other tenants were Famous Footwear, Publishers Book Outlet, Finish Line and F & M Distributors, a discount drug emporium (who leased the vacant J.C. Penney).

A 1-level (115,400 square foot) Builder's Square home improvement center, constructed in the mall's northeast parking area, was dedicated in October 1986. The existing movie house was expanded into the Eastgate Mall 6, which held its grand re-opening on May 19, 1987.

The novel concept of an "outlet mall" did well for a time. However, by the early 2000s, the aging EASTGATE was in another downward spiral. It was sold to North Carolina's Whichard Realty in April 2002. Builder's Square had been shuttered in June 1999. The cinema went dark in January 2004, with the entire shopping center closing on June 30 of the same year. At the time, many thought the mall would be demolished.

However, in May 2008, the property was acquired by a joint venture of Carmel, Indiana-based Lifeline Data Centers and Kingsport, Pennsylvania-based Mark Development. A 50 million dollar renovation commenced in July 2008. The moribund mall was renamed LIFELINE DATA CENTER EASTGATE CAMPUS. It became a technical park and data center.

The first renovation phase, completed in mid-2009, involved the conversion of the Wasson's / Burlington Coat Factory building into a supercomputer facility. Phase Two got underway in late 2009. The mall concourse was resectioned into low cost office spaces, a church and catering company. The renovated complex now housed 450,000 square feet of data center and office space.


The Indianapolis Star
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
HistoricIrvington.blogspot.com / "Memories Of Days Gone By – Eastgate Mall" / Posted by "MidWestMrs"
"Unigov" article on Wikipedia
http://weeklyview.net / "Eastgate: Suburban Main Street" / Steven R. Barnett
Boston Post Road / US 1 and Interstate 95
Milford, Connecticut

Building began on the Nutmeg State's first shopping mall in November 1957. CONNECTICUT POST CENTER was developed by New York City's Sol Atlas and designed by Milford's Jesse James Hamblin. The open-air facility was constructed on a 75-acre parcel, located 6 miles southwest of downtown New Haven, in suburban Milford.

The site was adjacent to a newly-completed segment of the Connecticut Turnpike (Interstate 95). The 500,000 square foot retail complex, hailed as the largest between New York City and Boston, consisted of a single level of retail with a service basement beneath.

On September 14, 1960, the first stores in the 30 million dollar venue opened for business. The grand opening commenced at 7 pm and extended into the night. It included fireworks, a parade, dancing, fashion shows, concerts and appearances by several dignitaries.

Fifty stores and services would eventually be housed in CONNECTICUT POST CENTER. These included County Hardware, Franklin-Simon, Kennedy's of New England, a W.T. Grant variety store, S.S. Kresge 5 & 10, Bradlees "suburban self-service department store" and Stop & Shop supermarket.

New York City-based Alexander's opened a 3-level (155,000 square foot) anchor store on August 21, 1962. This was the sixth unit in the chain and the first outside the New York City metropolitan area. The General Cinema Corporation Milford Cinema was built as a southwest parking lot outparcel. The single-screen venue was officially dedicated April 2, 1965.

TRUMBULL SHOPPING PARK {5 miles west, in Trumbull} became the first retail competitor, in 1964. This was followed by CHAPEL SQUARE MALL, New Haven's downtown redevelopment shopping center, which was completed in 1967.

By the early 1970s, several charter tenants at CONNECTICUT POST CENTER had closed. The shopping hub now housed stores such as Giftique, Lynn's Hallmark, Whelan Drug, Friendly Frost Appliances and a Hill's supermarket. The Post Mini-Mall, a mall within a mall, contained twelve boutique-type stores.

A fire spread through the south end of the complex in May 1976. The Hills supermarket, Lynn's Hallmark and W.J. Sloan furniture store were destroyed. The area was rebuilt as a 2-level (86,000 square foot) Caldor discount mart. The 27th store in the Norwalk, Connecticut-based chain, it opened for business April 27, 1977.

The open shopping concourse had been fitted with a SkyShield type of (partial) enclosure in the late 1970s. This afforded some protection from the elements, but did not provide for heating or air-conditioning of the space.

In 1981, Australia-based Westfield acquired the complex and renovated it into a fully-enclosed and climate-controlled facility. It was promoted as CONNECTICUT POST MALL, but the local populace continued to refer to it as "MILFORD MALL".

Alexander's became the first of the original anchors to close, in 1988. This store re-opened as a J.C. Penney on August 7, 1991. At the time, the shopping center was undergoing a third renovation and expansion, to the tune of 75 million dollars. A 2-level (150,000 square foot), Hartford-based G. Fox was built. It opened in 1991 and was rebranded, by Boston-based Filene's, on February 1, 1993.

In the following year, the basement at CONNECTICUT POST MALL was refitted as a second retail concourse (Level I). In addition, the Sky View Food Court was installed on a newly-constructed third floor. The official name of the complex was changed to WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN CONNECTICUT POST in November 1998. The mall encompassed 777,000 leasable square feet and housed 132 stores and services.

The Stop & Shop supermarket moved to a freestanding location. Its store on the north end of the mall was razed. A 2-level (178,000 square foot) Sears took its place and opened for business on April 1, 2000.

Caldor had been shuttered May 15, 1999. The vacant store provided the impetus for a major redevelopment of the south end of the shopping center. A groundbreaking was held October 12, 2004. The abandoned Caldor, and some adjacent south end store spaces, were demolished.

In all, 480,000 square feet of new retail and entertainment area was constructed. New stores and services included a 1-level (125,000 square foot) Target, 2-level (84,000 square foot) Dick's Sporting Goods, 9-bay Food Court, a state-of-the-art movie multiplex and two parking garages.

Target was dedicated March 1, 2006, with the Showcase Cinema de Lux 14 showing its first features March 10th. At the same time, a third level (consisting of 75,000 square feet) was added to Filene's. The store, now encompassing 225,000 square feet, was rebranded by Macy's on September 9, 2006. 

Now officially known as WESTFIELD CONNECTICUT POST, the shopping complex encompassed 1,334,000 leasable square feet and housed over 150 stores and services. 

The Cinema de Lux 14 was rebranded as the Rave Motion Pictures Connecticut Post 14 in May 2010. In November of the same year, one of its auditoriums re-opened as an IMAX theater. In June 2013, the venue was rebranded under the Cinemark banner.

Westfield sold the shopping hub in December 2015. It was acquired by a joint venture of San Antonio's USAA Real Estate, Dallas' Centennial Real Estate and San Francisco's Montgomery Street Partners. Its official name soon reverted back to CONNECTICUT POST MALL.

J.C. Penney announced the shuttering of 120 mall-based stores in March 2017. The CONNECTICUT POST location, in business as a Penney's for nearly 25 years, went dark on July 31, 2017. Reading, Pennsylvania's Boscov's chain expanded the vacant store from 155,000 to 200,000 square feet and opened for business on October 4, 2018.


The Bridgeport Sunday Post
The Bridgeport Sunday Herald
The New Haven Register
www.contact.com / "Keys To The Highway" / Melissa Nicefaro / July 8, 2002
www.fusco.com (Fusco Construction)
Assessor's Online Database For Milford County
"Westfield Connecticut Post" article on Wikipedia
"Filene's" article on Wikipedia
"Wavz 13" Flickr Photostram
www.associatedcontent.com / "Cinema de Lux Key Feature In New Mall Addition" / Posted by Corey Sipe / August 15, 2006
www.westfield.com (The Westfield Group)
www.centennial.com (Centennial Real Estate)


The graphic from The Bridgeport Sunday Herald illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The image is of lower resolution than the original (copies made would be of inferior quality). The image is not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the image does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the image in any way. The image is being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and its use is not believed to detract from the original image in any way.
Gorham and Maine Mall Roads
South Portland, Maine

The history of the Pine Tree State's preeminent shopping hub begins in the mid-1960s. Bernal B. Allen convinced the City of South Portland and its Chamber of Commerce to acquire the 137-acre Dwyer's pig farm for potential development as a retail center.

The plot, located 4 miles southwest of center city Portland, was adjacent to a section of the Maine Turnpike (Interstate 95) that had opened to traffic in December 1955. Boston's Julian Cohen, a philanthropist and real estate developer, bought the pig farm parcels and initiated construction of a 2-level (188,000 square foot), Boston-based Jordan Marsh. This freestanding department store was dedicated on August 8, 1969.

Ground was broken for a fully-enclosed shopping center in 1970. Designed by Boston's Sumner Schein,  MAINE MALL opened, with an initial twenty-one stores, in August 1971. When fully leased, MAINE MALL housed sixty-two tenants. 

The 510,100 square foot complex was anchored by the aforementioned Jordan Marsh and 1-level (102,000 square foot) Sears. Charter inline stores included Krey's Disc Shop, Lerner Shops, Kennedy's of New England, Leblanc's, World Bazaar, Vogel's Hallmark, Waldenbooks, Lamey-Wellehan, Radio Shack, Spencer Gifts, an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and IGA Gold Star supermarket.

In 1975, the General Cinema Corporation Maine Mall Cinema III showed its first features. The venue, built as a freestanding structure, was located on a site across Payne (Maine Mall) Road from the shopping hub. The theater was expanded into a 7-plex in 1984 and shuttered in 2002.

A 40 million dollar expansion of MAINE MALL was officially dedicated August 3, 1983. Over 500,000 square feet of retail space had been added in a new East Wing. Three anchor stores joined the tenant list; a 2-level (120,800 square foot), Boston-based Filene's ["fiy-leenz"], 2-level (79,000 square foot), Portland-based Porteous, Mitchell & Braun and 1-level (80,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. The mall now encompassed approximately 1,043,100 leasable square feet.

A 65 million dollar renovation was done in the mid-1990s. A Food Court, installed as part of the 1983 expansion, was rebuilt into an 11-bay facility. Moreover, new tile flooring and skylights were installed throughout the mall and a 1-level (55,900 square foot), Woburn ["woo-burn'] , Massachusetts-based Lechmere ["leech-meer'] was built at the west entrance.

The official name of the complex was slightly altered. Henceforth, it would be known as THE MAINE MALL. It was rededicated on October 16, 1994. The center, which spanned approximately 1,099,000 leasable square feet, had 120 stores and services under its roof.

Porteous closed December 31, 1994. The building was subdivided. A (36,000 square foot) Filene's Men's & Home Furnishings store opened, on the Lower Level, October 30, 1996. A (40,000 square foot), Englewood, Colorado-based Sports Authority began business, in the Upper Level, in June 1997.

Jordan Marsh had been rebranded as a Macy's on March 31, 1996. Woolworth was shuttered in July 1997 and replaced, by a Clifton, New Jersey-based Linens 'n Things, on July 2, 1999. Lechmere was shuttered in November 1997 and re-opened, as a Richfield, Minnesota-based Best Buy, October 16, 1998.

The turn of the century brought even more changes. The shopping hub was purchased by Chicago-based General Growth Properties in October 2003. 2 years later, the Filene's chain was dissolved as part of a Federated Stores / May Stores merger. Its two THE MAINE MALL locations closed in March 2006.

For years, reports circulated concerning a prospective lifestyle-type expansion of THE MAINE MALL. The vacant Filene's main store was to be razed and replaced by a 16-screen Regal multiplex cinema and open-air section of stores. This addition, to be known as MAINE MALL COMMONS, was to house a Barnes & Noble bookstore and five casual dining restaurants.

Best Buy was also to relocate into a newly-built outparcel store. The original location in the mall was supposed to be torn down and replaced by a new open-air section of stores. However, a lawsuit, The Great Recession, and financial problems at General Growth Properties caused these projects to be abandoned.

Nevertheless, several vacant spaces at the mall were filled. The old Filene's Men's & Home Furnishings was divided between a (25,900 square foot) XXI Forever and (17,100 square foot) H & M. These stores opened October 29, 2008.

The old Woolworth / Linens 'n Things space had been temporarily leased as a Gobeil's Furniture Gallery. This store was shuttered and divided between a (25,000 square foot) Extreme Family Fitness Center and (15,000 square foot) Super Shoes. These began business in October 2010. The Extreme facility was short-lived. It was replaced by an Old Navy store on November 16, 2011.

After sitting vacant for 7 years, the old Filene's at THE MAINE MALL was retenanted. York, Pennsylvania-based The Bon Ton renovated the 2-level space and held a grand opening on September 12, 2013. The 19-year-old Sports Authority store was shuttered in mid-2016. In August 2017, The Bon Ton closed their THE MAINE MALL location, which had been in operation for nearly 5 years.

Brookfield Property Partners, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, acquired a share of General Growth Properties in 2016. In August 2018, Brookfield established 100 percent ownership of the corporation. Hence, THE MAINE MALL became part of the Brookfield retail center portfolio.


The Portland Press Herald
The Maine Sunday Telegram
The Boston Globe
http://www.mainemall.com (website on Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
www.usm.maine.edu / "A Study Of Retail Sprawl & The Lives of People In Greater Portland, Maine" / Kevin Burke
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)


The photos from The Portland Public Library Archives help to illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.

A turn-of-the-century East Wing view. Going from left-to-right, we see Linens 'N Things, the SPRINGDALE south mall entrance and Staples.
Photo from www.loopnet.com 

The in-mall motion picture venue at SPRINGDALE was in operation for 29 years. It started out, in 1976, as a 6-plex. Five additional screens were added in 1991, for a total of eleven. Over the years, the venue was operated by American Multi-Cinema, Carmike Cinemas and -then- Marquee Cinemas. It was permanently shuttered in 2005 and demolished in 2021.
Graphic from Marquee Cinemas

The SPRINGDALE McRae's, which opened in the summer of 1984, was rebannered by Belk in the spring of 2006. The store would co-anchor the complex for over 10 years.
Photo from http://www.flickr.com

The power center conversion was completed with a newly-built Sam's Club, in 2005. In this circa-2014 plan, we see that several freestanding businesses now surround the mall, including Logan's Roadhouse, David's Bridal and Romano's Macaroni Grill. There are now fifteen stores operating in the mall proper. These all have exterior entries, as the enclosed shopping concourse has been closed to public access since 2008.

A store exodus was underway by January 2016, with Best Buy and Old Navy moving to new quarters in the up-and-coming McGOWIN PARK power center. The SPRINGDALE Belk went south (literally) in September, followed by Staples, which closed in January 2017. In 2018, Burlington (Coat Factory) was one of seven stores still in operation in the mall proper.
Photo from https://properties.brixmor.com (Brixmor Property Group)

The SPRINGDALE Marshalls and Sam's Club stores remained open for business, as well.
Photo from https://properties.brixmor.com (Brixmor Property Group)

Our sixth -and final- SPRINGDALE plan dates to 2021. Burlington jumped from the East Wing to the West, assuming a vacant Best Buy. The ground floor of the abandoned Belk has also been repurposed, with new Shoe Station, Cost Plus World Market and Bed Bath & Beyond stores. Conn's Home Plus has just set up shop in the old Montgomery Ward building (where Burlington used to be).
Government Street Road (Airport Boulevard) and Interstate 65
Mobile, Alabama
The first regional shopping center in the Azalea City was built on a section of reclaimed wetlands. Portions of Wragg Swamp were drained in the mid-1950s, with a 45-acre section, located 4 miles west of downtown Mobile, being set aside for a prospective retail complex. SPRINGDALE PLAZA would be developed by Mobile's Delaney Realty Company.

News of a 1.5 million dollar department store, to be built for Mobile's C.J. Gayfer & Company, was announced in December 1958. The new Gayfer's would be the chain's second branch, following locations in downtown Mobile and Pensacola, Florida. It would be designed by Atlanta's John J. Hart firm and encompass 1 level and approximately 82,900 square feet.

SPRINGDALE PLAZA was originally an open-air, strip complex. It was officially dedicated on November 19, 1959. Among forty-six charter tenants were W.T. Grant, J.C. Penney, Elliot's Jewelry, Zales's Jewelers, Albright & Wood Drug, Singer Sewing Center, Metzger Brothers Store For Men, Weatherby & Wood Furniture Company, Sally's Bridal Salon, a Colony Cafeteria and Delchamps and National Stores supermarkets. Gayfer's held its grand opening in February of 1960.

The shopping hub became freeway-accessible on January 4, 1963, when a 6.8-mile section of Interstate 65, passing along the west side of the shopping center site, opened to traffic.

SPRINGDALE PLAZA served as a catalyst for the development of the western environs of Mobile. In August 1967, the fully-enclosed BEL AIR MALL {.2 mile south} was completed. This was followed by various retail establishments that lined both sides of Government Street Road (later known as Airport Boulevard).

By 1973, both SPRINGDALE PLAZA and BEL AIR MALL were in the throes of expansion. A new wing was being added to the south side of BEL AIR MALL (which would snatch J.C. Penney from SPRINGDALE PLAZA). As a countermeasure, a fully-enclosed East Wing was built at SPRINGDALE PLAZA.

Anchored by a 2-level (140,900 square foot) Montgomery Ward, the East Wing included approximately forty-five stores and services. Its American Multi-Cinema Springdale Cinemas 6 showed its first features on June 18, 1976. Following the completion of the East Wing, the shopping hub was officially known as SPRINGDALE MALL & PLAZA, with this eventually truncated to simply SPRINGDALE MALL.

In the early 1980s, store structures on the west end of the plaza were demolished. In August 1983, construction began on a 2-level (160,000 square foot), Jackson, Mississippi-based McRae's. The store held its grand opening in August 1984 and was the 14th store in the chain.

A new retail rival opened soon after. MOBILE FESTIVAL CENTRE {.6 mile southwest, in Mobile} held its official dedication in 1986. In October 1988, a (33,600 square foot) Toys "R" Us opened at SPRINGDALE MALL. This was created out of the northwest corner of Montgomery Ward, which had downsized into a Montgomery Ward Specialty Store.

By this time, demolition was underway on both sides of Gayfer's. The store had been enlarged in 1966 and 1976 and now encompassed 3-levels and 280,000 square feet. It became the Gayfer's flagship. Simultaneously, a new section of enclosed mall, encompassing twenty-one store spaces, was built. 

This new West Wing connected Gayfer's and McRae's. With the completion of all construction in November 1989, SPRINGDALE MALL encompassed approximately 926,300 leasable square feet and housed eighty stores and services.

Between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, SPRINGDALE MALL would be reconfigured with various big box-type retailers. The first of these was created by merging four store spaces in the South Wing. A (23,600 square foot) Barnes & Noble opened in the spring of 1994. Next came a (16,000 square foot) Old Navy. It occupied two previous South Wing spaces and opened in the fall of 1996.

In September 1997, Chattanooga's CBL & Associates Properties acquired SPRINGDALE MALL and immediately announced a "redeveloping, remodeling and retenanting" of the complex. During this project, new flooring, mall entrances, skylights and landscaping were installed. Moreover, the official name of the shopping hub was shortened to simply SPRINGDALE.

A (26,000 square foot) Goody's Family Clothing was added during the remodeling. This store was dedicated in April 1998. At the same time, the six-plex theater was enlarged into the Carmike Springdale Cinemas 11. Six store spaces adjacent to Montgomery Ward were gutted, expanded and incorporated into a (24,100 square foot) Staples and (36,000 square foot) Linens 'N Things. 

Anchor rebrandings at SPRINGDALE began in October 1998, when the Gayfers store received a Dillard's nameplate. The Montgomery Ward Specialty Store shut down in early 1999, with its space leased by Burlington Coat Factory. Within a few years, Toys "R" Us would also close. Burlington Coat Factory then expanded into its space.

A new century brought more redevelopment. The western half of the West Wing was gutted and rebuilt into a (46,900 square foot) Best Buy, which opened in the fall of 2001. Dillard's closed their SPRINGDALE store in early 2003. It was demolished in 2004, along with the remainder of the West Wing and portion of the East Wing. A 1-level (139,500 square foot) Sam's Club opened in 2005.

CBL & Associates Properties sold SPRINGDALE in April 2006. The mall was purchased by a joint venture of Australia's Centro Properties Group and an American affiliate known as Galileo America. The assets of Centro were sold to New York City-based Blackstone Realty Partners in June 2011. A managing entity, known as the Brixmor Property Group, was created in September 2012.

By this time, several stores had come and gone at SPRINGDALE. McRae's was "Belked" in March 2006. Goody's shut down in early 2009, with a new Marshalls opening in its space in the fall of 2010. Barnes & Noble went dark in the summer of 2010, with Michaels taking its place in the fall of the same year. 

A vacant Linens 'N Things spot was taken by Big Lots, with the store opening in the fall of 2010. Best Buy and Old Navy closed their SPRINGDALE stores in January 2016 and moved to the new McGOWIN PARK power center {1.6 miles southeast, in Mobile}. Belk shuttered their SPRINGDALE store in September 2016. It re-opened in a vacant Sears at SHOPPES AT BEL AIR (which was a rebranded BEL AIR MALL).

By 2019, several new -or relocated- SPRINGDALE stores were in business. Burlington (Coat Factory) moved into the vacant Best Buy in the West Wing; downsizing their operation by nearly 89,000 square feet. The ground floor of the abandoned Belk was divided into five store spaces. 

Three of these were tenanted by a (20,000 square foot) Shoe Station, (18,300 square foot) Cost Plus World Market and (25,600 square foot) Bed Bath & Beyond. A (46,400 square foot) Conn's Home Plus opened for business, in a portion of the old Wards-Burlington building, on January 8, 2021.


The Mobile Beacon & Alabama Citizen
The Mobile Journal
The Mobile Press-Register
The Gadsden Times
"Springdale Mall" article on Wikipedia
Springdale Gayfer's Store Co. versus DH Holmes Co., Ltd., 201 So.2d 855 (1967)
http://www.aaroads.com (AA Roads: The State Series)
http://nreionline.com (National Real Estate Investor)
Annual Report 2013 Brixmor, LLC
Birmingham's Century Plaza

CENTURY PLAZA opened, in 1975, as the Magic City's second 2-level shopping center. In its heyday, the interior was decorated in high-end '70s mod style.
Photo from "Patriarca12"

Sears anchored the west end of the mall for over 33 years. In fact, it was the first store to open at CENTURY PLAZA (in 1975)...and the last to shut down (in 2009).
Drawing from Sears, Roebuck & Company

The east end of CENTURY PLAZA was anchored by Loveman's of Alabama. The store, which held its grand opening in August 1975, was the 6th branch of the B'ham-based chain and the last Loveman's of Alabama store to be built.
Photo from http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org

A circa-1976 layout shows the original orientation of the four anchor stores and various peripheral structures. The retail facility encompassed 746,300 leasable square feet and (at the time of this depiction) contained around seventy-five stores and services. In later years, the mall would house around ninety. The bi-level parking lot had room for 4,050 autos.


SEARS (with Coffee Shop and freestanding Auto Center) / LOVEMAN'S OF ALABAMA (with Beauty Salon) / J.C. PENNEY (with Coffee Shop, Beauty Salon & freestanding Auto Center) / RICH'S / Alabama Outdoors / Aladdin's Castle video arcade / Anderson-Little men's wear / B. Dalton Bookseller / Baker's Shoes / Baskin-Robbins ice cream / Bathique / Body Shop / Bookland / Bromberg's / Brook's Fashion Store / Butler's Shoes / Camelot Music / Carousel Snack Bar / Casual Corner ladies' wear / Central Bank / Chess King / Chick-Fil-A / City Federal / County Seat / Fashion Post / First National Bank / Florsheim Shoes / Foxmoor Casuals / General Nutrition Center / Gifts By Bess / Giftwick / Gingiss Formal Wear / Gordon's Jewelers / Hanover Shoes / Hardy Shoes / Hickory Farms of Ohio / Hot Sam pretzels / J.T. Morley / Jarman Shoes / Jeans West / Jewelry Jungle / Jobe-Rose / Kalso Earth Shoe / Karmelkorn / Kinney Shoes / Lynn's Hallmark / McDonald's / McMillan's Big & Tall men's wear / Merry-Go-Round ladies' wear / Morrison's Cafeteria / Morrow's Nut House / Mother-To-Be ladies' wear / Pearle Vision Center / Radio Shack / Dick Reese's Hammond Organ / Sandwich Shop / Shoney's Coffee Shop / Size 5-7-9 Shops ladies' wear / Spencer Gifts / Sports Edition / Stag Shop men's wear / Stride-Rite Shoes / Stuarts Ready-To-Wear For Ladies / Tinder Box Tobacconist / Tricks N Treats / Ups 'N Downs / Thom McAn Shoes / Toy City / Village Bootery / Webster Men's Wear / Wide World of Music / York Steakhouse (outparcel) / Zales Jewelers   

Another vintage interior view of CENTURY PLAZA.
Photo from https://www.bhamwiki.com / Rolf Hans Müller

In this drawing we see the close proximity of B'ham's two Across the Street malls. This too-close-for-comfort configuration was not unique to the Magic City. It was also seen in locales such as Mobile (the SPRINGDALE and BEL AIR malls), Atlanta (LENOX SQUARE and PHIPPS PLAZA) and Greater Los Angeles (DEL AMO CENTER and BULLOCK'S FASHION SQUARE).

CENTURY PLAZA peaked during the 1980s. By the time of this circa-2003 layout, the complex was on its last legs. Rich's-Macy's would bow out in mid-2004. McRae's (formerly Loveman's and then Pizitz) would be "Belked" and then close for good in mid-2006. Penney's would pull their proverbial plug soon after.

This image, and the two that follow, were taken at the CENTURY PLAZA Center Court in the the early 2000s. Here we see the glass-enclosed elevator that connected the two levels of the mall.
Photo from www.ggp.com (website on Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

The Center Court fountain is seen in this image.
Photo from www.ggp.com (website on Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

Jarman Shoes, an Upper Level store, appears in the background of this snapshot. 
Photo from www.ggp.com (website on Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

A Bing's-eye aerial view of the eastside shopopolis, which officially closed in May 2009. Over its 30+ years in business, the mall was never expanded. Likewise, its exterior was never renovated...which made it a pristine example of '70s mod architecture. The historic structure was demolished in late 2020 and has been replaced by an Amazon facility.
Photo from www.bing.com
Crestwood Boulevard / US 78 and Oporto Avenue (Oporto Madrid Boulevard)
Birmingham, Alabama
BROOKWOOD VILLAGE CENTER, the Magic City's first 2-level shopping mall, opened in 1973. 2 years later, a second double-decked retail center was dedicated. CENTURY PLAZA was developed by the Engel Realty Company and designed by Birmingham's Crawford, Giattina & Mitchell firm.

Built on a 34-acre plot, located 4.2 miles northeast of the center city, CENTURY PLAZA encompassed 746,300 leasable square feet and eventually housed ninety stores and services. The complex was built across US Highway 78 from EASTWOOD MALL (1960), which had been the first interior mall in the state.

The first operational CENTURY PLAZA store was a 2-level (152,300 square foot) Sears, which began business September 25, 1974. An official mall dedication was held August 4, 1975, when a 2-level (125,100 square foot), Birmingham-based Loveman's of Alabama welcomed its first shoppers.

By early 1976, a 2-level (149,500 square foot) J.C. Penney and 2-level (70,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's were also in operation. Charter inline stores included Morrison's Cafeteria, Camelot Music, Wide World of Music, Chick-Fil-A, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Karmelkorn, Foxmoor Casuals and Bookland.

At the center of Center Court was a 2-level island structure with a grouping of small boutiques on the bottom and performance stage on top; this on the same level as the second floor of the shopping complex.

Other malls in the CENTURY PLAZA trade area included the aforementioned EASTWOOD MALL {.1 mile southeast, in Birmingham} and BROOKWOOD VILLAGE CENTER {4.7 miles southwest, in Homewood}. There was also WESTERN HILLS CENTER (1969) {11.9 miles southwest, in Fairfield}.

These venues coexisted through the 1970s and into the mid-1980s. All were bested by the superregional RIVERCHASE GALLERIA {11.2 miles southwest, in Hoover}, which was dedicated in February 1986. The region's first lifestyle center, THE SUMMIT {5.4 miles south,  in Birmingham} brought additional commercial competition with its October 1997 grand opening. 

By this time, CENTURY PLAZA was in decline. Interior face lifts performed in 1988 and 1994 had failed to curtail its downward spiral. Anchor rebrandings had begun in March 1980, when the Loveman's store morphed into a Birmingham-based Pizitz. This store was rebranded as a Jackson, Mississippi-based McRea's in September 1987 and was Belk-branded on March 8, 2006. Belk lasted only a few months and ended up closing for good in July 2006.

Rich's had morphed into a Rich's-Macy's on February 2, 2003. It did not continue the logical progression to a full-fledged Macy's but was shuttered on April 11, 2004. Its space was temporarily tenanted by 99-Cent Spot, which opened in July 2004 and closed soon after.

J.C. Penney became the next store to pull out of CENTURY PLAZA, closing on September 30, 2006. Its space was never retenanted. Sears was the final operational anchor. It went dark on June 14, 2009.

Chicago-based General Growth Properties, who had acquired CENTURY PLAZA in April 1997, closed the complex on May 31, 2009. As a result of GGP's early 21st century bankruptcy, the mall became a holding of the Howard Hughes Corporation, a real estate development arm of GGP. It was placed on the open market.

Pelham, Alabama's Lumpkin Development acquired the facility in December 2017. They installed a Metro Mini-Storage facility in the former Sears. The remainder of the complex was rented to various office, call center and light manufacturing firms, until the complex was re-sold in November 2020.

Amazon.com, Incorporated acquired CENTURY PLAZA and wasted no time before starting its demolition. The entire structure was razed between November 2020 and January 2021, with a new Amazon Fulfillment Center being built on the site.  


The Birmingham News
"Century Plaza" article on Wikipedia
www.georgiaretailmemories.blogspot.com / "J.T" webmaster
Jefferson County, Alabama property tax assessor website

Another mid-century housewife-type drudgery would be doing the family laundry. Only the more well-to-do would enjoy the luxury of owning one of the new-fangled automatic washers and dryers. Everyone else would have probably bought their wringer-type machine at the local Sears or Montgomery Ward.

The electric wringer washer had been introduced in 1907. Up into the late 1960s, a machine -such as the Maytag Master seen here- was the way many American mothers cleaned the family laundry. 

The wringer washer would have to be manually filled with water, using a garden hose. With dirty laundry in place inside the tub of the machine and detergent added, an agitator lever, or button, would be flipped "on". Mom could agitate the clothes for as long as desired, but there was no "automatic" setting (some wringer washers did had timers).

When the clothes had been agitated sufficiently, every piece had to be run between the two rubber rollers of the wringer apparatus. Many a time, someone would get their hand or arm caught in the wringer, causing an emergency situation for the family.

The articles of clothing would then go into a separate tub of rinse water and then be run though the wringer a second time. Then, everything would need to be hung out to dry on the typical, backyard clothes line.

With clothes all dried and taken down, then mom would have to spend at least a couple more hours ironing everything. With all that was entailed with homemaking in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, is it any wonder that it was somewhat unusual for any one's mom to work a regular job back then?

The Model S, the first automatic washing machine, was introduced -by South Bend, Indiana's Bendix Company- in 1937. However, automatic machines, which laundered clothes and then spun them nearly dry, would not be commonplace for years to come.

In fact, it would take until the end of World War II for the major appliance manufacturers to introduce their first automatic (sans wringer) models; Sears-Kenmore and Frigidaire in 1947...Whirlpool in 1948. It would take nearly two additional decades for the automatic washer and dryer combo to be a standard fixture in the typical American home.

Above, we see two renderings of circa-1948 automatic (sans wringer) washers. The Frigidaire Fully Automatic model, seen in the first rendering, came with the hefty price of $329.75! In today's money, this washer would cost over $3,700! The price of General Electric's All Automatic machine is not divulged in the advert.
Drawings from The Miami News and (St. Petersburg) Evening Independent

A full page ad, dated June 6, 1949, hailing the new Bendix Economat machine. Its thrifty price -of just $179.95- must have made it a hot-selling item!
 Advert from The Spokane Daily Chronicle 

After World War II drew to a close in 1945, America experienced an economic boom, the likes of which has not been witnessed before or since. An enormous housing shortage created the need for large-scale, suburban housing developments.

The "Pre-Fab" (pre-fabricated tract house) became the norm. One would have a plat with -maybe- one thousand houses all being built at the same time...or at least in rapid succession. These might consist of only four different models; the oblong ranch with picture window, the oblong ranch with bay window, the L-shaped ranch (with neither) or the "split" or "tri" level.

The typical, suburban dwelling of the 1950s, which probably housed the standard "nuclear family" of 2.5 children. Homeowners today might freak at the price of this brand-new home in 1956.....it went for only $15,800! Today, this would translate to around $146,300.
Drawing from The Milwaukwee Journal