Saturday, August 20, 2011

Where Old Malls Go When They Die ....

 I am writing tonight about my favorite Mall and the memories. Eastwood Mall had it's Grand Opening on August 25, 1960. It would have been 51 years old this month. It is no more... I love this advertisement of 73 degrees Year Round! . It was a first in Alabama  inside stores. This is a quote from the news and advertising for the 1960 Grand Opening ,A New Era of Shopping in Birmingham Alabama.
"Living comforts of the next decade have become breathtaking reality in the Heart of Dixie.  These are sights of the 1970s about which other cities talk.  In Birmingham, they exist.  A masterpiece of shopping luxury never before seen in the Deep South."
 It had a Bowling Alley with a Giant Sphere on top of the building that lit up at night. It had a lounge called the Boom Boom Room.
 Great Wagon Ho Restaurant in the parking lot.  It did change names through the years but still had the mule driver and wagon. You knew you were at Eastwood mall when you seen this landmark...
 The Mall also had a Krispy Kreme in the Parking Lot.  How many malls have one of these?.... Not our new malls!

 This was The Spot in the Mall.. I remember it being bigger for some reason.Look at those Ultra-Modern Lights... lol  When my mom and aunts would shop, this was the place to met back at.. The Money Fountain.. People would throw change in the fountain and make wishes..  We being kids would play in the water.. I remember many times waiting at this fountain.. You know.. Way before cell phones... I remember all the aunts taking their little ones.. (US) you have to remember we were in the age group of 1 thur 10 years old.. 6 of us kiddies..( before my Brother)  and 3 aunts. And saying to each.. " Meet ya'll back here at The Fountain at whatever time!" Loved Aunt Gloria Big Station Wagon, It hauled us all!
 That cage on the right was a giant Bird Cage!  I loved looking at it. This mall had it all. No rain hitting you, 73 degree temp all the time, and main department stores like: Aladdin Cleaners, Bell Brothers Shoes, Colonial Stores, Duane's Shoes, Eastwood Barber Shop, Gordon's Quality Jewelers, Happy House Shops, Hill's Food Store (later to become Winn-Dixie), Kinney Shoes, S. S. Kresge (dime store chain which evolved into the present-day Kmart), Kroger, Lerner Shops, Liggett Drug, Kiddieland, Mall Record Shop & Appliance Center, J. J. Newberry's, Olan Mills, JCPenney, a Top Value Stamps redemption center, Wendy's Sportswear, and an Alabama ABC Package Store ... It was also to have had a Heliport for Helicopters to land.. But that never came about.. I wonder Why?

 Oh... Across the street was the best McDonald's !  It had a bridge that went over a creek where there was a playground.  That is were we kids always wanted to eat. My daughter's first shopping trip at 2 months old was to Eastwood Mall and this McDonald's in 1982. Had to go baby shopping at Parsian's Store!
The Theater opened on Christmas Day 1964. It had a breezeway connecting it to the Hill's Winn Dixie and new Pasquale's Pizza. There as also to be.. A Go-Cart Track.. Now that would have been something back then...  Well.. it was not to be. A Birmingham Retailer - Pizitz came in and they built a big department store at one end.  End of Go-Carts. I never knew any of this.. I was not even born when it opened. I was born in 1965. My family had shopped for most of it's 46 year run.. I found a site about landmarks in Birmingham. It is a great site to look at pictures and read about the city I grow up on the outskirts of.
Demo 2006
 This was the end of Eastwood Mall. No more inside Mall. It had a great run. At the time the Best Mall In The South and we did not even know it!!! It did change over the years. Updates and remodeling went on.. Boy, it had it's Neon going on in the 1980's.
I better not forget to mention it had the Pioneer Cafeteria, that is where the little elderly ladies went to meet their friends for lunch all dressed up. When I was older, I got to go see them.. lol  I didn't care to much for the Cafeteria style food. Get a tray and move down the line .... where you pointed at what you wanted slopped on your plate... Reminded me of the Vegas Vacation movie.. buffet scene were Eddie says, Give some of that green stuff and don't go skimpy on me"....  lol
I guess change has to happen.. I don't have to like it. All the shops and malls have moved out of Birmingham. Everything is in the suburbs.  I still have Brookwood Village Mall - Built 1975 and The Galleria Mall built 1986. The Galleria is going down fast.. Shops are moving out of it and into they call " Open Air Malls".. Give me a break..  I do not want to have to get out of my car and go inside a store to come out and walk two stores down to go into another store to come out of it get back in my car to drive to the other side of the street to go into another store. All while it may be raining, freezing, or 102 degrees. I want that 72 degrees year round.  lol I guess it is what is the "IN THING" now... I don't have to like it.. I just don't go to those places..  Well, I have shared enough tonight...  Now you know how I feel about Malls...  I still have nothing.... lol  I better get back to stitching soon...    Till Later...


Teresa said...

Reminds me of my first job in our new covered mall. Seeing your list of stores, I did alot of shopping at at Lerner store.
Thanks for sharing your memories.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches.
PS-Our favorite place to go was Clifton's Cafeteria and get the kids Treasure Chest Plate with a free toy and balloon. It was our beginning of the Happy Meal

Eggs In My Pocket said...

It's always sad to see a long time building, that supplied so many memories to be torn down. I have gotten to where I don't like to go to malls any longer........there is not much except clothing and jewelry to look at. Blessings,Kathleen

Donna said...

Oh that is so sad. We still have some malls around here but i do remember one that is no longer there too where I grew up. So many things change :(
Suppose to be for the better but I wonder sometimes.

Michelle May (Shell) said...

So sad and a sign of the times. We don't have a Mall here at all. It' totally sucks. Two stores and the rest are empty!! I grew up in Virginia Beach with tons of Mega Malls. As a teenager, we would "cruise the mall" with our friends. I sure do miss that time.
xx, shell