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The Professor


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This thread will feature videos of Dead Mall Expeditions exploring America's dead malls and urban decay.


Our memories of classic video games, vintage toys and arcades are often intertwined with adventures to the mall in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. How many times did we hop in the car so excited to get to Sears, Kay-Bee Toys, Service Merchandise or Toys 'R' Us to get our hands on a new video game system that we've been dreaming of? To get a new tape at the record store? Or meet up with friends at the movies or food court?


Those malls were once sparkling emerald cities where almost every toy we dreamed of sat waiting for us. Today many of those malls are abandoned. Stores like Radio Shack are for the most part gone forever. Once great empires are left decaying and collapsing to dust.


Here you will find informative tours of some of the most depressed shopping malls in the mid-atlantic region and beyond. All videos photographed and edited by Dan Bell unless noted otherwise.




The Dead Mall Series by Dan Bell



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The wife and I just a few weeks ago watched episode one of a series called "Abandoned" on the Viceland network (creative director is Spike Jonze), and it features a few different abandoned malls in NE Ohio. It goes off on a few tangents but was nevertheless worth the watch, we thought.


You may be able to see the first episode on YouTube, depending on your country of residence:


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It's very sad.


We're very lucky here in Portland to have 2 very vibrant old malls left.  Both are very large and still full of people and shops.  But the rest would fit perfectly in this dead mall video series.  One of the oldest and most famous malls here in Portland (Lloyd Center) is just a shell of what it used to be.  It's going through an extensive renovation now, and that has driven all the remaining shops away!  It's just a shame. 

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Here in Atlanta we also have 2 old malls (i think one opened late 50s and the other early 70s). Both are still opened and running strong filled with peoe almost everyday.


Other malls though haven't been able to compete and have turned into antique malls and thrift store/mall.


There is one mall that would be perfect for this show. Its right down the street from me and all that is really worth going in there for is the comic book/card shop. I think the rest of the mall shops are either closed or are shoe stores

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I grew up in malls, as they began to sprout in the big city where I rezzed up as a cube.

They were a cross between an extended living room (cuz it became familiar as me and my mom went there on a daily basis on weekdays) and a carnival, with all the lights, the statues spewing water, the coin fountains, the small trees and park spaces therein.

My stroller memories are basically a mismash of rolling across the garish windowed displays and smiling folks (most adults smile when you're a kid), headed for the Toy Store, the one and only goal of all these trips.

Since you don't buy your kid a toy every day, I ended up getting ten-cent Letraset rub-on transfers as a reward for my patience during clothing runs, hair styling salon sittings and general non-toystore activities.

And I loved getting 'em soooooo much!


Check it out



Malls were a home-away-from-home, but in the late 60s, early 70s, the economy seemed to match the budget on a run to the mall anyday.

Nowadays, plans need to be made to afford purchases of the random nature which were then the malls' bread and butter (imho).


You could head out, meet teen friends and go for a soda, pick clothes or records (those big platter-like discs with groovy grooves in 'em, they swirl and you can scratch 'em if not careful and...well, they left the malls early on to go solo). Those were the 80s hey-days.

I dunno what happened in the 90s...


(Chopping Mall - I'm looking at you!)


Love this thread, Prof.

Have to resist popping out the zombie memes cuz Dawn of the Dead is one of my favorite movies (possibly *the* main one) for reasons of a+ horror and the best tutorial/intro on malls ever.


I think we're lucky (?) around here that the big city I grew up in (and moved back into) has enough business deals that dead or dying malls get co-opted or torn down before they get all ghost town.

And my smaller teen-years-city has not enough space for that kind of landscape.

Two malls there, one still going (but stores closing regularly) and another outside/inside mall combo that is much smaller (and had a porn/grindhouse cinema stashed within at one time) that got rejiggered into chain names stores, but I think is just plain half-dead now (restaurant on one side, cardboarded windowed doors on the other).


Too sad for spookiness, old barhounds still keep it alive at the front booze spot, but you won't find much inside. Like justin's area, mostly thrift shops temporarily set up there.

Big dollar store booming out front.

Video store out front is...still going? Dunno, gotta find out...maybe.



Looking forward to more posts here.


It's great to read the impressions of others on this subject!

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Great thread, even if it is a little depressing but certainly shows how times change. I rarely ever go to the mall and even when I do, it's certainly only for a quick food stop or some Godiva chocolate with the woman. Pretty sure it hasn't been since around 2002 that I made a regular trip to the mall and that was only because friends went to the local video game stores and I was collecting Dreamcast games at the time.

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I LOOOOOOOVE dead malls. We found one last year by mistake outside of Baltimore, I don't think it's the one posted here though, I'll ask my wife about it. She and I did take some pictures of our local dead mall, which is now an office park of sorts.



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Woot! ferg, that dead mall is zombtastic


The tiling close-up seems oddly appropriate. Hadn't thought of that as pic coverage, but yeah - one spent hours upon hours glancing blankly across the tile stylings of live malls as our eyes seeked the next Best Thing. Or new store. Or arcade.

Although you could hear that one from the corner.


And dem bricked out bullet holes...

Speaking of zombie runs.


And that is one angry rooster.


and also - how is that vegetation still thriving?

Is that a sign that the nature-engulfed remnants of society in Logan's Run is an actual thing that will happen once we live in domes and have lifespan timers implanted at birth and go flying off in trippy floating until blasted out of existence...or meet up with cute runners for an escape?

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When we took those pictures, there was still one store open. The mall offices were on the 2nd floor, which I think went around only half the mall, and they had been converted to businesses. We haven't been back since then I don't think, but all the stores are closed and it's all business offices and a small office for the mall itself, so I guess plants and stuff like that are kept up by the mall office. I'm not sure though, we need to go back and see. I know they have a lot of mallwalkers in there because they don't open for shoppers.

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Right, that makes sense, fergo.


This gets me thinking of a future where mall outlets are comprised of business professionals, like docs and lawyers and suit-wearing folks.


And the halls' usual muzak remains (cuz I like to think it keeps playing after the place powers down, like some Ancient One's dreams pouring out into the landscape - yeah...malls as Lovecraftian Chthulu monsters...writing prompt!) but instead of bored teens getting neck cramps from phone-stare-lock, flocked near refreshment stands, you have suit-wearing, suitcase-holding, misters and missuses, going on about adult things, like suit-wearing adults are wont to do, sipping frappalattes and checking watches and clocks for upcoming appointments in those outlets.


And maybe they'd bring back Bank stands serving money and/or coffee, like we had when our giant city mall first opened here (well, just for money):





These looked cool and it was odd how they had money (in safes, I guess) and locally did mass amounts of cross-locale accounting business in days before computers were a thing of the present.

Just imagining this today, as an overgrown man-cube, puts the cycle of shopping mall life into perspective, as they grew out of the late 60s as a great new hotspot (and they were) and settled only later in the 80s as a mainstay.


That line in Dawn of the Dead as they're first circling the Monroeville Mall in the chopper always struck me: "What is it?" says Peter.



"One of those big indoor malls" answers Roger, cuz these apparently were not the daily outing of everyone, in the mid-to-late 70s (when this script was written).


I grew up in malls, and they remain as much sacred ground as the few remaining single-screen movie theaters.

Their presence always seemed a given, and I guess cyberlife has given us the ultimate Amazon/eBay type of malls, where everybody congregates for buys from their living rooms, but not for social flocking and talking. Actually, given we can choose our like-minded friends for cool chats, like in these forums, that's an improvement as well.


In any case, it's great seeing these dead mall structures, in their ghostlike nature, as they can be filled up mentally with folks and stores from all eras (or zombies!, Can't help it).

Edited by Atari Adventure Square

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I mentioned Portland's beloved Lloyd Center mall earlier, and here's a rose-colored update from the developer:




They took a full sized ice rink and made a small oval.  There used to be a pedestrian arched bridge over the rink, and that's gone too.  I might also mention that the mall was original open air.  One of my favorite places to go as a kid and teen.  I loved Christmas shopping in the snow.  They closed in the mall with a roof in the 90's. 


I know, things change over time.  But this mall was a Portland icon, and it feels like it's dying.  Redevelopment or not.  The anchor stores are gone. 


I'll end this post with historical pictures of the mall -- of things that are no longer there.  Long gone.  Sad.



The glory of the spiral staircase.  There used to be doctor's offices on the third floor.  I hated going to those, but I loved climbing these steps with the groovy fountain in the center.



The old pedestrian bridge over the full sized rink.  Did I mention Bobby Kennedy and family skated here during his run for the presidency?



Another view of the spiral staircase on a sunny Portland day.

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I used to love going to the Menlo Park Mall in NJ, it also was an open air mall but was closed in before I can remember. They redid the whole mall in the early 90s, but there are still a couple reminders of the old mall.


The version I remember was where I believe I played my first arcade games. The arcade was huge (probably wouldn't be now if I could go in it), but I don't remember it having a name. The mall also had what I guess were like permanent kiosks, kind of like what Atari Adventure Square mentioned above. There was a card shop that was only just the stands where the cards sat, plus a small table with a register. I would always walk through it because we always parked at the entrance nearest to it. There was also a bank kiosk, and it hand rounded walls on the sides. I would always try to run up the walls. I was six, what do you expect? :)

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Here's a good article about our 2nd mall on the West Bank of New Orleans that I grew up with: 




and the mall I'd hang out in while in college:




I still have plenty of those Diamond Jim's arcade tokens from Belle Promenade mall. And scanned coupons too:



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