LOST YESTERYEARS – Before They Built The Malls


Can you possible think of an era without sprawling shopping centers and even ubiquitous strip-malls? When my family moved to the burbs in the early fifties, the main street was lined with small independent shops and stores. Last spring I walked along this street for a trip into yesteryear. In the mid-fifties the first shopping center in the area was built, and gradually the small shops were closed and converted for other uses. Eventually, most were bulldozed and replace with larger modern buildings. But dotting the street there were still a few of the old buildings like this one. Mostly in disrepair …



I have no idea what it originally housed, I think it might have been a kids shoe store. I know there was one on that block. Or perhaps it was one of the several neighborhood barber shops that were on that street. (Men used to get their hair cut more often back then. Sometimes even every week.) You can tell it had wide plate-glass windows on the front, and a much wider front door. The ceramic coping stones still top the side walls, but the cornice has fallen away. Also the aged building is starting to shed  the coat of latex paint that was used to spruce up it up.  The same can be said for the for the last business to occupy the building. Action Printing hasn’t seen much printing later. But the building is still around after at least a century.

As to the shopping center that brought the little shops and stores to their demise, it didn’t even last fifty years. Bigger and fancier centers and malls enticed its customers away, until it was as vacant and forlorn as the little independent store is. When that happened, its multi-levels were demolished. And about ten years ago they started replacing it with a new shopping mall with individual small shops and larger stores arranged in single level block like formations.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If it wasn’t surrounded by acres of parking spaces it would almost look like the rows of little shops that once lined the street where these now stand. What goes around, comes around.


About Robert Edler

... a somewhat unknown and/or imaginary actor, writer, director, producer, photographer, friend, brother, uncle and all round good fellow that you really should get to know because he lives with that most glamorous fourpaw Mademoiselle Renee. (Mlle. Renee for short)

Posted on March 18, 2013, in LOST YESTERDAYS and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The St. Louis area has a lot of strip malls, The Kansas City area was close behind them. I have to say I like living in an area that still has a downtown with small shops and the usual Walmart, Target, etc. out a ways so the small businesses can still survive.

  2. Today we were transferring old home movies to the computer. I didn’t have time to watch them all, but I did see some footage my parents took of one of the small towns in AL we lived in. It’s crazy, but in many ways, it looks the same today. Some of the shops are even the same shops. But on the outskirts of town, there is a massive Walmart.

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