Continuing with my obsession with Kmart and keeping the memory alive, during my road trip through the heart of North Central Indiana, I managed to visit several Kmart stores. The most notable of those was this location in Peru.
Coming in at just over 28,000 square feet, this is the smallest Kmart left in operation in the entire 600 +/- store chain. This store opened for business on September 18, 1975. There are a couple of stores in small towns, particularly in the upper midwest and mountain west that are nearly as small as this store. To give you an idea as to how small this store is, the average Walmart Super Center is nearly 170,000 square feet. This store at 28,000 is basically the size of a small grocery store.
Kmart / Sears this week announced another round of store closings, including 49 more Kmart locations. Thankfully, this little relic wasnt included on the list and lives to fight another day.
In November of 1937 construction began on a new gymnasium for the Seymour Indiana high school then known as Sheilds High School. The new gym was completed as a WPA project in 1938 and provided the high school and community with a modern, fire-proof gymnasium with a seating capacity of over 3,300.
The gymnasium continued to serve Shields High School until 1959, when the high school moved to a new campus and changed its name to Seymour High School. Upon the moving of Sheilds High School, the gym, and main school building which use to stand directly beside the gym were transformed into the new Sheilds Middle School.
The buildings remained in service to the community in this function until 1981 when the new Seymour Middle School opened. The main part of the Sheilds High School was demolished in 1998.
The gymnasium remains standing on 6th Street to this very day.
The State Theatre is located at 321 East Market Street in Logansport, Indiana.
The theatre opened on June 8, 1940 with 1,074 seats. A second screen was later added, and operated as a movie theatre into late 2008.
The State is now a live performance venue
When I was little I liked to study maps. I can remember getting the big giant road atlas out and just studying, looking, making notes. Of course living in small town Kentucky, Louisville, the largest city in my home state was often a source of obsession. When thinking back to those maps, Jefferson, Mall St Matthews, and Oxmoor Center, they were all there. Mid City Mall was never mentioned, and being on Bardstown Road, I honestly dont know that I was ever in that part of town until I was a grown man. Before I dive more into the pictures let me give a little history.
Mid City Mall was built on the site of the German Protestant Orphan’s Home, which was founded in 1851 and moved to the 10-acre Highlands site in 1902. It remained there until 1962, but the structure and grounds were sold for $500,000 in 1959 to mall developers. The aging structure was demolished and the orphanage moved to Bardstown Road and Goldsmith Lane. Developers then built what became Kentucky’s second enclosed mall. The initial plan, unveiled in 1958, called for a $7.5 million, five-story mall with a pool in front on the Bardstown Road side and penthouse apartments on the top floor. The plan was gradually whittled down to a one-story plan with a lower level. The main developer of the project was Guy E. McGaughey, Jr., an attorney from Lawrenceville, Ill. The concept of an enclosed mall was very new. There were only a handful of enclosed malls in the US at the time. In drawing up the business model for the Mall, Mr. McGaughey had no basis for the rents. There was not a history for how much to charge the tenants for space, maintenance, housekeeping, repairs, trash pick-up, etc. Consequently, revenues were never enough to keep the Mall up-to-date and clean. Construction began in March 1962 and the mall was completed in October of that year at a cost of $3 million. The shopping center formally opened on October 10, 1962, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Louisville Mayor William O. Cowger and Jefferson County Judge Marlow Cook. The mall contained 180,000 square feet of leasable space and 22 stores. On June 21, 1964 an early morning fire that started in the Cherokee Book and Card Stop caused $200,000 in damage to the mall.
There was also a Kresge store in this mall that held its grand opening in October of 1962.
The mall originally opened with Winn-Dixe supermarket. When Winn-Dixie pulled out of the Louisville market in 2004, Buehler’s, a chain based in Jasper, Indiana, (not to be confused with the chain of the same name based in Ohio). Amid financial difficulties Buehler’s filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and closed both Louisville stores. The space was quickly taken over by Valu Market, a local Louisville area chain. Valu Market remains there today.
The mall is basically an elongated square on two floors. The bottom floor was once home to a skating rink. Today the mall is home to many non traditional mall tennants including a comedy club, doctors offices, and a branch of the Louisville Public Library. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
In 2015 it was announced that the mall would recieve renovations and new tennants. Today the mall is full and renovations have been completed.
These crazy road trips where I bounce back and forth between a couple of states and drive several hundred miles a day hurt a little more than they use to. Today wasnt hardly as many miles as yesterday: 320. I started out the day in Logansport, Indiana. First on my agenda was to check out the mall right across the street from my hotel. The only stores in this mall are Dunham’s Sports and JC Penney. The JC Penney is closing next month. I was impressed with the mall management keeping the fountain going and even putting fake wooden ducks in it haha. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
There has been a lot of talk that this mall will close soon and be demolished for the land to be redeveloped.
The next stop was Peru, Indiana where I went to the tiniest Kmart ever. Ill post pictures of that later.
After Peru, I drove down to Marion to explore the Five Points Mall. Much to my surprise there was a carnival set up in the parking lot and that was really cool. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
This mall is anchored by Carsons and Roses. It was originally anchored by Carsons, Hills, JC Penney and Sears. The JC Penney and Sears are empty, the Hills is now Roses. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
A couple of Goodwills later and lunch at some place called the root beer stand and I was on my way to the second Kmart of the day; Gas City, Indiana. This store is a perfect mirrored image layout of the store that was at Village Center Mall in Harlan. Auto Center and all.
After this it gets fuzzy. I started getting tired and just put the address of an abandoned Sears in Trotwood, Ohio in the GPS. I do remember going through Muncie and Richmond. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
ALl that remains of the old Salem Mall in Trotwood just north of Dayton.
I explored a few more things and was in the hotel room by 6. An early evening should recharge my batteries. A lot is on tap for tomorrow, I’ll need it.
4:30 came so early this morning. So early in fact I rolled back over and slept until 5. In doing that I had to leap out of bed when my alarm went off and leave as quickly as possible. I was out the door and on the road by about 5:20. The grand total for the day was 485 miles. That 485 miles included 2 new Kmart stores, a mall in Louisville on Bardstown Road that I didnt even know existed, my customary stop at the Falls of the Ohio River State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, 2 Goodwill Outlets, 1 regular Goodwill store, Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, and the Meadow Lake Wind Farm off I65 near Chalmers. Ill give another update tomorrow with a few more pictures from the day. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
First and foremost before I begin this entry I want to give credit and thanks to the Martins Fork Lake Facebook page for sharing these photos. Ever since I was small I have always wondered what the land looked like before the lake was built at Smith. So, with great gratitude I thank the folks who control the lake’s social media page for having the thoughtfulness and courtesy to share these wonderful archives with us.
Im starting off the photos with what I consider to be the holy grail of the bunch. This photo is looking toward the bridge nearest the beach. Imagine that little road running up and down the middle is the road along the beach area. If you look closely you can see the roof of the old Smith School and the rock church near the center. Im shocked at how flat this area was.
This second picture is looking off toward the lake from the last bridge. In fact, to this day, if the water is down far enough you can still tell where this bridge was that is in the picture. The rest of the photos are pretty self explanatory, but fascinating no doubt.
The last picture is an old welcome sign that was at the lake until the 1980s according to the lake’s Facbook page.
I also have a couple of other entries that includes more historical pictures from Martins Fork Lake and the Smith community that I posted a few years ago, if you are interested in reading those articles you can do so by clicking the links below: