Louisville’s Forgotten Mall

Mid-City Mall -- Louisville, KY
Photo credit:  University of Louisville Photo Archives

Mid City Mall -- Louisville, Kentucky 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. Mid City Mall -- Louisville, Kentucky 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.

Mid City Mall -- Louisville, Kentucky

There was also a Kresge store in this mall that held its grand opening in October of 1962. Mid City Mall -- Louisville, Kentucky
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.
Mid City Mall -- Louisville, Kentucky//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Mid City Mall -- Louisville, Kentucky
In 2015 it was announced that the mall would recieve renovations and new tennants. Today the mall is full and renovations have been completed.
Mid City Mall -- Louisville, KY

Kmart — Mayberry Mall (1976-2016)

Kmart -- Mount Airy, North Carolina This Kmart is located at 100 Mayberry Mall in the town of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Kmart -- Mount Airy, North Carolina
First a little history on Mayberry Mall. The mall opened in 1968 anchored by Winn Dixie and WT Grant’s Grant City. The Kmart opened in 1976 after WT Grant’s Grant City, which was the original anchor in this spot closed in 1975. in 1970 Belk joined the mall, and in 1987 JC Penney moved into the mall.
Kmart -- Mount Airy, North Carolina In late September it was announced that 64 more Kmart stores would close. Among these stores was the store at Mayberry Mall. Kmart -- Mount Airy, North Carolina
Kmart -- Mount Airy, North Carolina This store closes for good today, December 11, 2016. Once it is closed the last of the mall Kmart stores in North Carolina will be gone. At one time there were several mall Kmart stores in the state including ones in Eden, Hendersonville and Roanoke Rapids. Kmart -- Mount Airy, North Carolina

Analogue Love  --Kmart -- Cedar Bluff, Virginia Kmart -- Claypool Hill Mall
This Kmart was located in the Claypool Hill mall in Cedar Bluff, Virginia. The Mall is co-anchored by Belk and previously Goody’s.
Kmart -- Claypool Hill Mall The Kmart was opened on March 18, 1982. Kmart -- Claypool Hill Mall
On January 15, 2016 it was announced that the Kmart at Claypool Hill Mall would be closing in April.
Kmart -- Cedar Bluff, VA
After the Cedar Bluff Kmart closed only two Kmart stores remaim in all of Southwest Virginia, those being located in Abingdon and Wytheville. Wytheville is scheduled to close by the end of the year.

Lenoir Mall — Caldwell County, North Carolina

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The Lenoir Mall is located in Lenoir, North Carolina in Caldwell County.  This mall always interested me because the Belk store is literally a carbon copy twin of the Belk in my home town at Village Center Mall in Harlan, Kentucky.

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Im not going to bore you with too many details because my good friends over at the Sky City blog have already wrote up a very detailed blog entry detailing the history of this mall, which opened in 1979.  You can find that entry by clicking HERE

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The  photos on this entry are my photos which I took on December 11, 2015.  Enjoy

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The enclosed portion of this mall is now closed and has been for a couple of years now.  The western side of the mall has been heavily renovated and is now being used as some sort of medical clinic.

 

Pre Winter Road Trip: Day 3

Today I traveled from Charlotte to Greensboro and up through Rockingham County to explore a few places that I had on my list.  It was a good day.  I spent the day with my friend Michael from Cary.   My blog is heavy on covering abandoned buildings such as schools and post office buildings etc.  But I also have a deep fascination with retail and dead or dying malls.  Today was pretty heavy on the retail scene.  Enjoy!

Now for a few shots from today.  Full blog posts will come later.

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This shot was taken at Oak Hollow Mall in High Point, most definitely a full blog post will be up soon.

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The old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge, North Carolina.

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Belk in a mall so dead they sealed their mall access off.

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Belk in Eden, North Carolina….this store looks exactly like the Belk in Harlan did when I was a kid.   The store is closing after the first of the year.

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Finally the Eden Drive In

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and last but certainly not least the Rockingham Theater.

Such a great day!  Heading out bright and early in the morning, hoping to take a bit of a scenic route home to explore some more uncharted ground betwee here and home.  It’s been great North Carolina, until we meet again in the spring!