Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lafayette Square Mall

Indianapolis, Indiana - '60s or '70s

View of the beautiful center concourse area.



14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That second picture you posted looked an awful lot like another mall of similar name... and this is a bit of a tangent...

I am thinking of Lafayette Plaza in Bridgeport CT, which also had a Mall Coffee Shop situated right next door to a Womrath's Card Shop, with elevators, spiral staircase, and fountains right across.

The anchor stores were Sears and Gimbels, and I recall Kinney and Florsheim Shoes, Lerner Stores, Lafayette Electronics, Woolworths, the only Orange Julius for miles around, and what had to be one of the first Popeyes Chicken joints above the Mason-Dixon Line.

The inner city of Bridgeport got too dangerous and everybody started heading for the malls in the suburbs, with the result that the mall was torn down in the late 80s or early 90s to make room for the new home of Housatonic Community College.

If your Lafayette mall and my Lafayette mall weren't owned by the same company, the design of the two might I think best be described as speak-of-the-devil.

Cool site. Bringing back lots of good memories.

Thu Aug 11, 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Geez, you're right. That second picture was meant for a different "Lafayette" post, and somehow snuck in there without my noticing. Thanks for catching that! And thanks, also, for all the great details, there, about the other mall! I may paste those into the other post when I do it, if you don't mind.

Thu Aug 11, 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jon Konrath said...

More commonly known to locals as "Lafayette Scare", due to high amounts of crime in the area. It's lost all of its anchors except Sears and L.S. Ayres, and Ayres just announced they're pulling out all of their stores in 2006.

All of the stores in the vague area of that mall are cancerous. They built a huge Super K-Mart that went under about a year later. It's sad to see Indiana's oldest indoor mall in such bad shape, but they should probably nuke that whole part of town from orbit and move elsewhere.

Thu Aug 11, 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Alana said...

Alana from Memphis here!!! I was browsing around and came across your blog!!! I saw the pic of Southland Mall in Memphis below, and would love it if you could find some of the Raleigh Springs Mall or Mall of Memphis. The Raliegh Springs mall has gone through a new face lift and looks totally different. I'd love to see pics of it from the 80's when I was a kid hanging out there with my brother!!! Check out my blog sometime:

http://losingfaithindreams.blogspot.com

Thu Aug 11, 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No worries mate, quote away. I'll post whatever else I can remember there when you get around to putting that one up. It was just eerie to see that photograph-- but eerie in a good way, you know? -- Rick

Sun Aug 14, 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Murphy said...

As a kid, Lafayette Square was MY mall! They had an arcade with a shooting gallery!?! An Orange Julius, a pet store with a resident cat named "Mouse", and a two-screen movie theater where we could meet girls... though waht to do with the girls remained a mystery.

There was a Chess King and one of those barn-shaped cheese shops. What were those called?

Oh, that fake lagoon with it's bark-covered island and "waterfall" of wires streaming from the ceiling... It was oh so very 70's.

The entire area exploded in big-box retail for mile after mile with this joint as the center... until it found itself between the poor white trash and the inner-city poor who, needless to say, didn't get along.

Thu Aug 25, 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Heh, I happen to be one of those kids who went to the mall with Murph to try cruise and so on. Indeed, Lafayette Square has pretty much gone down in flames. Currently the biggest store in the mall is Burlington Coat Outlet...the second would be a church (never got putting a church in a mall, but...whatever). Even the satelite stores that popped up in the parking lot around Lafayette Square have started to go under and I wouldn't be surprised to see the place buldozed in a phase of near-urban renewal...probably become a mega-Walmart.

My fondest memories of the Square fall into two categories. First, spending every cent I had in the arcade when I was somewhere around 13 years old. Second, buying clove cigarettes in the Hardwick's Tobacco Shop that used to be located right next to Ayres. I also met a girl I later dated in the record store that used to be located next to Murph's Orange Julius...but with the way that ended I'm not so sure that qualfies as a 'fond' memory!

Sun Aug 28, 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I inadvertantly came upon this site and viewed the picture of the Lafayette Square Mall and read the post regarding the similarities of this and Lafayette Plaza in Bridgeport, CT. I grew up in Bridgeport and in the 70's, it was the place to be! I hung out with my friends, ate, shopped and most importantly went "boy watching" there.

I was sad to see it go but the area did get bad and most people were gravitating towards the Trumbull Mall (AKA, Westfield Mall...which still stands today). I remember a few stores (although some of the names I can't quite remember) there was a Walgreens, a Roberto's restaurant, a record store (all on the first floor), Brooks Store, Tom McCann store and a great pizza place on the second floor where you could get a $1 slice.

Aaaahhhh, memories! Would you happen to have any pictures of the inside of that mall? I would love to see it once again.

Tue Apr 25, 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree the picture posted is not the original center concourse of Lafayette Square, Indianapolis. The original concourse was unique with its clear string "waterfalls" that water ran down to pools in the floor.

I believe the mall opened in 1969 (Penneys was first). I remember Ray Bolger being interviewed at its opening and sincerely showing amazement at so much space under one roof. I also got an autograph from Leonard Nimoy (unfortunately since lost) at Penneys soon after its opeing. At one time 5 mainline department stores flourished at this mall (Sears, Lazarus, Blocks, L.S. Ayres, and Penneys).

As of June 2006, however, only Sears and L.S. Ayres remain (the Ayres will be renamed shortly to Macy's). The south end where Penneys was located is nearly vacant except for Ayres, truly sad. A church for now meets in the former Blocks location in the center of the mall, although it will be leaving soon for a regular church building.

A Wal-Mart is to open north of Lafayette Square in 2007, so perhaps that will help the mall, but who knows. After trying to stick with the mall for years, I lost a lot of interest after Penney's left in December 2004. With recent gun battles in the parking lot, I've finally decided I won't be going back at all.

Thu Jun 08, 10:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the most guetto malls I have ever been to.

Mon Dec 18, 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Anthony Allbright said...

I remember sitting in the parking lot with my grandfather, waiting on my grandmother to finish her shift at H&R Block, an anchor store at this mall in the 60's.
Now this mall is a reflection of three decades of racial migration from the downtown area, to west 38th street.

The example of a status-quo, legacy of crime, within black communities across America is reaching an all time high. One need only to visit the Martin Luther King Blvd. in any city to realize that this problem is becoming worse in our country.

Statistics from the National Data Bank on Crime in America prove that 72.6% of violent crime is committed by black male’s ages 15 to 28 years old. The statistics for prison population in the U.S. confirms this data. What a shame!

Mon Dec 31, 08:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, now they can get serious about getting rid of this crime magnet and dozing it under. Sears has announced that they will be closing at this once fantastic mall, and with no large anchor stores left, the mall has breathed it's last breath. The car theives and gangsters will have to find a new location also. Only our memories will remain of the good times at this once beautiful shopping mall. It's time to bury the dead.

Sat Oct 18, 09:44:00 AM  
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