Vintage photos of lost Shopping Malls of the '50s, '60s & '70s
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posted by Keith @ 10/23/2005
Totem pole's still there, although you could shop there every week for a decade and miss it. It's at the north entrance, though.This place has been around since 1950, and it was "my" mall when I lived in Seattle. I was always afraid it would get "de-malled" into a bunch of unconnected anchor stores, but I just read they're adding another 110,000 square feet of store to it, so that's good news.
Northgate was the first mall ever built.
Northgate is, indeed, still there, but it has been bought by Simon and "simonized" into a modern design, with only a bit of that brick-and-concrete (to the left) still visible. Totem pole and sign are there. Under it is the below-ground maintenence tunnel. The fountain grouping, by Seattle-born Japanese sculptor George Tsutakawa, is gone - the planter is all bushes and trees. Yes, it was the first enclosed mall (here it is before enclosure, see open area with entrance "roof" on right) The cool old one-screen theatre and old mall office building, west of this photo, are to be demolished to add new retail space. Shame, too: make sure you walk by the shuttered theatre and see the masses of white neon rings under the entrance, 1960s neon at its best! Small, large and huge, in singles, twos and threes, arranged alone, concentrically or with edges meshed, and some go around columns or through cut-outs in the windows to meet with more in the lobby. More inside on the auditorium ceilling, some in colors.
Thanks for the great comments everyone!Jonas, my man, those are some especially nice notes. Thanks for taking the time! :)
Just a small note - Northgate was probably not the first enclosed mall - according to the usually-reliable HistoryLink, it wasn't fully enclosed until about 1974 (I dimly remember it as an open center). Indeed, there seem to be a lot of malls claiming to be the first something-or-other: arguably, the first enclosed (albeit non-climate-controlled) center is the stunningly beautiful 1878 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. Southdale Center, in Edina, MN, is generally acknowledged to be the first fully enclosed, fully climate-controlled shopping mall.
If anyone is interested, the original fountains sculpted by George Tsutakawa were kept in storage for years by their next owners, Northwest Hospital. Last year they were installed in a beautiful new fountain on campus. Mr. Tsutakawa's widow and family attended the dedication cerimony. Here's a picture if interested. http://nwhospital.org/foundation/default.aspThe hospital is a few blocks northwest of the mall by 115th & Meridian.
how sad the beauty and simplicity of the mid century style was made into the current version.
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