Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Edgewater Mall

Biloxi, Mississippi - circa 1960's

The beautiful fountain in Edgewater Mall (originally Edgewater Plaza). See my previous entries below on this mall for more nice shots of it. Though she took a direct hit from Katrina, and suffered some severe damage, Edgewater Mall galliantly reopened just 10 weeks after the storm, and continues its healthy recovery and operation today. Bravo!!

Mall history: 1950's - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1, 2


Blogger Steven Swain said...

I guess you'd call that a "groin vault." It looks great with the fountain.

Wed Jul 05, 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Architecturally speaking, right you are (I think), Steven. :) And it sure does all paint a pretty picture together.

And don't forget those swanktastick lights in the back-right corner! Some of my faves.

Wed Jul 05, 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I've always loved that fountain and the light fixture. And I think you can see Easter Island head in the background. I guess the shot must be from the 1970s rather than 1960s, as this is pretty much how I remember Edgewater including the size of the plants (which are much smaller in on of the older postcards you posted).

Good to hear Edgewater Plaza/Mall is still there and survived Katrina, especially considering how hard Biloxi was hit. Seeing the footage on TV made me cry, particularly when I spotted what looked like the ruins of the apartment house where we used to live.

Fri Jul 07, 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I just checked the current website, and was pleased to see that both JC Penney and Sears are still there just like they were back in 1978 (I always preferred Sears for some reason). I don't recall Dillard's or Belk's though, they were most likely added later. Two names I recall from the 1970s, which are missing from the store directory, are Lerner's and Gaylord's, both clothing stores. Lerner's was relatively small, Gaylord's was bigger, though I'm not sure if it was big enough to occupy one of the other two department store spaces. There was also a toy store, probably a Toys R Us, which seems to be gone as well.

It also seems that the mall was expanded or remodelled since I knew it. The Edgewater Plaza I knew didn't have a food court. And I don't recall it having four anchors either.

Fri Jul 07, 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I checked with my parents (who remember this place better than me) and they're pretty sure that the current Dillard's store used to be Gayler's or Gaylord's. It was mainly a clothing store and I didn't like it, because it didn't have a toy department or anything else that was interesting to a five year old. None of us remembers the fourth anchor (Belk's), so it was likely added sometime after 1978.

The fountain in the picture was in the space in front of the Gaylord's (Gayler's?) store. I think you can see the store logo in one of the photos I mailed you a while ago.

The food court definitely wasn't there. There was a restaurant of sorts, though none of us remembers the name. It didn't have a license, and when my parents ordered beer, they got rootbeer and were not happy.

There was also a Baskin & Robbins shop, of which I have fond memories.

Mon Jul 10, 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Wes W. said...

Edgewater Mall didn't get a chance to get ruined by Hurricane Katrina. The mall ruined itself with a two hideous re-models in the 80's and 90's. My friends and I all agreed that the new look was too reminescent of a big bathroom.

The stores. Gayfer's was an anchor retailer. (Gaylord's was a stand-alone discount store nearby) Gayfer's was the only two-story merchant in the mall and had the only escalator in town for many, many years. Gayfer's was bought out by Dillards in the late 90's. Belk's is the new owner of McRae's Dept Store, which was added in one of the re-models.
The toy store was Thornberry's and had a big picture of a monkey's head next to the name on the wall. There was never an Baskin Robbins in the mall, but there was Dapper Dan's ice cream parlor which had a "roaring 20's" theme and was a lot of fun.
No, beer was not served in the mall until the late 80's and only in Bernie's Restaurant. Mississippi had blue laws which severely limited the serving or sales of spirits in all places.
The food court was added in the 80's re-model and was built in the former Godchaux's dept store. JC Penney replaced my personal favorite store, Newberry's.
I have extrememly vivid memories of Edgewater Mall as it was a big part of my childhood and teen years in the seventies/eighties. If anyone has any questions about the mall from that era, I would be more than happy to try and resurrect old memories! Peace, Wes

Fri Jul 14, 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I definitely remember the escalator in the Gayfer's store. I still didn't particularly like that shop, because it had too many clothes and too few toys.

The name of the toy store didn't ring a bell, though I faintly remember the monkey head. I have more vivid memories of bright yellow shelves at the back of the toy store. On one of those shelves was a doll dressed as an Egyptian queen, which I desperately wanted for Christmas, but didn't get because it was too expensive. But I got a talking Big Bird doll instead, so that wasn't half bad.

I must have gotten the ice cream shops mixed up, though there must have been a Baskin & Robbins somewhere in the area, because we often went there.

My parents were always a bit irked about the relative difficulty of buying alcohol, as they were used to Germany, where alcohol is freely available in pretty much every supermarket or restaurant.

By the way, Wes, do you happen to know what the supermarket/discount store in Biloxi that wasn't K-Mart was called? Neither my parents nor I can remember, though that's where we did most of our shopping. This would have been in 1978, by the way.

Sat Jul 15, 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Wes W said...

Yes there was a Baskin Robbins on the beach near the Sheraton (which may have been changed to the Royal D'Iberville Hotel by that point).

Gayfer's may not have had a decent toy dept., but I used to love the Russell Stover candy counter upstairs where the chocolates were made fresh every day.

I remember the yellow shelves at Thornberry's, too. And the large red, yellow and blue stripes running all around the store walls. The store was re-modeled into a Waldenbooks in the eighties.

I'm not sure which discount store you mention. Behind the mall and across the railrooad tracks on Pass Road (which led into Keesler AFB) was Woolco in a shopping center with K & B Drugs and a Delchamps Food Store. Roses Family Store was also on Pass Road along with Grant's. Roses had a fire and was turned into a TG & Y somewhere around '78 or '79. Going towards Keesler was Gibson's which I recall had a great toy dept. as well as a large selection of records.

I hope this helps. If you would like to see some pretty good pictures of what the area looks like now, there is a before/after section on the website of the local paper at Some of it is quite depressing to see the hurricane damage, though. Which apartments did you live and where?

Sun Jul 16, 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

Thanks for the information, Wes.

We lived in the Maison D'Orleans appartment complex, which was located near the Howard Johnson and Admiral Bembo hotels. The complex was mainly inhabited by military personnel, after staying there for a year we were actually long-time inhabitants. It's probably long gone by now. My father visited Biloxi again in the late 1980s/early 1990s and said it looked pretty dilapidated even then.

The grocery/discount store may have been called Gibson's. They gave out stamps with every purchase, which you could exchange for premiums. I seem to remember that the stamps and the stampbook were marked with the letter G (being five, my reading skills were pretty rudimentary).

I have seen photos of Biloxi pre-Katrina and it looked drastically changed. Back in 1978, there were no casinos on the beach, no Hardrock Caf├ęs, etc... And Katrina probably wiped away what was left. Though I was actually amazed to recognize some buildings in the post-Katrina footage on TV, such as a church and the Colosseum. I often went across the Colosseum parking lot as a kid, looking for coins people had lost.

Mon Jul 17, 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have photos of the old Edgewater Hotel? I use to live in Biloxi in the 70's. As kids we would sneek into the pool during the summer months.

Fri Jul 18, 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have photos of the old Edgewater Hotel? I use to live in Biloxi in the 70's. As kids we would sneek into the pool during the summer months.

Fri Jul 18, 11:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I smiled when I saw the fountain. I've lived here in Biloxi all my life and remember throwing pennies in that fountain as a child. I'll tell you what I remember fondly about Edgewater Mall is The Swiss Colony store and there was a furniture store I think the name of it was Colonial American store my parents still own a rocking chair they bought from it. I also remember there use to be a small grotto type hall where there were small shops where Colonial American was at the end of the hall, but the store that is still there I use to and still like is the shop where you can buy glass figurines, porcelain figurines and all kinds of religious jewelry. That shop is still there. I remember the Karamel Korn store which use to be at the southeast corner around the corner from Penney's. That store use to sell kettle korn, caramel apples, fudge and all kinds of sweets. The mall actually needs a good candy shop!

I remember visiting Santa there and the Christmas Parade that would be taking place out in the parking lot. Those were the days!

Wed Oct 15, 07:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Jaosn Hoffman - New Orleans said...

When I was a kid, my family vacationed on the Gulf Coast every summer. We usually made at least 2 weekend trips each summer. We stayed at the Alamo Plaza (where my mother had stayed on family vacations in the 40s and 50s). For a $30 a night motel, it was clean and lacking prostitutes and crackheads...of course, this was the late 70s/early 80s.

I remember the Edgewater Mall frequently had antique car shows with cars parked throughout the mall.

The renovation that included the new food court ruined the atmosphere of the whole place. This was probably in the mid to late 80s and it drastically changed the whole mall.

Fri Dec 26, 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the name of the open-air restaurant that was right beside the Walgreen's at the Gayfer's end of the mall...across from the fountain?

Tue Apr 06, 12:06:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

Cora, Maison d Orleans is still there I know I live here now and have for 3 years. lol

Mon Aug 08, 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger brad fountain said...

I believe it was morrisons. And I'm thinking it was a k&b between there an gayfers

Fri Jan 23, 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sears is now leveled for the new theatre being built. Faucets is now DILLARDS, J.C. Penney was originally Newberrys, GAYLORDS WAS on Pass Rd near Hewes Ave in Gulfport, and Kernersville, which was next to Godchauxs, is part of the food court. I hope that helps. I've been trying to remember a few of the places there in late 60's, early 70's.

Sat Dec 23, 05:54:00 PM  

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