Thursday, July 20, 2006

Kennedy Mall

Dubuque, Iowa - late '60s or early '70s

This postcard literally doesn't say which mall this is! So I've done a little quick digging and I'm gonna deduce that it's most likely Kennedy Mall (the first climate controlled mall in Iowa). Please feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong, and I'll fix the post later. But assuming this is Kennedy Mall like I think it is, I'll point out that stores actually began collecting at the site of this future enclosed shopping mall in 1964, but it wasn't offically opened as a mall until 1970 (decent history can be read at the Wikipedia link below).

Personally, I think this is another of the absolute grooviest shots yet here! This is the kind of classic, vintage shopping mall photo I really love. The funky space-age design (look at that ceiling!), the colors, the fountain, the little kid playing in said fountain, the plethora of nerdy old dudes, etc. It's got it all!

Mall history: 1970 - present
Current website: here
Info from Wikipedia
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none


Anonymous tkaye said...

Those two guys are thinking, "Not my kid!" Someone better get hold of him before he drowns himself, though.

The black and white ceiling reminds me of a See's Candies store.

Thu Jul 20, 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God that fountain is interesting!

Thu Jul 20, 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I agree.

And, Tyler, lol, I think maybe the kid's scoring him some change there! :D

As for See's Candies store, never seen one, heh, but I know it reminds me a little bit of the kind of ceilings you see at the Bavarian Inn at Frankenmuth, here in Michigan. Kinda puts me in mind of that.

Definitely a very distinctive look!

Thu Jul 20, 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

Very spacy and definitely not Bavarian (thank goodness!). When did the future stop looking like this photo and start looking as bland as what passes for malls these days?

Thu Jul 20, 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I hear ya, Cora. Pretty much the '80s. That's when they all started changing and "modernizing" (then it really picked up steam in the '90s). The 1980s were really the beginning of the end, though. Time marches on, I guess (not that we have to like it!).

And hey, why you slamming Bavarian style?! Sick of it are you? ;)

But those struts do put me in mind of the ceiling designs at Frankenmuth. Just my knee-jerk response.

Thu Jul 20, 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

That guy is probably yelling to his kid reaching in the fountain: "Hurry up Bobby before someone sees you, daddy needs a new pack of smokes!"

Thu Jul 20, 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

I can't say I've ever seen a fountain like that before.

Thu Jul 20, 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I lived in the area from 1998 - 2001, where it was referred to simply as "the mall" because, well, there weren't any others within reasonable driving distance.

The fountain was long gone by the time I arrived, but other than the usual tenant shifts and some multi-colored neon tubing along the walls (probably piped in during the late 80s/early 90s) it hasn't changed much. I believe the light fixtures as represented by the lamp on the right were still in place, though.

Thu Jul 20, 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I don't mind the Bavarian style at all, as long as it stays in Bavaria. But as a non-Bavarian, I do get a bit annoyed when the image of Germany aboard is mainly defined by Bavaria and maybe the Black Forest.

Besides, the ceiling only shares the colour scheme with the traditional Fachwerk houses which are actually in many parts of Germany, not just in Bavaria. In Fachwerk houses, the black lines are thick wooden beams, the white walls are actually made of woven twigs covered with clay (a lot more durable than it sounds) and whitewashed. Some of the newer ones also have brick walls

Fri Jul 21, 05:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Dubuque and have since 1993. The fixture is still there in some form - I think they mounted it on a pillar to support the weird neon lights in the ceiling, not sure.

The flooring is there still in most of the mall - a few sections are gone for the typical green and pink tile. I think the remodel was done in 1990; the mall is tons darker and cheap-looking now. A lot of stores have closed recently; national problems, competition from the outdoor "Asbury Plaza" west of town, or just new stand-alone stores. It's looking pretty dead except for the new Borders, the anchors, and any of the teen stores.

Fri Jul 21, 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

The light fixture in the right hand corner is from AAL or Architectural Area Lighting, it was a popular style up to the 1980's

Wed Jul 26, 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those curved ends on the fountain almost look like tanning beds! I bet a bum would almost be tempted to lay in that and fall asleep after he picked the change out of the water.

Fri Jul 28, 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a child I lived in Dubuque from 74' - 83' and that fountain was still up and running in 83'. The curved pieces each put out a several foot long sheet of water that was extremely cool.


Fri May 04, 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Those curved ends on the fountain almost look like tanning beds! I bet a bum would almost be tempted to lay in that and fall asleep after he picked the change out of the water."

As a kid, my brother and I crawled through those curved pieces occasionally.

Wed Sep 24, 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

native dubuquer you know that they in the last 2 years, remodeled the Kennedy Mall? there is no more fountain. :( this mall was THE HOT SPOT in the area for a while. then something new came along. probably mcdonalds. ;)

Wed Feb 24, 03:57:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, that's definitely Kennedy Mall. I shopped there as a kid in the 80s and 90s. I think the fountain went out after a tornado hit in the early 90s. As others have said, those things at the end of it were mesmerizing!

Mon Aug 28, 04:52:00 PM  

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