Monday, September 18, 2006

University Mall

Blacksburg, Virginia - November 18, 1976

University Mall interior photo. The original image I found in Virginia Tech's archive, was actually so dark you couldn't even see 90% of what you see above, before I lightened it up. Now the layers are peeled back and, hey, there's actually a shopping mall under there! Way down at the end you can just make out a Woolco anchor store, too. Wonder why they don't have a website (University Mall)? None I could find anyway.

Mall history: 1974 - present
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Resource articles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Previous entries: none

(Photo credit: VT ImageBase (, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.)


Anonymous Bobby said...

Yup, once again the aerial link is showing me "Road 2 E" and "Road 6 E".

Nice mall photo.

Mon Sep 18, 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one cool fountain...used to see that at some malls back in the day...Burlington Mall MA, Bergen Mall NJ and Altamonte Mall FL (it was actually one of four fountains in a pretty impressive "fountain garden" in the center of the mall)

Mon Sep 18, 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Bobby: Don't know what to tell ya. They work OK for me (and I just tested it on a computer outside my home and it works fine). Weird.

Is anyone else having any trouble with this aerial link?

Mon Sep 18, 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Refresh the page and try the new link, Bobby. We'll see if this one works for you.

Mon Sep 18, 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

Nope, it still doesn't work. Maybe it's a Firefox thing. Or a Mac thing.

Mon Sep 18, 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Steven Swain said...

This was the local dead mall when I went to Virginia Tech. It was developed by T.D. Steele (who also built Tanglewood and Crossroads Malls in Roanoke) and opened in 1974. The original anchors were Woolco and Heironimus (a regional chain).

Woolco gave way to Roses in 1983, and then to a collegiate computer lab called the Math Emporium in 1997. Heironimus was replaced by a branch of the Virginioa Tech University Bookstore, which is the biggest retail tenant left. Most of the smaller stores left when the New River Valley Mall opened in neighboring Chritiansburg in 1988.

There is still a massive CVS (former Peoples Drug/Revco)with mall and exterior entrances here. It's the only contiunously operating store left from when it opened.

Ther's also a handful of long-time tenants: a gym that's taken over most of the rear side of the mall, a hair salon, a Chinese place with a serious "Enter The Dragon" decorating scheme, an antiquated Ritz Camera, a Kroger across Glade Road that has swallowed the convenience center next door that it originally anchored.

As far as I know, even after a recent interior remodel, the mall still looks a lot like that inside. The pole lighting is still there definately, though the fountain is long gone.

It's getting to change a lot though. A local investor bought the place and plans to add a bunch of offices and renovate the exterior.

Tue Sep 19, 01:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith and Bobby, I get the same aerial position as Bobby and I'm using IE7 so it's not a Firefox thing. Or maybe it is? At first I thougt it was the option to save the last position on exit but that's not the problem since after I changed that I was brought right to the location Bobby described out in the middle of nowhere in Washington state. I'm not 100% sure exactly what the problem is but when using IE7 when I signed out of MSN the map refreshed and I was brought to the mall. So I tried it in Firefox, again changing the setting so I wasn't brought back to the last placed visited but again I was brought out to Washington state. This is a good one.

Tue Sep 19, 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

LOVE the fountain. I can remember them in the malls of the past, too. In fact, I wonder if they still make them. I want one in my home garden now!

Tue Sep 19, 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous kostia said...

Thank you for your comment, Steven! I finished at Tech in 1994, and I have VERY fond memories of both Rose's and Hieronimus. I'm kind of sad to know they are both long gone. Rose's was THE place to go for certain things. I still have the red and blue footlocker I bought there in 1991. :)

Mon Sep 25, 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonas Clark-Elliott said...

Bigmallrat, those are called "dandelion" fountains. There are two standard types, a full sphere and a top-half hemisphere. The full sphere is made to stand on a rider, and though many companies today do the same with the hemispheres, these also look very nice placed at water level so they appear to be a half-submerged ball. You could try Hall Fountains - they used to offer dandelion spheres (Hall calls them "facet fountains") in 4, 6, 8. 10 and 12-foot sizes, both types, with stands.

Possible problems: you need thorough two-stage water filtration top prevent the spray nozzles from becoming clogged, and spheres on risers (and, in very windy areas, hemispheres too) need a large pool to contain drift. In a sheltered area a 4' hemisphere would be a great fountain. They also accept colored lighting very well.

Mon Oct 16, 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger BC Brandt said...

I was there this weekend. Some empty storefronts, but also some filled ones. A couple of restaurants, some good stores, and a gym keep it alive, along with the Tech bookstore and a tutoring center in anchor spots. There's carpet down now, but those same lampposts are still there!

Sun Apr 23, 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger BC Brandt said...

Oh! The fountain is still there, too, but I think it's more prosaic now. Fully functional, though!

Sun Apr 23, 05:16:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

To see more posts, click on the monthly links
in the "Archives" section of the sidebar.