Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pawnee Plaza Mall


Wichita, Kansas - 1973

Welcome to the Pawnee Plaza Mall... or the parking lot anyway, heh. This view is looking eastward towards the large Woolco anchor (you can just make out the sign over the entrance). There was also a Wall's IGA grocery store in this plaza as well.

There's not much about this place at all online, so piecing together its complete retail history is tough (so far anyway), but from what I've been able to gather, I think the mall dates to the 1970s, and according to this article, the site was purchased by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2002, and plans made to demolish the then existing mall and Wal-Mart store, to make way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the 25-acre property. I read a more recent blurb elsewhere that confirms the mall was razed around 2003--4, and the Supercenter indeed constructed in 2004, in its place.

If anyone out there knows any more about this mall, please comment so I can update the entry.

Mall history: 1970s? - 2003 approx. (dead)
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none

(Study image courtesy of the Wichita Public Library)



18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visited what was left of this mall, Walmart around 2000 -2001 on the way to the drive in. This had to be the most ran down, dirtiest walmart I had ever been in.It looked like it hadnt been really updated much since walmart had first taken it over from woolco in the early eighties. The rest of the mall had only a few stores, one I think was vanderbilts western store.It didnt look like there was any entrance left open to the center of the old mall.I think in the 70s it had a theater that would show midnight movies. This mall started to decline probably around the same time the Harry Street/Wichita mall on the same side of town did after Towne East Mall was built in 1975, then Towne West Mall a few years later. And yes, the entire mall was built into a Walmart Super Center.

Thu Nov 09, 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous didi said...

Sad. Just so sad. The story of the Walmart conversion and the run down quality of it is just sad.

Thu Nov 09, 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Researched this more and it did have a theater, Pawnee Plaza 4 and it did use to show The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the 70s.It is sad that these old malls are allowed to run down and then be torn down to build yet another walmart.

Thu Nov 09, 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

Gotta love the Woolco.

Thu Nov 09, 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Woolco ruled! Great part of my childhood. I miss those days...

Thu Nov 09, 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

So, it was a real enclosed mall?
Now it's a Wal-Mart mall, aka, Supercenter.
An entire mall replaced by a single store with a ton of junk. What a shame.
Scott

Thu Nov 09, 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

Yep, it was an enclosed mall judging from Terraserver. Address was 501 E. Pawnee in Wichita.

Mon Nov 13, 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As bobby said, it was enclosed. The movie theater (that showed Rocky Horror) was next to a pretty respectable arcade. There was the usual buffet restaurant in there too that had a huge dining room with a gigantic round fire place in the middle. As the 80's progressed, stores inside closed down and telemarketing firms took over much of the interior. A large craft store moved into one of the anchor spots opposite from the Wal-Mart. (The Wal Mart still had the doors that would have opened into the interior of the mall, reduced to emergency exit doors near the shoe department.) The parking lot that dominated the photo was no longer required to be so large and many fast food restaurants popped up in the periphery. An annual traveling carnival would also stop by. It is unrecognizable now, completely razed and replaced with a Wal-Mart super center.

Wed Sep 26, 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the original Wal-Mart coming along in the 80's... It was located on the south side and there was also a Hobby Lobby on the east side. A bunch of other little shops were in there too and I also recall the theater. The whole original building was demolished and the Wal-Mart SuperCenter was rebuilt where the Hobby Lobby was. They've also rebuilt a little strip mall where the original Wal-Mart was. It's a pretty rough neighborhood, so getting a new Wal-Mart was a pretty bug deal. Last I was in that area, everything on that corner was new within the last few years.

Sun Apr 13, 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Marlan said...

If you really want a step back in time, I remember the old Pawnee Drive In Theater that was located where the parking lot now stands. So that was even before the Pawnee Plaza mall. I was looking for pictures of an old Ice Cream Parlor that used to be in the mall. I can't remember the name though.

Thu Jul 02, 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I to remember the old Pawnee Drive-In that used to occupy the space where the mall is/was now. The screen sat right on the corner of Broadway (US 81) and Pawnee. When the mall opened back in the early seventies, there was the Woolco, Walls IGA, Revco Drugs, Pawnee 4 Theaters, Town Crier Book Store, Furrs Cafeteria and Colonial Ice Cream Parlor.

Sun Mar 28, 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous generic viagra said...

Great picture, my father used to told me about this place, I had never been there, but from what all I heard I practically know the place.

Wed Jan 26, 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin P. Miller said...

I think the buffet was a Furr's. I certainly spent a significant portion of my youth at both the arcade and the theater. I also remember Vernon's Kansas School of Cosmetology lasting long into the mall's demise, when nothing was left but the telemarketers. Oh, and just for the sake of accuracy, that photo is looking southward, not eastward. :)

Sat Mar 19, 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The picture brings back so many memories for me. Wish it were bigger. I remember shopping with my folks at Woolco and going to movies at the theatres there. Only one I specifically remember was 'Herbie Goes Bananas' in 1980 or so. My grandma lived in the elderly apartmants across from Herman Hill park which is nearby too, and she would do her shopping at the Walls IGA.

Walmart opened in the Woolco space in 1986. I remember clearly because I bought the new release Carly Simon album 'Coming Around Again' there right after they opened :) It was the first Wichita Walmart. Prior to that, we had to drive to Derby to shop there.

But to echo someone else's comment, the newer-built Walmart still seems run-down and dirty.

Wed Jul 04, 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Evans said...

I was eating lunch in the Braums Ice Cream store just accross the street with Dad and remembering the old Pawnee Drive-In Theater that sat in that corner years back and decided to try to find any pictures of the big Pawnee Indian marque sign on the corner that show the movies playing, wish that someone could post a few for us to see. Bob Evans - Wichita, KS.

Sun Sep 09, 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Monkeesmama76 said...

There was a BEAUTIFUL tile mosaic of Wichita and Wichita Indians in the hallway of this mall. I also watched a few movies at the movie theatre here. In the early 2000s, Vernon's School of Beauty was here and my best friend and I used to get our hair done for CHEAP by students! I used to like to walk this mall with my children in the stroller for exercise at the time too. The Wal-Mart there before it turned into a supercenter was known as the ghetto walmart...LOL! I still think it's pretty darn ghettoish but I don't live in Kansas anymore (just moved 2 months ago). There was also a Business School there as well. So sad to see this mall shut down. My husband and I REALLY loved the mosaic mural. I so wish I would have taken pics of it before demolition and the addition of the super center.

Thu Sep 27, 05:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember well there was a drive-in theater there and in the 70's it was torn down to build the mall. The picture posted here is actually looking SOUTH, not east as the description states. If you were to look east you would see the Wall's IGA store and the Furrs restaurant. I went to many a movie there. Later on there was an arcade too. I remember a little jewelry story inside too. My favorite place there was the Shirt Shack. It was one of those little T Shirt places where you pick out a shirt and a design or lettering to be ironed onto it. I had plenty of T Shirts made for myself and as gifts there. It was fun to pickout a picture and the customize a saying out of letters to add to it. :)

Sun Oct 06, 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember this place well. I worked as a stock boy at the Woolco in the early to mid 1970's. My girlfriend worked in the grill at the front of the store until an accident dumped hot frying oil on her legs. Never saw her again. The place was L-shaped with the Pawnee 4 theater roughly in the corner with the Woolco to the right. I remember watching the 70's remake of King Kong there. Yes, the one that introduced Jessica Lange and has Kong climbing the World Trade Center towers. A mixed bag of memories there for me for sure!

Fri Feb 07, 01:27:00 PM  

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