Retro Louisville Malls
Hey guys! Well, I haven't covered any Louisville malls here yet (do have an entry for Florence Mall in Kentucky though), so I think it's about time. Thanks to a generous MOA reader who wishes to receive no credit for this great submission (but you know who you are and I'm giving you silent credit!), I share the following Louisville area mall memories and photos from Nameless:
I’ve enjoyed your efforts so much, I thought I’d send a few pictures and descriptions of local malls from the past here in Louisville, Kentucky, for your collection (if you don’t have some already).
Bashford Manor Mall opened in the early seventies (1971 or 72, I believe), was remodeled in the late eighties, and died and was replaced by a Wal-Mart and Lowe’s just a few years ago. These are pictures I took as a kid in 1979, not knowing at the time how precious they would become. This mall had TV pits, a big rustic wooden shelter-type structure in one of the courts, and a large circular painting of famous horses on the high, windowless ceiling above the fountain in the court outside Bacon’s department store.
The mall sat on the former Bashford Manor horse farm, and the horses pictured on that ceiling were either previous Kentucky Derby winners, or famous horses from Bashford Manor Farm—I don’t remember. The painting was removed in the heartless remodel of the late eighties. I’ve heard that at one time, Bashford Manor was the busiest mall in the metro area, beating out Oxmoor Center, Jefferson Mall, Greentree Mall (in Indiana) and the very popular Mall St. Matthews.
Westland Mall (later Park Place Mall) served the southwest part of the city. It was probably also built in the early seventies. I visited once in the eighties before it was turned into a lifestyle center in the early nineties. It had never been renovated, but I recall that the interior was very plain, and never felt compelled to take or find pictures of it.
Greentree Mall in Clarksville, Indiana, opened in the late sixties. It was renovated in the eighties and again in the nineties. Originally, the most distinguishing feature was a large tree beneath the skylight in the center court area. Hence the name of the mall. Greentree originally had the same polished concrete floors and giant concrete turtles for kids to climb on that were originally at the Mall St. Matthews, which I’ve described below.
I also have some old pictures of another local mall from the late seventies. Once I get them scanned, I’ll send a few. They’re of Jefferson Mall (opened, 1978), which was a Jacobs mall. I have pictures from the nineties of several other Jacobs malls in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio before renovation or demolition, and I’ll send some for comparison once I scan them. It would be interesting to know who designed them, because, as with the Taubmans, there are many similarities.
I know that Belden Village in Canton, Ohio, and Southlake in Merrillville, Indiana, were both Jacobs-owned malls. I think I read somewhere that Southlake opened in 1976. Euclid Square in Ohio was also a Jacobs, and I believe there’s a picture-filled site devoted to its death on the web. Now I think most of the Jacobs malls have been sold.
Raceland Mall: Another mall just about a mile down the road from Bashford Manor was Raceland Mall. It opened in 1975. I remember visiting in the early eighties, and it was already practically dead. It was situated in an unfortunate area near crime-ridden housing and too close to Bashford Manor. It is currently home to a massive auto center, and the shell of the mall is still somewhat recognizable. The following picture ran in the Louisville Courier-Journal as part of an article on the impending demise of Bashford Manor. The quality isn’t great, but to me, it’s better than nothing.
Mall St. Matthews: The mall of my childhood is the current Mall St. Matthews (then called simply, “The Mall”). It was a Rouse mall. I may share more memories of it later as I have time. I don’t have any old pictures of it, yet the time I spent there as a toddler in the late sixties was some of the most memorable of my childhood. My mother used to put me in front of either of the two fountains while she had some alone time elsewhere in the mall (This was in the days before we worried about random kidnapping). No matter how long I sat there, when she came to take me away, I screamed and cried all the way home.
Imagine my heartbreak when I went back in the late seventies to find it in the process of renovation. It was remodeled again in the early nineties. It’s currently the largest and seemingly most popular local mall. Of course, nothing compares to those nostalgic memories of the old mall when it had only two anchors, polished concrete floors, an aviary, giant concrete turtles to play on, and some of the most interesting mall fountains ever.
Edit: Corrected the Raceland Mall opening date from 1974 to 1975.