Saturday, November 04, 2006

SouthPark Mall 1971

Charlotte, North Carolina - 1971

Aerial photo of SouthPark Mall (I've edited the original image for improved contrast and tonal balance). You can read plenty on this shopping center's history both in this PDF file, as well as at Wikipedia, which is where the following excerpt comes from:
SouthPark Mall, located in Charlotte, opened on February 12, 1970 with three department stores and one million square feet. Located about five miles south of Uptown, in its namesake neighborhood at the corner of Sharon and Fairview Roads, the area was considered the outskirts of Charlotte at the time it opened; people were skeptical about a big shopping mall in the middle of pastureland. The mall was developed by the Belk and Ivey families, owners of the eponymous department stores, who jointly owned and operated the mall.

The design of the shopping mall was starkly modernist, with an underground parking deck. The inspiration for the mall's original architecture reportedly was Dallas' NorthPark Center. After the flagship Belk and Ivey's stores, Sears was the third anchor store to join the mall. A strip mall opened behind Sears in June of 1970 with a Colonial Stores grocery store (later a Big Star food market, then acquired by Harris Teeter in the 1980s) and the SouthPark Cinemas I & II.
Mall history: 1970 - present
Developer: Belk and Ivey's
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1, 2, 3

(Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room – Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County)


Anonymous Pat Richardson said...

This has always been one of my favorite shots of the mall--opening day and not an open parking space visible (I've always heard this picture was from opening day--even though the dating of the pictures varies from 1970, '71, & '72). Nice to see the green open area towards the top of the picture (now there are hotels situated on two of the spots). I still miss the movie theatres to the back of the mall.

Sat Nov 04, 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous rob said...

I moved to Charlotte in '87 and it looked different from this pic THEN. You can image all the bloat and growth now. I too remember the mall behind the theater. The newer stadium theaters was it's death song.

Charlotte = tax raped to death

Sat Nov 04, 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Wow... it's, um, white!
I love the classic mall design, though. A nice "T" always worked well. Reminds me a lot of Fashion Place in Murray, Utah.

Sat Nov 04, 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

This was and is an impressive mall. With Pat's and Cantnot's help, LiveMalls chronicles a great deal of SouthPark's history.

Sun Nov 05, 02:09:00 AM  
Anonymous moose J said...

Ah yes lived in charlotte my whole life (born in 74) and the surrounding area was like that till around the late 70's and early 80's. Now the only tree's there are shrubs. Great pic though! Love the two lanes as well, now there six in some area's around southpark.

Mon Nov 06, 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron Valdez said...

Looks like the mothership has landed.

Thu Nov 09, 10:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Woody Grove said...

Yep, I remember that SouthPark Mall very well even though I was just a kid. Note the white ceramic bricks which were supposedly self-cleaning. In that pic, Sears is at the far left, Belk is at the bottom, and Ivey's is at the top right. At the center bottom, you can still see the old house that used to be there.

Nowadays SouthPark has gone way upscale, but back in the day, it was a pretty cool place. Of course it had the usual Record Bar, Chik-Fil-A, and Baskin Robbins, but who can forget the Sears arcade, with a big candy stand right outside? Also Sears had demo Atari and Colecovision units which you could play for free. Good times...

The DoctorX pet store was always worth a trip to look at the puppies. They had a window at the front where you could see the new arrivals.

The Intimate Bookshop was okay... most everything downstairs was hardback, but you could climb the wooden steps to a small balcony to check out the paperbacks. My friends loved browsing the "Truly Tasteless Jokes" series.

Woolworth was a decent place to shop for cheap Christmas presents. It didn't have a lunch counter but it owned the Harvest House restaurant next door which was connected to it. Eckerd Drugs had a lunch counter.

In the middle of the main corridor, there was what appeared to be two giant television sets (back to back) with ledges to sit on. Actually there were normal-sized televisions set inside the giant TVs, but it was a popular hangout. Hard to explain, maybe there is a pic out there. One channel was set to WSOC (channel 9 - currently ABC) and the other was on WBTV (channel 3 - currently CBS). Charlotte only had a couple of other TV stations then.

Does anyone else remember the place called (I think) Copeland Jewelers, which had a silver fox head sticking out of their sign? Inevitably someone had stuck a cigarette butt in its mouth.

Tue May 13, 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

Coplon's is a fine womens apparel & shoe store which is still in business just across from the mall @ Philips Place.

The bricks were custom made for SouthPark and last fired for the Thalheimers/Hechts expansion. The brick was no longer available for the next exterior expansion/remodel(Colonial/Big Star Food Market) in 1981 and stucco had to be used.

It should also be noted that all the exterior signage on the mall was white and dictated by the Belvey Corporation (the partnership of the Belk & Ivey families that owned/operated the mall). The only exceptions were Sears & the Sears Auto Center (blue signage) and the Big Star Food Market (the "dot" on the "i" in Big was red w/ a white star); the original signage for the food market (Colonial) featured their trademark blue & red rooster on a white rectangular background which was positioned on the side of the building only visable from Barclay Downs Drive. Sears had free reign as they owned their buildings and the property underneth them.

The mall opened in February of 1970. Sears & the convenience center (Colonial, Budget Uniform Shop, Magic Lady Beauty Salon, American Express Travel Office, Hector's Restaurant and the Cinema I & II) were still under construction and would not open until June of that year.

Thu May 29, 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Woody Grove said...

Thanks for that info, Helen! As a follow up to my post, I found a nice pic of the big TV set on the LiveMalls site:

Wed Feb 04, 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

Looks like something I would create from Lego pieces.

Wed Jan 26, 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

wow, so is still there, is pretty awesome that many buildings from ancient times are still up and not just in the usa in many places in europe too.

Tue Jan 10, 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

I used to play on the construction site with my buddies as it was being built in 1969. Does anyone else remember that initially Record Bar started out in a small space on the second floor of Ivey's? I bought the Beatles Let It Be Lp there the day it came out!

Tue Jan 19, 03:12:00 PM  

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