n this entry we take a nice long nostalgic look at Jefferson Mall, in Louisville, Kentucky. I was going to break this up into two posts, but what the heck, let's live dangerously!
The great snapshots and commentary that follow below, were sent in by, J (who also shared some great Louisville mall memories
with the blog recently), and I thank him once again for yet another fantastic submission! I'm starting this off by adding a current directory map from the mall's website, to help put the layout in a little more perspective as you read the article, then it's on to J's memories!
Jefferson Mall opened in August 1978, and was, from what I understand, the largest mall in Kentucky at that time. It was a Jacobs mall, but Jacobs sold it a few years ago. It was later eclipsed by its sister mall, Fayette Mall (also Jacobs, also sold) in Lexington, when it expanded in the mid-1990s (which also eliminated its incredibly well-preserved early 70s décor).
I’m providing some pictures of Jefferson that I took as a kid during the mall’s opening week, along with some from around the holidays in 1992.
In ’78, I wanted to see this new mall very badly, since I had just experienced the disappointment of discovering that the mall of my childhood, Mall St. Matthews, was being remodeled. I was hoping for something more like the funky jungle look that Mall St. Matthews was losing, so I remember being very disappointed at the time in the cool, clean sleekness I found at Jefferson.
But, I figured that my mom had carted me all that way, and I’d taken my camera, so I thought I might as well snap some photos. Almost 30 years later, I can’t begin to express how precious the pictures I took that day are to me. I hope these photos give you a good sense of what the mall used to look like, as its appearance changed little until the renovation a few years ago.
In ’92, I decided to capture Jefferson on film during the holidays, because of the mall’s tradition of, among other things, changing many of the fountain light lenses to red and green from the usual amber and white. Almost right up until the renovation the mall staff kept the facility in excellent condition, and that always helped make me feel that I was stepping back in time when I visited. And, believe me, I went and enjoyed it often, realizing for several years that it was more than likely only a matter of time. The mall’s still doing pretty well, but since the remodel, I hardly ever go back.Center Court
These pictures are of center court. The picture above is from the mall’s opening week in 1978. Water flowed up metal tubes in the upper pool and ran down the edges. The metal rods in the left side of the picture were attached to cables running from the lower pool to the ceiling.
The above picture is of the center court facing Hess’ (originally Stewart’s, now Dillard’s). Lazarus (originally Shillito’s, now Macy’s) is across the court. Amid the Christmas display, you can see those metal rods more clearly. They were offset by a semicircle of hanging steel rods suspended from the ceiling.
The picture above shows the other side of the fountain, with another set of stainless steel tube fountains. From this pool, a channel of water runs off the left portion of this picture to spill into the lower pool. You may be able to make out the red and green fountain lights beneath the water-tubes. The tubes in the upper pool had red, white, and green lights, but it’s hard to tell in the picture. The cables to the ceiling are visible from a side angle as a white object angling up to the right in front of the tree in the background.JCPenney Wing
These pictures are of the JCPenney wing. The first one (above) was taken during the mall’s opening week in August 1978. The name of the store on the left in that picture was “Rings ‘n Things.” The sign in the sitting area listed mall events. The carpet in that area was burnt orange, and the seats were chocolate brown. Terrazzo was everywhere.
The other two pictures below were taken during the holidays in 1992. Each year many of the fountain light lenses were changed to red and green for Christmas.
Christmas, 1992Sears Wing
The photo above was taken during the mall’s opening week in August 1978. In that picture, you can barely make out the burnt orange cylindrical trash can to the left of the sculpture, and the equally burnt orange couch and carpet in the background behind the couple walking toward the camera.
The last two photos below are from Christmas 1992, with fun red and green fountain lights specially for the holidays. The cool white sculpture in the upper pool had vanished from the fountain by the late ‘80s. I don’t know what happened to it, but it couldn’t have been pretty.
Christmas, 1992 Christmas, 1992
Mall history: 1978 - present
Current website: here
Info from Wikipedia
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none