Saturday, January 06, 2007

Malls of Appleton, Wisconsin

Malls of Appleton, Wisconsin

This thoughtful video essay on the lost shopping malls of Appleton, Wisconsin was put together by YouTuber, martyn50, who describes it thusly:
"A view of shopping at malls in Appleton, Wisconsin turns into a meditation on cultural values and change."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. For this Lawrence U alum, what a trip down memory lane. Yes, the Kohl's is stuck at Northland Mall--there used to be another one, with a Kohl's grocery store, at Valley Fair.

The movie theatre at Valley Fair was much better than the Appleton multiplex. There was a little ice cream shoppe in the mall, right near the entrance to the theatre. Keith, you would have appreciated the decorating; in 1997, it was a time warp of late '70s decor--and the ice cream shoppe looked like it was original to that section of the mall. I saw Shindler's List and Return of the Jedi there.

Additionally, it was one of two shopping centers close to campus--the other being downtown Appleton (what happened to the Avenue Mall on College Ave)?

Sat Jan 06, 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Ah, sounds like I definitely would have appreciated that ice cream shoppe's decorating. Wish I could see it now.

Thanks for the great comments, Anonymous!

Sat Jan 06, 09:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Wednesday said...

Two thumbs up! Forty years from now, people will be watching this little video (probably via a chip in their brains) to get a sense of what shopping was like at the beginning of the 21st century. I'd like to see more video essays like this.

Sat Jan 06, 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I've been to all four (yes, four) of Appleton's malls.

Fox River Mall needs no introduction to anyone in NE Wisconsin. It's easily Wisconsin's most successful mall, and still draws heavy weekend and Christmas crowds to this day.

Valley Fair's history is pretty well documented by myself and a few other contributors to its entry on Wikipedia, though in this video, I don't recall seeing that pylon. Probably because it's so small, unlike the larger one for the Valley Fair Cinema right at the corner. Keith, I echo 'anonymous's would have LOVED Valley Fair's interior. It was a mish-mash of 1950's beginnings, to late-1970s, all in one mall. There'll never be another place like that again.

Northland didn't start a hybrid. It started as a mere couple of big boxes and a strip mall, all detatched. The ShopKo is original to the complex, opened in 1967 and expanded several times over the past 3 decades. The Kohl's building, however, is on the site of a former WT Grant, which was later razed. Kohl's and the enclosed mall were proposed soon before Shopko was expanded and remodeled into its (then) current prototype, building out and opening in early 1983. The strip mall portion was also built onto to attatch it to Kohls' east wall, finishing off the complex. In its heyday it had nearly 35 shops, but this has been whittled down significantly over the years, as Kohl's continued to eat away at what was once former enclosed mall space...first it's own wing in 1994, then the entire Center Court, and half of the mid-mall concourse in 2000.

The 'Sandwich Factory' that the one lone respondent to the YouTube video hinted at, is now the current location of China Buffet. (which in my opinion, was good.)

The final mall was called The Avenue Mall, a failed attempt at an 'upscale' project. Many city residents were opposed to the complex, and it just never took off. Gimbles and Prange's were the original anchors....Gimbles pulling out soon before the mall was to open, replaced by Marhsall Field. Prange's moved out in 1988 to the Fox River Mall, and...yeah, that mall just never filled up..never was successful at all. Today it's just a bunch of offices, the Fox Cities Children's Museum, and one or two fast-serve eateries / coffee shops for the lunch crowds.

Props to this guy for a good overview of Appleton's retail. While I feel he spent a little 'too' much time on Fox River Mall, I suppose I shouldn't be suprised. I'm a lot like him though....I like the 'out of the way' malls....the smaller, the more calm and quiet, and the more retro-looking, the better.

Mon Jan 15, 02:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Job, Thanks

Fri Feb 09, 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i grew up in appleton and have been to all four and downtown shopping appleton it is amazing to see the changes in this cities shopping and im not to happy with it , its too cookie cutter everyone in the foxriver mall , has the same style of everything else. so shame on dorthy johnson for messing up downtown applton with that mall!!!!!!!!!!!

Wed Mar 19, 02:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Viagra said...

Great video!

Thu Mar 08, 12:31:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

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