Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Michigan Mall in Downtown Battle Creek

Battle Creek, Michigan - circa 1970s

Great vintage view of a stylish and welcoming court area on the Michigan Mall (pedestrian shopping strip) in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan. You can make out part of a Kresge store sign on the left, and you just gotta love that retro clock sculpture in the center--though I'm not so sure "retro" quite describes its design, as it actually looks quite futuristic now that I think about it!

More Michigan Mall

(Study image courtesy of the Willard Public Library, Battle Creek)

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Blogger Cora said...

With the exception of the Art Deco building in the background (and a very nice building it is), this looks like many pedestrian shopping precincts throughout Europe (though sadly, many of removed benches and planters in favour of kiosks).

The design of that clock is very interesting, though.

Wed Apr 18, 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Love the clock and I was thinking the same thing: It does not seem retro at all but funky and way ahead of its time.

Wed Apr 18, 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Cora said: "...this looks like many pedestrian shopping precincts throughout Europe"

Really? Then I'd be hanging out at them a lot, I think. :)

And that clock. Yeah guys, sooo cool! I'd love to have a mini version for my desk or living room, wouldn't you? As I said, for me it manages to be both retro and modern looking all at the same time. Dig it.

Wed Apr 18, 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 1950's and 60's many cities tried to adopt this kind of mall in urban planning as a way to revitalize downtowns. Glad to see it worked here.

Thu Apr 19, 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

Shame it didn't work for Toledo or we could've still had something like this today too.

Thu Apr 19, 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

If the weather is nice, pedestrian shopping precincts sure are nice places to hang out. Particularly if they still have the old planters and benches from the 1960s.

I'll see if I can dig up some vintage pics for you.

Thu Apr 19, 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

Meanwhile, here is a photo (not mine, found it on the web) of Sögestraße, a pedestrian shopping street in my hometown Bremen, dated approx. late 1970s/early 1980s. The pig sculpture is still there, in memory of the fact that pigs were once driven through this street to the market (the name "Sögestraße" means pig street in Lower German), and a huge draw for children. The planters and lamps were taken down sometime in the 1990s, the hexagonal tiles (not really clear in the picture, but trust me, they were hexagonal) were replaced by more conventional granite tiles a few years ago.

The shops visible are, starting from the right: Hirte, a woman's clothing shop (my grandmother used to shop there), long since gone; Jeweler Meyer (still there, although they moved one house up the street) and a small bookshop (see the sign "Bücher") specializing in art books . Further up the street, the sign of "Deichmann" shoes (still exists, albeit in a different location) can be seen. The higher building at the very end of the street is the Karstadt department store (the sign can just be made of on the roof).

Thu Apr 19, 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I think developers should start building pedestrian malls again it such a clever idea,and probably more cheaper since its not climate controlled. You wouldn't have that isolating stagnent air feel you'd get in enclosed malls plus you could actually be outside while shopping! what a novelty! and best yet you wouldn't worry about crossing traffic or cars.(plus no sea of parking lots)

This idea was so great why was it abandoned by developers since then?

BTW on an unrealated note I think what we consider retro today probably back then was considered futuristic (I'm digging that clock design,so different! and free of any hackneyed post-modernist design which is mostly bland these days,it's like modernizing classic architecture,but ends up looking prefab in a cheap way.)

Thu Apr 19, 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous BCMark said...

Sadly, this mall was removed in the 90's and the street reopened to vehicular traffic.

Tue Dec 18, 03:33:00 AM  

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