Midtown Plaza Mall Today
Here are two recent photos of Midtown Plaza from Malls of America reader, Fletcher, who took these shots in 2005 and kindly submitted them here to illustrate how similar the mall still looks today, when compared to all the vintage photographs and postcards I've shared of it on the blog in the past (see "previous entries" below). I have to agree with him. At first glance you could easily take these to be vintage '60s shots.
In the first photo above you can even see that the famous Clock of the Nations still sits quietly, but proudly, in the darkened and very empty(!) mall interior. In fact, my first thought when I looked at these was, where have all the people gone? Were these taken when the mall was closed? But Fletcher told me it was indeed open at the time, and that it's usually empty like that these days. The term "dead mall" certainly comes to mind when looking at evidence like this. Here's some good Victor Gruen Midtown Plaza design insight via Wikipedia:
"Designed by Victor Gruen, Midtown Plaza was dedicated on April 10, 1961 as the first downtown indoor mall in the United States. The first enclosed shopping center had been Southdale Center 1956, also designed by Gruen. The idea for this mall started with discussions between Gilbert J.C. McCurdy, owner of the McCurdy's department stores and Maurice F Forman, owner of the B. Forman Co. department stores. At this time strip plazas were growing in popularity. Though both owners had opened branch stores they were concerned about downtown Rochester's viability and came up with the idea of an indoor shopping center.
Gruen was at the height of his influence when Midtown was completed and the project attracted international attention. City officials and planners from around the globe came to see Gruen's solution to the mid-century urban crisis. Midtown won several design awards.Mall history: 1961 - present
Gruen described the aerial view of Rochester as a giant parking lot with a few buildings to inconvenience traffic flow. His intention was to create a pedestrian friendly town square for Rochester, NY, a medium sized city near the mouth of the Genesee River. He incorporated art, benches, fountains, a four hundred seat auditorium and a sidewalk cafe into his plans hoping to encourage the sort of social intermingling that he saw as the enriching essence of urban life."
Architect: Victor Gruen
Current website: here
Info from Wikipedia
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10