Friday, May 11, 2007

Midtown Plaza Mall Today

Rochester, New York - photos circa 2005

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.

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."
Mall history: 1961 - present
Architect: Victor Gruen
Current website: here
Info from Wikipedia
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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Anonymous Wednesday said...

The clock's still there! And it still works, I hope. I saw it up close and personal about a quarter-century ago. The mall was packed with shoppers and the clock was quite an attraction.

Fri May 11, 09:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...


It's still thriving!!!

I'd though It would be gone/extremely renovated!

Sun May 13, 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

Nice to see that this mall's still there and looking like it always did. Let's hope it manages to escape renovation and closure for a long time to come.

Sun May 13, 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Great pictures! They sure could use some people though! It looks so lonely. Bland Simon malls seem to get all the customers.

Sun May 13, 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Fletcher said...

Keith, thanks buddy for the credit.
Very nice!
wow what an honor.
just to be mentioned here on this page!

Mon May 14, 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If and when the mall closes, I hope they find a replacement location for the Clock of the Nations.

Mon May 21, 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger Tom62 said...

Midtown Mall in Rochester, NY is scheduled to be demolished in the summer of 2008. It will be replaced by Paytec's corporate headquarters.
The clock of nations is being saved. It is being moved to the airport for about 3 years, then transfered of The Childrens Hosp. at Strong Memorial Hosp.

This information wal taken from the Rochester Demorcat & Chronical.

Fri Apr 25, 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger fletcher said...

you can see more midtowne pics at my one post blog,

Wed Nov 03, 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im sorry to say that midtown plaza has been demolished it no longer exists

Fri Nov 12, 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger luckygirlie1 said...

I want information on B. Forman Co. The brand. I have come across a coat that has a B. Forman Co. label on it. It maybe over 75 years old?! Send me an email.... This maybe part of Rochester history?

Sun Mar 04, 10:52:00 PM  

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