Sunday, October 23, 2005

Forest Mall

Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin - Late '70s or early '80s?

Here's their current website.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forest Mall never really had any 'standout' architectural features. It's too bad that it was around this time, when mall exteriors started to look reletively plain and boxy. Forest Mall is a good example of this beginning trend in design for the era. The anchor store there towards the right though (which was H. C. Prange Co. (Prange's) originally, now Younker's), is probably the most interesting part of the mall complex. It predates the mall by a few years, opening in 1966 (The mall itself opened on 9/11/1973), and features stone walls, and that arched canopy that you can barely make out in the image.

Sadly that canopy, and the display windows under it, were removed in the msot recent remodel of the store (1996-1997), and it just looks all plain now.

JCPenney, and its signage, are original to the mall.

The other two original anchors were Prange Way (Prange's discount stores, a regional Wisconsin-based chain only) and Montgomery Wards.

The red canopies for the mall entries are redone, and the cinema is still in operation, though they tend to just run first-run family movies and horror movies it seems, rather than big action thrillers or comedies.

Sun Oct 23, 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger czeltic girl said...

Wow. I forgot about this mall. We used to stop there occasionally on the way up to our lake cottage on Lake Winnebago when I was a kid. I remember being intrigued by the Ward's, which we didn't have in Milwaukee.

Mon Oct 24, 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for the great details, Matt, and the memories, Czeltic Girl!

Actually, I'm gonna try to post better shots of this mall soon, so stay tuned.

Mon Oct 24, 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wards wasn't too long lived in this mall. It lasted from 1974-1984 and was closed in the first big wave of closings for that chain in the mid 1980s. They also got rid of their big catalog around that time.

Wards is now Kohl's, in case you were wondering. They do great business, and is one of the stores keeping the mall going. There aren't too many malls this size that are doing so great right now...some are even 'dead malls' by now.

Not to spin off this mall, but another mall I visited a LOT when I was young was the sprawling Park Plaza Mall in Oshkosh WI. That place had a HUGE Center Court with an atrium that went up several stories high, and a sunken area for small concerts or other shows. The parquet flooring, the fountains, the subdued lighting, the MUZAK...the memories. I always made a stop at the gaming arcade in this was just so much cooler than Forest Mall's arcade. To a young kid like me, that mall was huge. They had at least 60 shops in there, with a huge Sears and Prange's at the ends, and a JCPenney.

The mall opened in October 1970, one of the first enclosed malls to be located as part of the downtown business district, rather than a suburban or highway location, in the country.

This mall is no's all leased as office space called "City Center'. The original mall concourse is still there, I'm sure, but it's not the same without the crowds and storefronts.

Thanks, Keith, for the memories so far. Can't wait to see more. Caught the Mayfair posting earlier too. What a striking difference compared to today. That mall used to be more upscale, with stores no other malls in Wisconsin had. Now it's a hodgepodge of 'upscale' and 'trendy teen fashion'. Nothing like its former self.

Fri Oct 28, 03:28:00 AM  
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