Saturday, April 15, 2006

Palm Beach Mall

West Palm Beach, Florida - 1970

Well. Just gaze upon this lush, painterly photograph, gang! Soak it all in. Do I really need to say anything more?

This is probably one of my favorite shots I've ever featured here at MOA. An ultimate vintage mall photo! From the cool Jordan Marsh store visible on the left, and the colorful late '60s fashions the shoppers are sporting, to the warm lighting, great indoor landscaping and foliage, and one of my favorite mall fountains, this shot has truly got it all! And the Palm Beach was the first enclosed shopping center in the Southeast, to boot!

History: 1967 - present
Current website: Here.
Previous entries: 1.


Blogger Livemalls said...

That picture is perfect. Retail nirvana.

Sun Apr 16, 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

Absolutely fabulous.

Did they choose the shoppers in the photo according to how well their clothes fit the colour scheme?

Sun Apr 16, 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger todd said...

I love the Jordan Marsh sign. With everyone having boxy manuscript these days, I remember the days of flowing, swirly cursive. I seem to always say this ...Lord and Taylor, John Wannamaker, and all.

Mon Apr 17, 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

I miss the more stylish signs, typestyles, etc., too, Todd. Everything now is just so... generic and boring looking, isn't it (including the buildings themselves)?

And, Cora, yep, you'd almost have to think that, they fit so perfectly! Man, those were the days...

Mon Apr 17, 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too, miss the fancier letter styles used back then.

Never had Jordan Marsh in Wisconsin, but we did have Sears (what state didn't have a Sears though) which used a scripted-out sign on many store exteriors...there's one example a few posts down for the White Lakes Mall.

Even WI-based chain, Kohl's....their depatment stores used a fancy script type for the name "Kohl's" from 1963-1985. They've been using their current (boring) block-letter signs for 21 years was instated as their official logo in 1985, though it took a long time for many of the pre-1985 built stores to be remodeled so a lot of the old signage lasted into the 1990s.

Tue Apr 18, 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger todd said...

I do remember an extravangant SEARS logo in red with a huge S in a futuristic cursive. It was scrawled across the front of our store in my city of childhood. From many places nearby, you could see it at night. I thought that was so cool for a small Southern town.

Wed Apr 19, 04:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for typestyles Neiman Marcus changed in approximately 1987 when General Cinema bought them out from their famous signature to their newer somewhat sharp pointy signature. I always wondered why they did that I loved the old signature and really cant stand their new one.

Wed Apr 19, 05:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, that's beautiful. definitely one of the best ever on this site.

Thu Apr 20, 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks, germ! I agree.

Thu Apr 20, 09:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet! Awesome thing is that the mall is still alive and kicking.

Fri Apr 21, 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

I love it when enclosed malls try to make you forget you are inside. Like this one, the unnaturally blue "river" and weird orange thing coming from the ceiling (the sun?). Lush tropical setting.
It's like... lawns in Palm Springs.

Sat Apr 22, 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the weird orange thing a fountain of some sort? The script debate reminds me of a bank that was built and opened up near a mall by me in the late 1990s. They too used a nice, fancy script as their logo then I think they merged with another bank a year or two later and boxy letters came aboard and just won't go away!

Sun Apr 23, 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Yep, that's a fountain. And you can see it even better in the previous Palm Beach entry I listed in this post.

Sun Apr 23, 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even in the early 80s, the Palm Beach Mall still had that look, anachronistic though it was. I worked there in high school. Now, the place is just awful, not just because there isn't a spec of its former life, but because it's just unsafe. Very sad.

Thu Apr 27, 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Yeah, I always hate hearing stuff like that. Really a shame. Thanks for the update, though, Anonymous.

Thu Apr 27, 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the Palm Beach Mall was awful in the mid-1990s. I remember when they took the old fountain old and made everything so boring. But then they officialy renovated it in 1999 (I believe). It's nice now, but the fountain space is now occupied by a boring one you would find in a hotel lobby.

The most dangerous mall around the area is possibly The Gardens Mall. Someone was shot at the food court there in 1999.

Mon Jul 10, 07:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that photo. I was born and raised in Palm Beach County and lived there until 2003. I remember when the mall opened, I was just 7 years old and my family decided to "make the trip " (there was no I-95 like there is today) to the new mall!

I was in awe of that fountian! I couldnt figure out how they got water to flow down like that. Actually it was strands of wire or mono that the water "ran" down. Still pretty facinating at the time to a 7 year old.

Going to the Palm beach Mall was a big treat for us growing up in the 60's and 70's. It was usually saved for an all day trip on a Saturday. We would eat lunch at the Woolworths or the Walgreens Restaurant. I would tag along with my older sister and brother as my mom would go to JC Penny, Jordan Marsh, or Richards. She would always tell us to meet up at the fountain by 1:00 or else! It would literally be an all-day affair. With no interstate at that time it was a good hours drive from where we lived. It would take only about 20 to 30 minutes now.

Thanks again for posting that photo, it has made me a little home sick! If anyone is interested I can share more on the Palm Beach Mall and the other malls that sprang up later in the 80's and 90's.

Tue Jul 18, 03:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a native to wpb born there 64
moved to nc in 89
jack argyle

Thu Aug 03, 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger SUSAN said...


Sat Mar 31, 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Palm Beach Mall was the place in the late 60's and early 70's. It had J.C. Penney's,Jordan Marsh(my buddie's mom worked there in the wig dept.),Woolworth's(they sold old rifles off a rack in the middle of the floor),3 movie theatres, a Barefoot Mailman and an arcade.
Across the street was the old ballpark and auditorium. The Jehova's Witnesses bought them both and tore down the ball park and turned the auditorium to their convention center.
The only other malls around was the old Sear's Town, the Palm Coast Plaza, the Polo Grounds Plaza(Military Tr.& Summit Blvd.)and the "Leaky TeePee". Almost forgot the Farmer's Market and the Aloha Plaza

Thu Dec 13, 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember that in the 1990's this mall had a very dark and dingy look to it with a brown tile covered floor and vast and vacant interior. In fact JCPenney's still has that 60's look and it is the only store that has survived a remodel all these years. Macy's (former Burdine's) now looks so vacant with the huge ceiling and basically deserted second floor. Lord and Taylor was torn down in the late 90's. That store also had those 70's/80's earth tone's to it with brown/orange carpet and isolated corners in the store. The fountain was also completely destroyed and in 2000 the exterior remodel removed the plant "islands" that were surrounded by benches that filled the mall.

Wed May 21, 02:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster who said that the gardens mall was the most dangerous around was wrong, it is this mall that is pretty dangerous. It was in the late 90s that the 18 year old manager of the Chik-Fil-A restaurant was shot down while closing it up for the night.

It's so weird tho, here i am typing this on Dec 22, i stopped by the Palm Beach Mall today and it was amazingly EMPTY, i got a parking spot right up front, something unheard of this time 5 years ago, and i walked through had lunch at the 1 of only 3 food court restaurants left while there are probably about 15 or so vacant food storefronts. The mall itself it empty, even Dillards closed a month ago, i was surprised to see that! JCPenny, Sears and Macys are the only ones holding this place together.

As for the fountain, it wasent even turned on today. Im only 21 so i vaguely remember the fountain pictured above. My mom worked at Parklane Hoisery about 15 years ago in the mall. Even at the time i could see that while the fountain was neat looking, it was clearly out of its own time period and wasent kept up too well anymore.

Mon Dec 22, 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Critifur said...

I was born and lived in WPBch until I was 10. I have always visited family, and just returned to live and care for my Grandmother. The mall was quite the place to go and spend the day, go to the movie theater (with two screens!), and get a drink at the Orange Bowl. You guys have reminded me of the Barefoot Mailman, was that like gadget shop of it's time? Now even the Macy's is closed up. I am surprised the mall is open at all. My Grandfather was a city commissioner and helped to get the "Leaky Teepee" built. Was ther not also a Twin Lakes Mall? Or was it the Lake Park Mall?

Thu Feb 12, 02:35:00 AM  
Blogger Alisha Keth said...

Great information!!! It is really interesting to read your article.

Home remodeling is definitely a hot topic these days. While the housing market may be experiencing a temporary downturn, West Palm Beach remodeling projects continue to hold steady simply because many West Palm Beach home owners have decided to stay put in their current homes, opting to upgrade rather than move.

Sat Sep 26, 05:52:00 AM  
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