Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dixie Square Documentary Promo #1

Harvey, Illinois

Haunting little promotional video I came across recently, with lots of footage of the long-abandoned (and now quite decrepit and scary looking) Dixie Square Mall (where the mall car chase scenes for The Blues Brothers movie were filmed in 1979). I'm really looking forward to this upcoming documentary from Paw Filmworks! Below is the information they included with the video:
"Independent film company Paw Filmworks has been in production on the documentary film "Dixie Square" since June of 2004. The mall, made famous in the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers", was open for business for just 12 years when it closed in 1978.

Today the mall still stands, abandoned for 28 years, twice the amount of time it was open.

The film "Dixie Square" documents the history of the land and the reasons behind how an 800,000 square foot structure could be left to rot for almost 30 years.

The film is scheduled for completion in November 2006."
And here's a cool 2-page vintage 1966 Dixie Square mall directory for your reference:

Mall history: 1966 - 1978
Architect: Hornbach & Steenwyk (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Note: Video is Flash format. If you don't see it, you must temporarily disable your ad-blocking programs.


Blogger Scott Parsons said...

The mall looked a lot bigger in the movie. Nice wide aisles.
This video was very melancholic. I was hoping little pop-ups would appear to tell us who Vicki was, and whether the following scene was her blood on the wall.

Thu May 25, 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Tannerman said...

Demolition on this mall started in February of this year after the property was sold to a developer.

Thu May 25, 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the developer was planning to lure some big box stores.

Thu May 25, 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger todd said...

On the mall map, they spelled it "J.C. Penny" which is incorrect.... "Penney". Just one of my many very peculiar peeves when they can't spell a retail store's name correctly. Like a lot of places will write "Belk's" on a sign. It is Belk, no "s". Even the workers get it wrong. Maybe like how old people sometimes say "Wal-Marks".

Thu May 25, 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger todd said...

I also cring when people say "Nordstrom's."

Thu May 25, 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith, about time you did a Dixie Square posting. No blog about classic malls is complete without it. :-)

For 'dead mall' junkies, this is / was 'the' one that topped them all...and really got the whole phenom going. I know it got me more interested in my state's malls that are slowly fading awayor no longer with us.

Thu May 25, 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe that the JC Penney mispelling is from the original document. It looks like someone added that to the scan. There are two instances of Penney spelled correctly on that same page.

Fri May 26, 03:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. I guess there are at least four instances of Penney spelled correctly on that page. I still suspect that the one misspelled instance was added to the scan and wasn't on the original document.

Fri May 26, 03:21:00 AM  
Blogger Simon Templar said...

Hey Keith, found some photos of the abandoned "Lexington Mall".

Fri May 26, 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I was at Lexington Mall in 1988 and then again in the early 1990s, while visiting relatives in the area. It was a very nice mall, as far as I remember. Sad to hear that it died.

By the way, the place with the arched entrance was one of the anchors, a department store called McAlpin's. It was a local chain, apparently, there was another McAlpin's store in another mall in Lexington (Fayette Mall?)

Mon May 29, 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the directory - it's obviously an older one as the TurnStyle store is nowhere to be seen. I'm working on cleaning up the map some.

And to Todd: What about "Kmart's"? I hear that a lot. The chain was never owned by a person named "Kmart"!

Tue May 30, 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

Seeing this reminds me of the old "Greenwood Mall" that once existed in my town up to the mid 80's. That mall though was much smaller from the rest, and had really only one dept. store anchor and a supermarket along with the other stores. It was sold to some other guy who converted the whole thing into a regular strip plaza of sorts called "Alexis Park". I miss the way it had been with the old "Greenwood Cine 1 & 2".

Wed May 31, 02:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the directory, Dixie Square had a "Le Petite Cafe" -- does anyone else remember these? The one here in Riverside, Calif., was a French-themed eatery with black wrought iron room/table dividers. The color scheme incorporated orange and yellow accent colors and the tables were those smooth -- but hard -- 1960s-era "modern" fiberglass booths. I seem to remember it closed down sometime in the late 70s/early 80s.

Wed May 31, 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Matt: Yeah, there's more Dixie Square stuff to come, too. Been meaning to start getting around to it for a while (like some other malls still yet to see the spotlight here). It was a classic!

Chris: Thanks for the link!

And thanks to everyone else for all the other great comments in this post, too!

Thu Jun 01, 10:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My parents shopped at Dixie Mall in the 70's- bought a changing-table for my little sister- they said even in those days it was not a safe place to visit. That entire Harvey-Markham area is very delapidated. Very sad.

Wed Jun 07, 08:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did we come to it? Why did Harvey and its citizens let their mall rot so terribly? The promotional is very scary and very real, for there are many malls that are in the condition similar to Dixie Square and are located in dying inner suburbs such as Harvey.

I cannot wait to see the movie.

Stephanie B.

Fri Jun 09, 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in the apartment buildings across the highway from the mall--and was there when it opened. My friends and I once chased The Buckinghams (music group) through the mall after a performance in there. The manager of Jewel used to pay my sister and I a small amount (dime?) for each shopping cart we'd return to the store. We loved that mall and would go there every day. People would marvel at that "fountain" in the middle (what was it, glycerin?)
I feel sad at that economic depression that caused this...
Jane (Klotz) G. Ascension School alum, Harvey, IL 1967

Wed Jun 06, 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is this blog dead like the mall?

Sun Jun 21, 03:55:00 PM  
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