Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Glendale Center Mall

Indianapolis, Indiana - circa '60s or '70s

Vintage interior view of Glendale Center (now called Glendale Mall, after a grand re-opening in 2000). This mall has undergone major renovations and redesign in the past few years (even adding a public library branch to the interior, which you can read about here), so I doubt it looks anything like this Earth-toned vision anymore--though their redesign purportedly pays homage to their retro original '50s look, which I like the sound of.

In this shot, I can see what looks like a bird (or monkey?) cage down there just to the right, in the center concourse. But what the froog that hanging rug thing is supposed to be above it, I have no idea. If you zoom in, it appears to possibly be hung on a roll, like a shade or movie screen, but what decorative or useful purpose that would've served (especially considering how tattered it looks), I don't know. Maybe it was simply a partition type curtain they could pull down when they had something going on there in the court area, but man, it sure looks ugly and strange hanging there, lol. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me?

Mall history: 1958 - present
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we can rule out Christmas decorations right off the bat, Keith. I wanted to say it was some kind of skylight cover that was ripped and left in a state of disrepair, but nahh! It's just someones idea of tacky mall decor. A giant insect cocoon?

Thu Aug 10, 07:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to go to that mall when I was a kid, and I remember that the big thing hanging from the ceiling was actually a freaky '70s chandelier/light fixture made of hundreds of long, thin plastic (or glass) strips that hung down from a light fixture.

Thu Aug 10, 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Cora said...

That's actually what I suspected: one of those ceiling decorations made up of hundreds of fine strings. I remember seeing a ceiling decoration like this that was made up of thousands of mother of pearl pieces hanging from strings.

Thu Aug 10, 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember that mall well, too. It was an odd chandelier, and I don't remember it hanging there for very long. Glendale also had (and still has) three brass penguins that kids loved to climb on, and some sort of metal sculpture that was probably supposed to be art but which we, at the age of 7, interpreted as a playground. It was opposite So-Fro Fabrics, if I recall. Great photo, brings back lots of memories.

Fri Aug 11, 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not the only mall that has had a library. There was one in Westfield Louis Joliet mall for seven years; when they opened a nearby library branch it closed in 2002.

Sat Aug 12, 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for the help on this one, guys.

Ok then, all I have to say is, if that thing's a light fixture, it's one of the weirdest I've ever seen--in a mall or anywhere! :D

I definitely have to dig up better shots of this so I can get a closer look...

Wed Aug 16, 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also went to this mall a lot as a kid in the 70s and 80s. A few things that I remember: The three penguins mentioned above, a cool horoscope "installation" with a different station for each month (all in a big circle), the basement galleria also was very cool for a kid (arcade, coin shop, etc). Also the A&W (or maybe Burger King) in the basement seemed really cool too for us kids. I really miss it, especially since it's so run down now.

Fri Aug 06, 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hanging sculpture is acutally long circular tubes of varying widths. The cage type thing is a gazebo, if I remember correctly, that you could sit in. I grew up in this mall from 1963 on.

Thu Jan 20, 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, and the penguins are now located in the lower entrance that houses the library. The indoor mall has been demolished and is now basically a strip mall of differing levels. A Macy's is attached at one end, the library on the other end.

Thu Jan 20, 01:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glendale was originally an outdoor center when it was built in 1958, and was, at the time, the height of elegant shopping in Indianapolis. It was a beautiful outdoor center, especially at Christmas when tiny white lights covered all the trees and bushes. (very new and chic for that time.) The mall got covered in 1968 to compete with other covered centers in the city. A very quick and tacky job was done, destroying the unique atmosphere of the center and making it a destination for gangs to hang out in and cause the usual problems. After many tweaking makeovers and changes of ownership, the mall was returned to an outdoor center a couple of years ago, which proves, once again, that what is old is new again...if you wait long enough!

Mon May 09, 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "thing" that's hanging there is actually an Italian glass tube sculpture. Several thousand Murano glass tubes of various lengths and colors. Believe it or not, I've got most of it out in the garage, in storage. Some of the pieces have been sold, but I think I have 2000 or so left.

Mon Jan 14, 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Hatfield said...

As others have said, the sculpture on the ceiling is a fairly ornate light chandelier. When it was installed, it was actually quite the "art neuvo" piece. Before this was installed, and before the mall was covered,

As others have said, Glendale was an open air shopping area. I have memories of this because in the center of the open air shopping center was a very complex water fountain with spinning wheels and mechanical pieces that would divert the water different directions and sometimes WAY up in the air (which when it was windy would mist about half the mall)

The brass penguins, which were part of the original center. While many other things were removed when they enclosed the mall (like the fountain), the penguins remained. For many years they were incorporated into the mall's logo. I remember climbing on them myself as a boy.

The downstairs area was added AFTER the enclosure. I also remember spending hours in the "Times Square" arcade, beating high scores at game such as Galaga, DigDug, Zaxxon and those perennial favorites... PacMan and Tetris!

Sadly, like many malls, Glendale has tried to keep up with the times, but more and more ... people are visiting less and less. The branch of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library has only been a fairly recent addition (within the past 10 years). For a time, the library was closed by the city because of budget constraints, it is open now however.

Sun Aug 04, 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have been trying to locate pictures or location of the original fountain that was at the south end of the mall. It was by the Wm H. Block's store. Any ideas of where it is. I had an evening -after school job at the Ayre's store when it first opened and loved the fountain. It was a meeting place for friends when at the mall.

Wed Jan 01, 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

juneyn Hamburgthe downstairs used to be the GC Murphy's basement. I worked at the harry levinsons from 1979 to 1984. Right outside our door was th "Yellow Submarine". The parents would drop there kids off htere to climb all over it while they shopped. The best thing was after the enclosure...they still needed various "poles" to support the roof. People would be looking at merchandise in the windows and then..."BANG!" walk into a pole support. That was entertaining on a slow day.

Thu Jun 19, 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at Glendale's information booth from '75 to '78 and this is pretty much the view I saw from the booth. I have a photo of me climbing on the penguins in 1964 (age 4) when the mall was open-air and a photo of some of the security guards and me at the information booth around 1977.

Tue Jun 09, 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Indian album has a picture Italy, ca. 1965 - Glass sculpture created by Barovier and Toso in their Italian factory before it was shipped to architect Victor Gruen who purchased it as part of his design for the enclosure of the Glendale Mall. The mall, located at 6101 North Keystone Avenue in Indianapolis, was enclosed in the 1960s. The woman viewing the artwork is the daughter of Jacopo Barovier. The company specializes in Venetian glass. It was founded in 1295 and is one of the oldest family businesses in the world. This sculpture was removed in about 2007 when the mall once again became an open-air shopping center. (The Indiana Album: Tom Shipley Collection)

Thu Mar 16, 03:19:00 PM  

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