Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lakeland Mall

Lakeland, Florida - 1972

Nice photo of the very carpeted, if not a little drab looking (in this view anyway), interior of Lakeland Mall in the early '70s. A Jean Nicole store is visible on the left, and some human beings on the right.

I can't seem to find much info about this mall, so I'm not sure what year it originally opened, but according to this article it seems to have closed in '94. Anyone know if that's the case for sure (and what year she opened)?

Mall history: ? - 1994 (dead)
Current website: n/a
Previous entries: none

(image © & courtesy of State Library and Archives of Florida)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was your run-of-the-mill look for most Florida malls in the early 70's. It looks very similar to the old Lakes6 mall in Lauderhill that also was ironically demolished in '94. Except it didn't have those hanging hourglass light fixtures.

Thu Oct 12, 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

I can see they erected this at the height of mall popularity. No thought or money put into a decent structure. For pete's sake, no skylights! It's a drop ceiling with florescent lights similar to an office. Now that I've finished ripping on it, it's a nice photo! ;)

Thu Oct 12, 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott, that's how many smaller Wisconsin malls that popped up in the 1970s were built as well, in the same way you describe. Low ceilings and fluorescent lighting. A few had normal flooring though, not carpeted floors.

By smaller, I mean malls that had 2 anchors and around space for 30 shops, sometimes less than that. They only served the immediate city, not an entire county and its surrounding areas.

Also take note of another oddity you don't see anymore....wider storefronts needing more than one sign. It was mostly Marianne or Lerner in my state that had the habit of sticking two signs up on their storefront.

Yet, this Jean Nicole needs THREE of them.

Thu Oct 12, 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This mall was anchored by a Montgomery Wards and Woolco. It also contained a movie theatre. When Woolco closed, it was replaced by a SAM's Club. In 1988, The Lakeland Square Mall opened and most shoppers left for the new mall. The SAM's Club stayed there until 1994, but the mall itself was basically dead. Then in 1998, First Baptist Church of Lakeland purchased the vacant 400,000 sq ft mall. The church is now known as First Baptist Church at the Mall.

Fri Oct 13, 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drab???!!! No way, not when Jean Nicole is in the photo. I have been dying to see a Jean Nicole storefront in a photo and so far this is the first one I have come across. I miss this tore so much.

Fri Oct 13, 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe those Jean Nicole people were getting a jump on those recent "Head-On" ads... you know, "Head-On, apply directly to the forehead. Head-On, apply directly to the forehead. Head-On, apply directly to the forehead."

Fri Oct 13, 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Orlando but sometimes my mother and I would end up here and it was the most boring place on earth, I hated shopping anyway so going here wasn't pleasant. The name Lakeland puts me to sleep.

Sat Oct 14, 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a big Jean Nicole. I agree the three signs rather than one large one is a bit weird. My first job was at one as a stockboy...our in IL opened in 1978 and the signage was different then.

Tue Oct 17, 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ascendent said...

This was my old junior high stomping grounds. During the late '70s, all the cool kids would have their parents take them to Tampa to shop, leaving me and my equally uncool pal to skulk around this already dying crap box.

The theater was one of the old Jerry Lewis cinemas. The only stores worth going to were the music store (Camelot?) and some head shop (I can't believe I forgot the name of that one!).

And, yeah: First Baptist at the Mall--a megachurch wannabe. What a cheesy end for a cheesy little mall.

Good times, though.

Thu Nov 16, 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the head shop was jems & junk ...

mood rings & black light posters ... those were the days !

Fri Nov 17, 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was also a SupeRX drug store in the mall a Ponderosa steakhouse out front...

Wed Dec 27, 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that back in 1984 there was a Chuck E Cheese restaurant that was also located adjacent to the mall.

From what I've gathered, 1994 was indeed the end for this failing mall in a declining area.

Sadly, I'm beginning to see these same signs popping up at the Lakeland Square Mall nowdays. It makes me wonder how many years left that place has in it!

Thu Sep 18, 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the 70's there was a store called "The Plum Tree" and two clothing store called "Britches South"and "Fox n' Hound". This was a small complex with limited offerings by todays standards. Previous postings are correct in their assesments.

Sun Nov 30, 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Natalie Oldenkamp said...

It was actually a pretty good mall for the times, we had a lot of fun shopping there. This brings a smile to my face!

Sun Jul 31, 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Shootist said...

The Lakeland Mall opened circa 1964. The Major store on the West end was Montgomery Ward, what was the major on the East end?

Mon Dec 26, 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Shootist said...

Wolco didn't exist in 1964. What was the original Major store on the East end of the mall?

Mon Dec 26, 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous bobby said...

I grew up in Lakeland and this was my hangout as a teenager. Sure, the shopping was way better over in Tampa -- and they had escalators! -- but for
Lakeland in the early 80's, the mall was a safe place to see and be seen. My favorite stores were the tiny Hallmark across from the Jean Nicole, the pet shop down by the Jerry Lewis theater (which boasted two -- two! -- whole screens!), the sole bookstore (the "Paperback Booksmith"), and the video arcade -- my games of choice: "Star Wars" and "Frogger". There was no food court, but there was a small, walk-up Orange Julius and a Morrison's Cafeteria. Of course, there were obligatory jewelry stores, a Florshiem shoe store, and an appliance store. I think the anchor store other than Montgomery Wards was a TG&Y (?); I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Woolco since we had a Woolsworth across Memorial Boulevard at Sears Town. Probably the most unique feature of the old Lakeland Mall was the huge black-and-white photo-collage mural across from the movie theater; in it were dozens of celebrities from Hollywood's golden age: W.C. Fields, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Tom & Jerry, King Kong, etc. When Lakeland Square opened with its food court, shiny marble floors, potted palms, and skylights, the simple little mall couldn't compete. Progress. (It sure would be nice to record my high score on that old school "Frogger" game one more time...)

Thu Aug 02, 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Anne said...

There was a Woolco there but I think it replaced the Montgomery Wards. I only remember one anchor store and the movie theaters were in the back. It is now a Baptist Church. I loved going there!

Fri May 16, 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went there with my grandparents on numerous occasions and we would always eat at Morrison's Cafeteria. If I remember right I think there was a video arcade as well.

Fri Jan 23, 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

East end of mall may have been a Zayre dept. store.

Mon Feb 02, 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born an Lakeland. There was only one Anchor store, it was Montgomery Wards. Wool Co was added later. The mall ended with a drug store and a small sundry store front.

Sat Feb 07, 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last comment was correct. I remember shopping for records in the Woolco bargain bins.

Jems and Junk was amazing, at least to my middle schooler sensibilities!

Sat May 23, 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

remember the old toy king and Ponderosa out front?

Fri Oct 09, 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Lakelander said...

I remember that toy store. The building still stands, I believe.

The cinema is still there, used by the church. Maybe someone who has seen both versions can describe what's different now.

Thu Jun 30, 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to visit this mall when my family used to visit from Canada on March break. Loved the toy shop as a kid and the Fox and Hound was a favorite for clothes shopping as a young teen. Great memories here.

Wed Apr 26, 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Remember the really cool Josie's clothing store in the mall?

Mon Oct 29, 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Wed Jan 27, 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Zayre was over by S Lake Parker Dr and Main St area

Wed Jan 27, 11:13:00 AM  

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