Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pawnee Plaza Mall

Wichita, Kansas - 1973

Welcome to the Pawnee Plaza Mall... or the parking lot anyway, heh. This view is looking eastward towards the large Woolco anchor (you can just make out the sign over the entrance). There was also a Wall's IGA grocery store in this plaza as well.

There's not much about this place at all online, so piecing together its complete retail history is tough (so far anyway), but from what I've been able to gather, I think the mall dates to the 1970s, and according to this article, the site was purchased by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2002, and plans made to demolish the then existing mall and Wal-Mart store, to make way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the 25-acre property. I read a more recent blurb elsewhere that confirms the mall was razed around 2003--4, and the Supercenter indeed constructed in 2004, in its place.

If anyone out there knows any more about this mall, please comment so I can update the entry.

Mall history: 1970s? - 2003 approx. (dead)
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none

(Study image courtesy of the Wichita Public Library)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visited what was left of this mall, Walmart around 2000 -2001 on the way to the drive in. This had to be the most ran down, dirtiest walmart I had ever been in.It looked like it hadnt been really updated much since walmart had first taken it over from woolco in the early eighties. The rest of the mall had only a few stores, one I think was vanderbilts western store.It didnt look like there was any entrance left open to the center of the old mall.I think in the 70s it had a theater that would show midnight movies. This mall started to decline probably around the same time the Harry Street/Wichita mall on the same side of town did after Towne East Mall was built in 1975, then Towne West Mall a few years later. And yes, the entire mall was built into a Walmart Super Center.

Thu Nov 09, 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad. Just so sad. The story of the Walmart conversion and the run down quality of it is just sad.

Thu Nov 09, 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Researched this more and it did have a theater, Pawnee Plaza 4 and it did use to show The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the 70s.It is sad that these old malls are allowed to run down and then be torn down to build yet another walmart.

Thu Nov 09, 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Livemalls said...

Gotta love the Woolco.

Thu Nov 09, 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Woolco ruled! Great part of my childhood. I miss those days...

Thu Nov 09, 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

So, it was a real enclosed mall?
Now it's a Wal-Mart mall, aka, Supercenter.
An entire mall replaced by a single store with a ton of junk. What a shame.

Thu Nov 09, 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, it was an enclosed mall judging from Terraserver. Address was 501 E. Pawnee in Wichita.

Mon Nov 13, 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As bobby said, it was enclosed. The movie theater (that showed Rocky Horror) was next to a pretty respectable arcade. There was the usual buffet restaurant in there too that had a huge dining room with a gigantic round fire place in the middle. As the 80's progressed, stores inside closed down and telemarketing firms took over much of the interior. A large craft store moved into one of the anchor spots opposite from the Wal-Mart. (The Wal Mart still had the doors that would have opened into the interior of the mall, reduced to emergency exit doors near the shoe department.) The parking lot that dominated the photo was no longer required to be so large and many fast food restaurants popped up in the periphery. An annual traveling carnival would also stop by. It is unrecognizable now, completely razed and replaced with a Wal-Mart super center.

Wed Sep 26, 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the original Wal-Mart coming along in the 80's... It was located on the south side and there was also a Hobby Lobby on the east side. A bunch of other little shops were in there too and I also recall the theater. The whole original building was demolished and the Wal-Mart SuperCenter was rebuilt where the Hobby Lobby was. They've also rebuilt a little strip mall where the original Wal-Mart was. It's a pretty rough neighborhood, so getting a new Wal-Mart was a pretty bug deal. Last I was in that area, everything on that corner was new within the last few years.

Sun Apr 13, 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Marlan said...

If you really want a step back in time, I remember the old Pawnee Drive In Theater that was located where the parking lot now stands. So that was even before the Pawnee Plaza mall. I was looking for pictures of an old Ice Cream Parlor that used to be in the mall. I can't remember the name though.

Thu Jul 02, 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I to remember the old Pawnee Drive-In that used to occupy the space where the mall is/was now. The screen sat right on the corner of Broadway (US 81) and Pawnee. When the mall opened back in the early seventies, there was the Woolco, Walls IGA, Revco Drugs, Pawnee 4 Theaters, Town Crier Book Store, Furrs Cafeteria and Colonial Ice Cream Parlor.

Sun Mar 28, 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous generic viagra said...

Great picture, my father used to told me about this place, I had never been there, but from what all I heard I practically know the place.

Wed Jan 26, 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin P. Miller said...

I think the buffet was a Furr's. I certainly spent a significant portion of my youth at both the arcade and the theater. I also remember Vernon's Kansas School of Cosmetology lasting long into the mall's demise, when nothing was left but the telemarketers. Oh, and just for the sake of accuracy, that photo is looking southward, not eastward. :)

Sat Mar 19, 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The picture brings back so many memories for me. Wish it were bigger. I remember shopping with my folks at Woolco and going to movies at the theatres there. Only one I specifically remember was 'Herbie Goes Bananas' in 1980 or so. My grandma lived in the elderly apartmants across from Herman Hill park which is nearby too, and she would do her shopping at the Walls IGA.

Walmart opened in the Woolco space in 1986. I remember clearly because I bought the new release Carly Simon album 'Coming Around Again' there right after they opened :) It was the first Wichita Walmart. Prior to that, we had to drive to Derby to shop there.

But to echo someone else's comment, the newer-built Walmart still seems run-down and dirty.

Wed Jul 04, 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I was eating lunch in the Braums Ice Cream store just accross the street with Dad and remembering the old Pawnee Drive-In Theater that sat in that corner years back and decided to try to find any pictures of the big Pawnee Indian marque sign on the corner that show the movies playing, wish that someone could post a few for us to see. Bob Evans - Wichita, KS.

Sun Sep 09, 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Monkeesmama76 said...

There was a BEAUTIFUL tile mosaic of Wichita and Wichita Indians in the hallway of this mall. I also watched a few movies at the movie theatre here. In the early 2000s, Vernon's School of Beauty was here and my best friend and I used to get our hair done for CHEAP by students! I used to like to walk this mall with my children in the stroller for exercise at the time too. The Wal-Mart there before it turned into a supercenter was known as the ghetto walmart...LOL! I still think it's pretty darn ghettoish but I don't live in Kansas anymore (just moved 2 months ago). There was also a Business School there as well. So sad to see this mall shut down. My husband and I REALLY loved the mosaic mural. I so wish I would have taken pics of it before demolition and the addition of the super center.

Thu Sep 27, 05:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember well there was a drive-in theater there and in the 70's it was torn down to build the mall. The picture posted here is actually looking SOUTH, not east as the description states. If you were to look east you would see the Wall's IGA store and the Furrs restaurant. I went to many a movie there. Later on there was an arcade too. I remember a little jewelry story inside too. My favorite place there was the Shirt Shack. It was one of those little T Shirt places where you pick out a shirt and a design or lettering to be ironed onto it. I had plenty of T Shirts made for myself and as gifts there. It was fun to pickout a picture and the customize a saying out of letters to add to it. :)

Sun Oct 06, 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember this place well. I worked as a stock boy at the Woolco in the early to mid 1970's. My girlfriend worked in the grill at the front of the store until an accident dumped hot frying oil on her legs. Never saw her again. The place was L-shaped with the Pawnee 4 theater roughly in the corner with the Woolco to the right. I remember watching the 70's remake of King Kong there. Yes, the one that introduced Jessica Lange and has Kong climbing the World Trade Center towers. A mixed bag of memories there for me for sure!

Fri Feb 07, 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the other commenters covered my memories.

I recall shopping with my grandmother at the Walls IGA. It was awesome because I had a "cookie club" card there which entitled me to a free cookie in the bakery while she shopped. I can still recall the interior of the store clearly.

Walls' sat kind of where Walmart sits today (though Walmart is much larger). The main mall entrance was to the right of Walls (if you're facing east, the photo faces south). Immediately to your right when entering was the tshirt place (you choose a design from a bunch of framed pictures). The movie theatre was straight ahead, and the huge arcade was to your left as you approached the theatre.

Furrs wasn't a buffet, it was a cafeteria. I remember it being kind of fancy, with a big fireplace and live piano (or organ?) music. You didn't spoon your own food like a buffet, you choose items in small dishes and they would hand them to you. My aunt worked there in the 70s and early 80s and made a living wage doing so. There was another entrance on the rear with even more parking, which was closer to Furr's.

For some reason I remember the Wool's, but don't recall going in very often and don't recall the way it looked, as I do with Wall's IGA. I can only remember back to the late 70s, when I would have been 5-6 years old.

The last movie I recall seeing there was Ford Farelane, which is from 1990. I don't think the Theatre lasted much longer than that. It became a second-run house and I'm pretty sure the Palace put it out of it's misery.

Mon Jul 28, 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

I grew up in Wichita and yes i remember Pawnee Plaza mall back in the early 90s. There was a Furs Cafeteria there later the company became Furs family restaurant. They are now in bankruptcy and only have a few places still open.
I remember going here in the early 90s likely i think 90 or 91 and there was a unemployment office here. My dad went there and i remember one time going and it was going to be a very long wait just to get to talk to someone then he still had forms to fill out and other things. So i wondered the mall for a bit and saw that they had a movie theater.
So i went back asked if i could go to a movie while he did that and i saw Opportunity Knocks. I remember watching it and then going to find my dad after words. I do remember the arcade but i think by that time it was not that great.

The place opened to a Wal Mart on one end and it was a decent Wal Mart at first. But i know it became Gheto mart before long. I remember going to the Wal mart in the late 90s there and it was not that great and they had to have off duty police after dark. There was lots of crime there and they just did not take care of the place or really keep it up. I know some people i knew at the time who would steal from there and a couple who would go at night and just run around the store and do stupid things make lots of noise and moon the cameras. They were not the only ones to steal and such.

I never went to the mall when it was in its heyday but i don't really remember it being that great of a mall ever Usually everyone went to Towne East or Towne West but then again i didn't even go here till at least the mid 80s first. I just know we never went to it if we wanted to go to the mall we went to towne west usually and once in a while town east.

Its sad what has happened here and that it got taken over by a giant Wal mart. Like we need more of those. But i guess if the land was cheap thats why they took it over. Its not a really nice neighborhood not horrible but I'm sure crime may have played a part. Also the Mall was pretty small anyway never the size of TOWNE East and West

Sun Aug 03, 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Brian B said...

Not much to add to others' comments. I went to the Rocky Horror midnight shows several times in high school. In the '90s I went to the theater to see Silence of the Lambs, and I was the only one in the theater. Talk about eerie.

Sun Sep 21, 01:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember early 90s going there with my grandparents. It had furrs, arcade, movie theater, and a bakery. Hobby lobby was at the end. I remember trying to look in the bakery, but being too little to look into the window of the door!

Tue Mar 10, 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous RhondaCarra said...

At one time there was a Hobby Lobby there. And my mother-in-law had her beauty shop, Beauty Haven, inside the mall.

Wed Nov 04, 04:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you do a google search there is a pic of the back of the Pawnee Drive In movie screen. As far as I'm concerned that "mall" wasted a darn good drive in theater. They were building it in 1973, I grew up just southeast of there.

Wed Nov 04, 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger C Bisle said...

I worked at the Furr's Cafeteria when I was a teenager from 1980-1984. We had to wear these horrendous nurse looking dresses, nurse shoes, aprons, a little thing that went on our top buttonhole and this crazy thing on our head that had to be put in place with alot of bobby pins...and of course the dreaded hair net. Those were the days!! Alot of the stores at that time have already been mentioned in previous posts. There was a bakery right next to the Furr's called Millie's Country Cake shoppe. I wish I could remember the name of the arcade! All of us teenagers were professional at Tron, Galaga, PacMan, etc. We would all go there on our lunch hours.

Tue Nov 17, 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody asked about the ice cream store...I didn't see a response so I'll chime in. It was a Colonial Ice Cream store. Part of the Steffen Dairy family along with the Peter Pan stores.

Mon Feb 29, 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furr's Cafeteria was my first job in HS. I started there in 1987 and worked there three different times 'til about 1991. They had great food and it was a nice place to eat and work. I think about 1989 it became a buffett. The organ was gone by 1987 but I did hear about it. Lady by the name of Molly worked there from 1975 'til it closed in the 90s as a tea lady. The mall was pretty much dead in the 80s. Just could not compete with Town East.

Now when the WalMart opened, my understanding was that it was one of the largest and one of the busiest in the nation at that time. WM was just a regional store then. Wish I'd had bought some stock. WalMart never opened the "mall side" of the store because of security reasons. It was a nice store in the 80s but the area became a bit rough and innercity in the 90s. Still not an area I like to go. Just not a wealthy area. By the time the mall was demolished it was 30 plus years old and would have needed a lot of fixing. It just got old. Sad to see it gone but really, it wasn't built to last.

Tue Jun 21, 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Sambo's restaurant that was built on the corner of Pawnee & Broadway. I think it was torn down and is an auto parts store.

Sun Aug 28, 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wed Jun 14, 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was 1987 that Walmart opened where woolco was I helped set up the walmart

Fri Aug 11, 03:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember shopping at woolco with my parents when I was a kid. Me and my brother would go to the mall and hang out at the arcade and watch movies at the Pawnee theater. There was also a grocery store at the end of the mall called walls IGA. After walls IGA closed it became Michael's I believe. Such great memories.

Mon Oct 23, 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have two buddies here right now that have two different names for the arcade in Pawnee mall. They both are different ages so we wonder if it was not both at different times. Any input on this from others and which they remember it to be would be appreciated. Fun palace guy 1 says and guy 2 says Good times for the names for arcade.

Tue Oct 01, 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the mall for being kind of dark and gloomy on the inside as there weren't really any windows or places for sunlight to lighten up the inner corridors of the mall . It wasn't a very big mall and it kind of reminded me a lot of the Wichita Mall that was on East Harry St since it had that retro 70s feel to it. Anyway the most notable things I remember about it were the Cinema where I saw several movies during the 80's as well as the video game arcade which was actually pretty decent. I also remember the fairly large fountain in the center of the inner sanctum of the mall. It looked kind of like a pipe organ in that it had hollowed out bamboo like pipes that water would spill out of the tops of to collect in the pool of water below. I always thought it was kind of neat to view the fountain as a child and i always liked throwing loose change into the pool when I had the chance.

Thu Jan 09, 02:01:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Do you remember who owned the arcade? Our star wars pinball machine amd Stargate one was in here. My father william alan evans passed this last December. Just wanted to know if anyone remembered those or the owner please. Thank you
I remember coming with my father mid 90s to check on them. They are in his basement of our childhood home in great condition. He remarried and I am trying to find anything out about what I can do to keep at least mine in our family as his wife created a divided home. Each of them belonged to me and my younger sister. They were purchased when he was married to my mother I believe. Thank you

Mon Feb 22, 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Could anyone recall the owners name. Or do your buddies remember our family pinball machine's? Star wars trilogy and stargate? Thanks

Mon Feb 22, 06:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't remember the owners name. Sorry.

Sun Mar 28, 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember going to the Walls IGA and the arcade and movie theater. I saw Dragonslayer and Beastmaster at the theater and many other shows. I remember the Woolco store and thought it was a nice place. I miss the smaller indoor malls and the history that is lost by the building of Wal-mart stores everywhere. I hate the demolition of these places.It was a nice place to walk around in and I also remember a Mc Cleod's store as well.

Wed Apr 06, 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woolco, remember it well! I used all that space they had, from the Game palace, to the movie theater, around 1977, my uncle snuck me in the back of the theater and we watched an evil knievel movie. In the early 80's I would go by my self at the age of 10-11 years old, seen a movie called private eyes with Don knots, and Tim conway and Clash of the Titans, I probably watched these movies 6-7 times each while in the theater. Yes rocky horror movie night was definitely a thing. The last movie I seen there was Groundhog day. They had a Furrs cafeteria along with a charbroil grill that was part of Woolco, which I remember fondly. They had a town crier book store, and had plenty of cool vendors in the remote store sites along the middle of the mall walkway. And the was Vernon's cosmetology school of also has a Walls grocery store connected to the mall as well. I do wish there were more photos.

Tue Jul 05, 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! Sambo's and Taco Tico was to the east of that. Good 'ol memories.

Tue Jul 05, 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct about looking south. And the grinder man sub shop which is across the street is still there! That is something! 7-5-22

Tue Jul 05, 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure it has been mentioned on here but there was a Shirt Shack right across from the theater

Wed Sep 28, 11:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at the game room. It was owned by a man named Ron Minnick, and later by his wife (my cousin). My cousin is deceased, and I have not seen nor heard from Ron in years. He was a good person.

Fri Dec 02, 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There definitely were two different names, I worked there when it changed. I don’t remember the first name, but it changed ownership from a husband to a wife (legal issues with an ex I think). It was called Namesakes then. That would have been around 1987ish.

Fri Dec 02, 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can remember the mall when it was on its last legs. We had just moved in with my stepdad over in the 1700 block of S. Main from the west side of town, and it was a big adjustment. We ate at Furr’s a lot, and I can recall that the last movie I saw at the theater was Robin Hood: Men in Tights; it was on a very uncomfortable date, lol. And there was the original Walmart. Oh, that Walmart. I’m lamenting how terribly crappy that Walmart always looked. When you see those memes about “The People of Walmart”, I think that this Walmart was the one they had in mind. It was truly heinous. Good times.

Sat Dec 17, 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a great place. Could do many things in the same area!

Fri May 26, 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at Woolco & Furr's both at different times. It was great that you could also eat in the cafeteria at Woolco when you went shopping there.

Fri May 26, 01:17:00 PM  

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