Sunday, July 15, 2007

Altamonte Mall Interior

Altamonte Springs, Florida - circa 1970s

Do not adjust your computer monitor... but do enjoy Altamonte Mall's funky '70s color design, which includes blood-red carpeting, hickory paneling, and yellow and red colored fountain lights (the red one's a groovy dandelion fountain, too), which probably changed to other colors as well! Spectacular, I say.

This is a view from the mall's center court area, and I actually featured this same photo before, however that version was black and white, and also reversed!--which I (and no one else), ever noticed back then. Whoops. Well it's fixed now with this entry, and in Living Color to boot! :) A reader reminisces about Altamonte Mall as a kid:
"The center court was filled with fountains (one more is to the right and there was another fountain underneath the stairs just off center court)... the large fountain to the left, along with the other fountains, were lit with multi-colored lights and there were plenty of seating areas around the fountains. At that time, it seemed like the only 2 level mall in the Orlando area. Today, this mall is quite sterile the center court area is totally different."
Mall history: 1974 - present
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Previous entries: 1

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Blogger Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

I was here in 2001 and don't remember it looking a 16th this cool. Wasn't entirely into mall architecture so I didn't pay a lot of attention but I never recall it being too memorable. Amazing image. I cannot imagine who would want to decimate this brilliant spaceship '70s interior without preserving some of it - looks like space probes are suppose to come out of those ceiling "hatches" and the grid-lit ceilings shoot frickin' laser beams.

Sun Jul 15, 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Kangoon said...

So groovey

Sun Jul 15, 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This photo captures all that used to be inviting, fun, and interesting about so many malls. When I see a photo like this, I grieve that more and more mall owners and developers started throwing creativity out the window in favor of dull, safe, and easy.

Sun Jul 15, 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Parsons said...

Love this picture! An excellent example of a mall in its heyday.
Boy, what were we thinking when it came to red carpet? Pools of blood? The Red Sea? Ha ha!

Mon Jul 16, 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Lol! I hear ya, Scott.

J: Well said. I wholeheartedly agree--this shot sums up the term "vintage mall" in my book. And all that was cool about them. So groovy, like Kangoon said.

Nicholas: you're right about the ceiling! :D In fact, this photo could almost be a shot from some sci-fi flick like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Solaris.

Thanks for the great comments guys!

Mon Jul 16, 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! When you posted this in black and white, I wanted so badly to see what this would look like in color and now that I got my wish, hmm, my reaction isn't what i expected. Lots of red. Man oh man!

Mon Jul 16, 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This really takes all the design elements from the 1970s and mashes them all into one great scene there.

It really 'does' look kinda spacy. Maybe there's a mall out there beyond the stars in another galaxy, on another planet that looks like this.

Great pic.

Tue Jul 17, 11:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wed Jul 18, 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interior of Altamonte Mall back in the 80s was classic...and those fountains were awesome. Changes took place in the late 80s-early 90s and re-vamped the center court area. A fountain still exists, but not as cool as the previous four that were there. A couple of modern Altamonte Mall pics can be found here and here, but the new cannot compare to the old and the interior of the Mall at Millenia is more impressive than the new interior of the Altamonte Mall.

Fri Jul 20, 02:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome pic. I wish all malls still looked like this...oh well. :sigh:

Fri Jul 20, 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Pseudo3D said...

I visited Altamonte Mall in 2001. Didn't pay too much attention to the architecture...I was very young at the time, and was mostly interested in the now-deceased Station Altamonte (Trainland). It was renovated in 2003, where they redid the food court, the main mall, and added Barnes & Noble.

Fri Jul 20, 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...


Sorry for the lack of posts from me the past few days, but I just did a massive (aka "pain-in-the-rump!") computer overhaul/repair job (unexpected, of course), which left me off the internet and unable to blog.

But I'm finally almost done getting everything back up and running (and I'll now be better able to serve you!), so groovy new mall pix will resume later. Thanks for your patience! :)

Sun Jul 22, 05:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How high a resolution do you have these things in? I was thinking of sending a bunch of the coolest photos to iPhoto in book form to have my ultimate "Old Malls" photo album...

Sun Jul 22, 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there in 1978, and it looked exactly like the postcard! As a kid from Rochester NY visiting with my aunt & uncle, a trip to what was then one of Florida's largest malls was so exciting. They had four anchors-Burdines, Sears, Jordan Marsh, and Robinson's. I even might have a few family pictures that we took at Center court! Altamonte Mall rocked!

Wed Jul 25, 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Aron Doell said...

Looks like something out of the movie Logan's Run!

Wed Jan 27, 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

I remember when they remodeled this mall (very early 90's, I think). They destroyed the center by literally digging the whole thing out with bull dozers inside the building, and one could watch through windows in the temporary walls around the court. This mall now has about as much architectural significance as a telephone pole. The company that owns it filed for chapter 11 last year.

Sat May 29, 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Lena Andreia said...

I've gone to this mall my entire life, and I remember when they renovated it too. It would have been around 1988/1989 when they closed off the center court. I was 5, and my Nana took me there often. I used to throw pennies into that fountain. I remember how upset I got when they closed this off... My Nana passed before they finished renovating it, and the next time I visited I couldn't recognize the place.

There IS a mall nearby (if it's still open) that has some character, though. The Oviedo Mall still has large glass ceilings and large oak trees right inside the building--it's unique among malls here, anyway. Definitely a dying if not dead mall, though.

Sat May 21, 01:58:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

In the early 80s, does anyone remember a resturaunt place immediately to the right of one of the anchor stores. It was some Italian sub place and had a mannequinn outside with a tray and a sign with the specials. He had brown curly hair..... ring a bell?

Mon Aug 13, 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it was a German restaurant with mostly bar seating and a few tables. Can't remember the name but I do remember the hot German potatoe salad!

Sun Jun 23, 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The restaurant you guys were thinking of was in fact a German restaurant called Wunderbar.

Thu Jan 16, 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous DrPepper said...

I lived in Altamonte Springs for 25 years, even a few across the street from the mall. You're missing a very important part. There was an inclined rampway made of concrete between the 1st and 2nd floor that also incorporated a small stage. That photo was probably taken from the stage. The original Altamonte Mall remains in my memory as one of the most interesting malls I have ever been in.

Sun Jul 13, 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The German deli was Mr. Dunderbak's. I worked there in the late 70's. We moved here in 1970 and I remember being so excited that a big shopping center aka mall was being built. I loved that place! Bought my aquarium fish from Dr. Pet Center, cool boots from The Wild Pair and my very fist professional attire from Parisian many years later. Spent many an afternoon having a Hot Fudge Nutty Nutty at Farrells Ice Cream Parlour. I still love that mall but the wonderful original vibe is gone. I've recently moved back to Altamonte to take care of my mom and was just there at the mall with her yesterday.

Sat Jul 11, 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Thu Oct 08, 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Thu Oct 08, 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had a blast in that mall it was like Fast Times at Ridgemont High except for I went to Lyman worked in Tiffany's Bakery 1980-81 game rooms were cool upstairs small one ,downstairs big one Orange Julius, bresler's ice cream, the big hot Sam soft pretzels, Farrell's Ice Cream ,Spencer's, dunderbaks Scotto's Pizza Morrison's Cafe ,then raffles, Camelot music ,then go over to Interstate mall and watch movies.

Fri Nov 10, 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember working at Altamonte Mall in the 70's at Florsheim shoes right behind that colorful fountain. Remembering.... Jordan Marsh, Burdines, Robinson's and Sears as anchors. Bob's old fashioned Ice cream bars, Smaks hamburger joint, Farrell's. The only Chick-fil-A in Orlando at the time. Tiffany's bakery, Little Norway, Shoppers drug Mart. Chess King, lot's of memories.

Wed Nov 29, 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger digitalbeachbum said...

I remember when they built this mall, it was after the Interstate Mall (which was crippled after the Altamonte Mall opened). Chick-Fil-A was on the bottom floor near that pictures and the employee would stand out on the corner giving away free samples. My brother and I would go to Farrell's Icecream where they had this stretcher with a massive punch bowl in the center. They would fill it up with 10 gallons of ice cream, nuts, cherries, whipped cream and other goodies. Then they would come running out and around all the tables making noises and yelling, while sirens screamed and lights flashed. Game rooms were the thing. My parents would drop me off with $5 and leave me there for hours.

Fri Feb 23, 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger MarkinFL said...

Really glad to know it is not just my childhood memory mis-remembering how cool this mall was. We used to go as family on a regular basis. I could be left by the fountains for as long as anyone wanted to do boring shopping. And Farrels? What a fun ice cream shop! Free birthday ice cream sundaes. (Also the only place I ever saw that other quintessential 70's icon, a streaker. Right out of the back door of Farrels into the parking lot!)
Malls did help kill the small downtown shops, but I loved this mall.( Interstate Mall did die fast, it was so boring, and just had the theater as a real draw( 6 screens!)

Mon May 14, 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

When did that chick fil a open. Seems like around 78 or 79. I remember the free samples too. Going to that mall was an event lol. We lived in Cocoa, so it was a pretty good drive for us. Good memories.

Sat Nov 24, 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is that wood or concrete?

Sun May 24, 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger J Hudson said...

This was my go-to mall as a teen. Loved Mr. Dunderbok. My Mom let me pick out German wines to sample as a teen. Also, my karate school had a martial arts tournament in the middle of the mall called, Brawl at the Mall in the late 70s.

Mon Dec 07, 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grew up in altamonte, moved there in 75 as a 5 yr old. The mall was the place to be. Remember the chick fil an and the fountains. As a kid I never could reconcile how I could come in on the second floor and leave on the lower floor.

Sun Oct 29, 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were all celebrities. Everyone got the royal experience. Plus red is an energy boosting color.

Sat Jan 13, 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked in Oviedo Mall. The food court. To me was out of balance chopped up layout and the stupid escalator right there. Never felt calm there. Forced myself to grab a bite then left. No Altamonte Mall. We used to complain soooo much about the traffic, remember? Now Fashion Square had to come second and was OK. Better around the holidays people were in better moods.

Sat Jan 13, 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Dunderbak's of course. I worked there.

Sat Jan 13, 08:14:00 AM  

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