Tuesday, May 03, 2016

I Miss the Old Days

Scenes From the First American Shopping Mall, Filmed in 1956 


Richard Robinson said...


Anders E said...

Very cool. And then I recalled that the first indoor mall in Sweden opened up not that long afterwards. Which turned out to be wrong - it opened up in Luleå (that's in the deep north) already in October 1955. Some claim it is the first indoor mall in the world. It had the rather dull name "Shopping".

I wish the clip below was in colour, but I guess it will still make you miss the old days. Note the accordeon contest. I myself may not miss that so much.


The interior had an unusual and very modernistic layout, courtesy of architect Ralph Erskine.


Below is a pretty lady outside the entrance in 1959. Nothing to not like here.


I visited the place in early 1983 when I happened to be in town. Me and some friends went to a pub inside and had a few beers while watching a hockey game. Good times. The building at that time still looked basically as it had in 1955. Unfortunately the interior has been much rebuilt in recent years, which has destroyed most of Erskine's original vision. I too miss the old days.

Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Anders. That's some wonderful stuff.

Anders E said...

What is not understood from the clip for non-Swedes is that this Luleå mall attracted visitors from (very) far away. Not only from the vast areas beyond the arctic circle, but also from Finland - some from as far south down the coast as Jakobstad (check a map, that's quite a trip). And there would be chartered bus trips arranged, whereupon arrival a mall hostess (yes, they really had mall hostesses) would make a welcome speech and then a translator would give the same speech in Finnish. Now, that's service.

Speaking of faraway chartered bus trips to shopping centres - until 2006 Sundsvall, Sweden had the most northernmost IKEA store in the world. So there were chartered bus trips from 400 miles away or even further (I saw them). Even more bizarre, some people took their mobile homes and camped on the Sundsvall IKEA parking lot for weeks (yes, I saw that too). This became a peculiar subculture of its own, and soon IKEA staff would walk around in the morning handing out a breakfast package to these campers. I wonder if the Haparanda store today has campers like that, but in this case from Russia (Murmansk/Archangelsk).

Bill Crider said...

Walmart in the U.S. had similar campers for a while. I'm not sure that it's still allowed, though.