Today, we remember the glory days of the shopping mall, back when we revered them for all they had to offer – especially if you were a teenager. We arrived in groups, usually after convincing one of our parents to drive us over and drop us off for the day. We sought out our friends and our love interests, we exchanged our hard earned allowance for a slice of pizza or ice cream cone, and we made sure we still had enough money left to convert it into as many quarters as possible, for every mall worth its weight had a respectable arcade.
Malls first appeared on the American landscape following WWII, offering a centralized place for suburban communities to shop. Most malls consisted of a few large “anchor” stores at the ends, filled with smaller shops in between. And unlike the malls of today that seem to all have the same stores in them, there was much more individuality from mall to mall. But they all had one thing in common…
That’s right, the arcade. As a teenager, if you weren’t eating or Christmas shopping, you were probably in the arcade. These dark cavernous rooms, filled with the sounds of laughter and frustration amidst all the electronics beeps and voices, were literally packed on the weekends as we took out our collective pent-up school stress out on these maddening machines. And if you could impress a member of the opposite sex at the same time, all the better. If not, high score bragging rights among your peers would have to suffice.
For those who would love reminisce over these magical places from yesteryear, we highly recommend that you check out Malls of America, a wonderful website with a collection of vintage photos that will really take you back.
And before we go, we want to invite you to share all of your favorite mall memories with all of us in our comments section. Tell us about your favorite mall, and why it was special to you as a kid, as we remember the dying breed of shopping malls from yesteryear, here at Retroland.