Remembering the Marketplace of the Midsouth

Drew Raines's Mall of Memphis Picture Collection

September 18, 2007

Click Drew-Gallery for a Gallery view of this page.

Drew Raines contributed these images to the site. His pictures and story are unique as he was one of the last (if not THE last) visitors ever to photograph the interior of the Mall.

He read the Summer 2007 article about this site in the Memphis Flyer and shared his story with us:

I was supposed to take shots of the property to be used in the property tax appeal. When I got there I tried to find a foreman or someone to ask permission to shoot, but there was no one around except the men operating the big machines which had already torn down half the mall.

I was shooting around the outside when I saw a van at one of the few remaining doors. There were men there carrying out huge panes of glass – salvaging them from the store fronts.

I decided to go in that entrance to shoot, and what I saw was amazing.

I was born in Memphis in 1982, so the mall occupies some of my earliest childhood memories.

It was hard to watch the place being demolished as I stood in the places I once ate and played with my mother.

The mechanical claws were tearing into the walls all around me. I was standing in the pit of sand and rubber tubing that was once a busy ice skating rink. The daylight poured in through the hole where the east leg of the mall once connected, giving an eerie illumination to the doomed escalator.

The glass movers were frantically trying to get all the glass out that they could. We were clearly not supposed to be in there. Our lives were at risk.

I explored the rapidly dying corridors to find “50% off!” adds still clinging to the storefront windows. Specials were still written on festive chalk boards at abandoned restaurants.

Finally a man in a hard hat ran in screaming.

“What the f*%$ are you doing in here! You want to get yourselves killed! Get the F%$# out! Now!”

Fortunately I had been inside long enough to shoot several rolls.

So, I am proud to say that I have the last photographs ever taken of the mall’s interior.

Drew

We are proud to say that Drew shared his images with us and they are amazing. The last moments of a dying Mall...

The Final Moments


Ending Moments...

Claire's Boutique is still intact for a few last moments.


Fence Divides Remains

On this side of the fence, the pavement and concrete curbing remains. On the other side only the scraped and scarred ground remains where Mall of Memphis Drive circled the complex.


Demolition Contractor

Biggs Demolition was the contractor for Mall demolition. We have contacted Biggs Demolition and requested copies of any photos or videos they may have showing the process. Any other information they may provide will be fascinating as well - we look forward to hearing back from them.


Trucks Haul Away Parking Lot Materials

Two dump trucks haul away debris as the collapsing mall stands in the background.


Daylight shines through the mall.

For the first time in 22 years, daylight shines through the food court and corridors of The Mall of Memphis.


Service Merchandise and the escalators in their last moments...

The Service Merchandise (formerly Wilsons) entrance has been stripped of it's wood paneling, items like fixtures, counters and lights have been removed where possible - many things of value remain - like the railing all through the mall. It was too difficult to remove apparently.


Entrance 3 Signs, No Longer Needed.

Entrance 3 was along the American Way side of the mall. Many people do not know that American Way between Perkins and Getwell was built and paid for by Stanley H. Trezevant, Jr. - the builder of the Mall of Memphis. He then donated the completed road to the city of Memphis. Why? To bring more traffic to his mall, of course.


Empty sign holder surrounded by weeds

The Mall had a traffic light on American way to make it easier for traffic to get in and out.


Mall under construction? No....Mall under destruction.

Its hard to tell here but this image is the end of the mall, not the beginning. The pallets are stacked with outdoor paving tiles that were being recovered for reuse.


Ice Skating movie?

The cinema was long closed when the mall shut down. Their movie listing sign was used to let passer bys know that there was still a public ice rink inside.


Holy Sign?

The sign up close shows it had been neglected just like the Mall had in their final years.


Sky Sign

Daylight passing through the sign.


Chalk board discarded with message intact.

A message to a great boss.


Rotated to read easier

Patrick hates to say goodbye to a great boss.


The empty rink

Looking back toward the front of the mall, the collapsed food court area is clearly visible behind the lower level eating area (two other views of the lower eating area here). The Skytron was left behind for the wrecking ball. The ice rink floor appears to be sand covered by plastic sheeting and another layer of sand. There were likely coils or other technology in the floor that would freeze water released in the rink.


Mall Scrapings

The tree in the distance shows how much of the site was removed. It appears that 12 inches or more had to be scraped away to remove the pavement and infrastructure.


Parking lot lights laid down for removal.

Once standing tall over the parking lot, many of these towers were used to try and keep the lot safe at night.


Mall lot excavated a foot or more in depth.

Many were surprised that the site became a pit when the extensive infrastructure was removed.


Entrance at light by Pizza Hut

It's interesting to sit at the Pizza Hut, look out the window and remember how much has changed.


Collapsed Food Court Upper Level

The Skytron may have been empty - it seems unlikely that it would have been left with expensive video projection equipment inside.....


Rescued Mall of Memphis Items

Paving stones, light fixtures and construction beams are stacked outside - saved from the demolition by someone.


Escalator To Nowhere

The ride up still seems possible, even though the Mall towards Dillard's no longer exists. The USA Today paper stand was left behind at the foot of the escalator. The big black box in the floor at picture left? The old Ice Chalet sign that hung above the entrance (see it here).


Lost Glory

The tile patterns in the floor are still visible in this picture, even as the walls come down. To see the tiles in their original glory, look here.


Fence View

The demolished mall reveals the interstate behind. The view from this angle had not been possible for 22 years. Pieces of curbing lay scattered all over the ground.


Inside View - Outside View

The pavement has been pulled up, the walls are coming down. You can see what was, what will be and what will never be again. The Mall of Memphis.


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