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Press Press Page!

A Press Page for a dead mall website? Go figure. From time to time we are honored to be mentioned on someones blog or personal postings. Oddly, mainstream media has noticed the site too and are interested in it! Real press interested in this simple web site. No one has been more surprised by the attention this site and your humble host have received. Every time I think our 15 minutes of fame is over, something else happens. People loved the Mall of Memphis.

In the most interesting turn of events yet, the host of a TV based news magazine has expressed interest in telling our story of building a user contributed web tribute. The right way to do it is not clear yet but I think its quite an honor just to be considered!




The Shopping Mall Museum

Tennessee's Mall of Memphis

MALL OF MEMPHIS Cherry Road and American Way Memphis, Tennessee

Noteworthy as one of the most revered of America's failed shopping centers, Tennessee's MALL OF MEMPHIS experienced a rapid ascent and decline. The "Marketplace of the Mid-South" megamall would be in existence for only twenty-three years.

Planning for the dual level shopping hub got underway in 1972, when Memphians James Bridger and Stanley Trezevant, Junior started to acquire land at a site located 7.7 miles southeast of the "River City" downtown district. Eventually, 100 acres were acquired. Construction commenced in September 1979.

By this time, a company known as Mall of Memphis Associates had been formed to oversee development of the project. The participants were the aforementioned Bridger and Trezevant and El Segundo, California-based Ernest W. Hahn, Incorporated. The shopping center portfolio of the Hahn company was acquired by the Toronto-based Trizec Corporation in 1980, with the entity eventually taking on the official title of TrizecHahn.

As originally planned, MALL OF MEMPHIS would feature five anchors; Memphis-based Lowenstein's, New Orleans-based Maison Blanche, New York City-based J.C. Penney, Richmond-based Thalhimers (the chain's sole Volunteer State store) and a Baton Rouge-based H.J. Wilson Catalogue Showroom.

The mall, which encompassed 1,015,500 leasable square feet and one hundred and sixty-three inline store spaces, was officially dedicated October 7, 1981. The 2-level (205,700 square foot) anchor store on the west end was originally plotted to be a branch of Lowenstein's.

Before its opening, the chain was shuttered. Three Lowenstein's locations -including the prospective MALL OF MEMPHIS store- were leased to Little Rock-based Dillard's. A second -east end- anchor, a 2-level (160,000 square foot) J. C. Penney, was dedicated November 4, 1981.

Charter tenants at MALL OF MEMPHIS included Chick-Fil-A, GNC, Kay Jewelers, Spencer Gifts, Camelot Music, Docktor's Pet Center, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Record Bar and Your Father's Moustache. The primary features of the shopping hub were its Ice Capades Chalet skating rink, 17-bay Food Court, Mall of Memphis I-II-III-IV-V multiplex and 175-seat Community Room.

The tentative lineup of anchor stores was never realized. Philadelpha-based City Stores, the parent company of the Lowenstein's and Maison Blanche chains, filed for bankruptcy in July 1979...with plans for MALL OF MEMPHIS stores being altered.

As detailed above, the Lowenstein's store opened as a Dillard's. The Maison Blanche location was cancelled. Thalhimers, who intended to build a store on the south facade of the mall, opted -instead- to take the north side spot allocated for Maison Blanche. The original Thalhimers spot would never be filled.

H.J. Wilson built a 2-level (61,200 square foot) structure which opened, as a third anchor, September 1, 1982. A fourth, and final, anchor was realized with the dedication of a 2-level (123,300 square foot) Thalhimers, in July 1983. With its completion, MALL OF MEMPHIS enveloped 1,200,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and sixty-seven stores and services.

Commercial contemporaries of MALL OF MEMPHIS were SOUTHLAND MALL (1966) {6.8 miles southwest, in Memphis}, RALEIGH SPRINGS MALL (1971) {9.7 miles north, in Memphis}, HICKORY RIDGE MALL (1981) {3.4 miles southeast, in Memphis}, OAK COURT MALL (1988) {6.8 miles north, in Memphis} and -eventually- WOLFCHASE GALLERIA (1997) {11 miles northeast, in Shelby County}.

In 1985, stores in the Wilson's Catalogue Showroom chain were acquired -and rebranded- by Nashville-based Service Merchandise. The MALL OF MEMPHIS store would be in operation until 2001.

Thalhimers, a division of California's Carter Hawley Hales stores since 1978, was sold to St. Louis-based May Department Stores in 1990. The new owner decided to merge Thalhimers with its Hecht's division. The MALL OF MEMPHIS store was sold to Dillard's. It ceased to operate as Thalhimers May 19, 1992 and re-opened, as a Dillard's Men's, August 19, 1992. Simultaneously, the original Dillard's at the mall was refashioned into a Women's and Furniture Gallery operation.

The first renovation of the complex was done between July 1990 and July 1991. During the 10 million dollar project, larger skylights were installed and Food Court seating enlarged.

A second -mall-wide- renovation commenced in March 2000. Totalling 18 million dollars, the undertaking was completed the following December. The skating rink, now known as simply the Ice Chalet, was expanded, the parking lot repaved, a new HVAC system installed and a new teal color scheme applied to the interior. This was accompanied by a new logo.

A name change, to MEMPHIS PARK GALLERIA, had been proposed but was never officially instituted. Neither was a prospective 12-screen megaplex theatre. In spite of all the improvements, the mall was foundering. Robberies and shootings (some fatal) topped the headlines in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1999. The public perception of MALL OF MEMPHIS as a haven for crime was intensified by the local news media.

By 1991, James Bridger and Stanley Trezevant had sold their interest in the mall to Chicago-based JMB Retail Properties. TrizecHahn sold out, to the Chicago-based Carlyle Real Estate Limited Partnership, in October 1995. In June 1999, Sherman Oaks, California-based American Mall Properties acquired a 100 percent share of MALL OF MEMPHIS.

Attempts at a turnaround of the struggling shopping center proved unsuccessful. In 2002, an Atlanta-based entity known as Memphis Mall Holdings bought portions of the complex in increments. This phased acquisition ended with the foreclosure of the property later in the year. A division of New York City-based Lehman Brothers Holdings would be the final owner of the retail hub.

An anchor exodus was underway following the 2001 shuttering of Service Merchandise. Dillard's shut down its "Double-Header" operation at MALL OF MEMPHIS in October. J.C. Penney, the last operational department store, went dark November 29, 2001.

In November 2003, a mere twelve tenants were still in business at the gigantic shopping complex. December 24, 2003 was the last day of business at MALL OF MEMPHIS. Demolition started October 1, 2004 and was completed September 16, 2005.

Wal-Mart entertained the notion of SuperCentering the vacant mall site but eventually abandoned the plan. Since this time, no other scenario for a redevelopment of the plot has been proposed.

Sources: "Mall of Memphis" article on Wikipedia Comment posts by Randy and "Anonymous"*/ (Mall of Memphis website on the internet archive Wayback Machine) The Memphis Commercial Appeal


UT Memphis includes us on the site!

UT Memphis

Tennessee Malls: Something is changing in the once-mighty retail centers

from February 4, 2010

Tennessee Malls: Something is changing in the once-mighty retail centers

The Mall of Memphis has reinvented itself, though not in a way the owners would have liked. From the time the mall opened in October, 1981 until well into the 1990’s, Memphians remember just before Christmas parking on grass because the parking lot was full. Today one would be parking on grass all year long because that is all that is there- a vacant lot. Today the mall lives on, somewhat, through Memphian Doug Force who worked there at Video Concepts. He did not plan to become THE Mall of Memphis historian, but if the Mall of Memphis was the Civil War, Force has become its Shelby Foote.

Joe Spake's Web Blog

Tribute to dead mall also offers “lost Memphis” topics

by Joe Spake on January 31, 2010

Joe Spake's Web Log

The Marketplace of the Mid-South

I was looking up something about Memphis when I ran across a link to in a Wikipedia article. The link takes you to a page of, a tribute to Memphis’s flagship shopping mall. The site is a captivating historical piece presenting a thorough story of the mall from its beginnings to its ultimate demise and demolition. So I was stuck there for quite a while looking at pictures and reading about the mall in a format that could very well be the website of a fully operational mall.

Lost Memphis

I was really looking for the Lost Memphis section, but the icy weather lent itself to staying indoors and finding interesting stuff on the Internet the Lost Memphis section is wiki driven. Just a few of the topics are:

    * Baptist Hospital
    * Chisca Hotel
    * Claridge Hotel
    * Cybill Shepherd Childhood Home
    * EH Crump Stadium
    * Ellis Auditorium
    * Goodwyn Institute Building
    * Happy Hal’s Fun House
    * Hotel King Cotton
    * Kress Building
    * Malibu Grand Prix
    * MagicLand
    * Giant Memphis Shoe
    * Mud Island
    * Russwood Park
    * Sterick Building
    * Sears Crosstown
    * LibertyLand
    * The Zippin Pippin
    * Tennessee Brewery
    * Union Station
    * Mud Island PT Boat
    * Main Street Mall
    * MerryMobile
    * Number 1 Beale
    * Maywood
    * Adventure River
    * Enchanted Forest
      (and many, many more)

Whether you are new to Memphis, or an Old-timer like me, you will definitely find something interesting here.


We're mentioned in The Memphis Blog!

Our LostMemphis section is referenced in the Commercial Appeals Memphis Blog - Nice! The Memphis Blog

Remembering The Mall of Memphis

The Daily Helmsman

Remembering the Mall of Memphis By: Erica Kelley Posted: 2/25/09 What was once an elaborate 1.2 million square foot mall in the heart of Memphis is now an empty lot of rubble and grass.

The Mall of Memphis on American Way opened on Oct. 7, 1981, cost approximately $85 million dollars and was built by more than 4,000 workers.

Ice skating champion Dorothy Hamill performed at the mall's grand opening. The mall's ice chalet, unique in Memphis, gave residents the only opportunity to ice skate anytime of the year.

Twenty-two years later, the once thriving Mall of Memphis closed its doors forever.

The mall offered the usual shoe and clothing stores, a few boutiques, a movie theater and various restaurants. But it was still important to many Memphians.

Clinton Yelvington, as well others, remembered the mall and the time spent there well.

"I have many fond memories of the Mall of Memphis. I used to go there all the time when I was a kid," Yelvington said. "My favorite thing had to be eating chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A while watching the skaters below."

Laura DePauw recalled winning $100 for the All-American Dog Pageant Show hosted at the mall when she was 10 years old. Years later, when DePouw was in high school, she went to see the Hanson concert there as well.

For a mall with such auspicious beginnings, its decline over the years left many people wondering what happened.

Studies have shown that crime played a role in the decay of the mall's popularity over the years. Before the mall closed, there had been more than 10 murders on the Mall of Memphis property as well as countless robberies.

But it was the big anchor stores' decision to leave that ultimately determined its fate, said Ron Filbert, the mall's last manager. According to Filbert, crime had nothing to do with the mall's closure.

"I think it was plain and simple. The majors left us, though the downturn in the economy hurt us, too," Filbert said. "Crime had nothing to do with it."

Crime began escalating in the early 1990s. By 1998, Luby's Cafeteria closed, and a year later, the Mall of Memphis Cinema shut down. Dillard's announced it was closing shop as well, followed by J.C. Penney Co.

On Christmas Eve 2003, the Mall of Memphis locked its doors.

In late September 2004, the demolition team bulldozed the 95 acre lot in hopes that other companies would show interest.

"It wasn't until we began to demolish the space that opportunities began to present themselves because there was a clean canvas to look at," said Alan Long, who is overseeing the site for the owner. "We are looking for investment people for the highest and best use of this site."

Many ideas were offered about what to do with the vacant space, including hotels, a police precinct, housing, a library and a Wal-Mart. At one point, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. representatives said they had a contract for 20 acres of the lot, but they withdrew from the agreement months later, blaming the economy.

Doug Force, a program management adviser for FedEx Corp., created a Web site to commemorate what Mall of Memphis offered to the community for its 22 years.

"It truly was just an accident. I was testing Wiki software, and I needed a topic to test the software with," Force said. "The mall was closing, and it seemed like a big waste. I had a lot of good memories there."

Others who visited the Web site said they felt the same way that Force does. Visitors have shown their appreciation by submitting their own stories and experiences. Since the start of, more than 1,568 people visit the site each month. Even though the mall is gone, its memory lives on.


Urban Decay Immortalized Online

Memphis Business Journal

Call it a small piece of Memphis nostalgia. The former Mall of Memphis, now demolished, has been immortalized on the Internet thanks to the efforts of one man and several anonymous contributors.

Doug Force, a program management adviser for FedEx Corp., got the idea for last year after testing out software for work.

"It truly was just an accident. I was testing Wiki software, and I needed a topic to test the software with," Force says. "The mall was closing, and it seemed like a big waste. I had a lot of good memories there."

Other people throughout the country agreed, and after only a few days, the site had more information added by other users who took advantage of the Web site's open policy.

"Somebody in North Carolina added 150 store names. To this day, I don't know who they were," Force says. "The nature of the site is anybody can do anything without having them tell us who they are."

Along with several nostalgic photos of the mall when it was open, the site includes a list of former stores and restaurants, advertisements and current photos of the mall's demolition.

But the Mall of Memphis isn't the only abandoned location the site features. Thanks in part to its popularity with Memphis history buffs, the site has become a memorial to urban decay throughout the city. Force has even registered for further expansion of the site.

Death of the American Shopping Mall

Life After The Oil Crash Forum Discussion

Feb 22, 2008 - The indoor shopping mall is dying. I believe most malls will be extinct in the next 5 years. The coming recession/depression will kill them all. Yes, I think a big reason for this is that people are maxed out on credit, spending money they never had- especially in the 1990's. Also, I think the internet also killed the mall. Malls simply cannot compete with internet shopping. Shopping online is usually cheaper and has a practically unlimited selection. Malls never had an great selection, and were usually overpriced.

February 18, 2008 The MPLIC Reference Highway - a blog supporting the activities of The Memphis Public Library and Information Center had this to say about us:

"This site offers information about, and some history of, the Mall of Memphis, including some wonderful collections of photographs of the Mall in its heyday, as well as some demolition photos. Even though the Mall closed its doors forever on Christmas Eve 2003 and has been completely demolished, this site averages over 1500 visitors a month, so an interest in the Mall of Memphis continues to exist."

Memphis Public Library and Information Center

January 2008 - Look for us to be mentioned in the Street Talk section of the The Memphis Business Journal soon! Doug Force spoke with MBJ Reporter Trey Heath recently on the evolution of this site. Thanks Trey!

January 2008 - The Commercial Appeal makes a reference to us in an article on the possible future for the Mall site. Retail may go by the wayside and the mall become industrial or commercial. It's an open lot at this point.....

Shopping A Dead Mall Site


Lot of Potential - LEAD STORY - Monday March 26, 2007

Mall of Memphis once was retail central. Now what?

AMY O. WILLIAMS | The Daily News

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: The 95-acre vacant property at Perkins Road and Interstate 240 was once home to the Mall of Memphis. Even before the mall was torn down two years ago, it was a shell of its former bustling self.


Editor's note: This is the first in The Daily News' five-part Retail Reinvented series about the past - and future - of the local shopping landscape.

The former site of the iconic Mall of Memphis now lays open and empty, thanks to a demolition more than two years ago of the 1.2 million-square-foot retail center. But that might change within the next year or so as the mall site could begin to resemble the thriving retail center it once was.

In September, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. confirmed the mega-retailer was under contract for 20 acres of the 95-acre site at Perkins Road and Interstate 240.

Wal-Mart officials still are evaluating the site as the possible location for a Super Wal-Mart, said Scott Barton, vice president of retail services for CB Richard Ellis Memphis (CBRE). A division of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., CBRE represents the buyer.

"It's a great site. It's 95 acres right on the interstate," Barton said.

Memphis Daily News - Lot of Potential (link to article) featured in Memphis Daily News! (text of article)


Web Site Devoted To The Mall Of Memphis

And now for something completely weird ...June 7, 2007

"When the Mall of Memphis opened, it was considered one of the South's premier retail destinations. In addition to more than 200 stores, it featured an Olympic-size ice-skating rink that became one of its main attractions.

Early promotional materials bragged: "The Mall of Memphis is the region's most centrally located shopping and entertainment destination, truly the Marketplace of the Mid-South. A growing mix of exclusive retail and dining, combined with improved amenities including the expanded Ice Chalet, create a dynamic and exciting environment for the entire family."

But over the years the neighborhood around the once-glitzy mall declined, crime increased, and developers eventually closed the complex. Today it's a vacant lot.

Well, if you long for the "glory days" of the Mall of Memphis, you might want to pay visit to a website called "The Mall of Memphis: Remembering the Marketplace of the Mid-South."

It's packed with tons of information (Did you know they found mastodon bones during excavation for construction of the mall?), as well as photos showing the mall being constructed, packed with shoppers and skaters, and being demolished.

Which leaves us just one question. Who the heck does this stuff?"

From the editor: That story apparently generated some additional interest in the site because of traffic went way up. Most of the new traffic was coming from The Memphis Flyer. A short time later, the Flyer called me and asked for an interview! We love those and the result was the next article.

Mall of Memories BY CHERIE HEIBERG | JUNE 21, 2007

Memphian keeps former mall alive on the Web.

Home / The Fly-By / Spotlight

"It's been three years since the Mall of Memphis was demolished. Since then, the once-bustling site of the sprawling shopping center has been largely forgotten, except when dead bodies are found on the now-vacant property.

But Memphian Doug Force remembers. In 2004, shortly after the mall's demise, the FedEx program managment adviser founded, a Web site dedicated to the extinct Mall of Memphis.

After high school, Force worked at the mall's Video Concept store, selling VCRs and big-screen TVs. When he heard that the mall was about to be demolished, he decided to do something in honor of the place.

"I started this out of curiosity, seeing if was available, but it had been purchased by Amazon," he says. "It's telling. [Amazon is] kind of like the new mall, the online mall. But was available, so I bought it."

The Web site has changed since its melancholy beginning in 2004 when it consisted of a picture and "RIP." Now it includes about 600 pages of information and memories of the mall."

The complete text of the first article is here: Web Site Devoted To the Mall of Memphis

The second, follow up story is here Memphis Flyer Interview


A couple of blasts for the past from Memphis - June 27, 2007

Marc writes in his blog that we are 'crazy fans' of the Mall. Well....... yeah, so? :)

Two big hangouts of mine when I was in high school were the Mall of Memphis and the Antenna Club. Neither one of them still exist. But memories can be had on the interwebs. Yes, it seems both of them have fans crazy enough to dedicate whole web pages to them....

<BR> Likes Us!

Originally Posted by JMT, strumpeace 6/29/2007

The decline and collapse of Hickory Hill is one of the most fascinating and rapid urban declines ever in the history of the US.

Ain't it the truth! It's like it happened right before our very eyes. One day, the Mall of Memphis was the premier mall in the Mid-South. A year later half the stores were closed, and a year after that it just shut down completely. And those movie theaters nearby (Applewood? Applegate? Apple-something-or-other) went from being the nicest movie theaters in the city to being vacant in just a few months, it seems. When I was a student at Ole Miss, that's where we'd go: Mall of Memphis, Huey's (in that movie theater shopping center), and the movie theater. Now they're all gone, and I wouldn't dare wander around there at night unarmed.

I still say Midtown is the coolest place in Memphis. Nobody brags about a city's greatness because of its suburbs; it's the cool inner-city neighborhoods which make a city great.

You mentioned the Mall of Memphis. Have you visited The guy who put it together has done of great job of documenting the mall's last years. Absolutely fascinating stuff.

City-Data on the Mall of Memphis


Noted In Memphis

Hey all. I left Memphis for the Navy in 1977 at the tender age of 18 and I never set foot in the Mall of Memphis but my 2 younger brothers shopped there a lot. I tripped over a website devoted to the MOM memory:

Some neat info and before & after pics. Make sure you scroll down the left menu and click on "Lost Memphis" for some more nostalgia. Some old stuff there!!


Commercial Appeal Forums

The Memphis That Used To Be = The Memphis of My Childhood Vacations

I found this website through my Wikipediaing called and I love it. It talks about the Memphis that used to be--the Memphis of my childhood vacations. If you've ever been interested in "Lost Memphis," check out this website.

Jacob Gavin's Captivating LiveJournal

Mac Users Miss the Mall Too

Only in Memphis . . . I have lived in the Boston area for the past thirty years, but I grew up in Memphis TN. For 'long gone retail' you can't beat the Mall of Memphis. Opened in 1981 (after I had moved away); went into a slow decline in the 90s; closed and demolished in 2005. It's a big grassy field now.

Long Gone Retail

One of the more fascinating mall histories is that of the Mall of Memphis, which opened as one of the largest malls in the country in the early 1980s -- and was demolished in the early 2000s. The demise of the Mall of Memphis has been well-documented at


Goner Records

The very active message boards at Goner Records included us in some of their their discussions on a hot topic! Some see the safety perception problem that sank the Mall as a cautionary tale for the "Live From Memphis" project - which might benefit by actively managing the PR perception the media create as an offshoot of the fact that their agenda differs from the people and things they report on.

Others think that our suggestion the Malls unfortunate name choice may have inadvertently contributed to its own demise by too easily fitting into the medias "catchy headline" agenda - making the phrase "Mall of Murder" an almost iconic part of the Memphis lexicon - is silly.

Crime and White flight killed the Mall and the area say some. What do you think? Goner Records


Sept 2006 - In a recent issue of the Memphis Flyer, an article entitled "Mall of Memories" was included that discussed the Mall of Memphis living on in the web, and featured us, as a primary example. It's great to get a mention like this in a publication and everyone who has contributed a story, a picture or mall information is again thanked for taking the time to contribute. In 5 years, mall information will be more scarce than it is today, so if you have something, please send it our way! gets mentioned in Memphis Flyer article! Thanks Flyer!

Waxing Poetic on the Mall of Memphis

Tue Oct 24, 2006 Aunt Jackie

Now all we have left is a few photos and a head full of misty memories. Visions come rushing, visions of laughter, frigid breeze coming off the ice chalet, tantalizing smells from the food court as we walked, shopped and "people watched"... endlessly dreaming our day away at that Mall. Yes, times they are a'changin and people are too... never again will there be a mall, or an era for that matter, quite like The Mall of Memphis... the way it was then.

Waxing Poetic on the Mall of Memphis

MySpace Posting - Chuck69dotcom

Monday, December 11, 2006

With me already spending an arm and a leg at the strip club, the grocers and everywhere else, I chilled out at home. Some of the cool things I saw on the web included a website called, which chronicled the history of the biggest shopping mall in America that was demolished. The mall was over a million square feet, had room for 150 stores, an extensive food court, two floors, a five-screen movie theatre and its centerpiece, an ice rink. Sadly, the media - which leaned very conservatively - constantly reported on the latest shooting or the latest robbery at the mall, giving people a sense of fear of going there. As a result, the mall had a rapid decline in customers and stores closed left and right. In 1993, the mall had 139 stores. In 2003, it was down to just 16. On Xmas Eve, 2003, the mall shut down for the last time with little fanfare, and in 2004, it was demolished. Today, 90 acres of grass and field stands where the mall once stood, though rumor has it that a Wal-Mart may be built on the former site.

Another thing I checked out was this set of scary French commercials of the 1950s; many of the ads had to use very dramatic music and animation, such as the ones for Scandale, Total Gasoline and Orangiana. However, the ad for Sacred bumpers is quite laughable. They don't make 'em like these anymore....

Time to press on... L8r, -C.