Some of the best memories of my '70s childhood and '80s adolescence took place in shopping malls. Nowadays there is talk that the age of the shopping Mall is passing (although you couldn't tell it from some of the malls where I live, where there are several thriving), but in the '70s and '80s the mall was at its height as a center of commerce and popular meeting place.
I have so many good memories of being in these climate-controlled, air conditioned shopping centers, and here are some.
The Style. Malls in the '70s and '80s had such a different style than today. Back then the typical mall aimed for a futuristic style that resembled the city in Logan's Run. Modern sculpture, water features, and lighting were common.
Fountains. Most Malls of the '70s and '80s featured fountains, usually with the same modern style. Lots of them too, often in different locations of the same mall. I loved those, and the fun ambiance they created.
The Stores. I remember the specialty stores that you sometimes found only in malls, where you found them in abundance. Food vendors like Fanny Farmer Candies and Hickory Farms. Bookstores like Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Books. Record stores like Camelot records. Big department stores, some no longer in existence, like Burdines, Robinsons, Maas Brothers, and Jordan Marsh. There always seemed to be a Store selling electric organs, featuring someone hired to play it and attract customers. Chick Fil-A was, at that time, found almost always in malls. Some of those names and experiences are now forgotten, others continue as much cherished establishments.
Growing up, my family used to eat at York Steak House, a family restaurant commonly found in malls. The decor at York often had the dark wood style so often found during that era, with a certain "Olde English" decor. We would then walk over to Doctor Pet Center, a typical mall pet shop where we would look at the various animals they had on display. And then we would go through the mall to enjoy the various sights and sounds of the mall. As a teen, this would involve bookstores and record stores, where I would indulge my musical and reading tastes as a nerdy teen.
Now, it is said that internet shopping and outdoor shopping centers are eclipsing the old malls. But I will always remember fondly the ways malls used to be. They were a safe place where you could stroll, get the latest record, and get something to eat. Here's to malls of the '70s and '80s.