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U.S. Inside/Background

History of Shopping Malls: The 30s-40s


The 30s-40s
But many experts consider Highland Park Shopping Village in Dallas, Texas developed by Hugh Prather in 1931, to be the first planned shopping Mall. LikeCountry Club Plaza, its stores were built with a unified image and managed under the control of a single owner, but Highland Park occupied a single site and was not bisected by public streets.
And, its storefronts faced inward, away from the streets-a revolutionary design.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Sears Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward set up large freestanding stores, with on-site parking, away from the Malls of big cities. Nighttime shopping was inaugurated at Town & Country Shopping Mall in Columbus, when developer Don Casto hired Grandma Carver (a woman who dived from a 90-foot perch into a 4-foot pool of flaming water) to perform her act in the lighted parking lot, bringing shopping Mall promotion to a new level.

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  The 20s
Shopping Malls have existed in some form for more than 1,000 years as ancient market squares, bazaars and seaport commercial districts. The modern shopping Mall, which includes everything from small suburban strip Malls to the millionsquare- foot super regional malls, had its genesis in the 1920s. The concept of developing a shopping district away from a downtown is generally attributed to J.C. Nichols of Kansas City, Mo. His Country Club Plaza, which opened in 1922, was constructed as the business district for a large-scale residential development. It featured unified architecture, paved and lighted parking lots, and was managed and operated as a single unit. In the later half of the 1920s, as automobiles began to clog the central business districts of large cities, small strip Malls were built on the outskirts. The Malls were usually anchored by a supermarket and a drug store, supplemented by other convenience-type shops. The typical design was a straight line of stores with space for parking in front. Grandview Avenue Shopping Mall in Columbus, Ohio, which opened in 1928, included 30 shops and parking for 400 cars.
 

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