Sometimes as we are growing up, we take things for granted that we assume are going to be around forever. As we get older, we soon realize that that’s not the case for, well, pretty much everything. This includes the malls that we may have frequented in our teen years, the movie theaters where we may have gotten our first kiss, or the restaurant where we shared our first date.
It is; however, difficult to see these areas in such disrepair and degradation. The malls where we shopped seem to be in our memories and we might feel gloomy when we see them in deplorable condition, somehow remembering what it was like when we visited that kiosk to buy our first cell phone or hear a salesperson try to get us to purchase the windows in the house that we don’t even own.
These malls are reminiscent to see what our country was once like, but most of the shoppers have gone to larger stores, so they don’t have to go to more than once place. Some costumers have done away with leaving the house altogether; by simply a click of the mouse. Many consumers prefer to shop online without having to leave the comfort of their own sofa. Yet, as depressing as these abandoned malls may seem, there are quite a few that are unequivocally downright creepy.
10. Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center – Hawthorne, California
In 1977, Hawthorne was a booming city in California located near Los Angeles, filled with middle-class citizens; which seemed to continue growing. During that time, a mall with three levels opened in the center of the city that sought out those people who would spend their paychecks. As the years went by, those same customers started seeing more and more youngsters entering the mall with saggy jeans and assumed that these teenagers were gangs that were taking over their shopping area, and had found other places to shop. In 1999, the mall was closed permanently, yet it still stands to this day.
What once was a place that celebrities were performing commercials for, is now an empty shell of a building with a mere tricycle located on the bottom floor. Light is let in from the opened ceiling that appears to be more like prison bars, now that the stores have all closed.
9. Rolling Acres Mall – Akron, Ohio
The only mall in Akron, Ohio to have had two stories (according to one visitor’s rumination of the shopping area) was Rolling Acres Mall. It had opened in 1975, and was considered a bit of a drive for those in the area, since it was located in a rural area. At its busiest time, the mall had over 140 stores, which was really large for a shopping center in the 1980s. Kids that were with their parents found this place a lot more exciting than other malls in the area; especially with the glass elevator that would remind them of Willy Wonka. In 2013, the mall closed forever, yet it currently still stands, with empty stores and a glass ceiling that allows light to shine in on the rather dreary building. The building is apparently so fascinating, that a band had made a picture of the entrance (to the mall) as the cover to one of their albums.
8. New South China Mall – Dongguan, China
Of all of the abandoned malls on this list, this is the one that is actually still open. The problem is that there are no shops in this center that was imagined to have been the largest shopping mall in the world at the time it was opened, in 2005. In this space of over 7 million square feet, the escalators no longer run and are covered over, and when you walk around the higher floors you can hear the eerie echoes of babies crying, and children laughing. There is a “river” that runs through the first floor, that was originally rumored to have gondolas for customers to travel in, but it appears as though it never fully developed into the mall it was supposed to be. This place is now at one percent occupancy; which means that it is virtually abandoned.
7. Cloverleaf Mall – Richmond, Virginia
In 1972, Richmond, Virginia opened a string of 42 stores inside a large building and called it Cloverleaf Mall. It had a large court in the center of it with a twenty foot pool, glass trees and a great waterfall. Twenty years later, homes in the area were built far away from where the mall was located, so it was difficult for the businesses to stay afloat. Then something horrifying happened. In 1996, Charlita Singleton and Cheryl Sonya Edwards were closing up their shifts in the mall at the All-For-One Dollar Store, when they were brutally murdered. It had appeared as a robbery, but the case was never solved.
After the murders, nobody wanted to shop at the mall anymore; let alone, work there. It was commonly referred to as “the murder mall,” and parents refused to allow their kids to get part-time jobs at the shopping center. In 2008, African-Americans boycotted the mall after owners decided to celebrate Confederate History and Heritage month. Later that year, the county bought the mall and it continued to deteriorate. In 2011, all businesses had moved out and was rumored to be torn down; but a quick check on Google Maps shows that the mall still exists.
6. New World Mall – Bangkok, Thailand
The New World Mall in Bangkok, Thailand, was built in the 1980s, but in 1997 a fire had demolished part of the building. Instead of fixing the entire mall, the owners left it alone and eventually the mall was closed because it had no roof. The eleven-story mall eventually filled with water from the rain, and two years later the entire first floor looked very similar to a fishing pond. The residents of the town were growing sick of the mosquitoes that were attracted to the water, and decided to do something about it. They started putting fish inside the building. Freshwater tilapia fish, to be exact. The large fish swim around the escalators that are still intact, and residents have put up signs along the outside so people know not to throw anything into the water, as they don’t want to harm the creatures.
5. Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood – St. Louis, Missouri
Crestwood Mall was first opened in 1957, under a different name, and was an open-air shopping area to start with. In 1984, it was enclosed to become an indoor shopping mall. After that, it changed names a few times, lost most of its businesses, and ultimately shut down entirely in 2013.
When the mall was first opened, it was located fairly close to route 66; which was a very popular route that most travelers took when driving through St. Louis. After the opening of interstates, most people did not want to drive out of the way just to go to a mall, which in the long run, most likely caused the closing of Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood in St. Louis.
4. Brookside Mall – Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada)
Brookside Mall was a mall that sounds like it was pretty much the only mall available in a rural area. Locals would sell items that were similar to small-town grocery stores, and had a K-Mart inside the mall, and people would not have to go to different parts of town to separate stores. A few years went by and another mall that had stores, such as Zales and Radio Shack, opened only a few miles away. Brookside found it difficult to compete with a new mall that included items that people were looking for and had many different restaurants to choose from while shopping.
3. Lockport Mall – Lockport, New York
Lockport Mall was no extraordinary mall; in the fact that it didn’t have the title of “the largest mall in America,” and it wasn’t five floors tall. It was more than that to a woman who had gone back to re-visit her childhood by stepping foot back in the shopping center in which she spent a lot of her years growing up. Much to her surprise, she found out that Lockport Mall had closed the majority of their stores to make way for a new, large, box-store that was making its way into town. It is difficult to tell if the mall has since been demolished, but to one person, she will not be able to go back to where she got her ears pierced as a child. That just goes to show that you can’t go back in time. The mall may not eventually be there, but her memories always will be.
2. McFarland Mall – Tuscaloosa, AL
McFarland Mall opened in 1969, and saw its biggest economic growth in the eighties and nineties. As the years passed, large department stores that were located in the mall closed their doors and the entire wing that led to Dillard’s was blocked off completely. Eventually, the other stores started leaving one-by-one, and the residents started to think that maybe the area wasn’t such a good place to be shopping. In 2011, an 18 year-old man was found shot in the parking lot, and the mall has been quickly in decline ever since.
1. Randall Park Mall – North Randall, Ohio
At one time, North Randall was home to the “world’s largest shopping center.” Even the city’s seal has two shopping bags incorporated into it, to signify that exact phrase. So what exactly happened to this large shopping mall is not precisely known; however, it is rumored that internet shopping and e-commerce most likely has a lot to do with the downfall of this mall (and probably all of the other ones, as well). What was once home to a teenager’s first job, a child enjoying their first visit with Santa or shopping for that engagement ring, is now an empty vessel of damaged walls, destroyed property and an eerie sense of whomever did those things being right around the corner.