Remembering “The Four Seasons” at Chapel Hill Mall

When an unfinished Chapel Hill Mall with only 19 stores opened it’s doors in late 1966 shoppers must have truly been in awe as the walked into the mall for the first time.

Four Seasons at Chapel Hill Mall
“The Four Seasons” seen in this1967 image from the American Gas Association.

Upon entering the main court the focal point was quite obvious, “The Four Seasons” a sculpted mural that spanned a whopping 218 feet and was 13 foot tall. Designed by local Cleveland artist Brian Plesmid, the sculpture was made of troweled cement over mesh and decorated with multi-colored glass. The sculptures design was to depict the areas seasonal changes in nature.

Chapel Hill Mall in Akron, Ohio
This colorized image from 1964 shows nearly the full length of the sculpture and the hallway coming in from the main entrance.

To complement the massive sculpture, the main court also featured twin musical fountains designed by Jack Erbe of the Roman Fountain Company. The fountains splashed and danced to the sound of music played throughout the court area.

This Forest CIty Enterprises publicity photo shows one of Jack Erbe’s musical fountains.

Sadly, the mall didn’t age well. Even though a market study showed that in 1993 more people shopped at Chapel Hill Mall than at any other Akron area chopping center, merchants and customers alike thought the mall was quite dated. Dennis Weiland of Retail Consulting, a firm from Macedonia was quoted in the Beacon Journal as saying that “It needs something to bring it into the 90s”.

Christmas shopping at Chapel Hill Mall
A Chapel Hill Mall employee cleans up after a long night of holiday shopping.

So bring it into the 90’s is what management did. In a 1994 remodel, the Four Seasons sculpture was either covered up or destroyed, The twin fountains were removed and replaced with an updated single fountain, and a 5 million dollar food court, complete with carousel was added.

This photo from Chapel Hill’s Facebook shows that the main court was still quite nice, though not quite as awe inspiring as when opened.

In 2021 the mall closed it’s doors for good and is being turned into a business park. One certainly can’t say that Chapel Hill didn’t have a good run though as it stayed in business 55 years and outlived its major Akron competitor, Rolling Acres Mall by 13 years.

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