The modern mall was invented at Southdale. Designed to be a gathering place, Southdale Center brought the community together under one roof, where they could socialize, shop and perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee or cigar.
On October 8, 1956, seventy-five thousand visitors attended the grand opening to see what took $20 million dollars, 800 construction workers and nearly two years to construct. What they experienced was the first fully enclosed, climate controlled shopping mall. In the next week an additional 188,000 customers visited the 800,000 sq ft mall that combined two anchor stores with 72 shops and restaurants.
Free parking was available and sufficient with 5000 parking spaces on upper and lower levels. Areas were grouped into lots with well executed signage. Pictorial signs of animals were used to identify each lot. Pictures were preferred over the use of numbers or letters, which may be difficult to remember. The customers could easily see these signs as they were driving in and around the parking lots as well as when they retreated to their cars after a long day of shopping.
Places of rest were incorporated into the design. Trees and flowers along with music, fountains and sculptures created enjoyable spaces to pause and reward all of your senses during your long day at the mall.
Look like an original in one of these spiffy Southdale shirts by Untitled Colours.
2 Replies to “Destination: Southdale Center – Edina, Minnesota”
would you be kind enough to share the source of the first image (bird cage) in the article?
The images are from the 1960 book “Shopping Towns USA”