Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Crumby Run-Down Malls of St. Louis #3: River Roads Shopping Center

I have to admit that I had never even heard of River Roads Mall when I was growing up, which is saying something because I was obsessed as a pre-teen in seeing every shopping mall in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Perhaps it is not surprising that the mall was torn down due to lack of business in the last year. I captured the pictures below in early 2007 and I can only imagine that much more of the mall has been demolished.I asked someone who grew up in North County if they ever shopped at River Roads when they were young. They laughed, stating that even 15 year ago they wouldn't be caught dead there. So needless to say, due to the lack of regional visibility and the perception that River Roads was a dumpy, dangerous mall, the shopping center was doomed.I have often stated that the truth doesn't matter, but rather what people see as the truth is what really matters.Despite the mall being a great example of modernist mall design, the owners and surrounding public officials saw no need to keep River Roads.I finally learned about River Roads from DeadMalls.com, and by then it was already dead and not even on life support.Built St. Louis also has some great pictures of the old department store.
Also, make sure to check out the pictures at Ecology of Absence of the funky '70's interior.I have fond memories of malls from my youth in the early '80's when malls that looked like River Roads were still going strong, and it's sad to see them swept away. In a few years, there might be more notable, landmark buildings in St. Louis from the 1850's than from the 1950's.Also, here are some excellent photos of the interior from Irrational Ecstasy.


  1. I used to go shopping here with my Great Grandma when I was like 4 years old. Bizzare.

  2. I grew up about half a mile from River Roads. I have many fond memories of that place. We use to walk there several times a week and just hang out. I remember being a little kid and walking there with my sister. Of course this was back in the '70's when it was a much safer place! I was sad to see it go! My first job was at Walgreens restaurant


A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.