Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Clair Square, Fairview Heights, Illinois

I'd never been over to St. Clair Square Mall, and I wanted to view this important component of sprawl out of East St. Louis in the 1960's. The old Famous Barr dome brings back memories of the now lost West County Mall counterpart, though I found the latter more elegant.
Brutalism abounds, as can be seen in the JC Penny, which in its shear size and massive bulkiness almost pulls off a certain level of beauty.
I like the clean shadows and lines cast by the corner of the department store as well.
The Sears continues the trend, as well. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this mall was how it had seemed to completely weather the economic storm that has closed so many other malls built at the same time on the Missouri side. Renovated recently, the mall, much like West County and South County Malls, seems to have been judged by the shopping center gods as healthy, and will not be a victim of triage as other malls have seem to fallen victim.

6 comments:

  1. Actually, the opening of this mall was bad for Downtown Belleville more than it was for East St. Louis. I am not sure if you noticed the different colors of brick for JCPenny. That was due to an electrical explosion 10 years or so ago and that section was rebuilt, if my memory serves me correctly.

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  2. Interesting, I can see it now; there's a huge section of new brick. I thought it was just a shadow before.

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  3. The Famous Barr dome is the post-tornado rebuild, and is amazingly ugly. It was originally similar to the others.

    http://mall-hall-of-fame.blogspot.com/2008/10/southwestern-illinois-st.html

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    1. Aha! I wondered what was going on at the Hall of Fame site, which I enjoy greatly. I thought they had accidentally posted a picture of West County'd Famous Barr. When did this happen?

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    2. The tornado was an F2 and hit in April of 2006. It also knocked down a department store across the street (now a Party City and JoAnns), killing one person.

      I think the reason for the mall going so strong during rough economic times is simply lack of competition. There is no other mall in the metro east, aside from the one in Alton and it in no way measures up to St. Clair Square. Other than that one, I have no clue where another mall is in Illinois until you get close to Springfield or Carbondale.

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  4. Tom Maher - KirkwoodMarch 16, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Mid-Rivers Mall in St. Peters is still going strong - to which I can attest, having been a chauffeur so many times for a (now) 14-year old granddaughter (of course, once we get inside, she walks 50 feet in front of me and disclaims any relationship...'ceptin' when financing is needed...).

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