Friday, September 1, 2006

Cobb Center Mall/Four Seasons Mall: Smyrna/Fair Oaks, GA

Drawing from grand opening ad showing the front of the store with the open-air mall to the left.


A map I made from a 1993 aerial photo.  Please feel free to help me make corrections or additions to this map.  I am not positive of the location of Saul's, and if this was not Saul's where Kessler's was, what was that originally?

Cobb Center Mall was a major childhood haunt and a place that is still of great fascination to me today. I've posted information about the mall on both Wikipedia and about the history of the second oldest mall in Georgia, which completely died in early 2004 when the Rich's there was closed for good. The Rich's there was the fourth in the chain in what would be a major suburban expansion during the 1960's and 1970's. The story of the mall will be told here on the best of my memory as well as what others have told me.

Drawing from grand opening ad showing the base of one of the escalators. The escalators seemed to disappear into the wall going up. The pharmacy in the background is very curious: I never remember one at Rich's

What I do know about Cobb Center aside from its opening on August 15, 1963 is that it was originally an open-air mall built around the Rich's. It had upon opening about 50 planned shops in it, opening with about 35 stores including anchors Woolworth's, Saul's department store and a Colonial Stores supermarket. Davis House Restaurant, later Davis Brothers Cafeteria, would open soon after fronting the mall adjacent to Rich's.  Most of the original tenants were originally stores found in downtown Marietta and not chain stores. From the amount of ads in that era, the opening of this mall was a very big deal. It was the first mall in the suburbs outside of Atlanta proper. For the first time, shoppers on the fast-growing northern suburbs were offered an option besides downtown Atlanta or Lenox for better shopping. The problem was, this was the undoing of long-established retail in downtown Marietta.

Looking at the front of the grand Rich's store. The store was built too small for the sheer demand, and was expanded on a one-story addition to the right not long after it was built. The first photo was from November 2003 before it closed and the second was from early 2004.

The early 1970's were the beginning of trouble for Cobb Center. When Cumberland opened in 1973, the mall rushed out to enclose the mall.  The enclosure and renovation was completed on November 15, 1973 including a "wonderfall".  The original Japanese water garden, however, remained outside surrounded by windows.  Grant City, a division of W.T. Grant, would also replace Saul's with a new store at the mall where Saul's had been previously.  After W.T. Grant's liquidated in 1976, Kessler's would replace that location.  Kessler's was a downtown Atlanta store close to Rich's, and this was the only mall anchor they ever had. The enclosed mall was not hugely successful after Cumberland opened, but maintained a modest amount of A-list tenants throughout the 70's and 80's.

View of the east (main) entrance both with detail of the brickwork and up close. Note the similarities to North DeKalb.

Here are the northeast and north entrances along the one story addition. The bakery was located on the sealed off north entrance.

In 1987, Cobb Center was renovated again for it's 25th anniversary with work completed in early 1988. This time, it got the full 80's treatment and some interest in the mall. The long-closed Davis Brothers Cafeteria (originally Davis House Restaurant) reopened as Howard's restaurant. Originally a bar and grill across from the mall, the restaurant became a full line family restaurant and was initially quite successful. It seemed all through the history of the mall that an outdoor area was maintained in the center court that had been a garden area, but my memories of this are vague. It was located at the southwest corner of Rich's next to the Woolworth's where the south wing went off. That south wing had a Turtle's Records and opened outside to the side of the long-closed Colonial store. The renovation also supposedly included a food court, but I never recall seeing one. The renovation also resulted in a new name: Four Seasons Mall, officially "Four Seasons at Cobb Centre".

The northeast and north entrances as they appeared in November 2003 before the signs were removed.

The problem with the 1987-88 renovation was that the mall was in a very bad position. First, it had never been upgraded enough to become a major shopping mall. Had any major anchor been attracted to the mall during the period after 1972, the mall would have been in a better position. The problem was two-fold: the decline of the neighborhood around it and the opening of Town Center at Cobb to the north. At that point, you had two huge beautiful malls with an enormous amount of stores, all the popular department stores and easy access in the best sides of towns competing with an old, smaller mall nowhere near the interstates in a not-so-nice side of town. There was no hope for Cobb Center.

This sign was put on all the doors right after it closed. These may still be there.

During the early 1990's, Cobb Center slowly withered away. Rich's was converted in that time into a clearance store and the mall began to empty out of tenants. Kessler's closed in the early 1990's (the chain folded in 1995) and the mall had maybe 10 stores left in it. Howard's had moved down to Concord Road by then and the mall had maybe 10 stores including Eckerd (in the old Dunaway Drugs), Friedman's Jewelry, Florsheim Shoes and of course dear old Woolworth's. In 1995, the mall was purchased for redevelopment, and that was the end of Cobb Center.

An overview here of the entire Rich's structure with the one-story addition.

By the spring of 1996, the mall was promptly demolished and redeveloped. Unlike most redevelopments, though, the Rich's was strangely retained and converted into part of the strip mall. All entrances except the front two entrances were sealed off and the stores was completely a clearance center by that time. Publix anchored the new center, built precisely across where the original main mall entrance and Howard's was located. A strip mall was also added to the other side of Rich's, concealing its north entrance. The movie theater withered away and closed during that time as well as the neighborhood began to further deteriorate. The new development was sadly named "Cobb Center".

Last but far from least, a couple interior shots of the store. The first is of the main store, while the other is of the one-story wing. The lights were shut out soon after, and the store became a target of vandals.

In 2004, the Rich's finally closed at Cobb Center. It was the second Rich's to close in the entire history of the chain after Belvedere closed in 1986 and it closed at the same time as Century Plaza in Birmingham. Since 2004, the store has sat vacant and deteriorated awaiting redevelopment. A couple years after it was closed, the store was sold and proposals have been outlandish. Wal-Mart, of course, has this banked as a second site if the Belmont Hills redevelopment failed. Since that is apparently a done deal, the latest plan was to convert the Rich's into a private school. After five years of vacancy, I hope something good happens to it. The site is too sad, and a really depressing tribute to one of the earliest and most uniquely designed malls in Atlanta.

* Updated post from July 1, 2006 *


  1. I too miss Cobb Center. I remember the Japanese garden in the center of it. Milton Bradley was one of the best toy stores around. A shame to see it gone...

  2. Milton Bradley, wow, how I LOVED that store. All the airplanes hanging from the ceiling.

    I also remember the garden and the huge goldfish in it's pond with the orange arcing bridge over the water. Fascinating to a child.

    Grant's also had a great toy section.

    I seem to recall a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the east end of the place.

    We used to go watch fireworks in the parking lot behind the mall for the 4th of July.

  3. Here's some questions regarding this last post:

    1) Was the Grant's where the Kessler's was later? I was told at one point that was a Grant's, but I knew there were other Grant's not far from there (including Belmont Hills), so I'm very confused. Was this a Grant City if so?

    2) I'm very impressed to hear about the open-air center court. I was told that when it was enclosed it was very cheaply done and you can still see the scar where the roof was joined into the side of the Rich's building. One of the things that really stood out about the enclosed mall were the neon signs in the mall as if it were still outdoor.

    3) From what I could tell from old ads, KFC chicken was actually sold at Davis House Restaurant, which was later Davis Bros. Cafeteria early on before KFC branched out. Is that what you're thinking about or was this actually a KFC stand of its own?

    I do have a list of original stores in some things I've scanned. I will post those later on in future posts for this mall. I'm still hoping somebody has some historical photos *sigh*.

    1. 1) Grant's was at the North end where Kessler's ended up
      3) Remember KFC being sold at the Davis Bros at end of the counter with an exterior door on South side of building'

    2. 1) Grant's was at the North end where Kessler's ended up
      3) Remember KFC being sold at the Davis Bros at end of the counter with an exterior door on South side of building'

  4. To answer your questions:

    1: Yes, the Kessler's moved into the Grant's store. Not a Grant City, but a regular Grants dept store.

    (Interesting note. The shopping center in Kennesaw where the country bar Cowboys is, was originally constructed to house the Grant's that was moving from Cobb Center. Grant's went under before construction was completed and Kmart occupied the new building. Later Kmart moved from that spot down to the corner of Barrett pkdy and 41).

    3.) An acquantance of mine and I discussed this today. The way we remembered it, the two eateries shared parts of the same space. The KFC was accessible from the outside while Davis House was entered from the inside. Eventually the KFC closed when the cafeteria took over. That might have been the very first KFC in Cobb County, or at least Smyrna.

    Yes, photos would be nice. I'd also like to see the list of stores.

    A couple of other shopping centers that might rate some discusion are Town & Country and Belmont Hills. Frequented T&C a lot as a child also. Remember Woolco? Otasco?

    Zayre, Big Apple?

  5. Wow. I sang with Campbell High School's Chorus (glee club) at Christmas in the Japanese garden. Hadn't thought of that bridge in years! My sister worked at the Milton Bradley store.

    I would LOVE to see photos of Belmont Hills. That was THE shopping center in Cobb County when I was in grade school.

    Lenox Square was the fancy place to shop!

  6. Oh yes, Grant's, Woolworth's, and Milton-Bradley. Although my main experience with Milton-Bradley was at the Southlake store, I too loved how they'd hang airplanes, rockets, and whatever else from the ceiling.

    MB got lots of my childhood money by selling me lots of Estes rockets.

    Another location in north Cobb for Grant's was on Canton Road, just north of Piedmont, on the right. I think it's still called Blackwell S/C, but can't remember for sure. This would have been 1971-73 for me.

  7. I remember my mom like to use Cobb Center for paying her Rich's bill (as she hated driving up to Cumberland Mall trafic). The Rich's store at Cobb Center always had a great selection of consoles + games to demo, also it was the only mall I ever found a Vectrex at in the metro Atlanta area. I dont know why the other malls only carried Coleco and Atari, but Rich's at Cobb Center had a fairly large selection.

    As I grew up, I got into electronics as a hobby. The mall was in walking/biking distance, so the Radio Shack was a contant staple for me in the early/mid 80's.

    I remember in the 70's we would shop at a Big Star on the south end of the mall (now a soccer field area). I always had to go to MB to pick out a new toy when we did this.

    I went to Nash & Wills and the mall made the best place to play hookie. It was a fairly quick walk/bike ride from home room check in. Lucky for me, both schools were real bad at going over attendace records from the homeroom roll call through the days classes. Nobody ever looked for kids at Cobb Center. Had a theater and a fair number of stores left, plus several fast food joints to waste the time away. Woolworths had a great and cheap diner with cherry coke made with extra grenadine.

    Instead of Cobb Center, I would somtimes head up to the Red Barrons arcade and Zayre, a mile or so up the road. But thats a whole different set of memmories to go into.

    Being a child of the 70's and 80's, I know how run down these places were, but I still miss them.

  8. i too have lots of memories at cobb center mall! me and my friend have been trying to get some old pictures and haven't been able to find any. i loved going to cobb center as a kid and going to dunaway drugstore and eating a burger, drinking a coke with a cherry, and eating ice cream. also, the woolworths store, milton bradly, and so much more i can't even think of. cobb center theatre where we had a blast at. across the street from the mall was pizza inn. after every football game on saturday night. wow man that was so much fun! after the cobb center theater closed down we had cobb cienema theater. i will never forget that place. and the miracle theater next to zayre. what memories! that was so the good ole days!

    1. Do you rember the red baron gameroom down from Zayres & discount auto parts. Pizza Inn was down towards Zayres. A gas station & the Yamaha shop and Gaddis Young State Farm was across from Cobb Center. Across from Cobb Center at Pat Mell Dantes Pizza. Pizza Inn & Dantes were both hangouts after the games. Remember Pizza Inn set up on the hill above the Bar Q place that was on south cobb dr.

    2. I thought the pizza joint's name was Ginos's. I remember going there when I was a senior to hang out during my high school days (1970-1971). It was directly across South Cobb Drive from the Rich's store. Anybody remember Sandy's hamburgers a couple of doors down?

    3. Sandy's! I had forgotten about that! THE high school hang out for my now hubby(and then boyfriend) and all our 'buds'! we went to Osborne Sr, but kids from other schools would cruise by... I remember when I was in Osborne Jr (can't remember the year-sometime in late 60's) when the Budweiser Clydesdales stopped at Cobb Center and the public could see the horses, wagon and dogs up close, that was a treat for us.... and as someone mentioned, we'd all pack in the car to drive to Cobb Center for fireworks every 4th. We'd get a coconut cake from Rich's Bakery every Mom's day-Mom loved those cakes..I grew up in this area, so it's sad to see what's become of it now. there's so many memories in the Marietta/Smyrna area-my first 'real' job was working at Davidson's at Cumberland Mall, hired before it opened to help stock it, and was there at the official opening.....but most of the places have been torn down-like Belmont Hills, most of Cobb Center and a lot of the old Town & Country...and the drive-in's that used to be around, not to mention the OLD big chicken that had a red comb on top that went up and down......sigh........ thanks for reminding me of Sandy' took me back to my teen years and all the memories around Cobb Center.

  9. cool to run across this site. I am 39 and now live in Oklahoma, but I have great memories of the many days and hours spent at Belmont Hills, Cobb Center, and the Zayre Shopping Center. I have a very specific memory of watching Bruce Lee movies at the Cobb Center Theater. And speaking of Belmont Hills....anybody remember Flippers Arcade? Or Peachtree Quality Salvage? Or the Sears or Penneys outlet stores? Or my favorite..the soda fountain at Dunaways - I still remember the names of the waitresses....Irene, Louise, and Margaret! We used to eat breakfast at Dunaways most every Saturday morning and those three waitresses worked there for years and years. I miss the old Smyrna I grew up in and it is certainly not the same now when I come home to visit. Hell, even my High School (Wills) has "gone out of business". What a nice trip down memory lane.

  10. I remember the Dunaway drug store, a Belk store?,I also sang at Christmas in I believe it was in 1966 my freshman year at Campbell. In the early 70s there was a little pizza place in the mall where you could get slices of Sicilian pizza as it was operated by 2 brothers from New York that were of Sicilian heritage. I remember a shoe store but I can't remember it at this time. I also remember the theater over by Pat Mell Rd. I also remember the Croft puppeteers with their marionette show.

  11. On my first real "date", at the age of 16, I took my date to a pizza place in Pat Mell Shopping Center called "Dante's Pizza". God that pizza was good and the smell of the place was AMAZING!!
    After eating we went across the street to watch a movie at the Cobb Center Theater. This would have been fall of 1981. Wow, what memories...

  12. I remember so much about this place. A few things that stick out: The Japanese garden, and more specifically, the "robotic" Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer that would talk to you after you finished talking to Santa on the other side. Lots of memories of the theater here too. That is where I saw E.T. I was like 3 or 4. Good times.

  13. I am 39 also and i remember Cobb Center well! I used to work at the Rich's store there. I doubt if anyone knows this, but there was a hidden mezzanine floor on the back side of Rich's between the 1st and 2nd floors. It was used for various purposes, a security office, storing mannequins, and there was a huge workshop for visuals, too.

  14. Think you all for bringing back wonderful childhood memories. I remember when the mall was open and the day they filled in the pond, to me that was a sad day. I used to walk to the mall at least 3 to 4 times a week and more during the summer. I used to leave in the subdivision behind the woods that was in the back parking lot, there were many a trail though those woods. I used to go to Dunaway Drug Store, to their soda fountain and get me a hot dog and coke for less than a dollar. And I loved the candy section in Riches. Woolworth, I used to walk though the toy section and spend what seemed hours and yes Melton Bradley my all time favorite store.

  15. I thought I was the only one who was feeling nostalgic about the Cobb Center Mall and Belmont Hills. It is truly depressing to drive by there now and see all the closed stores. I remember many Christmas shopping trips to that place. My Dad could usually be found in Radio Shack while Mom was in Rich's. The kids would be in Woolworths, Milton Bradley, or Coles bookstore. I hope someone has some old pics of that place they can post on here. That would be great.

  16. I remember cobb Center....and the movie theater....but my fondest memories were of Dunaway Drugs. Chico was the cook....and his girlfriend Arlene was the "counter girl." We made a lot of friends at that soda fountain....and met them there regularly. The laughter was the part I remember most. Chico was very funny....and although he cooked out of could always hear him.


  17. I was six years old when we moved to Smyrna in 1966. My mother used to shop in Rich's budget department all the time. Remember the Magnolia Room in Rich's? It seems so "Southern" to go shopping and then have lunch in the tea room. I also remember Lerner's, Baker's Shoes, Johnny Walker Menswear, and Casual Town. I'd love to be able to see it again as it was.

  18. I posted here a couple of years ago, but wated to add something a little off topic from Cobb Center. This goes to Cumberland Mall. Does anybody remember the restaurant/bar at the top of the center structure in the middle of the mall? It closed in '79 or '80. Then it was turned into a senic, sitting place with lots of hanging vines. Just take a break from shopping and look out over the mall. Then some kid fell off (thats what I was told, anyway), and they closed off access in the mid 80's. Stayed that way until they tore it down and built that coffee shop that is there now.

    Just thought I toss that in as another local one of the "Georgia Reail Memories".

  19. Back in the early 80's, I use to take my son to see Santa Claus at Cobb Center because there was never a huge long line like there was at Cumberland.

    Woolworth's had a fast food restaurant within the store where we use to have lunch quite often and you could smoke in the stores back then as well.

    There was a Big Star grocery store on one end of the mall where my sister and I would park our car and each grab a grocery store cart to put our infants in. We used the carts to go shopping in Rich's. No one ever said a thing to us about using the carts, which we always returned back to the store. It was great for carrying our babies and all the gear, plus packages, instead of having to drag strollers with us. :D

  20. Rich's closed one store prior to closing its Belvedere store. In 1957, Rich's opened a store in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Apparently there was an abundance of Rich's charge-account customers from Knoxville, and when a local store closed, Rich's took over the building. [I believe the store was White House, but I could very well be mistaken.] At any point, Rich's was a reason for folks to go to Atlanta, and the Knoxville store did not last more than three years.

  21. A quick update - the conversion of the old Rich's store to a private school is complete and the school opened for the 2009-2010 school year. Based on the number of cars lined up dropping off and picking up kids each day it seems to be a success.

    The area that was the back parking lot (where I learned to drive a car) was converted several years ago to a City of Smyrna park, complete with several ball fields, restrooms and concession stand along with a playground.

    As of this writing, the old movie theater and the old Rich's Auto Center are the only things left in their original condition and both are currently closed and will need a lot of work to be viable again.

    The coordinates are 33.899472,-84.543777
    Plug that into Google Maps and you can zoom in on what is left and you can see the park and ballfields to the west of the old mall.

    1. I learned to drive(both automatic and later a stick shift)in the back parking lot too! man! the memories! someone else mentioned and I had forgotten all the choral groups from the surrounding schools sang in the mall area at Christmas time, our choral group from Osborne Jr sang there one year and we all hit Dunaway Drugs to stock up on pots of lip gloss(had to be Max Factor) and cheap 45 records at Woolworth's... and we loved the chocolate iced doughnuts in Rich's Bakery..

  22. I just wish so much that someone out there had photos of this place at any point in its 34 years of existence. It is very hard having a childhood memory erased then fading. I've run across two false leads, but nothing yet has materialized. I'd even sign something not to publish them just to see them again, though I would much rather do so here.

  23. JT - if you find yourself in Smyrna, stop by the Welcome Center / History Museum that is located downtown by the railroad tracks.

    They have a very complete collecion of photos, airial maps and newpaper clippings about the "old" Smyrna area.

  24. With Cobb Center having a Publix and a school in the shopping center could be a take home lesson to dead shopping strips in Atlanta.

    I like the way there is a park there as well. There are all walks of life go there. The location may not be great but, people still flock to the area.

  25. I worked at Rich's Cobb Center right out of high school from 1986 until I graduated college in 1991. The mall itself always struggled but Rich's seemed to do well, especially during the holidays when folks didn't want to deal with the crowds/parking at Cumberland and Town Center. Rich's Cobb at this point was a "C" level store that offered more budget, lower priced merchandise. I have some wonderful memories of working there and especially of the sweet ladies who worked there with me. A lot of the employees actually worked there since the store opened in the 60's

  26. Regarding the aerial photo - that was a Kesslers, but I remember Saul's being in the mall along the same wall as Dunaway Drugs - kind of near one of the mall entrances to Rich's - from the interior, not the exterior, that is. The one near that record store. I'm trying to think of the stores along that wall - right across from the snack bar there was Lerner's, Baker's/Butler's (both??), Saul's - ugh, my memory is so faded.

    Anyhoo, thanks so much for this site and all the work that goes into it!

  27. I recall the Lerner's My mom loved the store. I know we shopped at the shoe store thats where my Buster Brown shoes came from & they had a machine something about the goose would lay a golden egg. I think before the snack bar their was a rental shop for formal wear & across from Woolworths was a clothing store I cant remember the name it was the corner store and if you went to the right you were going towards Grants\ Kesslers. Kfc had small section for carryout that you entered from the parking lot. Down by Pat Mell was Riches Auto Center It was bought out or sold to Goodyear Tire & Rubber co. Which I ended up working at around 1981. In the sale employes of Riches & Goodyear got discount cards for each others store. And as well I remember if you went around the mall where Kesslers was to the backside is where the fireworks were set off for the 4th of July. The last movie I remember seeing at the theater was Rocky. Was Turtle's in Cobb Center I remember it being at Belmont Hills. But my mind also thinks it remembers a music store in Cobb Center. I know this is about Cobb Center Mall but we can't forget just up the street our first Stake N Shake and the long line going up South Cobb dr. just waiting to get in the parking lot & Grandma's Biscut's on Pat Mell.

  28. Here's a list of stores at Cobb Center that I wrote down back when I was teenager in the late 80's, along with what little history I remember on a few of them:

    -- Anchors --
    Big Star -> Farmer's Market -> Cartwheels (grocery store)

    -- Along Rich's west wall --
    Gorin's Cafe (ice cream)
    Hakky Shoe Repair
    Decatur Federal Bank
    Mitchel Formalwear
    Golden Sensations (jewelry)
    Music Store
    Snack Bar

    -- Across From Above Shops --
    Cafeteria -> Howard's Restaurant
    Southern Bell Payment Center
    Dunnaway Drugs -> Eckerd's
    Sauls -> (Broken up into 4 spaces, one a salon)
    Thompson, Boland, Lee (shoes)
    Baker Shoes
    Lerner Shops
    American Eagle (clothes)

    -- Along Rich's North Wall --
    Pizza (in food court)
    Craft Store
    Pet Store
    General Nutrition Center

    -- Between Big Star & Kessler's --
    Mall Office
    The Paper Clip (office supplies)
    Coles Books
    Johnny Walker's
    Friedman Jewelers
    Bell Shoes
    Pearl Vision
    Hallmark Crown Shop
    Radio Shack
    Milton Bradley (toys)
    Haverty's (furniture)

    The "Food Court" was a failed attempt made when they tore out the Japanese garden and enclosed that space. They put in a couple of food court spaces against Rich's north wall, and four more spaces in two empty regular store spaces that had burned and been walled off since probably the early 80's. The only restaurants I ever saw there, though, were a snack place and a pizza place - the other four spaces were never rented to anyone.

    If I'm reading my old notes right (and my memory vaguely confirms this), I believe they took the lower level of the old Haverty's after it closed and turned it into a community center. I don't think anything ever opened again in the main level of the Haverty's (this was right next to the Kessler's department store, BTW.)

    My parents took me over to Cobb Center a lot when I was growing up, but it was sadly not worth visiting by the time I could drive and go places on my own. Lot's of memories there - especially the Rich's. Hope you're able to find more pictures someday, though I know they can be very hard to come by.

    1. I worked at the glass blowing shop called Crystal Creations that was in a small kiosk near Kentucky Fried Chicken and drug store area and at one time there was a game store in the mall too called the Game Center - all this was back in 1973-1975.

    2. If memory serves me well, I think the record shop was called Starship and it was across from Mitchell's Formal Wear. Spent many hours in that record shop in the late 1980's.

  29. Thank you so much for compiling this information. If you would, would you email it to me so I can somehow make a map of it? You answered many questions I've had over the years, and I wonder if you can remember details of what it looked like. I am actually picturing it looking a whole lot like Dixie Square Mall in Chicago inside in the 80's, which is why I think that mall struck me so familiar. So you are saying, too, that the wall on the side of Rich's did manage to have some small shops?

    Haverty's I had NO CLUE about. I do not remember it at all! I assume it must have closed before the last remodel. Was the upper level the mall entrance with a basement level? Also, can you confirm what Kessler's was originally? I have always heart it was WT Grant, but wondered if it was something else.

    As to pictures, please ask around. I have tried very hard to find them...moreso than with any other mall. I always come back empty handed. It frustrates me that a mall that fascinated me so much as a child has nothing left to show for it today. I keep hoping as this site grows that one day the golden contributor will find in a shoe box pics of this mall. Unfortunately, as Atlanta's first major mall to die it's tough.

  30. I read the list posted of stores. I remember there being a health foods store near Kessler's but I don't think it was a GNC or GNC took over from them. I always went there for the Ginsing colas before hitting all the stores. I was a great way to kill a few hours. I miss Woolworth's, great sodas at the Dunaway, MB was a kids dream and Turtle's was always fun :)

    I keep wanting to say there was an arcade there for a short time. But I maybe wrong, its been so many years since I lived in the Smyrna area. Left not long after they closed my high school. "Go Mighty Tigers!"

  31. I worked at Rich's in 1988-89, then again on my Christmas break from UGA. Great memories. Saw so many movies at that theatre. E.T. Clash of the Titans. Poltergeist. Rocky III. Bond movies. Great place.

  32. I loved Cobb Center Mall! That was where we always shopped since my mom didn't like Cumberland Mall. We would go to Thompson, Boland Lee for my shoes (and a golden egg!)and eat lunch at Woolworth's. We would have the vegetable plate. They had these sectioned plates and would put the dressing in the middle with an ice cream scoop. At Christmas Mama would take me to Rich's. They would have counters of Christmas pins. I got to select one for each of my teachers as gifts. I live in South Georgia now, not far from Tallahassee, Fl so I don't get back to Smyrna/Marietta often. It broke my heart when I heard the mall had been torn down.

  33. Karen (Sims) ButcherDecember 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    December 11, 2012
    Karen (Sims) Butcher
    This was awesome!!. I loved the old Cobb Center. I worked at Dunaway Drug Store while going to Campbell High School. I was in D.E. so I could get out of school early to work. I loved Saul's and Lerner's, Richs, All the stores really. I even remember going to see PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS CONCERT in the parking lot on the side where Dunaway's was. My best friend Dian Paris and I went together - that's when Where The Action TV show first started and the show was promoting the group. We had a GREAT time!!! Gosh, what great memories.

    1. I went to that concert( my first) I think it was 65 or 66

  34. I remeber going to this place bck in the late 70's early 80's. Specifically going to Milton Bradley. I seem to remember that one section close to Milton Bradley was boarded up and my Aunt telling me there had been a fire in that section of the mall. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

  35. I spent a lot of good times at Cobb County Center as a kid. My favorite stores were Elson's Books and Milton Bradley. Someone mentioned in a comment they remember Davis Brothers cafeteria serving KFC chicken. I seem to recall being confused as a kid that Davis Bros. chicken tasted like KFC, so there was some kind of connection there. For a while growing up I thought all KFCs served Davis Brothers friend chicken. Other old favorites in the area were the Dog 'N Suds drive in and the Krystal diagonally across the street from Cobb County Center.

  36. OMG! I thought I was crazy that there had ever been a concert in the parking lot there. All I remember is that the crowd was crazy and we were up front and getting crushed against the stage. Thank you so much for helping me clarify that memory. Now I can truly tell my sister I saved her life by backing her out of the area. haha It's nice to hear it was a well known band. Since it was terrifying for us, that's all I could remember.
    But about the mall, it seems to me that there was also a sewing/fabric store. Maybe Woolworth's sold fabric? I just remember the Woolworth's at Town and Country, the old dime store look with bins. I think there was a Candid Camera bit that played out there.

  37. I recall going to the Cobb Center Richs bake shop every Thanksgiving for Pumpkin Pie, and Carrot Cake at Easter. I miss the Woolworths lunch counter, and the beautiful mid century style that the mall possessed. The best Richs store in the chain was there.

  38. While I didn't exactly grow up in this specific area (since we lived primarily in Douglasville), we did frequent this mall and the surrounding shops, restaurants, theaters and arcades during my childhood from the early 70's to mid 80's. Douglasville didn't have a lot to offer compared to Cobb Center, so we'd drive here to shop, along with the Bellmont Hills (for the Penny's & Sears outlets) shops and further out to Cobb Parkway (Service Merchandise and Lionel Playworld, to name a few) and Cumberland Mall areas. Austell road was another haunt (ahh.....Zayre's & Richway). Anyway, back to Cobb Center - Does anyone else remember the book section that was in the Rich's at Cobb Center? And no, I don't mean an outside separate bookstore. It was just inside the Rich's. My father and I still have several nice books from the 80's that were bought here. I think a few still have the old Rich's price sticker. When we came out here, usually on the weekend, our MO was to hit the book section, which was near the entrance that opened facing the theater, grab some famous fudge from the candy shop and then head to the movies nearby. That movie theater was the first place I ever saw Jaws and, more importantly, Star Wars! There was a cool hobby shop across the street from the theater, too that we'd also go to. We eventually quit coming to this area around the VERY late 80's. I miss those times. Thank you so much for this awesome bit of nostalgia!!

    P.S. We would also hit up the Miracle Theater as well as the two mini golf places, Putt-Putt & Jolly Golf (the one with the giant dinosaurs). For some more South Cobb Drive nostalgia, check out this page I found from Grant and Marie Goggans' blog:

  39. I remember that Rich's had a large book section up until the late '80s

  40. When we moved to Lithia Springs in 1988, we went to the movie theater a couple of times before they opened the one on Austell Rd. Saw Beetlejuice there. Fast forward about 15 years, I lived off Windy Hill Rd and used to frequent the Publix and Rich's. I was so sad when Rich's closed, but I guess I can't say I was surprised. The small mall and free standing stores like the old Macy's on Roswell St just north of the Marietta Trade Center just didn't survive once the big malls opened. At least they were able to turn both stores into something useful (A conference building for the city of Marietta for Macy's and a school for Rich's)

  41. I've photos made both inside and outside of the mall from 85-89, which would have been just after the anniversary renovations.
    My grandparents and their 5 children moved from downtown Atlanta to a Pat Mell Rd neighborhood house just ONE mile from the not-yet-developed mall about 57.
    My family was present when the Rich's and Mall opened and 3 generations of us Pepper's have haunted the center regularly from it's inception until its demise.

    My mother and aunts were teenagers who attended Osborne HS and they all have many, many experiences here especially during its hayday.
    I was born in 82, some of my earliest memories that can even be recalled took place at this very mall.

    My shopoholic mom drug me here every chance she could, she'd shop for hours... until my feet were hurting. We wouldn't leave until I cried.

    I remember the Japanese garden, moreso from words and the feeling of awe it gave me rather than mental images.
    It did inspire my grandmother to plant two Japanese tree's in our own front yard, one of the two, a cherry blossom tree, survives today even though Cobb Center's garden is long gone.

    I went to see Santa Claus there since I was a baby. I think some years they had both a mall Santa and a Rich's Santa.

    The mall was NEVER a very busy place after 85, even at Christmas, the busiest place was always Rich's.

    I remember visiting the bakery kiosk inside of the Rich's for a cookie each time we were there. They had a kids "cookie club" and I had a little stamp card to show them. The entire first floor carried a faint, delicious aroma.
    I remember the cosmetic kiosks in Rich's being a mesmerizing place. It was located on the South Cobb drive entrance.
    Inside of Rich's there was no customer elevator, so my wheelchaired mom and I took a 2nd big clangy freight elevator located in the back storage up.
    In 1986 or so, at the jewelry counter in Rich's, my mother shopped while I sat bored on the step of the kiosk. Some adult man approached me and tried to lure me away with him. Thankfully, my mother caught him and intervened.
    I remember a Kessler's. I remember the Woolworth's: their quarter bins and yes, they had a big fabrics/crafts selection. I remember eating at the little diner inside of it. (At the entrance, to the right).
    During latter years, there was also a GNC nutritional store (on the North side of the mall) it was one of the only 4 or so stores remaining there.

    I remember going to one of the shoe stores (Florsheims or Bakers?) in the 80's for specialty shoes ordered by my grandmother and for a trip to the optical store.

    In Spring of 1987 or 88 Smyrna held their Miss Jonquil Pageant at the newly renovated mall. I was a contestant. I've some photos of the event which I'll share later.
    The thing I remember best about the Turtles Record store was its sign somewhere outside of the mall. High on a pole was a Turtle figurine which appeared to be running on top of a record disc.

    I've a vague recollection of going to see "fireworks at the mall". It's as vague as my memory of the Japanese garden though. I remember after the last year they did this (89?)
    I remember the mall being demolished and a "stupid looking" Publix and shopping center being strung along either side of the Rich's. The back lot was empty for many years before the county put in ball fields and declared it a park. The string of retail stores on the north side never were fully leased.
    There was a theater which remained vacant for a long time at Cobb Center. It was renovated, reopened, and renamed 'King Cinema'. I went on my first teen movie date there to see 'Titanic'.

    1. If you would like to share them, please contact me/e-mail me the photos you have to I would be glad to publish them if you're willing to share, but if you would rather me not I would at least like to see them. If you do agree for me to publish them, I will of course give full credit for any photos you have. Thanks!

  42. Publix is closing December of 2016 after 20 years.

  43. My mom used to take my brother and me to this mall occasionally in the mid-1990s, probably between 1993 and 1995. I remember hating going there because by that time the mall was pretty dead and the only stores still open were Rich's and Woolworths. My mom would shop at Rich's while my brother and I would go to Woolworths, which for a kid was only marginally more interesting than Rich's.

    We never went there much after that. I do remember that during the 1996 Olympics you could catch a MARTA bus in the mall parking lot that would take you downtown.