Friday, September 1, 2006

Cumberland Mall: Smyrna, GA


(1976 center court photo looking towards Davison's with Rich's behind the photographer. Notice the humongous fountain that drops down around the elevator. Also note the maze of walkways on both levels and the saucer that was a third level balcony.)

While basically just another mall today, Cumberland Mall once was a place of greatness...of grandeur beyond all other malls. The photo above pretty much establishes this greatness. Indeed, it was once so successful that people came from other states just to shop at the four-anchor extravaganza that featured Atlanta's own Rich's and Davison's as well as Sears and JCPenney. It was the first four-anchor mall in Georgia and one of the first two-level malls. Though now long-since stripped away, the mall was a showpiece in its time and hastened the death of Cobb Center Mall as well as downtown Marietta.


(Photo above: exterior of the Davison's/Macy's in October 2004)

Cumberland Mall opened on August 8, 1973 to much fanfare. Sears had opened earlier that summer as a sneak preview of the mall. There was nothing like it. When Cumberland Mall opened, the mall was considerably outlandish and downright futuristic looking in every way. The mall featured brown tile floors and glass railing with wood trim. All through the mall were tall trees reaching to the second floor. The center court was an absolute stunning work of art with a gigantic fountain dropping down all around the elevator shaft, filling up much of the center court. Elevated walkways mazed around this on both levels with concrete pilings holding up dish-like platforms. Above the elevator (which featured a typical dark brown door) was a third-level balcony surrounded by plants and flowers. A winding staircase connected the maze of walkways with the balcony for even greater affect. This wonderland was dividing Rich's and Davison's.




(Rich's mall entrance, mall entrance close-up and exterior shot in Fall 2004)

Rich's at the mall featured the waving glass panes between the entrances with a side panel featuring the lit-up sign. This feature was one of the very last to survive in later years. Across the way, Davison's was surrounded by a solid black entrance providing stark contrast to the blue sign and lit up stylized "D" next to the door. Skylights above lit up this land of confusion in the day. Sears also was into the Kodachrome (actually a hit the year the mall opened) with a red sign in the older all-caps serif font. It was an eery, sinister kind of beauty that was only found in the 60's and 70's.

Cumberland also featured much of the popular chains of the era including some local establishments. Some of the stores in the mall included Muse's, Lerner New York, Circus World toys, Radio Shack, Jarman (still in the mall) and over 100 stores. One of the most interesting features of the mall was the German-themed Piccadilly Cafeteria whose interior design was dark, moody and downright fascinating with much elegant detail. It was one of the most popular of such cafeterias with two serving lines and an enormous amount of business. It was on the JCPenney end and featured a Baskin Robbins next door, a McDonald's across the walkway, a Magic Pan restaurant adjacent and a popular local restaurant, Cashin's, opposite. Cashin's also was on an upper level and was built above the main mall with stairs on both sides so that you could see the mall below from that level.

It is difficult to describe the ambience and experience of Cumberland Mall, because this was all largely stripped away in a 1989 renovation. The fantastic center court was dismantled (shown in a postcard here), Piccadilly was closed and replaced with an athletic shoe store, the trees were replaced with kiosks and much of the popular stores were replaced with lower end chains. It was such a loss that people who came back years later noted that the mall once seemed much bigger. By then, the mall had shifted from a superregional showplace to a more local mall that had less and less to offer with other newer, bigger, brighter malls around, and malls itself were becoming less and less appealing.



(JCPenney mall entrance and exterior shot taken in Fall 2004 and Winter 2005).

The 1990's were remarkably favorable to Cumberland, however...mostly due to the tremendous office development near it and its easily accessable location off of I-285. Aside from the change of Davison's to Macy's in 1986, the mall retained all of its original anchors and continued to prosper at a reduced level...until 2003. It was in 2003 that drastic action became obvious when the Davison's/Macy's, once nice and now looking extremely outlandish and dated, was closed in a merger with Rich's. Two years later, redevelopment plans were set. Davison's was demolished and the equally outlandish JCPenney was also closed and demolished. The former Davison's location would become a grand new mall entrance with new shops and restaurants in a "lifestyle" format while the former JCPenney would become a Costco. Similarly, the mall would see its first renovation in over 15 years. With completion scheduled in 2006, the plan is to keep a mall that has seen its better days viable and even revive a bit.


(Center court area as it looked from 1989 to the present renovation. Most of what is here has been stripped away and completely overhauled. Photo taken Fall 2004.)

Still, as the photos here show, while the changes will be good for the mall they pale in comparison to the days when Cumberland Mall was for awhile a king of Atlanta retailing.

39 comments:

  1. It looked like a wonderful mall back in the day, to be sure. The JCPenney is very odd, but quite cool.

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  2. I remember in 1978 my 7th grade P.E.C.E. class taking a field trip to Cumberland Mall (I have no idea what that stood for, but the class took several field trips to the likes of Delta, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Coca-Cola among others).

    Cumberland Mall, with it's center court area, all that glass, the elevator shaft and the winding staircase connecting the balconies, was like none other during it's time. You described it well in your post.

    The futuristic look and appeal was very impressionable to a 12 year old (my age at the time). My memories of that day include riding in the elevator and looking down at the fountain and all the shops, having lunch at a pizza parlor that I don't remember the name of, and buying Boston's second album 'Don't Look Back' in what I think was a 'Record Bar'.

    With Perimeter Mall and Northlake Mall being the two mall's nearest to me (prior to Gwinnett Place opening up in '84), my family rarely made the trek to Cumberland, but that trip in the spring of '78 certainly left a lasting impression of what I thought was a very unique place for it's time.

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  3. Cumberland and Perimeter were my mainstays as a small child. Both were about equally as far from North Cobb, so prior to Town Center opening I pretty much was raised there and at Cobb Center. I'm glad somebody else can remember Cumberland in its original glory. There was nothing like it...ever. To this day, the original Cumberland Mall is my personal standard for 70's modern design and I tend to compare everything from that era to that.

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  4. Yeah, growing up in south cobb, Cumberland was Our Mall. Most of my christmas presents as a kid came from the K-B at Cumberland, and I'm pretty sure my parents still have some photos of me with Santa from the early 80's at Cumberland.

    -hx

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  5. I must admit that I'm one of those people who stopped going to Cumberland after Town Center opened, simply because TC was half as close to our house as Cumberland.

    However, I still have the memories of growing up at the mall. My whole family are creatures of habit, and we always entered through Penney's -- same entrance off of Cobb Parkway, same parking area, same door. I also remember how the Penney's there had "UL" and "LL" as the elevator selections rather than "1" and "2."

    What else...I definitely remember the spaseship-type platform in center court, although we only went up there once.

    I remember when Rich's sold carpet and had the bakery (with free cookies to us kids) on the 3rd floor. I remember how my mother always said that the Cumberland Rich's must have had a different buyer than the TC store, because she liked the merchandise there a little better. If I had to rank the Rich's stores, I'd say Downtown was my #1 favorite, but Cumberland was easily #2.

    I vaguely remember the old restaurant area near Penney's before the food court came along.

    I remember the neat ceiling fans they had in McDonald's -- rather than motors turning the blades, the motors turned a long, continuous belt which then turned the blades as it passed each hub assembly.

    I remember shopping in the coin store and arcade tucked in the hallway near Penney's.

    I remember how elegant Rich's is/was, how dark and cramped Davison's felt, and the red SEARS letters.

    One thing I'm a little fuzzy on is the interior decor...I seem to remember it having this burnt orange type *carpet* in the mall. Is my memory going already?

    Sigh....those were the days!!!

    Matt

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  6. Help me remember what the Rich's signs were like originally. One thing I noted on the Rich's sign on the mall entrance was that it was not original. That helps confirm a childhood memory of the parking deck level sign being green like the older Rich's were. What were the original Rich's signs like? Were they all green at one time? Also: didn't there used to be some text under the Rich's mall entrance like "A Southern Institution Since 1867" or something like that?

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  7. Oh, the brain cells are hurting now...

    I remember the green parking deck sign...but as far back as my memory can take me (1985 or so), the mall entrance signs have always been white. The exterior picture you posted looks...strange...to me. Maybe it's because we rarely entered through Rich's, but that signage just doesn't seem "right." Also -- is it a black sign with the spaced out, older logo? I hated those black logos...they should have kept the green! Even macy*s has black exterior logos that look terrible day and night.

    Ooooh...I just remembered...the slogan you mentioned under the mall signs...are you talking about letters maybe 4-6 inches tall underneath the "Rich's," with maybe a thin line on the top and bottom? I may be pulling that out of thin air, but it seems familiar, at least...

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  8. Would love to see pics of the Gothic look that the Picadilly at Cumberland Mall had. I remember Sunday was usually the only day both serving lines were used. Northgate Mall in Hixson, TN was the only other Picadilly that had decor as elaborate as the Cumberland location, virtually all others of the era were definately less elaborate in the decor. Morrison's mid-century modern decor was very boring by comparison.

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  9. Do you know if the Piccadilly in Tennessee still exists? The Piccadilly in Cumberland was memorable, to say the least. I can clearly remember what I thought of as the Crusades room, because it had war murals painted on all the walls, then there was the relatively sane room by the cash registers, and then the dark garden room. Whenever the second line was open I would insist we go through it, just because.

    One small thing...Piccadilly survived the 1989 remodel and remained open until at least 1991, and I think maybe even longer than that.

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  10. Man, nothing can match up to my memories of Cumberland in the 70s. The 70s look was really the best and I think it should have been preserved even if they could not retain the original tenants.
    It was always a delight for me to go and now I'd just as soon go to any mall or almost even a strip mall. It seems nothing is as it was :(

    Mitchell

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  11. Retail decor has no past and has no future. In desperation to compete, they'll do anything to maximize profit and lure people into going to a place that looks similar to the competition. If it looks different from anything else of the era, it's because they gave up or by pure accident.

    Unfortunately, if Cumberland had retained it's 70's look it would have been boarded up by 2000. Everybody realizes that what has been done to the mall only bought time...that it will ultimately fail within the next decade instead of THIS decade, which the major renovations prevented. Also, this day in age weird things could happen such as the revival of Cobb Center as a lifestyle center centered around a gentrified neighborhood.

    Nevertheless, the loss of the 70's look is very unfortunate, because the owners went berserk trying to modernize it by stripping down the reasons it was a showpiece...basically the expense of maintaining a mall like that with dwindling traffic and the fact it was designed in the most villainized decade.

    Let it be known, though, that to this day I can still smell the big fountain in the center court and hear it roar down below the elevator shaft in my mind. Piccadilly, Magic Pan and McDonald's still stalk the entrance to Penney's with the former two restaurants so dark, moody and gothic they almost appear almost like mall dungeons. Sears still has a red sign. Lerner's is still on the left walking from Penney's to center court and a shoe repair shop is on the right. Trees still delineate the center of the lower level with steel rings covering the topsoil base surrounded by floors that resemble a polished brick Main Street.

    As I enter the center court, I walk around it marveling at the outlandish beauty of the concrete columns draped in plants and the maze of walkways crossing the fountain dividing the dark and sinister looking mall entrances to Rich's and Davison's. It is a futuristic work of art that is both scary and serene at the same time.

    Davison's itself looks like a scene from Dynasty with Linda Evans' character indeed shopping in the store. The green Rich's sign still glows at the bottom level of the parking deck as well. I was a child then...I shouldn't remember this much detail. This proves how spectacular it was...at least in the eyes of a child. The memories of Cumberland in its heyday still stick in my mind so strong my mind cannot seem to register it ever changed, even after later visits.

    It was an absolutely incredible mall in its heyday and its retro-rich renovation brought back some of the 70's outlandishness, but it still hardly compares to that wonderland I remember from the 80's. If I ever build a mall, I'm finding the plans to that center court and making sure a center court is designed exactly like the original...and expect a jungle of plants and flowers to cure of us of today's antiseptic malls and what will soon be overdone lifestyle centers.

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  12. What the fuck. I still don't get why they tore all that stuff down

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  13. I will say that I love what they've done with the place with the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Changs and what not.

    I do wish they kept the center court though with the elevator and the fountains, but I guess the current Starbucks and the plush and ample seating in the court makes up for it slightly.

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  14. I remember when Cumberland opened. Very big event. Acutally, Sears opened ahead of the rest of the mall. I remember being in Sears and looking through glass doors on the mall side and seeing the finishing touches being made to the other stores.
    Cashins was me and my wifes favorite place to relax.
    I purchased my first business suit at Muse's. Great mall, great times, great memories but like a lot of other Atlanta places it's gone with the wind.

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  15. OK, it was the late '70's and I was a Floridian attending Tech. Where better to get some shirtsleeve walking in during the wintertime, than at Cumberland? I tell you, the place was an amazing piece of retail architecture, and spacious enough to get a good walk in to avoid succumbing to cabin fever or worse! There was a Waldenbooks, and a Radio Shack, and a music store. It was also, incidentally, a great place for girlwatching. Civilization.... I tell you, I would have gone seriously goofy without the occasional escape to Cumberland during that time!

    I returned for the first time in decades late last year. It would be kind of fun to lay eyes on this place once again, I reasoned. I'll just validate a couple of old memories.....do a little walk-through and then grab something to eat at the McDonald's, just like old times...that in turn makes me recall a 1977 Christmastime display at the McDonalds end of the mall that incorporated a large formation of indoor snowskiers, and an (entirely serious) sales promotion for the Renault LeCar.

    So I enter the mall. Uh oh. The decor has been "upgraded", the old landmarks aren't to be found, and the store at one end of the mall has apparently torn down. I find that the specific features I had hoped most to revisit had been excised with an almost laser-like precision. I left rather dejected. One more lesson that things never stay the same.

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  16. Does anyone remember the name of that red pizza parlor (possibly across form El Chico) that had large gumball decor? I had a birthday party there when I was small and I can't remember the name of it.

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  17. I discovered Cumberland as a kid travelling with my grandmother. Does anyone know who the architect was? I smell John Portman. I have a love hate relationship with his projects. They all have that 70's future vibe, which I love. The hate part is that, at least in his hotels, no matter where you are you can't get there from here-RR Ryan

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  18. My mom took me to Cumberland mall the first week it opened (I was about 10). The signs at the entrances to the parking lot were made of that metal that is supposed to rust (like The Omni) and were supposed to look like a letter "C". When I was a kid I didn't get that and it confused me.

    I remember that the Davison's had a snack bar that was very close to one of the exterior entrances - that was the first place I ever saw "Mr. Pibb."

    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that the area near JCPenney where the Cashin's restaurant was (later the food court) had a rustic theme to it, and featured small craft merchants. That area had a name, but I don't remember what it was.

    The Franklin Music record store was absolutely stunning to me as a child. It was HUGE, and I remember that it had giant BIC Ventura speakers mounted near the ceiling that were usually turned up so loud that you could see the woofers pumping. It was next door to the Levi's store called The County Seat.

    I spent a lot of time at Cumberland Mall with my parents in the 1970's.

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  19. The area near Penney's was called Pace's Crossing and was billed as a mall within a mall. Cashin's was elevated with a walkthrough to the shops in the back. Minton's Flowers was in the front along with McCall's Wine and Cheese. Don Lilly had an art glass shop there for a while. There was also a kitchen shop, a print shop and later a craft shop called Along Came Jones. The men's room in the rear was a noted gay cruising spot.

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  20. I grew up within walking distance of Cumberland Mall, and my first job was there at the Baskin-Robbins. I loved that wild center court, with the incredibly loud fountains roaring with bubbling water. It always looked like there was lots of soap in that water! And I loved Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour.

    In the mid-80s, there were two bookstores - B.Dalton's and Waldenbooks - and two record stores - Record Bar and Camelot Music - a video arcade - Gold Mine - and a small comic shop - Cobb Stamp & Coin. That's where I picked up a complete run of Marvel's Godzilla comic for $12. Why a high school sophomore would need to shop anywhere else, I couldn't say!

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  21. When I was six years old (in 1984) we would drive from Calhoun to Atlanta to go to Cumberland Mall. I was originally from Wisconsin and we did NOT have cool malls like that with 2 floors. How much different did it look in 1984 than it does from the pic in the 1970s? I recall a strange children's store that had some kind of play equipment (maybe a slide) and lots of orange. And for some reason I remember a talking Coke machine. I moved back to WI in 1985, so I only have one year of great memories from that awesome mall.

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  22. What memories I worked at Davison's in the early 1980s. The store and the mall were such a wonderland. I particularly remember them redoing the center area. They replaced the bold red and yellow colors with these swirly cloudlike sheet sculptures that they hung from the ceiling. Thank goodness that they left the upper sitting area there for a while longer. It was a wonderful time to be a free single twenty-something. Britches Great Outdoors was just beside Davison's, and there were so many neat places to eat like Mr. Dunderback's, The Magic Pan, and even Picadilly's cafeteria. It was such a good era. Soon, I'll be a grandparent, but back then it was all ahead of me. I love thinking about it.

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  23. Remember the day Jean Dixon,a fortune teller of such, said the mall would collapse? I stayed there all day, nothing happened.

    We had no Mexican food restaurants in Cartersville at the time, El Chico was our favorite place along with Cashins and Magic Pan.

    Bought my first Italian leather platform shoes there in in '76.

    We've been together now for 36 years, still the memories are fresh

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  24. I'm mad...Macy's "renovated" the mall entrances and now the store has "conventional" mall entrances now.

    I kind of liked those windows in the middle and the actual entrances to each side of them. I know Cumberland just renovated the mall itself, but to me, that entrance fit in well with the renovation...typical Macy's move.

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  25. Compared to the Quintard Mall (which is becoming increasingly more vacated as we speak) that I grew up with in Anniston, AL, Cumberland Mall seemed like an extravagance to me in the late mid-nineties when my mother and I visited. It's interesting to learn that the mall was in a decline at that point.

    In my searcehes, I found this artice from the Atlanta Daily Journal, which also includes another interior photo from the 70's. http://www.thedailyjournal.com/article/20090301/NEWS01/90320018/Business-History---Cumberland-Mall

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  26. Sorry, I realized the article I posted in my previous comment was for the New Jersey Cumberland Mall. My mistake.

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  27. Ahhh...those were the days! Although trivial, you can see what is likely the last remnant of the magnificent 70's center court architecture within the exposed (now painted black) elevator shaft.

    I can hear that fountain roar once again...until I look down at Starbucks and return to reality!

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  28. I keep hoping to find more photos of it myself. That elevator today is very creaky and out of place. IMO, it never looked right after they took down the third level balcony. That had to be the world's largest mall fountain, and that maze of footpaths, balconies and spiral staircases I would give anything to see again. There are some things in life you have to wonder why they ever went away.

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  29. I was reading the blog on the Rich's bakery at Cumberland. I was a 19 year old girl and my first job was at the Rich's bakery in Cumberland. I was there to help open the store and the mall. The mall was a fabulous place, so clean and modern. All the baking for the Rich's bakeries was done at the downtown store where I eventually ended up working. Rich's was a part of our southern upbringing and I miss it and the old Cumberland mall every day. What a place.
    Karen

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    1. we worked at Cumberland at the same time(and the very same age!)-just across the fountain! I worked at Davison's and helped stock the store and was at the grand opening of the mall(it was Aug.8,1973...Davison's opened officially on July 23,1973) I think I remembered Rich's being open before us..they were still working on the fountain, so i'd look across and see Rich's ... do you remember the big ceremony at the opening of the mall? the little elderly lady that used to own all that land was there and told how her husband used to farm all that area and how proud she was that it has become something important and wonderful....I loved that little lady, she was so excited...all the architect's, builders and CEO's of all the 4 major stores were there, along with the Mayor but being 19, I wasn't really interested in any of them .... Rich's bakery was wonderful, two words: Coconut Cake! I've never found any bakery that can hold a candle to it, even to this day...I worked in women's accessories downstairs right at the fountain, so on slow days i'd take a moment in straightening and just watch the water and listen to the sound, taking in all the greenery(at one point the trailing vines actually grew until it was touching or in the water below) and it would calm me, the funniest thing that ever happened was one time I was looking out, a customer touched my arm, when I turned to look at her, she screamed-she thought I was a mannequin! she said I was standing so still, she didn't know I was 'alive'! another was when Davison's air conditioning broke--in August!-and they had a fall fur modeling show that they would not cancel and those models had to wear furs in 100 degree heat!(most had no clothes on underneath-i'm surprised they didn't have heat exhaustion) all of our candles in the candle shop upstairs melted and we had to scrape wax off everything! I truly miss that place and all the fun we had... there was a shop around the corner from us that sold summer sausages, cheeses, dips and condiments-I think it was Hickory Farms-or Swiss Colony, not sure which-but being a young working sales girl, we couldn't always afford lunch, we'd go there, tour through, eating samples as lunch-when we did have money, Cashin's and Chick-Fil-A.... there was a place where you chose your tee-shirt style/color/logo or saying that was on the top floor in a corner and we had fun there-it was below Cashin's, I think--the area had a name like 'x-Crossing' but I can't remember the name in place of the x.. it was a fun out-of-the-way spot... and there was a store that sold wooden clogs and those huge ugly trolls...I can't remember it's name, but it was Swedish decent, I think... so many memories! I do predict though, with the new Braves stadium and complex currently being built across Cobb Pkwy/Hwy 41 from the mall, that Cumberland will stay alive, if not just to get some of the fan's spending money! i'd love to be able to visit it on it's 50th anniversary in 2023--like the little elderly lady at the grand opening, telling people how proud I am of it!

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  30. Nostalgia rules! Unfortunately, Cumberland Mall (like alot of other places in the Atlanta area) are either gone or changed forever. Its good to know that Im not the only one who had fond memories of his childhood and where I spent it.

    I was only 5 when it opened so I dont have memories of that. I do remember how big it seemed back then. I learned the art of window shopping. I thought it was so cool there was a McDonalds in the mall and much to my mother's chagrin, thats where I wanted to eat at every time. Even if she ate at the infamous Piccidilly, I would bring my imported McDonalds to the table.

    I have wonderful memories of making so many wishes as I wouild cast many, many pennies into the large fountain centerpiece. Just like someone else previously mentioned, I can still smell the noisy water of the fountain. One of my favorite places at the mall was walking upthrough the cascading water surrounding the elevator area to get to the open top. I remember feeling like I was in a giant parachute.

    I too remember knowing where I was in the mall by seeing either a Sears, JC Pennys, Richs and Davisons in the atrium. I will never forget the Gold Mine or how much money I wasted there. My favorite game was by Sega called Monaco GP. Later, my favorite hangout was the Record Bar. They had a great selection of music and the little sticker they would put with your purchase for a guarantee. I still have some tapes I bought with that same sticker stuck on the inside.

    Good times indeed!

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  31. I worked at Oshmann's Sporting Goods from the fall of 1987 to the summer of 1988. Dunderbox was the Bavarian place on the second floor. My boss and I would eat there or at El Chico's and have at least a couple of beers before going back to see stuff. The Chic-Fil-A was on that side of the mall near Sears on the lower level.

    I worked there and went to Kennesaw College during the time period. I transferred to UGA and didn't know about the renovations until I came home one Christmas. I was shocked and I think it took some of the character of the mall.

    I have not been there since the early '90's so I don't know how it is now but I will always remember working there fondly.

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  32. I used to go to Cumberland in the early 70s when we southside Atlanta folks had no malls. I love love loved that fountain and the hanging plants! I felt like I was in H.R. Puffinstuff Land. The long tubular elevator always reminded me of the one in the Peachtree Plaza downtown.

    I moved to Smyrna in 2000 and lived off Powers Ferry Road for five years so I went to Cumberland a lot then. Before the renovation, I truly wondered if it would stay alive because it was getting a bit worn around the edges. It was losing some better stores and getting a slightly ghetto feel.

    Well, that definitely changed when they did the renovation and Costco came in. Other upscale stores are also coming in as well. Lunch traffic from nearby stores and business also keeps the place busy.

    I spent a lot of time pushing my son in his stroller in 20007-2008 around Cumberland (even though I live in Dekalb). It is a great "walking" mall and has a lot of nice stores. The Macy's is not my favorite, however, and seems poorly managed. The layout turns me off.

    Outside, they have added a Maggiano's and a Ted's Montana Grill along with some other new shops. It reminds me of how they added a similar set up to Perimeter and Mall of Georgia. This has helped breathe some new life into Cumberland, which makes me very happy because I have always liked this mall.

    The Galleria, across the street, has definitely taken a dive in terms of shopping.

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  33. Cumberland in the 70s was the perfect place to spend many an evening. I guess we were very lucky to have such an interesting and MAGIC place. It's bittersweet to get the nostalgia rush but realize that not only is it all different and bland today, but that even back then nobody else in the world enjoyed such a wonderful place. One would hope that Cumberland's legacy would have been a lot more widespread, instead of being a brief isolated phenomenon.

    I was in Galleria a year ago for the first time in ages. It was literally deserted at four in the afternoon on a weekday. I've never seen a mall so empty and you could hear a pin drop.

    But one sight of that photo of the Cumberland waterfall just took me back three decades!

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  34. When I went to Cumberland Mall often in the early 2000's, It was starting to be deserted. People went to other malls such as Arbor Place Lenox, Perimeter, Town Center, Avenue West Cobb, and Avenue East Cobb. When the make over came about, People were excited about it. When the renovation was completed, People started flocking to the mall. I believe the makeover saved the mall. After the renovation, I went there a good bit. Also, I ate at The Cheesecake Factory and Teds sometimes. Now, since I have a car and license, I spend time at other places such as The Avenue West Cobb. I sure am glad there is life at Cumberland and the surrounding area.

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  35. I worked at Cumberland Mall in the early to mid 80's and loved it. I worked for Hahn Shoes. I have so many fond memories of the place - the elevator, the plants, the upper balcony - the Magic Pan, Mr. Dunderbacks, and all the other cool stores. I remember they even had a store there and it seemed it was only around the holidays that sold the smoked meats, cheese, condiments in the gift sets - cannot think of the name. I loved that place - so many memories.

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  36. Does anyone remember the Cumberland Mall jingle radio commercial? "Come to Cumberland Mall, it's a shopping resort like no other, Come to Cumberland Mall where you'll find everthing in a majestic retreat. Come to Cumberland Mall...."

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  37. I loved the mall also. Once camped out over night in 1975 or 76 to get tickets for the ELO concert.

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  38. Cumberland is now a generic, homogenized mall, that is nothing special. The entrance facades are covered in cultured stone, which is the general contractor's "hot" exterior covering of the moment, kind of like vinyl siding was back in the 80s. However, 10-15 years from now, nothing will date a building quicker than cultured stone and owners will be scrambling to rip it all off. The interior of the mall is currently so generic that it could be any mall, generally, anywhere. I was 12 years old when it opened, so I grew up doing most of my shopping there. It was where everybody in South Cobb went to shop and eat. In addition to all the restaurants already mentioned, Victoria's Station was just behind the Delta ticket office building, and Steak & Ale was just across 285. Also, I saw many, many movies at Akers Mill across 41. I went to Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, and at least 1 yearbook had a photo shoot of superlatives photographed from inside Cumberland, so cool to see now. The original interior was marvelous. The designers spent a lot of time and effort to make it unique, from the space-age modern center court & water feature to the rustic-themed Paces Crossing. It was almost like Six Flags had a hand in designing the mall with their meticulous attention to design themes, water features and plant-life. The hanging plants were abundant and beautful. It was where I did 95% of school-clothes shopping with my mom. My little sister celebrated a couple of birthdays at Farrell's. Crepes at the Magic Pan were awesome, and did that place have a menagerie of hanging plants??!! The t-shirt decal shop in the back of Paces with the hundred or so design options was fascinating, and I think there was even a rock-hound store back in there. The stereo area on the 2nd floor of Franklin Music was outstanding. This was back at the height of classic rock before it was classic and tone & hi-fidelity MATTERED! Most everyone aspired to own a killer stereo with big speakers. I spent lots of time drooling over the receivers, turntables & speakers at Franklin. I went to the mall this past Mother's Day and ate at Stoney River (another monument to cultured stone!). I have to say, there's is almost nothing left that references the original mall, maybe only the old Rich's covered parking lot and rear entrance is relatively untouched. Otherwise, there really is nothing to see, touch or experience that would inspire feelings of nostalgia for a place that was unique & special in so many ways. At least Six Flags still has some of the old rides and most of the original buildings remain, even if they are used in different ways today. Go to Six Flags for some 70's nostalgia!

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