Sunday, November 1, 2009

Roswell Mall: Roswell, GA

Long before North Point Mall ever arrived in North Fulton, Roswell Mall came on the scene as a tiny two-level enclosed mall on the then-northern extent of Atlanta's suburbs.  It is today known as Roswell Town Center and completely overlooked. While long since demalled, it is by far one of the least known of all of the malls in Atlanta, and its life was nothing short of a little appreciated mall surrounded by much appreciated anchors. Built in 1974, Roswell Mall was anchored by Richway, a movie theater and Morrison's Cafeteria. It was located at the intersection of Alpharetta Hwy (GA 9) and Holcomb Bridge Road (today GA 140). It was a very small center, and the mall itself was not actually connected to Richway. However, it was a two level mall with its main entrance pretty much obscured from the main highway. In fact, its early death and its eerie 70's design is why this was always my favorite dead mall, and I hope someday to find some photos of how it originally looked.


I created this mall "map" from an old aerial photo.  I would show interior corridors and tenants, but all I remember is what is shown.  The main mallway extended from the northwest entrance to Upton's, and the path to Kmart was one-sided.

Roswell Mall initially had some very modest success. At the time it was built, it was the most remote mall in the Atlanta area serving a more local clientele instead of regional. All of the major shopping malls at that point were within close proximity to I-285 while this one was on the very edge of the suburbs. In any other time period, it likely would not have been built, but 1974 was a time when malls were geared to almost any store and demographic. Its design was simple with cordoroy concrete on most of the structure, high windows functioning as skylights and typical imposing mansard roofs abounding around the entire center. In fact, its design quite strongly resembled Dixie Square in Chicago from the outside. The Richway was also classic design with its wedge skylights and simple metal awning in the front. The Richway sign on the highway was placed above the Roswell Mall sign in an attractive 70's-style script logo since the big sunrise logo would not fit underneath.


The image here shows a slightly different shape Roswell Mall.  A large structure was added to the backside of the mall after 1978, which I can only assume was the Roswell Mall branch of the city library.  I wish someone could provide me a sketch of how these hallways worked.  It looked like a pretty bizarre floor plan overall.  If Rich's or another department store, instead of Kmart, got built, would North Point Mall have ever happened?

The Morrison's Cafeteria, though, was second only to the theaters as the most successful inline mall tenant. It had outside windows designed in a 70's rendition of a colonial countryside look with diamond-pointed shutters and windows the length of the side of the building. The sign simply read just "MORRISON'S" in a red serifed font that looked nearly identical to the "Mama's Family" TV show opening letters. It was located on the basement level on the left of the lower level northwest mall entrance. It otherwise was coated with a pale yellow stucco and was accessable just inside the mall. I know this well because my parents used to like to eat there constantly when I was a small child in the early 1980's. The mall entrance was just in big red plain letters reading "MALL".

Sometime after the mall opened, a Kmart was added to the front of the mall as a new anchor. This Kmart connected to the mall between the northwest entrance and Richway, and the mall had a loose front-side mall entrance between the store and the mall itself approximately where Gold's Gym is today. Richway was the south anchor on the mall with the right side facing Holcomb Bridge Road and the front facing Alpharetta Highway.

The 1980's proved a troubling time for the enclosed mall portion of the shopping center. Interest in the mall dwindled, though the anchors remained viable. Between the mall and Richway, a new Upton's was added in 1985, and Waccamaw was also added into the center between Upton's and Richway, further obscuring the mall itself. It is not known if this was actually originally part of the mall, a former anchor or if it was the site of the original theaters. At some point, the Roswell Public Library was in the mall, likely located in that specific location.

While the mall itself was dead by the end of the decade, the theaters, moved by that time to the lower level, continued to thrive. They were located next to Morrison's, which closed in 1987. When Morrison's closed, it left an obvious and very creepy labelscar which was never painted over. A Manchu Wok Chinese restaurant was also located at the mall with an outside entrance along the drive on the backside of Kmart near the northwest mall entrance. That was what I remembered in my 1989 visit where me and mom went to see "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids". That same year, Richway was closed and converted to Target. Little did I know that was the last time I would ever see the inside of the mall, though strange variations of this mall appear in my dreams from time to time. I wondered why I never fathomed the concept of taking pictures of this place.

The early 1990's seemed to be hiding the dead mall from view. I am imagining it was likely sealed off in that time period, but I do not really know. If you were not aware of it, the only indication there was a mall there at all was the red "MALL" sign next to Kmart. It seemed the place should have just remained since nobody noticed anyway, but the 1990's were a hot period of mall demolition, and Roswell Mall's demolition began in 1994 was no surprise overall, even though it was to me at that tender age. The mall was bankrupt, and the only hope was redevelopment.

The funny thing about the Roswell Mall demolition was that it was not a total demolition. Target and Kmart remained unscathed, and parts of the mall remained. All of these renovations were completed in early 1995. While the extruding portions including where Morrison's and the original theater were got demolished, a piece of the mall remained, escalators and all. This area became a new Burlington Coat Factory. A new hallway was also cut into the mall with a better theater, Startime Entertainment, a comedy club and not much else. In that aspect, it was still roughly a mall. It was a depressing, dirt plain corridor that offered far less character than the mall itself, and any evidence of the mall in its original form was gone.

The redeveloped mall, known then as Roswell Town Center, proved to be an initially very successful, but ultimately fading phenomenon. While it worked very well for the first decade, it was only the mall itself that died, not the anchors. The redeveloped hybrid strip mall, however, did otherwise not too many years after the completed overhaul. Target was over 20 years old, and Wal-Mart was forcing them to update most of their old Richway stock to compete. A Super Target opened on Woodstock Road (GA 92) a few miles to the west in 1999, and the old store was closed. Upton's also closed with the chain the same year, leaving another vacancy. Waccamaw went bankrupt later in 2001. Kmart did not last much longer, closing in a restructuring in 2003. While Target was filled by more downscale Value City, the Kmart ultimately went vacant. Nevertheless, the shopping center still had some life left.

After the chaos from 1999-2003, the Kmart was subdivided into a Gold's Gym and Shoe Gallery. It seemed the shopping center was still doing alright, and it was quite unusual with a small outdoor amusement park as part of Startime Entertainment in the back, a comedy club, a two-story Burlington Coat Factory and Value City. The problem was, this would all die off in a short time. Burlington Coat Factory closed around 2005. Startime and the comedy club both closed in 2008, and Value City liquidated its entire chain in 2008 as well. It seems that the strip mall plan ultimately failed harder than the mall itself did.

Today, the area around the mall is creeping into decline, and the remaining strip mall faces a very uncertain future. Bankruptcies, mergers and urban decay all work together to kill off the weaker shopping centers, including Roswell Town Center. It is possible it will come back to life with low end tenants and limp along, but Roswell remains in most areas a very upscale city with fairly strict building codes. The center today is a greater blight than the mall ever was, and with little left of it, time will only tell what happens to it. Perhaps another redevelopment is in store, but the bad economy will likely slow that project for awhile. Nevertheless, it is respectable that the center remained open for business in one form or another with chain retail stores for 35 years. I just wonder, though, how many people ever saw Roswell Mall when it was actually a mall aside from Richway and Kmart. Today, this place only exists in the memories of my childhood that I wish I could go and visit one more time: this time with camera in hand.

44 comments:

  1. Interesting post - I've always wondered about the creepy mall-like hallway that was the entrance to Startime (may it RIP) and Whirlyball.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I pass this shopping center every morning on the way home from work (via Hwy 92) and honestly haven't noticed it's in such decline. Perhaps b/c it's hard to tell from the road, between the Radio Shack and other outparcels. Thanks for this very interesting history!

    ReplyDelete
  3. FYI, I made a point to pull in the parking lot this morning and look around, and there's a Hobby Lobby in the NW store, right next to the Shoe Gallery and Gold's. It seems that perhaps a church or other entity could make use of the old Target and/or other storefronts, b/c overall the centre is in very good condition.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was pretty bad - Startime had a unique charm because everything was so broken down and neglected.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I made one visit to the Roswell Mall in the early 80's and my family too ate at the Morrison's Cafeteria. By then Kmart was part of the center and had a "breezeway" style attachment to the mall. Coming from Dalton, GA, the small design of the mall gave no compelling reason to go there over Cumberland, Perimeter, Lenox or Northlake for shopping trips to Atlanta. I suspect other than locals from Roswell and Alpharetta, few others even shoped in actual mall, though Kmart and Richway would have been stronger draws beyond the mall's core customer. That said, the interior of the mall was typical 1970's mall and 2 levels despite the small size.

    Overall the traffic is still strong at the intersection of Alpharetta Street(GA 9/old US 19) and Holcomb Bridge Rd(GA140), and GA 400/US 19 is fairly close. Some of the Alpharetta Street strip has experienced suburban blight, but it's very mild compared to stretches of Cobb Parkway, Old National, Lawrenceville Hwy, Buford Hwy, South Cobb Dr, and Memorial Dr in other suburban areas of Atlanta.

    In addition to the SuperTarget on Woodstock which directly replaced this store, the North Point Target is closer to the Roswell Mall location by maybe 1/2 mile. Myself I prefer the Richway design to Target, as the skylights and multi-colors were very attractive and managed to appear upscale despite the multitude of colors.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don't forget about the childrens pizza/arcade place that was there between Richway and the upper-level mall entrance. It wasn't a Chuck E. Cheese, but very similar. I think it was called Circus Pizza, or something like that. We went there a couple of times. I kinda miss Richway. It was a nice discount department store. I also miss Rich's as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss Rich's too. I loved the Pizza place. My family went their all the time. I think it was CC's. I don't remember the name. But I've got photos somewhere.

      Delete
    2. It was Mama's Pizza...they are now located on Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta

      Delete
    3. Circus Playhouse... And it was Awesome!

      Delete
  7. Great article, and thanks very much for it. Why this old cave is still open is beyond us. Its top level is not well travelled, but downstairs is the supreme mystery. You get to it via a tunnellike stairway, the likes of which one might think leads to a prison. Once downstairs, you enter a wonderland of 80s leftovers. Not that it's totally unupdated, but everywhere you turn, you expect Ferris Bueller or Marty McFly to jump out from behind a pillar. It brings back visions of mullet haircuts and pastel colored patrons with big shouldered jackets who stand in front of VW sized primitive video arcade games. If you can stand the spookiness and possible danger, I'd suggest taking a trip down to that dungeon. It will bring back old memories. Long live the 80s.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL...I went into that "cave" about a year or two ago, but found it so unremarkable I didn't bother to take any photos. None of it is the original mall...that is actually just a 90's mallway done on the dirt cheap. The original mall was at an angle with escalators, and I suggested here that the BCF escalator was the same as the one in the mall.

    Any part of the original mall that still exists was absorbed into Burlington Coat Factory, which had a mall entrance (newer mall) on that level. If it is still open down there, I am going back for pics. It wasn't really all that scary when Startime was open, but it was weird and very out of place. I think they were forced to create something there to find a use for that space that was necessary to elevate the rest of the shopping center. I would much rather that they have kept the original Roswell Mall...I am sure the local Hispanic population would have made great use of it in the long run if they had (e.g. Plaza Fiesta). Otherwise they should have completely torn down the mall itself, just leaving Target and Kmart intact with nothing in between.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Growing up in Roswell/Apharetta in the 1980s I used to take the MARTA bus #85 to the mall during summer vacation to hang out/see movies etc. The library was actually in the lower level tucked into a corner and I remember that it closed after the new ones in downtown Roswell and Alpharetta opened. The Radio Shack moved 3 times, it used to be in the hallway entrance near the KMART (the MALL sign referenced earlier) then they built an extension of that entrance for an expanded Radio Shack at the entrance itself (I think it also had its own entrance to the outside), then later it moved to the out parcel. There was a B Dalton (or something like that) bookstore next to Radio Shack in there, and downstairs there was a baseball card trading store, a paintball store and other stuff in the later years. I don't think the Uptons was locoated where you show it in the diagram, I remember that being Circus Pizza and later an upscale furniture store. The Uptons was to the left of the mall entrance closest to Richway, that was where I bought my first "Atlanta 1996" Olympic shirt before the announcement was even made in 1990.

    I remember the Chinese place being upstairs. I also remember the escalators and the fact that the mall never seemed full, there was always vacant space.

    A small part of the parking lot was used as a park and ride for the MARTA route #140 express bus until the Mansell Road Park and Ride was built at GA400 when the new exit was built for North Point Mall.

    The KMART had its own glassed in enclosed walkway connected to the mall if I remember right.

    The mall was never busy, the parking in the back was used mainly for the Chinese place and the movies/arcade and everyone else parked up front. I learned to drive back there. The other big thing to do as a kid was to go to the Roswell Roller Rink next door (connected to the mall parking lot) or to the put-put mini golf down Holcomb Bridge (long gone).

    ReplyDelete
  10. I moved to Georgia in 1987 so my memories are primarily around that time. I frequented Roswell Mall in the late 80's because we were building houses in the area and it's the first part of Atlanta we were pretty familiar with.

    Walden was in the mall next to the Radio Shack. B Dalton was in a shopping center next to the mall off Holcomb Bridge. There was a PC software shop in there, too, but I can't remember its name. I think the dates on mall demolition are off because I thought I remembered going to the pre-Startime arcade back in 1996. Ironically, the part of the mall that used to be an arcade was turned into a snack bar at Startime. Mama's Pizza was also in the mall downstairs next to the new theater. The baseball card shop was named ABC. Ever since I've been going there, the entire wing of the mall where the theater used to be was closed off. For a while Georgia Power had offices in the mall, and those people who ask you to do surveys set up on the upper level.

    As far as mall area, there was an Oshman's and a dollar theater in a shopping center next to the mall. That was the only Oshman's I even ran across in Georgia. There was also the aforementioned B Dalton. A genuine Putt-Putt was on the property. And the bowling alley is still across the street. I'm not sure if the skating rink is still there or not.

    And is it just me or is it odd that nobody has mentioned the on-premises cemetery? You don't see that every day at a mall. It's just behind where the Richway used to be.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Since my memories are vague from that period, what part of the original mall is still standing? Are you saying one of the mall corridors is there and sealed off? If so, where? It looked like BCF was built into the original mall. I also originally believed the mall was demolished in 1998, but there used to be a site from the company that redeveloped the mall (Talisman, IIRC) that claimed the mall was redeveloped in 1994. Perhaps demolition came as late as 1996, but I do not have that straight.

    Regardless of the problems the mall had, I still think they made a mistake demolishing the original mall. I think if they could have reconfigured the mall so that it connected to its major anchors and placed more big box tenants or a department store or two in the mall it could have recovered. I wonder if the mall had expanded in the late 80's up to a normal size mall with normal anchors if North Point would have happened at all or as big as it was?

    As to Oshman's...I remember it and going in it. I bought a Koosh ball there probably about 1989 or so. Another Oshman's was behind Applebee's near Town Center Mall and I seem to think there was one near Cumberland and Sandy Springs as well.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The entrance around back that used to open next to Morrison's looks like I remember it. Nothing else does, but I never went into the Burlington. There is an enclosed mall corridor that connected Startime and Burlington. It either isn't original or was remodeled to the extent that it no longer resembled the old mall at all.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, I'm born and raised in the area...the maps need some work, and I see some similar posts above mentioning stores that have come and gone from this developement.

    Would be happy to meet there some weekend and point out things, I spent so much time there growing up in Alpharetta with grandparents in Roswell...

    And has anyone mentioned that the theatre was originally upstairs?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am relieved there are other people out there remembering the wonders of Roswell Mall! Thanks for keeping this architectural marvel in your thoughts.

    Having been there a million times as a child, I still think about it often. As of late, I've been reminiscing even more. The pizza place was called Circus Playhouse, it had an indoor carousel! It later became an Ethan Allen furniture store. Uptons was of course THE place to get your Jordache jeans and Hypercolor shirts. The Roswell library was in fact tucked away in the lower level, under the escalators, in a dungeon-like area for a few years. Morrisons had a strange narrow hallway leading into the actual buffet area. The arcade was called Twilight Zone. I can remember the layout pretty well.

    You all inspired me to go check it out this evening. Presently, the sign above the exterior top level entrance says "Plaza Level." The only tenant listed is Whirly Ball. Down the stairs is a completely vacant hallway, not a soul in sight, with background music playing softly through crappy speakers. It's well-lit, but unbelievably creepy. The Whirly Ball sign said "closed," but the lights and TVs were on inside. Why were they closed on a weekend night? So very strange. There's also a sign on the door condemning the condition of what once was good ol' Roswell Mall: "We apologize for the condition of the hallway. Mimms Enterprise is the property owner and takes sole responsibility for its current state."

    By far the most frightening thing, however, was all the surveillance cameras all over the place! Not to mention that Startime is caged up and absolutely vacant, yet completely lit up inside. The chairs are stacked on the tables in the bar area. We got out of there pretty quickly, but I think this place has some great cinematic potential!

    Oh, and the graves out back comprise the Pleasant Hill Cemetery; apparently there used to be a church next to it, pre-Richway.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just drove by yesterday, after 21 years. I went back to reminisce with a childhood friend from the 80's. I can't believe no one on here didn't remember that the Chinese Place upstairs was called HAPPY WOK. My family ate there thru the entire 1980's, and it broke my heart to see the place looking so ghetto. However, I do know that it wasn't even that nice back then.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really need to post my recent photos of this place soon. This mall was so incredibly creepy in the day, but probably wouldn't seem it so much now since dead malls are all too common these days. I think there were few things spooker than the way that Morrison's Cafeteria looked after it closed around 1987. I think I was only in the mall 1-2 times in my life, and I sure wish I had gone more...and with a camera. From the time I was 8 years old up to when they knocked it down I was pretty obsessed with it. Having a Richway there definitely enhanced those feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I remember the mall being built. The cinema did not come into play until 1980. Richway opened around 1975-1976. I worked at Richway in the summer of 1977. There was a Richway Grocery and Foods that was next door that lasted about a year. The lower floor, accessed by elevator was a ghost town. I remember a few stores; a girl's clothes store, a men's clothes store, a trophy and engraving shop and an electronics shop. After a year or two they were all gone and the lower part was almost completely vacant. Still, I remember working at Richway and thought the mall represented the promise of a bigger more sophisticated Roswell.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I used to date a Roswell cop in the late 1970s-early 1980s, and she was assigned out of a precinct in the rear downstairs of this mall. I can't say what it looked like in there, though, I never went inside for some reason. A few years later, I was married (to someone else!) and lived down 140 in Canton, we used to come to Roswell Mall to shop at least once a week. My favorite shop was a software shop in a corner upstairs, it had a great selection of Commodore 64/128 software and a great guy who owned the shop.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I used to always get hair cuts from this blonde lady who worked in a haircut place back in the early 90s. That and the dollar store are the easiest to recall memories I have. If I remember right, the main entrance bore the Upton's facade and while the mall was two stories; one wing was only lower level and another far wing was only upper level. K-Mart you could get to without having to step outside as there was a heated corridor leading to it but going to Target required stepping outside.

    Last time I actually stopped in that center was back in 2004 when it housed a Burlington coat factory and before that, I ate at this pizza joint on the lower level of the mall's enclosed part. That enclosed area never housed more than one or two businesses at a time, they never did well and that section just always felt seedy and shady; not nearly as pleasant to walk through as the old mall was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hair Etc. was the place and Mama's Pizza had the best pizza.

      Delete
  20. One of my first memories was going to see ET at the movies there. I remember the entrance to the actual theater was scary to me - it curved around quite a bit before you got to the seats. I had my picture taken with Santa on the lower level where it was open and you could see both the 2nd floor and the glass ceiling. Used to eat at Mama's Pizza (still do) and went to the Twilight Zone a lot! My mom used to take oil painting classes for many years on the 2nd floor so there was an art supply store. Also on the 2nd floor there was a crafting store. I don't remember that Morrison's but I DO remember Morrison's in other malls that all closed. Richway was great - I still remember the logo. Later on, across from the entrance to Upton's (just what you're looking for..) there was a hot dog/sandwichy kind of place. Before the Burlington opened up, it was a home type store. But I do remember the glass walkway that was enclosed that ran from Kmart into the mall to Upton's. I'd like to see some pictures, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, I also remember the cemetary on the way to the skating rink (long gone) and the actual putt-putt. Remember the putt-putt building? It was like a white octagon up in the air with a small 1st floor entrance. Like a strange mushroom kind of thing. I may have to drive around there now. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cemetery remains. According to a guy I work with, his church owns it. It's the burial place of a few slaves from pre-civil war if he's correct.

      Delete
  22. Awesome memories on Roswell Mall. The craft store was Waccamaw...how did I forget that? On that Santa pic, I would love to see that so I could at least see one image of what the mall used to look like. I went to that theater once, but I do not remember much about it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @JT

    I posted above about a year or so ago...still live in the area and I'm actually currently researching old theatres in the area, so will let you know if I come across any cool pictures.

    Anyways, I'm currently the Chairperson of the City of Milton Historic Preservation Commission and will soon be on the Board of the Alpharetta Historical Society.

    Can be available to meet at the old mall and point out where everything was...remember all of it.

    Travis Allen
    teallen76@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. I forwarded this page to a friend because he is into this kinda stuff. He says he was good friends with a manager of the "newer" movies at the Roswell Mall in the mid 90s. He said the manager friend "found" the original theater completely holed up and intact roughly above the new one. Nothing had changed. Would have loved to be there! Creepy!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Was this before or after the mall was redeveloped? I suspect that even now that there are parts of the original mall hidden away and sealed off since the entire structure was not demolished.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I went there this weekend with my kids to see a movie at the new theater (Aurora complex) that opened a year ago. The theater is pretty decent actually. The doors to the bottom floor plaza level are still open. Apparently whirlyball is still around and they are at the very end of a long (60 yards or so) hallway. The hallway is totally desolate with the only sound being a few crickets chirping. It creeped my kids out pretty bad. The hallway just has an empty restaurant on the left and 2 other gated up empty storefronts. Curious to see what last occupied the now empty restaurant space. It had a sticker on the door saying 'Best of citysearch 2007' or something, so I assume it hasn't been closed that long. I tried to walk all the way down to the end but my kids got scared so I had to turn around. I think this would be a good place to film that zombie show they film here around atl. Or maybe set up a game of street hockey or something.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @Anon, the restaurant was probably Mama's Pizza. It stuck around the mall until at least after the Startime renovation. I hear it finally moved to Alpharetta but I have no idea when.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I spent a lot of time in the Roswell mall when i was growing up. My friend Jimmy's dad owned the Mama's pizza, and my brother worked at both Morrison's and Kmart. I worked at the downstairs theater in the late 80's, early 90's range. The original theater was still around and pretty much as it was when it closed up until at least 1990. I moved away in 1994 and after that is when the rebuilding of the inside started. I have been home a few times since and it is very strange how they redesigned it. Circus Playhouse was in the space next to the Richway side as the last outdoor space, and there was a vacant spot between that and the Richway (part of the short lived Richway grocery, maybe?). Lot's of memories....shame it went so far downhill...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I worked at the theater in the early 90s as well. Good times. The guy who managed it then now owns it.

      Delete
  29. It's funny how I never really thought about this place until happening upon this post, but now I'm remembering bits and pieces of the past. I want to say I saw Wayne's World in the theater here, which would have been 1992. Not too sure about that, but it seems right.

    I definitely saw Doug Stanhope at the comedy club sometime around 2000 or 2001. Drove all the way from Rome for it with a car full of drunks (ah, college.) It seemed like an odd location.

    These days I go to the new theater, which is nice, and I've bought flooring from the Floor and Decor place (ah, adulthood.) So strange that such a prime location has been eternally in flux. If I had to guess I'd say it'll stay that way until somebody just tears it all down.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Late 70's/Early 80's: I remember the arcade downstairs, and some concession stand named "Sailboats" with some old lady running it. I do remember that Chinese joint upstairs and the theaters. Saw "Empire Strikes Back" there.

    ReplyDelete
  31. So many childhood memories at this place. I spent the 1st 13 years of my life in the Sandy Springs area and as a youngster in the late 1980s my mom would take me there on Friday afternoons to the library, video arcade, and pizza restaurant. I met Braves pitcher Zane Smith there as well. Thank you so much for this journey through time :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I went to the mall as a child between 1985 and 1991 or so. There is a video on Youtube uploaded in 2012 that was filmed in 1991 which shows the interiors of the mall well. Search on YouTube for 'Roswell Mall'.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you for taking time to write this. Thinking back on it, the mall was rather strange. But as a kid, living in the area, it's pretty much what I understood a mall to be until Northpoint came along. My first and only visit to Town Center at Cobb cane before Northpoint was constructed and I was absolutely blown away by the sheer size of it. I didn't realize places like that existed as a 10 or 11 year old. I was a local boy whose parents rarely ever ventured further than 5 miles away. It was a Sunday tradition on Sundays to have dinner at the old dine in Pizza Hut that used to be across the street then go to Roswell Mall.Your assessment was right by our experience too.we'd pretty much go to K Mart and the rest of the mall served as a covered walkway to Target. I do remember the movie theatre because it was all we had. We frequented the old Twilight Zone arcade that was downstairs by the theatre, and at one point a little shop that dealt in selling and trading sports cards was downstairs. Otherwise, I knew there were a few other stores but I've no idea what they were.
    I do appreciate this article and wish I could find something similar about my old elementary school. I can find nothing at all on it. But I was the last generation on my father's side to attend before it was closed. It would be nice to find even a photo but the Internet seems to have nothing on it. It was Northwestern Elementary School on Birmingham Highway before Crabapple Crossing opened across the street.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Went by there today, peeked into where Startime used to be. The metal halide lights were still on inside, but the doors where so dirty you couldn't see any detail, and the handles and pushbars are literally falling off of them.

    Like others have said, my family and I frequented this mall in the early 80's when we lived in Alpharetta, because back then the area was semi-rural and very "backwater". This was the closest "civilization" to us until Gwinnett Place came about in '84 or '85. I ate my first pizza at Mama's Pizza, played my first video game at the Twilight Zone arcade, got my hair cut as a little kid at the salon on the second floor. Went to the Richway, Radio Shack (in the breezeway to Kmart) and Kmart frequently until we moved to Gwinnnett County in '87.

    I went back to this mall twice in the 90's that I can remember: Once to the mom-and-pop computer store that was there at that time searching for hard-to-find Commodore games, and on a date to see "Twister" at the theater. Oddly, I don't recall why we didn't see that movie at Northpoint. Perhaps the show times didn't work out for some reason. That's the last time (until today when I was driving by) I had seen the place.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm so glad you wrote this. I grew up in Marietta. My family used to go to church near Roswell in the 80s and we would occasionally eat lunch at this Chinese restaurant that was on the second floor of a mall. We never went in the rest of the mall so I didn't remember much else about it. The Chinese restaurant was right by the stairs on the left. We tried to go to the restaurant once in the early 90s but it was no longer there.

    I moved to Roswell in 2005 and ever since then I had been wondering where exactly that Chinese restaurant had been because nothing in the area matched the memory I had. Now it makes sense knowing that the section with the Chinese restaurant was probably the section that was demolished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Manchu Wok, right? I remember seeing it from the back of the mall with a set of stairs up to the restaurant. I assume it was accessible primarily from the enclosed strip portion extending from Kmart to the main mall.

      Delete
    2. Manchu Wok, right? I remember seeing it from the back of the mall with a set of stairs up to the restaurant. I assume it was accessible primarily from the enclosed strip portion extending from Kmart to the main mall.

      Delete