Sunday, July 18, 2010

Normandale Shopping Center: Montgomery, AL

Most retail relics of significant historical importance receive adoring attention either as they grow and change or as they fade away.  Some, however, do not get the credit they deserve.  This is very much the case in regards to one of the earliest shopping malls in the country in Montgomery, AL that has been largely overlooked in comparison to other early retail developments.  This place is Normandale Shopping Center, also referred to as Normandale Mall.  Normandale is a center that first fell to competition then failed to revive due to the rampant crime and poverty that worsened around the center so that is now an extremely depressed area.  This mall, unfortunately, is synonymous with a city that is difficult to understand: a city with extreme poverty and an extreme racial divide that has left large parts of the city a wasteland with little interest in fixing them.  Normandale Shopping Center is no exception, and it is a symbol of the decrepit neighborhood around it which is probably the only reason it is still standing today.


Normandale Shopping Center was once a great place to shop.  It opened in 1954, then constructed by Aaron Aronov, who built several major shopping malls mainly in Alabama spawning from the success of this shopping center.  Originally the center was a strip mall, then anchored by Winn-Dixie.  The Winn-Dixie was highly unusual in how it bows outward.  In 1956, the strip mall was appended with a small open-air mall.  The result was a very unusual type center that became a hybrid of a traditional strip mall and open-air mall off the middle.  Included in this expansion was a large two-level Loveman's department store, an A&P, Woolworth's and Parker-Sledge Hardware.  It is my understanding that Parker-Sledge Hardware formed the junior anchor at the opposite end of the mall, but I could be wrong.  Other tenants in the mall, according to information gathered on Mall Hall of Fame, were Brenner's Shoe Factory, People's Bank, Gulp Piano and Organ, Hancock Fabrics, Cohen's Records, Francis Cafeteria, Twix 'N Teens, DeShield's and Buster Brown Shoes coming to a total of 43 total stores.


The first photo shows the main mall entrance extending from the original strip mall parking lot.  The second photo is of the current sign along Norman Bridge Road.

The 60's and 70's were prosperous times for the mall despite the coming of a new rival in Montgomery Mall in 1968.  The two malls would compliment each other forming a thriving retail strip to the south along West Blvd (US 80/82), which was the then-new by-pass around the southeast side of the city.   Normandale, however, was in a bit of an offbeat location situated a block outside of view of West Blvd on Norman Bridge Road.  This location suggested the center predated the new by-pass for some time.  Everything seemed to be fine at the retail landmark up until the late 1970's when two events led to the demise of the center.  The first was the opening of Eastdale Mall further east in 1977.  This was soon followed in 1980 or 1981 when Loveman's went out of business.  This was only the beginning of hard times ahead for the mall.


Here is an overview of the original part of the shopping center with the old grocery store, which I am assuming was always Winn-Dixie on the right and Loveman's in the middle.


Here is a close-up of Loveman's, which did find life after it closed, but has been decrepit and abandoned for years since.

It wasn't just competition that hurt the mall, however.  The area around the mall was beginning to work against it, and in a very harsh way.  The main problem was that very old apartment housing was built in abundance all around Montgomery, but especially near Normandale.  In fact, some of these apartments, which appear to possibly be an old public housing project, are located across the street facing the mall.  If nothing else would deter someone from shopping at the mall, those certain would.  Throughout the next couple decades, most stores would leave the open-air mall, though the strip mall portion would continue to function.  No-name local retailers took over the old Loveman's and Parker-Sledge Hardware, though Winn-Dixie found continued life for many years in the original grocery store.  It gets worse.


A look into the mall itself.  I wish I had gone up to that fence, but I felt very nervous here.  This was partly due to the fact I just had been panhandled at McDonald's nearby just earlier.  I will go back and get a closer look at this eventually.


Another side view of the entrance with three poles in the front.  I always loved these poles like this.  Early open-air malls always seemed to have them.

Retail competition and neighborhood decline had already taken hits at the mall, but nature itself would take its own swing at the complex.  In 1995, a tornado made a direct hit on the open-air mall portion of the center.  While the damage was not extensive enough to completely destroy the structures, the already dead mall was damaged to the extent that the mall portion was closed off in lieu of being repaired.  Apparently, the owners were uninterested in repairing the mall portion, and any money used at all was applied to improvements to the older strip mall.  Obviously as a result of the tornado, I noticed an old truck situated right on one of the sidewalks in the mall part.  The mall part has been abandoned ever since with a high pointed fence keeping pedestrians away from most of the mall itself.


Here is a closer view of the grocery store with "Deli Bakery" in obvious Winn-Dixie font on the side.

The mall today is isolated in a cesspool of poverty and abandoned structures.  The parking lot of the mall is cracked and grown up with access blocked except along the strip mall portion.  Even worse, most of West Blvd in the area is also run down and decrepit with most retail gone.  Calhoun Foods occupied the old Winn-Dixie, though it appears that it to has closed.  Even Montgomery Mall closed down a few years ago and sits there abandoned just down the street.  Figuratively, the only bright spot in this area is the Montgomery Flea Market very close by.  It would take an enormous undertaking of gentrification to revive the area, but instead the middle and upper class in the city has shifted east outside of the city entirely.  Reviving the center for retail would be extremely difficult, and its visibility issues make it near impossible.  If the area was in better shape, it would either be torn down or converted to some other use, which makes me thankful in a roundabout way that the neighborhood is this bad.  Millions in damage left unrepaired from neglect and the tornado is bound to make the property even more worthless.  To me, though, it just seems to me like a diamond in the rough.



This is a side entrance on the opposite side of Loveman's.  I absolute love this covered walkway done like this.  It is deteriorated, but not beyond repair.



This view is from the opposite end of the mall.  It is a little less inviting.  Note the parking lot is starting to get grown up from years of disuse.  I did not travel it for fear of damaging my tires.


Here is a close-up of the backside of the mall.  What was the store on the left?

Amazingly, a plan still came forward to redevelop the long dead mall.  In 2005, a plan surfaced by Joseph G. Arnone, a mall developer from Kansas City, to revive the mostly vacant center.  The builder tried more than once, but failed due to being unable to secure financing for the project.  If that was true, it makes me wonder if redlining does indeed still exist considering that the builder's plan included condos and a revitalization of the entire center to a bit of its former glory.  Perhaps this could happen, but this would have to be a coordinated effort by the city and other developers to fix the rest of the area.  I am betting this is unlikely to happen now with the poor economy.


Here is a map I made.  The only information I know for sure is the location of Loveman's and Winn-Dixie.  I do not know if Winn-Dixie was something else, and I am speculating on the locations elsewhere in the mall.


This postcard aerial photo from the late 1950's shows better times for the mall.

50's malls, unfortunately, did not typically last the test of time.  Located in the earliest suburbs with small houses, drab strip malls and an early modernist design that is considered unsightly today, it was typically special circumstances that kept malls of this era afloat.  In the case of Lenox in Atlanta, the mall was situated in an extremely affluent area that did not change from that at any point.  The area around Normandale, however, was a comparatively blue collar area that simply aged to the point that the lower class took over.  In reality, it is not amazing that the mall died.  It is amazing, though, that is still around with the opportunity to be revived as well as being viewed by urban explorers and modern history buffs such as myself.  If the neighborhood can be turned around, perhaps this classic beauty could come back with it.  It would be miraculous to see a vintage 50's open-air mall restored to its original 1950's appearance regain its position as a retail landmark.  For now, it seems like a pipe dream but anything is possible.

If anyone would like to submit any additional photos of this fascinating place, please feel free to send them my way.  I would love to expand my coverage of this mall.

36 comments:

  1. The history seems to parallel that of River Roads and Northland, outside of St. Louis, although both had longer lasting anchors. Wynnewood in Dallas has had a similar history, although part of the shopping area has survived and made something of a comeback--Wynnewood was part of a well designed planned community and nearby "classic" mid-mod houses have drawn gentrification interest despite a lot of crime. Significantly, Wynnewood's shopping center was laid out as a village, albeit, a carbound one rather than a traditional shopping center and the collection of smaller spaces have lent themselves to reuse better than the proto-mall layout here. Doesn't surprise me that the strip did better, longer--it would have provided visibility and more sense of "defensible space". The mall set-up looks like it was depressing.

    The redlining may be very conservative attitudes about lending, despite the willingness of lenders to give people with no money the keys to mini-mansions. Centes like this one (including at least one of the two I mentioned in St L) have been able to redevelop as some sort of big box complex. Condos would be a bigger stretch here unless there was some reason to believe that gentrification would be drawn in this direction. The presence of other, large scale dead retail nearby probably makes investment seem risky. Older forms of retail, like classic streetcar strips and oold urban secondary retail areas seem to hold up better, if not always in an attractive way, than suburban-style retail, when the demographics shift.

    Strips in areas with decent demographics see to adapt quite well. Lindberg Plaza in Atlanta was fully leased and busy before it was demolished for a new big-box complex targting better off customers. Toco Hills has had a successful new life with a hevay emphasis on restaurants.

    The projects may simply be 1950s apartments--lage complexes and simple architecture were common. Many had clotheslines because there were washers but no dryers. OTOH "white" (ptre-open housing) projects sometimes were sited on the edges of cities.

    The Loveman's is a great piece of mid-mod construction--more flamboyant than the usual suburban branch. the W-D is an oddity, too. It looks like they were semi-interested in architecture for once.

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  2. I just looked at Wynnewood...looks a lot like an early lifestyle center before they were even invented. Nice to see it kept its 50's design, though.

    The place does indeed remind me of Northland except that Northland faced outward.

    Normandale was amazing to last as long as it did because its location is strange and pretty much by the time Loveman's closed, the area was over-retailed.

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  3. I've wondered about the Winn-Dixie, as the marina style building appears more like that of Penn Fruit or Kohl's than any Winn-Dixie or Hills prototypes of which I have seen. Since none of those chains were ever in Montgomery, was this a one-off for W-D or a mall design specifically for Normandale?

    Didn't realize Loveman's was in Montgomery, but they were Alabama's leading department store for years, and it's not that far from Birmingham.

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  4. This mall housed the famous Liger's Bakery as well, a mainstay in Montgomery for decades.
    I have fond memories of sitting on Santa's knee at Loveman's and then going on to Liger's for a treat!
    Thanks for this very informative write-up!

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  5. My favorite places in Normandale were Toyland and Joy's Restaurant.

    The store on the left backside was last home to Hancock's Fabrics. I forget what it was before that.

    Other stores on the front side to the left of Loveman's included Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, a Barber shop and The Luggage Shop. And while it wasn't on Normandale proper, the Shakey's Pizza just across the street was the best thing to happen to Friday nights in Montgomery, next to Chris's Hot Dogs (of course).

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  6. The original name for the Winn Dixie was Kwick
    Chek owned by Winn Dixie. They operated some stores under that name in the 50's and 60's. They renamed them all Winn Dixie sometimes in the early 70's.

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  7. Getting panhandled at McDonald's sounds bad. If you don't mind JT, what happened?

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  8. If that was true, it makes me wonder if redlining does indeed still exist...

    You can't be serious with that comment. As you yourself noted, the entire area is now a cesspool of crime and decay. I don't care how good the redevelopment plans for the shopping center were, only an idiot would take the risk of lending perhaps millions of dollars to a developer who wanted to invest in that neighborhood.

    I also have fond memories of Normandale, having shopped there with my mother in the late-70s and having many times visited the branch of the Montgomery Public Library that was there in the 1980s. I hate seeing what has happened to this once-wonderful shopping venue. But I still wouldn't invest even one dime in a revitalization project... unless I never wanted to see that dime again.

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  9. That comment was mildly sarcastic, but it is true that the neighborhood would have to be fixed to fix the mall.

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  10. I grew up visiting Normandale every Saturday. At Christmas you could see Santa from outside the Lovemans panoramic window. He would sit in the 2nd floor window area and listen to our wish lists. As I grew up and had chemistry sets Toyland was the place to go to buy chemicals and chemistry sets (I actually learned nothing from those sets but the toy store (originally located on Dexter directly across from Chris's hotdogs) was outstanding. I remember some type of drugstore at the end of the open mall area. There was great camera shop next to Winn Dixie and a cafeteria way down on the other end (near the apt. complexes). I vividly remember the escalator in Lovemans because my mother was scared to death that she would get tripped at the top or bottom so I had to hold her for dear life! At Christmas there would be tons of toys on the 2nd floor. Such memories and experiences. All gone with the wind!!

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    1. You are right that the surrounding neighborhood would have to be fixed to make renovating that mall successful. The problem is how far one must go to get to a decent, moderately low crime neighborhood. Miles and miles. As much as I'd like to see that area revitalized, I just don't think its realistic at this point. Maybe at some point in the future, although when I visit Montgomery these days one gets the feeling of a city in definite decline and rather down on it's luck. The end result of decades of mismanagement that I don't see turning around anytime soon.

      I had a aunt that worked in that Lovemans' from the late 1950's into the mid 1980's. She was a very refined Southern lady that put on the best parties in her neighborhood (a neighborhood that unfortunately has suffered the same fate). My grandmother worked at JCPenny, first at the old downtown store and then later in the Montgomery Mall store. She worked there over the same time period and was also a classic Southern lady. Both now gone and sorely missed.

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  11. Do you remember going to see the Christmas window displays at Normandale? That was a big holiday event for my family. There would be crowds of people gathered to see the mechanized stuffed animals and train sets. It was very much like the opening scenes in A CHRISTMAS STORY. Of course, I'm a white person remembering Montgomery from when I was a little girl in the early Sixties. For me, this time seemed idyllic. I knew very little about the Civil Rights movement until I grew older and began to study it. And I do not recall ever seeing a black person at Normandale except for those serving food at Morrison's Cafeteria. I was so young and so blind.

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  12. I loved this place. I lived in Troy and it was so special to go there shopping. My mother bought all my party dresses at Tween& Twix, going to the bakery, shopping at Lovemans and finishing the day at Morrisons. I remember a shoe store also. Wonderful memories. So sad it is gone.

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  13. Just drove by on a recent trip to Montgomery. Saw the stores closest to Norman Bridge Rd and marveled at how old and awful they looked. Sadly I did not realize there was a full mall behind it. From Norman Bridge driving by you can hardly notice it.

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  14. I remember visiting the shopping center with my parents as a young girl. I was a little black girl who only was able to look up and admire Santa in the window from high above. I could not understand why not than, but I guess my parents had their reasons. My children are adults now, but I recently told them about Normandale Shopping Center. I told them that it was the only place that we look at as a Mall. Took bad something nice couldn't come out of it.

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    1. I'm really sorry to hear that. That sounds like an awfully bittersweet memory to remember this cool mall that you weren't really able to truly enjoy because people were stupid back then.

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  15. I was from Pine Apple, AL..and it was a big thing going to the mall in the big city. So many memories have been unleased. I still have the pictures with my brothers in Santa's lap at Lovemans. I had forgotten Santa in the second story window. It was Francis Cafeteria not Morrisons...and that was high class eating to me circa 1961-68. The waiters at Francis cafeteria wore crimson jackets with black lapels, the jackets were waist length, and a little black bow tie...I thought they were cool. When I was going there at the entrance there was a mechanical horse and a mechanical rocket ride....I always did both.

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  16. I have very faint memories of Normandale from the 1980s. My mom used to take me to that branch of the Montgomery Public Library as a child, but it was considered a rare treat because we didn't venture to that part of Montgomery much after my parents moved into the Forest Hills neighborhood. But, the part of Montgomery that Normandale was in was where my parents lived when they first got married. Mama pointed out the Sears she worked at when she and Daddy were just married and my eldest brother was a baby. Sears wasn't part of the shopping center though. It was a standalone building, and I forget what it eventually changed to.

    From what I've read elsewhere, the public library branch was housed in the old Woolworth's. I remember checking out the first books in Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series from that library. I also remember the old Buster Brown's because I giggled at shoes being named "Hush Puppies." I think the last time I was in Normandale was maybe 1988-89, because of the age I was when I read the Betsy-Tacy books. Maybe 1990. I know that my mom considered that side of town too dangerous to be on after that.

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  17. I was born in 1982 and I have fond memories of attending preschool across the street at Normandale Baptist Church.We actually had an elderly white lady keep me, my sister, and several other young children at her house in Normandale on Berkley Drive during the summers and when my parents would go out on the town. I remember as a young child the racial makeup of the neighborhood was changing, but I remember visiting Liger's Bakery and Baskin Robbins and the Buster Brown shoe store; this would've been the mid-late 80's. Due to my fascination with abandoned dwellings, sometimes when I am home visiting my folks I will drive by old Normandale Mall in the daytime. I vaguely remember the MGM public library being there. I definitely remember the old dept. store building always being empty.

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  18. I remember Normandale from the 60's. My grandmother worked the cosmetics counter at Miller's and I would go to work with her sometimes and sit at the counter on a stool and talk to the other employees and customers. When I was very young, I was in a fashion show sponsored by Loveman's. I still remember how nervous I was modeling a suit for kids. Lot's of good memories.

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  19. I loved Normandale. Better concept than East Chase because the walk ways are covered from the rain and the heat of Alabama.

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  20. The Montgomery Mall open in 1970 .I ought to know .I went to the opening

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    1. I believe we are talking about Normandale.

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  21. There was a shoe store called DeShield Larsons (early 70s). I believe. Mrs. Fitch was the name of the sweet lady who always helped us.

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  22. As a previous commenter said, the Shakey's Pizza was the place to be at one time; for me it was as a small child in the late 70s. I have fond memories of going there and seeing on a big movie screen old Three Stooges and Our Gang comedies. I also loved the public library, the design and decor of which were so funkily mid-century it should have been preserved as an historical site. Unfortunately, any dreams of revitalizing any areas of Montgomery other than downtown are gleaned from a pipe. I left in 2000 at age 24 because, like everyone else I knew, I realized there was never going to be any opportunity for me there. Every person I grew up with, whether from my neighborhood, my church, or my school has moved away, and most of them moved far away from the whole state of Alabama. I doubt any of us will ever return to be community leaders and developers because, as should be obvious from your travels there, there is simply no civic pride. Blame Alabama politics, blame white flight, blame decades of poor leadership from government and business: it would take a multigenerational commitment from ALL the people of Montgomery to make it a truly great capital city.

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    1. Well said it's weird everything you stated I did and have idea at the time why. I now live in Washington state (really far away) am 43 and recently for some odd reason been struck with a sense of nostalgia if to the point of looking up places on Google Earth and reminiscing of growing up in Montgomery in the 70's and 80's not even thinking about the invisible racial lines that were drawn by our for father's and that is why that town is cursed and going down hill sad to say bit it's true segregation killed that town. Keep them black people on one side and whites on the other deprive them of being part of our lives and community and this is the product plus throw drugs and alcohol in the mix and you have a trifecta of misery and despair. I recently about 5 years ago went down to say good by to my ailing dad who moved away from coventry Rd about ten years prior to that to his land in Wetumpka. We stayed at the old holiday Inn by I 65, I knew then this town is dead and cursed because of its past sins and still is very much segregated by color and class but what town isn't even here in Washington it is practiced one of the reasons this whole country is cursed and has a blithe on it cause we forgot God a long time ago dare I even say He was ever even here blessing this nation maybe it was all our own doing which is just as bad because a house built on sand and a house divided can not stand.

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  23. We lived in Montgomery in the late 50's and early 60's and built a house on Wesley Drive which starts at the back corner of Normandale. My sister recently visited and our house, now with 50 ft trees in front is a derelict, empty dwelling. She described the shopping center which due to proximity was, at the time of my youth, an ever present playground. Not a store or open area in that shopping center was unknown to me. Loveman's was like a vision and that escalator ate my sneaker one afternoon just after I quickly unlaced and watched the footless converse all-star pop out a mangled mess at the top. I just did a little Google Maps tour of the area and I find it hard to believe what has happened to that side of Montgomery. I hate to say it but trace the lack of support for the school system and you'll find your answer to the demise of Normandale Shopping Center and the South Montgomery area.

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    1. I lived on Wesley too, and yes Normandale was a playground. Grant's had an 'arcade'.

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  24. lived 3 blocks from here from '59-77. Some additions and corections will follow after this 'test'.

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  25. from the West corner headed to Winn Dixie: Central Bank, Normandale Drugs, Parker Sledge Hardware, Western Auto, one more shop, then WinnDixie. Other stores not mentioned: Miller's, Hallmark, Zale's, Namedropper, Record Shop, XX Bakery, XX Barbershop...all I can recall now.

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    1. The record store was The Sound Shop and the bakery was Liger's.

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  26. My Mother and father owned The Yardstick..I loved being a part of those amazing times. Normandale was my home. My aunt owned Hallmark and I have such fond memories of always spending time in Normandale.Francis Cafeteria, Polly's after school for cokes and french fries..Loveman's knitting center where I learned to make gorgeous sweaters. My love for that place will never die.I am crying thinking about those years gone by!

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  27. Check out this recent article with vintage photos of this mall and other Montgomery area shopping centers. There is a link on the final slide for the Birmingham area article as well. http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2016/04/the_dead_and_struggling_malls.html#0

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    1. I'm a lifetime Montgomery and. Spent 13 months in Millbrook, HATED it, had to move back.
      Montgomery has so much to offer! Between the entertainment at MPAC, to the resurgence of downtown, the fact that, as a family with medical needs, there are 3 hospitals within 15 minutes anywhere in town-very important! I grew up in Old Cloverdale, have a house in the Eastbrook-Morningview area. Don't have to worry about locking my door.
      There are, believe it or not, that are still immunized, to a certain amount, from the drugs, crime, etc.
      Our legacy is Civil Ear and Civil Rights, and we've always been polarized because of it. But our town is not to big to be anonymous, but big enough to be so if you choose to be. I'm retired from the City of Montgomery and plan to stay.

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  28. Thank you for putting together a tribute & history for Normandale. As a child and teenager, I lived a few blocks away in 1959-1969, and a few miles away in 1969-1977. My grandmother worked in Loveman’s and at the New England Bookshop during 1964-1980. I worked in the Baskin-Robbins in 1975-77. My family was acquainted with developer/manager Aaron Aronov, and we knew many of the people who ran stores or worked in them. So I’m a decent authority on many details of Normandale. I respectfully offer to you the following additional details about the shopping mall and its vicinity, and in some cases corrections:

    • The major road a few blocks south that carries US 80 and US 82 is South Boulevard. Montgomery’s West Boulevard is a completely different road on the west side of town. There's also an East Boulevard and a North Boulevard. During the 1950s-1980s, they were colloquially known as the Southern Bypass, Western Bypass, etc.

    • Normandale’s large central space with the parabolic roof was conceived and engineered to house a movie theatre. When a willing and deep-pocketed theatre operator didn’t materialize, the space was instead opened as a Kwik Chek supermarket. Kwik Chek was a unit of Winn Dixie. During the 1950s-1960s, Winn Dixies were smaller in-town grocery stores, and Kwik Cheks were larger supermarkets… Same owners though. Around 1970, the Normandale Kwik Chek was renamed Winn Dixie.

    • Parker-Sledge hardware was actually on the north strip, in a medium large space between Kwik Chek and City Federal Bank. The bank was at the very west end of the north strip.

    • The large space on the southwest corner, in the expansion wing next to A&P, was not Parker-Sledge. It was occupied by W.T. Grant, a mass-merchandise variety store. In the 1970s it was then occupied by Cloth World, and the former A&P space then became occupied by an Alabama Liquor Board State Store.

    • There was a Woolworth's variety store in the south center mall section, which later became an annex of the Montgomery Public Library.

    • The central mall had a plaza in which various traveling shows and attractions could be placed. My friends and I remember the chimpanzee on roller skates, and a huge dinosaur exhibit that also took up part of the north parking lot.

    • An entirely separate and important facet of Normandale is that the south section has a large underground space. This was originally a city-operated Montgomery Community Center, where various activities such as club meetings and small performances took place. Importantly, it was also the Cold War fallout shelter for the entire larger vicinity. Basements are tough to build and maintain in the high-clay “prairie mud” of south Alabama. I understand that in Normandale’s present era of advanced deterioration, the underground space has become flooded, blocked and rat infested, completely uninhabitable. But I went to puppet shows there as a child.

    • Another key asset was the Gulf gasoline service station, centered in Normandales north parking lot along Patton Ave. In its day, it was one of the nicest gas stations in town, with eager, uniformed attendants pumping gas and washing windshields.

    • The various apartment buildings along the north, east and south periphery were all built in the late 1940s to late 1950s. Not eyesores at all back then, they were entirely middle class and appropriate for their era. In Normadale’s heyday, they didn’t detract at all from the thriving nature of the shopping center. I was very closely acquainted with a family in one of the red-brick 4-flats on Patton Ave. to the north, and all the people in those buildings were well employed and stable. Nothing against public housing, but those buildings were not that.

    Thank you for the opportunity to clarify several things about this memorable commercial and social center, now so sadly derelict.

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  29. Normandale Mall is destined for the wrecking ball. The area was good thru the mid 80's, then went downhill fast. Norman Bridge Rd on the west side of the mall was actually a dividing line for blacks & whites until they crossed over that line in the mid 80's and the entire area a mile in any direction was 98% black by the late 90's. Normandale Mall had about 10 years of good times until Montgomery Mall opened & it slowly died. Then Eastdale Mall opened in 1977 & really nailed them, but many stores held out well into the 80's. It was Culp Piano, not Gulp. Winn-Dixie didn't have any more of those curved storefronts; that was unique to Normandale. Cohen's was actually The Record Shop for most of its existence there and didn't become Cohen's until the end when they moved to the East Blvd in the early 80's where they still are today and they are an appliance dealer for 98% of their sales. There was a Hallmark card & gift store there also right behind Loveman. There was a cafe next to Liger's whose name I can't remember. Also Normandale Drugs. People's Bank became Compass Bank. There was a Woolworth's Five & Dime which became the library space later, I believe. Shakey's Pizza was not part of the mall, but they occupied a parcel across the south-bounding street from it, Winston Dr.

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