Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Regency Mall (Part 2): Augusta, GA

In the normal world of retail, vacant malls do not usually stay vacant long.  Either the property is too valuable, the public screams loud enough about the blight, a non-conventional retail use is tried (such as a flea market) or non-commercial interests resurrect the structure into something they can use similar to Eastgate Mall in Chattanooga, TN.  Because of that, the "Dixie Square" scenario is a rare and generally unfortunate event where a mall stays abandoned for more than about 5-7 years before any action is taken.  By then, the property is beginning to deteriorate.  This means that the forces of change must come together to make things happen before the forces of nature come together to make things moldy and decrepit.


In the Southeast, I know of only one other mall that has been abandoned longer than Regency Mall and that is the open-air Normandale Mall in Montgomery.  After languishing for 15 years, the mall was closed completely in 1995.  It is also hidden deep in a very depressed area mostly invisible to the wealthier side of the city.  Regency is not so hidden.  It sits at the intersection of two major U.S. highways, and it is even visible in the distance along the newly-opened I-520 in South Carolina.  While the neighborhood has declined, it is not exactly a row of abandoned buildings around it either.  Decay has noticeably set in on the structure since its closure a decade ago, but overall it is still in very good shape.  Most of the mall looks more trashed than it does crumbling.

Montgomery Wards in all its burnt orange tiled glory in the first two photos.  This is not only one of the best Wards entrances ever, but also one of the best mall entrances ever.  The cream-colored brick next to the shiny tiles and great looking logo make the store seem very inviting.  It is also such a relic of a mall entrance that honestly it looks contemporary again.  If this mall ever reopened a new store anchored there, I would hope they would keep this all intact.  Photos by KJ.

Same view from lower level.  Photo by KJ.



The next three photos above are from a different photographer.  As one of only three modern-era Wards in Georgia, and the last one open, the store is indeed extra special.  All photos by BT.


A couple views inside Wards.  This is the only department store anchor with any natural light since one of the entrances was not boarded up.  Unfortunately, this store does not include any of the infamous burnt orange or lime green shag carpet that the chain was infamously known to have as late as the 90's.  Photos by KJ.


Escalator well in the middle of Wards.  Seeing these photos make me long so much for when this was open and it was possible to buy quality hardlines at some place besides Sears.  Photos by KJ.

King's Jewelry on the lower level.  Photo by KJ.

Another trashed mall directory.  Photo by KJ.

Because of the lack of a decent mall directory, I decided to create my own.  I am not exactly certain of Ruben's location, but I do know it was close to Belk.

Inside, the mall is like a Steven King book where you got to go back into the past, but all the people were gone with only the buildings remaining.  Christmas decorations still hang from the ceilings dirty and tarnished with age from the last Christmas the mall was open in 2001.  Dated storefronts abound throughout the mall.  Both Montgomery Ward and JB White still have their signs up over the store entrances greeting ghost shoppers.  While dark in places, skylights that look somewhat like those in an Air Force hangar still provide abundant cheery light against the white sheetrock during the daytime.  Most of the mall seems to be in surprisingly good condition, though locations are found in the mall where holes have opened in the ceiling, flooding the mall.  However, a recent inspection by the city did not find any mold problems in the mall: surprising considering how it has been vacant all this time aside from the marshal's substation that left this past year.

Upon closer observation, one of the escalators has unfortunately been significantly deconstructed by vandals.  Photo by KJ.

The blind can see again as light is cast along a wall showcasing what was once your choice of blinds.  Photo by KJ.

Was this Chick-Fil-A?  Regency never had a food court, so it could have been anywhere in the mall.  Had the mall been renovated, the theaters would have likely become the food court.  Photo by KJ.

It seems that Lens Crafters or Pearle Vision is found in every mall.  This one is situated next to Wards on the upper level.  Photo by KJ.

Lens Crafters takes up about three tenant spaces.  I'm sure it did a thriving business in the day.  Photo by KJ.

Major water damage is an unfortunate feature just in front of the main entrance to the store, which is protected by a screen door unlike the busted out glass along the rest of it.  Photo by KJ.

EEEEEEEEEYE EXAM 2000.  Iiiiiii remember when 2000 was considered an exciting year way off in the future where we would live like the Jetsons driving flying cars on sky highways.  I also remember how Y2K was hyped as the end of modern civilization.  It pretty much was for this mall.  Photo by KJ.

You can get your glasses adjusted for free if you can just find anyone working.  You might be waiting awhile, because the staff took a very long lunch.  Photo by KJ.

One last look at Lens Crafters.  Photo by KJ.

Lady Foot Locker was one of the last stores to close at the mall along with Foot Locker.  Photo by KJ.

Quite a few observations can be made otherwise about a 70's mall never renovated.  For one, if this mall had stayed alive such a scene would likely not exist.  Storefronts in the mall are a mix of eras, but for the most part they are pretty much set in the first decade the mall was open.  In all, maybe 12-15 signs still exist on store fronts with label scars elsewhere.  One should not expect to find much sheetrock over closed stores either.  They sit right out in the open for you to walk into at will.  While the mall itself has managed to maintain its charm the presence of heavy vandalism, trash and grime are everywhere.  Glass is broken out of most storefronts and most stunning are the escalators where the rubber handrails have been mostly yanked off and left in a large pile at the top.  Most planters are just bare dirt now and fountains are of course dry.  Eerily enough, though, are all the banners posted announcing stores moving and such as if the mall was still open.  Three of the four outside mall entrance corridors lack skylights, so they sit in total darkness since the entries are boarded up allowing no natural light to filter in.

Abandoned post office branch in the mall.  Photo by KJ.


These two photos above were inside a shop near JB White.  Photos by KJ.

Not everything in the mall is truly vintage.  Since the mall held its own into the mid-90's, some stores did move in the mall and some did get remodeled.  This storefront definitely isn't.  Photo by KJ.


Along the wing of the unbuilt fifth anchor is this awesome extremely retro Master Cuts.  To me it looks like it should be called Master Funky with a functioning disco inside.  The photographer also captured the inside as well.  Photo by KJ.

Inside the Master Cuts, mirrors and green pattered wallpaper abound.  The mirrors were useful to catch  your stylist before they hacked your hair up.  Photo by KJ.

Kidsmart?  Sounds like a less than subtle cover for child trafficking.   I guess if they'd succeeded they would have branched out to ParentStupid.  Photo by KJ.

In this image Cullum's, later Upton's, is on the right.  This junior anchor was far more visible outside than in the mall.  I am curious as to whether Upton's used both levels.  Photo by BT.

The upper level entrance to Cullum's features a folded entryway that is unmistakably similar to Rich's mall entrances in the 70's. Photo by BT.

One of the features of greatest interest in the mall is not as obvious from the outside: the anchor pad for a fifth anchor.  This was the anchor that would have been filled by JCPenney had they not left for Augusta Mall.  This was also what is shown outside as Mall Entrance 3.  It is a sad reminder of the grand aspirations for Augusta's first mall to be the powerhouse of the region.  It almost makes the mall feel alive and even new to see a location for a planned anchor.  The brown linoleum tiles, though, found on the edges of fountains, center island areas and the staircases are there to remind you that this was a dream long in the past, highlighting the unfortunate importance of renovations.  The flooring consists mostly, though, of square terrazzo tiles giving a tan/peach color.  Twin escalators are also located on both the Montgomery Ward and Belk wing pointing upwards towards each respective anchor.  A clock also sits on a flat wall in center court with its time stuck at 4:20.  Is this when the clock stopped or did the vandals move the dials deliberately? 

Both levels of Cullum's are visible in this shot.  The lower level looks similar to the outside entrance.  If only mall entrances had this much attention to detail today.  Photo by RM.

I traced the Cullum's logo found in my earlier posts and photoshopped the logo in the same photo above to demonstrate what it might have looked like.  Below is a picture of just the lower level with the same logo including an outline.

Cullum's lower level mall entrance with logo added by me.  Photo by KJ.

Now moving onto JB White sitting at the end of a very spacious center court.  JB White is fronted with simple brick matching the exterior but the awesome logo remains never being removed after the store closed.  This is definitely the only JB White mall entrance sign left intact with all other JB White stores converted to Belk, Dillard's or demolished.  In my older JB White post, I have a picture by C Lewis of the logo on the outside.  Photo by BT.

More detail of the mall entrance.  The logo is smaller on the upper level than on the lower level.  Photo by BT.

Close-up of the JB White mall entrance.  Photo by KJ.

White's inside was extremely dark, so very little detail is visible.  This was one of the best photos.  Photo by KJ.

Looking back from center court (JB White is on the left) toward Wards.  Photo by BT.

Small, locally-operated mystery meat Chinese restaurants and malls have a long relationship.  So long that you still know about the specials 10 years after they close.  Photo by KJ

It's hot and boring in Augusta meaning people aren't getting outside as much, so this store likely did a brisk business back in the day.  Photo by KJ.

What is really most amazing in the mall, though, are the mall entrances.  A Belk label scar is still visible with the right light on the stunning copper toned mall entrance.  JB White in its older classy cursive logo still retains its white sign on the brick entering the store that has sat in complete darkness since 1998.  Best of all is Montgomery Ward, though.  Burnt orange tiles back the sign with cream colored brick placed on each side.  Neither the sign, the tiles nor the brick look any worse for wear.  In fact, with so much time passed by the sign almost looks hip.  Cullum's is the most mysterious of anchor tenants blending in with store fronts between Ward's and White's.  All that is noticeable is the distinctive window features placed on both levels that were nicely not removed by later tenants Meyers-Arnold and Upton's.  However, any evidence of a logo has long since been painted over since the store was the first anchor to close in the mall.

Approaching Belk from the lower level.  Photo by KJ.

More detail of Belk from the lower level.  Note the copper toned awnings.  While this store may have closed in 1996, it was definitely not covered up. Photo by KJ.

View of the Belk entrance from the upper level.  Photo by BT.

Close-up of the Belk mall entrance on the upper level.  Photo by BT.

The Belk labelscar is visible due to the place where the sign covered being less tarnished.  While the store was a partnership store (Belk Howard), Mr. Howard chose not to place his name on this store.  Photo by KJ.

The glass on the exterior of the store was very similar to this.  Photo by KJ.

Detail of what was once an impressive terraced skylight.  Photo by KJ.


While very dark and dusky, it was plain that the interior of the store was elegantly designed.  Belk had extremely attractive stores in the 70's and 80's especially at major shopping malls.  Photos by KJ.

The best photo available of the escalators and elevator inside Belk.  Photo by KJ.

Not only is Regency Mall a living time capsule, but it is also is a perfect specimen of wasted potential.  A victim of its location, management and unstable anchors it has become a tough to impossible sell with all the anchor consolidation and stigma attached to one of its major anchors simply closing due to poor sales.  If it was possible to revive the mall, it would take millions just to renovate and repair the damage from decay and vandalism.  Cardinale Entities has emerged as the latest owner with a plan, but their expertise tends to be malls catering to an ethnic market.  Augusta is far less diverse than Atlanta or Charlotte making that a pretty tough sell.  Regency's closing, though, left Augusta undermalled.  Augusta Mall is completely overwhelmed with shoppers.  The problem is, what anchors would choose to move in to this mall if they wanted to?

70's malls always had a cafeteria and it just so happens that this gem of a mall also included a gothic Piccadilly Cafeteria.  Unfortunately, none of the photographers really explored the interior.  Photo by KJ.

Piccadilly Cafeteria's labelscar is visible in this image.  The restaurant sits right next to Montgomery Ward.  Photo by KJ.

Apparently the cafeteria was operated independently for a period of time after Piccadilly closed at the mall.  It is unknown when the restaurant closed this location.  Photo by KJ.

Next to JB White is this store.  I thought it was a former B. Dalton but upon closer inspection was some sort of clothing store.  Maybe somebody knows.  Photo by BT.

Former Rainbow at the mall.  Note the much older logo style.  Photo by KJ.


A couple more pics of Rainbow.  Photos by KJ.

This note was inside a former store that appears to have been Upton's.  Note the Super Wal-Mart in quotations back when the stores were still a novelty.  Photo by KJ.

Detail of a wall around a mall entrance.  It is unknown what store this was.  Photo by KJ.

View of JB White fro lower level.  Photo by KJ.

With Regency, its retail days are most likely over, though an outlet mall could possibly work there.  Imagine a center like Discover Mills anchored by Bass Pro Shops and outlet stores filling up the anchors.  It could work, but it would take a huge investment, heavy promotion and even heavier security to make sure that Regency Outlets did not become Shoplifting 101 and Decrepit Mall 2.0.  My personal idea is that Hollywood should honestly consider turning the entire mall into a set.  It would a perfect mall to feature TV shows and movies based in the 70's and 80's or movies featuring the South.  Perhaps the anchors could even be turned into studios and talent recruiting agencies.  Also important to note is how having the department store anchor signs from the era would make it even easier.  Filming movies in the mall would help pay for the center's upkeep while still maintaining its historical aspects.  Dixie Square Mall became famous because of a movie filmed in it after it closed.  Why can't Regency do the same?



Few things are a blast from the past more than these mall lists.  They list tenants that haven't existed at least since the late 1980's such as Jeans West, Hardy Shoes and Kinney Shoes.  Petland was also a mall tenant.  One near where I live is now very much off-mall.  Photos by KJ.


Here are a couple shots inside Wards Auto Center.  The noise of power tools, engines and mechanics hard at work is long gone but the ad banners advertising what they can do for you still linger.  Photos by KJ.

This one last photo of White's from center court concludes the two-part series on Regency Mall.  Photo by BT.

58 comments:

  1. My one venture into Regency Mall was the early 90's when it was majority leased. I didn't even realize a Montgomery Ward was on the mall as I was there mainly because I needed to make a pit stop. I did walk throught the mall and ventured into a couple stores, Camelot and Spencers Gifts. I noted Belk, J.B. Whites and Upton's and a glance at J.B. White remined more of a smaller scale Rich's or Davison's in their mall heyday. The mall was unusually warm and I remember being somewhat humid and stuffy inside, which is why I didn't do much exploring.

    I was more impressed with Regency Mall than Augusta Mall which was at the time anchored by Rich's and Macy's(Davison's). I realized that Regency was in a less desirable area, but it was still viable. Amazing how in a scant few years, the fortunes of Regency took a nosedive with Belk closing, Upton's bankrupting and J.B.Whites leaving for Augusta Mall.

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  2. This two part series is one of the best featured on this site and does a great job capturing this once great mall. I went to a mall that was completely closed but reopened as a church in Louisiana. Most of the stores are being used for church offices and classrooms, but many of the store signs still remain. For some odd reason a Burlington anchor has stayed open on the back side of the mall and you can see into the mall from the closed off mall entrance. The mall is open to the public and it is a surreal experience to be inside of a truley dead mall. On my first trip to this mall the Montgomery Ward store was open as a resale shop and I took several photos. The mall closed 10 years ago and it is in decent condition even though many lights were burned out in the former mall.

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  3. It appears that JB White used the same kind of recessed light fixtures (4x4 fluorescent recessed in a 5x5 grid) that old Castner Knott stores did. The Dillard's that recently closed in Decatur, AL and the Dillard's in Regency Square in Florence, AL still have these old style lights that look very dated.

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  4. Belks and Wards seem to have gone all out on their store designs, both look immaculate. I wish there were more malls preserved like this from that era.

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  5. Whoever managed to get inside and get these shots is VERY lucky! extremely... I wish I could do this myself. Thank you for sharing them with all of us, as we've been dying to know what this mall looks like inside.

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  6. You've done such an excellent job covering a relic! Bravo on not only getting these photos, but shining some light on the mysterious Regency Mall that so many of us Augustans have wondered about for the last decade or so. I also like the ideas you present, including using it as a film set. I really hate to see all of this potential wasted.

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  7. How many fountains did this mall have?

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  8. For being abandoned it looks like it is in great shape!

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  9. Great job with the coverage of this mall. I went there as a kid, and particularly remember seeing Return of the Jedi at the cinema. Kudos to whomever photographed the interior ... I've looked periodically for images from the inside to surface. I'm now living in western NC, close to the foundering Biltmore Square Mall, the vintage Innsbruck and the always-booming Asheville Mall.

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  10. Oh, the memories I have of this place.

    Augusta was a frequent Sunday trip for us when I was a kid because of SC's blue laws, and we must have gone to Regency Mall at least nine times a year from 1978 to about 1988. I believe our first visit was right after the mall opened in 1978. I was young enough that my parents rented a stroller for me. Back then Augusta Mall seemed a bit small and boutique to my blue-collar parents, but Regency had Montgomery Ward's, plus the old Sears was along the route we took to Regency Mall.

    I remember Regency as a very beautiful mall in its day, and I have a lot of fond memories from there. I remember its eccentricities - that big clock in the courtyard fascinated me, and I remember that post office station. I remember wondering why there was a hallway to nowhere (not knowing it was there for a future anchor store), and at one point there was a model train display there. No trip was complete without something sweet from Tiffany's Bakery and some warm cashews from Morrow's Nut House, watching the animals through the windows of Petland, or pitying all the poor plastic oranges trapped under the glass at Orange Julius. To this day I can't see a terrazzo floor without thinking of Regency Mall.

    All those memories made it all the more heartbreaking to watch its decline over the years. After the well-known crimes there, and after Augusta Mall was renovated, we quit going to Regency Mall. The last time I was in Regency Mall was 1994, and the place was dark and deserted and a little scary. So much was frozen in time, and it was sad given all the memories I have of that mall in its heyday. For years I've yearned to (legally) go back inside that mall for one last look around. Maybe it's better to look at these pictures instead; the reality would probably hurt too much.

    By the way, while doing some research a few years ago I found a store directory for the mall as of its grand opening. Some stores were not yet open, but enough were listed to be very useful. It was from a small, ratty microfilm print of an Augusta Chronicle story, so I redrew it in Illustrator. I'll be happy to export a JPEG of the redrawn directory for this site, if it's wanted - just tell me where to send it.

    Thanks again for the trip back in time.

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    1. Thank you, AJ, for such an eloquent post regarding your experiences at RM. I am from the same era as you in regards to visiting the mall and I always wondered what would ever become of those oranges under the glass! LOL Thanks again for an awesome post!!!!!

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    2. I would really appreciate that directory. boogaiken@aol.com

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    3. Can you send that directory to justin@justingraham.us thanks!

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  11. Alaska Jill, I'd LOVE to see that directory. Please send away! The site's email is skycityretail@gmail.com

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  12. BTW, Alaska Jill, also loved your post. That is the best passage I've seen describing what the mall was like. It seems hard to believe in retrospect that this was the leading mall...the showplace...while Augusta Mall was viewed as a more snooty "upscale" mall. Wow how times have changed.

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  13. I went to this mall in '91 or '92--it was a dump then even.

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  14. I grew up in Augusta and we lived near Regency Mall until I was almost 6 years old. My mom and I went there a lot - I have many memories of going to Orange Julius and playing on the kids' play area near the escalators (I think; or near the stairs?) on the first floor. In July of 1985 I was in a beauty pageant on the stage pictured. My mom has two pictures but they don't show much of the mall. She also has a video that she's promised to find for me; if I can get it digitized, I will send it in, assuming it shows anything of interest of the mall!

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  15. After looking at the pictures on the other post, the kids play area was definitely under the stairs. I remember playing there often.

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  16. My memories of the Regency Mall:

    1. Driving by the construction site in late 1977 and seeing nothing but steel girders and lights from the inside of the soon to be unveiled marvel.
    2. Reading an article in the Augusta Herald in 1978 about the grand opening.
    3. Watching the Corn Dog clerk dip my corn dog into some magical coating before dropping it into the hot grease to cook
    4. Smokey and the Bandit, Theater I
    5. Heavy Metal, Theater I (Midnight Showing)
    6. Back to School, Theater III
    7. The Black Stallion, Theater II
    8. Buying a 1967 Corvette model in the toy store (name of store unknown)
    9. Buying a Carolina Blue parakeet with my Dad at the pet store just outside Monkey Wards
    10. Buying a pen/lighter at Tinderbox as a gift for my Dad
    11. Slammin' down a drink or two at the Bulldog Lounge (was that a cool place or what?)(1st time I would ever see a CD jukebox!)
    12. Working in JB Whites during the Christmas season
    13. Seeing the Clyde Beatty Circus under the big top
    14. Several van/boat/rv shows
    15. Buying my first pair of Nikes at Athlete's Foot
    16. Buying my first Izod shirt at Belks
    17. Buying my father a recliner at Monkey Wards as a Father's Day gift
    18. Ordering and then picking up at Camelot Music an LP entitled This Is The Sea by The Waterboys
    19. Displaying my 4H project outside Cullums (upper level) while a talent show played at centerstage
    20. Purchasing in 1999 at Monkey Wards a TV for my Mother for a Christmas gift
    21. Eating at the Chinese food place (upper level between the Belks and JB Whites wings)
    22. Shooting the shit with my friend who worked at Orange Julius
    23. Taking a first date to the Gold Mine where we played air hockey
    24. Driving around a boarded up mall in 2010 wondering why did something so good have to die.

    There are more memories seeing I lived close to the mall when it was open. My hope is that they reopen it maybe as an entertainment complex but I understand that an investment would have to be made not only in the building itself, but in the areas surrounding it.

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    1. Great Memories, I have some of the same ones!

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    2. My best memory is "surfing" the movie theater on one admission with all my friends on my 16th birthday in '87. We saw La Bamba and Lost Boys, and a couple other movies I can't really recall. Regency Mall was my playground in the 80's! We always entered on the cinema side and headed straight to Oh! Calcutta, the Merry Go Round, and Gino's Pizza. On eof the pizza guys thoguht my sister was cute, so she usually got to eat for free :)

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    3. Dino's Pizza not Gino's :P

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  17. Was a great and place and its ashame they closed it, I looked at it today still in great shape.

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  18. Thank you for posting this.

    I have vague memories of going to Regency Mall as a kid. I remember it being a dark, spooky mall. In fact, I recall being a little bit scared of it, even though I was a carefree child who was unaware of the crime that was hastening Regency's death.

    I don't venture to South Augusta much recently anymore, but I passed by
    Regency a couple of years ago, and seeing it in such disrepair broke my heart. Since then, I've had a great curiousity in the mall. t's taken on almost mythic qualities to me. Seeing these photos was like getting a glimpse into a lost world. It really brought back memories. Memories of being at this mall with my parents and grandparents, when life was a lot simpler.

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  19. I worked at the "Computer Portrait" kiosk back in 1980. It was in front of Dino's Pizza. Took photos with a camera and it created an iron on, I'd put them on T-shirts or felt calendars.

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  20. In answer to your question...yes, the red and white tiled entrance was a Chick-Fil-A. When I was little we didn't have any free standing Chick-Fil-As, so it was always a treat to enjoy it at one of the malls.

    Thank you for the bittersweet trip down memory lane. Even though I lived closer to Augusta Mall I spent a lot more time at Regency Mall when I was a teenager. My dad worked at the Friedmans (later Marks and Morgan after their name change but before they became Kay) for most of the 90s so I visited the mall quiet a lot. My dad's store was on the lower corner of Whites. We almost always parked at Whites before visiting my dad. His store was there until right around the time that Whites left for Augusta Mall. Sad day!

    Thank you for sharing so many pictures. You brought back a lot of fun memories of much of my childhood. The number and quality of pictures is amazing. Like many people in the area, I always wondered (with a heavy heart) what the interior looks like nowadays. This is such a treasure that you shared with us.

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  21. Regency Part 3 will be published at a later date. It will include lots of neat stuff that is more historical in nature.

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  22. Looking forward to Part 3, J.T.

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  23. Thanks J.T. I worked at the cinema in the 90s as the mall was shrinking. I have great memories.

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  24. Cannot WAIT for part 3. Please do it soon! This has been riveting and a walk down memory lane. Kudos for a job very well done.

    I have a fixation on this place from so many good memories and I'd love to go in and see it "one more time". We used to skip class at Augusta Tech sometimes and go over there and eat and shop. I remember being delighted that a guy at AT had asked me to cut class and go with him--I had arrived! LOL! The specialty stores always had the coolest clothes and the JB White there was the place to get the disco clubbing outfits to wear to 'we never card anyone so come on in underage kids' Pogo's (let's see who remembers that place--and bonus points for what is there now!). We used to see Rocky Horror at the midnight show at the mall and loved it. I hated to see the theatre close but the one that was built behind it was quite nice for it's time and had a great concession stand. My engagement ring was bought at the Friedman's there and I used to always get tires from Montgomery Ward as they had great prices and their service people were so efficient and friendly. I wish I had the money back I spent at White's....I'd be rich!

    I rarely go to Augusta Mall these days unless I absolutely have to. It seems to be full of wanderers who have no real reason to be there except to be loud and abrasive and it gives me the same uncomfortable vibe that eventually came with Regency. I've always felt Regency's biggest problems besides the location was security and the fact that the ownership let bad elements come in and take over. Simple money spent on security would have solved quite a lot. Sure, it needed updating but really, decor wasn't the reason most shoppers went there. Simple updates would have made it look much more stylish. The photos do reflect some of the nicely placed natural light (if not beautifully framed, they were strategically placed) and it was definitely not a long box. I can remember seeing the kids run down the slope going into lower level White's just giggling. The jewelry was nicely placed in the lower level (as were the shoes!) so you could get a good look going up the escalator at what you wanted to come back and get! White's always had the best Christmas decorations every year too-I actually still have a few of them. In the 90's, you started to feel unsafe there and when it got to 2000, it really was a risk going in there. A friend got her car broken into twice over there in a week when she was working there and had to quit because she felt unsafe (foot locker ee). It is a real shame and when it started in 78, it was attractive and diverse in offerings and a good time. I won a singing contest there once and a name that tune contest too.

    RIP Regency. You deserved so much better than the way it ended up. I've lost hope that anything will be done with it, and it will be a sad day when Augusta gets their wish and it's razed. Another scar on the retail land....

    Thank you so much for wonderful work on this. Those of us who were there the first day it unveiled as a young girl and later on as a grown up really appreciate the research and the effort.

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  25. Just wondering is Part 3 coming soon? This is one of my favorite malls of all time. Thanks so much for this write up. I have many memories of this mall. Remember the play area under the stairs. I also remember Orange Julius and a Cookie store across the hall from it. Remember all the anchors being open except for Cullum's/Uptons. I also remember both movie theaters the in the mall and the one behind the mall. The one in the mall and was decorated in red, white, and blue. I remember being Montgomery Wards very well. So many memories I could go on for days!!!

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  26. Wow- This does bring back memories and as so many have said, it is sad to see the mall in the shape it is in. I began my retail career at Uptons in 1991. By then the mall had its reputation I never felt unsafe there. I moved to another Uptons location in S.C. in 1992 or 3 but came back to help closed down that location. I still remember we did it overnight and were done by opening time the next day. I guess that was truly the beginning of the end

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  27. Can hardly wait for Part 3 especially the historical angle. Thank you for all the work you've done in bringing back these memories for all of us!

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  28. Cant wait for part 3 im so interested.

    I dont understand why there was so many belk names

    Belk Simpson
    Parks Belk
    etc etc... ???? Can you explain

    Thanks,
    Christopher

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  29. thanks for the walk down memory lane this mall was THE place to go on the weekends back in the 80's ...... does anyone remeber the pizza place that was on the lower level , use to go to it every friday night then to Picadilly on saturday date night for dinner and a movie when my wife and i were dating sum 25 years ago ..... such good memories sad to see what has become of the place now

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    1. Yes, it was called Dino's pizza. The family that owned it left the mall in 1993 to open up a free standing Italian restaurant on wheeler rd called Giuseppe's.

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  30. I remember going there as a kid. On the lower level by a stairwell was a play area for kids with the pretzel shop by it. They closed it down after all the shootings. The merchandise turned into stuff you would see out at the flea market ie: urban wear, fake gold, and cheap chinese plastic products that are in the dollar bins. The gangs in the surrounding area took over. A few years later they closed saying the structure wasn't safe, that it was built on a swampy area. But the building never sank into the ground like they said it would; it just sits there to remind us of good times as kids and how society is decaying just like that once magical place. Now in present they want to use our tax money to build a baseball field and destory a crumbling landmark of Augusta because it suits their fancy. Isay attempt to clean up the surrounding area before you tear down a symbol of what we were. Leave it there to remind them of how far this town has sunk.

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  31. I was young when we visited the mall often, but I remember going with my Nana to Picadilly after church on Sunday. I loved the huge carousel horse they had in there. After we ate, we always went next door to Montgomery Wards to shop. That's when I thought it was cool to have matching outfits with your grandmother! ha!

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  32. In the photo with this caption "Next to JB White is this store. I thought it was a former B. Dalton but upon closer inspection was some sort of clothing store. Maybe somebody knows. Photo by BT."
    It was JB White's Young Men's Section. If you were walking out of JB White's upstairs it was on the left side. On the right side...directly across from this store was JB White's Big and Tall Department.

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  33. Update: The Regency Mall is being gutted
    http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2013-01-08/augusta-fire-officials-inspect-regency-mall-combustibles

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  34. Thanks for this blast from the past. I've lived in the Augusta area since I was born in 1980, and I have a few prominent memories of the Regency Mall from my childhood. I remember when actor Jim Varney (a.k.a., Ernest P. Worrell) made an appearance at J.B. White back in 1985 and I got to meet him. I also remember seeing Robocop and Predator at the 3-screen theater (the last movie I saw before it was shuttered was Major Payne, which I saw with my father and sister). I even remember the smell as well as the multicolored lights that sat in the fountains. Back in the 80s I always liked this mall better than the Augusta Mall because it had better toy stores (though the Augusta Mall had better food, with a Gyro Wrap next to their Chick-fil-A), though my little sister preferred the Augusta Mall, which she called the "Butterfly Mall" after the ornate butterfly that used to serve as its logo until they remodeled several years ago (now their logo is a minimalistic geometric... thing).

    The downfall of the Regency Mall is a great example of urban decay. Even surrounding businesses on Gordon Highway suffered as South Augusta gradually became little more than a low-income, high-crime slum. The Regency 8, a General Cinemas theater opened in the late 80s behind the mall, closed in 2000, but in its heyday it was a great theater. Even the nearby Putt-Putt, which probably closed down around sometime in the late 90s, was in its prime much better than the one on Washington Road, with three courses and a larger arcade. Now it sits derelict, her once pristine miniature golf courses being slowly reclaimed by nature. Meanwhile, the Augusta Mall and other newer shopping centers in West Augusta continue to flourish, showing that it's always location, location, location.

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  35. THANKS FOR THE TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE AND THERE ARE MANY.......FROM THE BEGINNING HOLDING INTERVIEWS IN THE MIDDLE OF SCORCHING HOT JULY DAYS SETTING IN THE MIDDLE OF WHAT WAS REFERED TO AS THE DUSTBOWL..THE LINES WERE SO LONG WE HAD TO PASS OUT WATER..PEOPLE FELL OUT ......DREAMS WERE BIG AND EXCITING ...THE PEOPLE WE HIRED TO OPEN J.B.WHITES' WERE THE BEST. ,.THE COMPANY WAS CARING. ....THE FRIENDSHIPS ARE ALIVE AND THE MEMORIES ARE FOREVER...,.....AHHHHHHHH THOSE WERE THE DAYS....

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  36. I lived right up the hill from this place when I was 10-11 years old. My mom and I came from New Jersey when I was 10(1980). She worked at Mont. Ward for a while. Those pictures of the sloped brown brick walls of the fountain remind me how I would hit those running full stride and run the length of the slope to pass old people on the way to the arcade at the other end on the second level . I also remember(coming from the North) how exotic and wonderful Taco Viva seemed. They also had a Camelot music record store. Thanks for the pix and the info. Really miss the mall life...

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  37. Thanks for all the memories. What a shame. I worked at the CookieCompany and then Petland.

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  38. OMG!!!!!! I love this blog!!! I loved this mall as a teenager. This was the place to be on the weekends. My friends and I (before we had license) would always get our parents to drop us off at the mall, and we would be there for hours, sometimes until the mall closed. The corndog shop and cookie company's mini chocolate chip cookies in the paper cup cone were my favorite!!! Piccadilly on Sundays for family dinner was great. I met my first celebrity there.....Bernie Mac. My BFF and I had many t-shirts made at the t-shirt shop...of course this was when dressing alike was in......and of course Baskin Robbins with their bucket of 31 scoops of ice cream. I do love ice cream. I'm far from a teenager now but love those memories.

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  39. Thanks for the memories. I worked at JB White's from 1990 until 1994. This brought back great memories. The pizza at Dino's was great and Par Four had the best hamburger.

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  40. I was born in Augusta in 1980 and lived on the south side of town very close to the RM. I too called the Augusta Mall the butterfly mall after their logo.
    I remember the trapped plastic oranges at orange julius (which was always a treat on every visit)
    I ran down the slope towards JB Whites, like all the kids. And played on the concrete animals.
    Ooogled the pets in the pet store, and eventually got a white pet rabbit from there.
    Went to the movie theatre there many times.
    Ate at the Piccadilly with my grandparents.
    As i got older i remember shopping at Claire's and Rainbow.
    I remember being taken to Mont Ward when they were close to closing because my parents were looking for good deals on furniture.
    My family has a local music and dance school still in Augusta and i remember going to see their performances on the stage many times.
    And finally when the mall was all closed and boarded up and the parking lot was completely vacant, i learned to drive in that parking lot...
    Great memories, great pictures.

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  41. I used to hang out at that mall when I was in my early teens. My mom worked there at a couple places (Belk and Kaybe Toys). If I remember correctly there was a Orange Julius and Cookie Company located right at the bottom of the only stair case in the mall on the back side. KayBe toys was located upstairs about mid mall. I went to that theatre as a kid also. Lots of memories. Love the post. I think I even have a picture of the inside of Belk's taken sometime in the late 70's early 80's , from when my mom worked there. It was taken during Halloween and they were dressed up in costumes.

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  42. Great mall. We loved Wards and Whites. Used to take the kids and just stroll through the mall. Their biggest problem was not policing the mall properly and allowing local hoodlums to scare customers. It's a shame. The Augusta Mall is experiencing the same thuggery now.

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  43. I went there as a kid quite often. I had my ears pierced there when I was 6 or 7. I remember walking to the rails on the upper level and looking through them right after it was done. I can recall it like it was yesterday. I remember Jack Rabbit Photo..where else could you get your film developed in an hour with such quality?!? Who remembers the magical feel of Christmas in that mall? The Rudolph and Elves you could stand in line to talk to? The beautiful displays~it was amazing! McCrorys outside of Belk on the lower level~you could always find something for the change you collected! I worked my first job there at Foxmoor at 14 making approximately $3.35 an hour. I later went on to work at DEB while in HS. By then it was already going down hill and lost the magic it held when I was a child. I am thankful for this blog and the many memories I have from there. I too loved the corn dogs, pretzels, and Orange Julius just hasn't tasted the same since! I never would have thought that Chic-Fil-A would be a drive through for my kids. It was a real treat to eat there before my best friend's Dad would let us in to the movies for free since he was the manager. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

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  44. The mall now is blockaded off so if you want to get close you will have to park and hoof. Or you can come across what I did today which was two cement blocks pulled back from an entrance which allowed my car to pass. Driving around the mall, I didn't expect to find a way into it but sure enough on the back side of the mall by both the theater entrance and the never built anchor entrance were gaping holes big enough to drive through. When I got inside, it was sad. Nothing but cement, steel and dust. The only walls left are the ones that enclosed the delivery hallways behind all the stores. I walked up the stairs of the theater only to come to a landing that provided a panoramic view of a deep and dark abyss where seats and screens once stood. The escalators were still present, the railings on the second floor were still present, even an elevator door stood close. But there was nothing left in the huge steel skeleton that resembled its glory days of retail. I almost wish I hadn't gone in and instead had the last memory of being inside of the mall was one from December 1999 when at least Montgomery Ward and a handful of other stores were still open.

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  45. I use to run around this place when I was a kid and now here I am 29yrs old it's amazing how time flys. But it's a shame on how they are just letting the mall sit and rot.

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  46. I worked at Greene's Goodies and Gifts when I was 14. My mother was the mall secretary for years. Our current Sherriff Richard Roundtree was a security guard there. I also worked as a hospitality hostess where I stood in the middle of the mall with a clip board and took customer satisfaction surveys. When the mall first closed up, I actually attended a rave in the Upton's building. There was lots of debris, dirt and dust, and windows were busted. I remember the train that was upstairs in a case you could pay to see in action. My friend worked at the corndog place, and some other friends at Footaction. Many memories here!

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  47. I worked at Greene's Goodies and Gifts on the upper level next to JB Whites. There was chocolate galore and Colombo frozen yogurt. My mom was the mall secretary for years, and our current sheriff Richard Roundtree was a security officer. I also worked as a hospitality hostess where I stood in the middle of the mall with a long gap jean skirt and a clipboard taking customer satisfaction surveys. My friend worked at the corndog place and few others worked at Footaction. I remember the train upstairs inside a case you could pay to see in action. Deb and Foxfire were some of my favorite stores. Shortly after the mall closed I actually attended a rave there in the Upton's building. There was lots of debris and dust there, and the windows were busted. It was eerie, but I have tons of memories at the Regency Mall. It was really nice when it was built and I spent a lot of time here as a teenager. Someone I went to school with has been one of the persons gutting it.

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  48. I remember shopping at the Regency Mall with my mom and my grandma when I was in 5th grade. I'm almost 29 now so it's been a while. We saw George Jones shopping there once and my grandma was a major fan. She asked me to go talk to him and get his autograph, promising to buy me anything in the store we were in. :) I have no clue what the store was called, but I remember George Jones was by the stairs on the lower level and the store closest had a plastic wheelbarrow that you could hook to the hose... Because that's what I got!!

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  49. i would like to write a book about regency mall and i would need access to your images

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  50. My parents actually owned the "mystery meat chinese restaurant," Fast Wok, in your picture, they were one of the last tenants there! (I promise the meats were all beef, chicken and pork from PYA/Monarch Foods, no questionable origins!) I basically grew up in this mall. I spent all day there on the weekends and went there after school on the weekdays, sitting in a booth doing my homework. I made friends with the little girl next door who's parents owned the Morrow's Nut House and we'd eat candy all afternoon. We'd also play with the little girl across the way who's parents owned the Shalimar. We'd roller skate in the back hallways and run around all day long. Store clerks knew us and would sometimes give us treats, not that we needed any more candy! But the bookstore clerks knew me and would give me the comics and books that they'd stripped the covers off of. I trick or treated at that mall every Halloween because my parents had to be there and never knew what it was like to go from house to house in the cold (but mall shops gave crummy candy...) I knew that mall better than I knew my own neighborhood. These posts bring back so many memories!

    Thanks for the pictures. They make me happy and sad all at the same time. I think I'm glad they gutted the mall. It's even sadder for me to see a place that used to be so vibrant and full of memories looking like a ghost town.

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  51. Do you remember the little girl that fell off the escalator?

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