The fountain and sunken court in front of Bon-Ton deserved photos from just about every angle. Aside from the fountain detail, this is looking also to the side entrance, into the main mall and the adjacent wood-paneled store to the right of Bon-Ton. It should be of note that the stores next to the entrance wing next to Bon-Ton were once York Steak House. The last pic shows what is left of the long-closed chain and staple of 80's malls.
Until the early 2000's, Indiana Mall had competition along the same road closer to downtown from another smaller enclosed mall named Regency Mall. This older mall, constructed in 1969, was anchored by Murphy's Mart and Montgomery Ward: two now-defunct anchors that effectively doomed it as an enclosed mall. Wards actually closed early at the mall, closing in 1993 and replaced by Martin's. Murphy's became Hill's and later Ames, but Ames itself went under in 2000. H.L. Libby purchased that mall in 1998, demalled much of the mall in 1999 and turned the remaining mall corridor into TJ Maxx and Jo Ann Fabrics in 2010. It appears that today Martin's occupies the former Ames location while Ollie's Bargain Outlet is in the old Wards. Other than the footprint, today the mall bears no resemblance to its former life. The failure of this competing mall certainly helped extend the life of dominant Indiana Mall.
Detail of the bubble fountain and burnt orange tiled seating area in front of Sears. The fountain is not the best design, but the whole feature to me is beautiful and remarkable.
Unfortunately, times have changed so much that a mall being the sole survivor in a region is no longer insulation from brutal market forces. It has a precarious anchor line-up with Kmart, Bon-Ton, JCPenney and Sears. Because of that, prospects look frightening for this mall as it sits in an economically depressed region with all four anchors struggling to stay in business. In fact, it was just announced on June 6, 2017 that one of its original anchors, Kmart, would be leaving the mall after 38 years. Remarkably, both Sears and Kmart have still been operating in the same mall this long, and Sears is not (yet) closing. Furthermore, Bon-Ton is in financial trouble and JCPenney is unlikely to remain at a mall with three other dead anchors as JCPenney also continues to close stores in an attempt to claw their way back to profitability. In a worse case scenario, the mall could die almost overnight if the dominoes fall quickly on the heels of Kmart's closing with no replacement.
A look down the mall corridor from the Sears wing. Lorelli's Jewerly on the right was closed. Since it was Sunday, it may have just been closed for that reason instead of for good seeing that it is apparently a primary tenant to the mall.
Despite the vacancies, a few major chains do have a presence in the mall. American Eagle on the right is one of those suggesting that the mall is still viable.
A couple more inside shots. Here appear to be either removed planters or some other feature like a big clock. The Cinemas IV deceive, because they have no interior mall access. Patrons must go down the north side of the Kmart entrance wing and exit the mall to reach the theaters.
Kmart's mall entrance is in the west wing of the mall. Since there are no exterior entrances, an entrance corridor is on each side.
A look down the Kmart entrance wing to the right of the Kmart entrance. The Bavarian looking design to the right is actually the wall for Capri Pizza: an original tenant to the mall still open today and still serving excellent pizza-by-the-slice. We ate there for lunch. A planter is off to the left that I (unfortunately) failed to photograph.
Kmart mall entrance looking to other exterior entrance. The other matching planter near the entrance is in the background.
I'd love to know what wonders were removed underneath, but I'm picturing an impressive planter possibly with a waterfall much like what was at Warren Mall. Regional candy stores, like the one in the background, are common in Western Pennsylvania.
JCPenney court. Note the different ceiling tiles. Although uncertain, this store looks to have been added onto the mall in 1980 or 1981. What was here before was likely either an unfinished, walled off wing or an original main entrance.
Detail of planters in front of JCPenney looking back into the main mall.
Sears is a relatively unremarkable store design-wise, but at least it's not closed. Many stuff not currently in the city could take over this store when it inevitably leaves.
The decor found in Indiana Mall is at the very least intriguing. Zamias was not a company to skimp on color or architectural detail on their older malls, and the remaining fountains are a feast for the eyes featuring burnt orange tiles and a bubble fountain next to Sears and another huge jet fountain in the middle of a sunken area with brick planters in front of Bon-Ton. In addition, two sets of planters remain in front of Kmart and JCPenney, the former definitely previously used as a fountain. JCPenney's entrance court features brick planters while Kmart's fountain/planter combination is surrounded by gold tiles. In addition, the center court features dark brown painted wood beams and red trim providing a striking appearance even without the fountains and planters that were removed sometime in the past 5-10 years. While apparently lost on most of today's mall owners, these features were clearly a draw for mall patrons much as they were in years past, and it is greatly appreciated that so much of these are still there. Families with children were gathering around these features all throughout the mall, attesting to their popularity.
One of the nicest shots I've ever taken of a JCPenney store.
The Bon-Ton's exterior logo does not match the interior mall entrance. This is also an older logo used in the mid-to-late 1980's. Why is that? Were there two logos used at the same time, was this updated later or what?
Appalachian beauty can be found at the mall with these hemlock trees and rhododendrons in full bloom in the northwest corner of Bon-Ton. All over the region, the colorful rhododendrons and wildflowers really added a zest to the landscape.
1970's knew how to make mall entrances: very dark and stark. The burnt orange on gray/brown aluminum in those oddly small letters is so jarring it almost dares you to pass under that sign. Nonetheless, it looks far better to me than those stucco-filled "splashy" exteriors you see on malls today with way too much going on, and the design usually out of context with the building. This entrance is located between JCPenney and Sears.
As you can see here, a mall entrance is on the left leading to Bon-Ton and the fountain court, the Kmart (north) entrance corridor is on the right and Cinemas IV are in the middle. Check out that 1970's color! If Kmart had its original logo, this would be a mid-century gem.
Another stark little "MALL" entrance. This is the one that goes to Bon-Ton and used to have York Steak House on the right just before the court.
Does this make you want to go see a movie? However, you would expect to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on the letter board instead of what's there.
Little Caesar's will need to be packing up and looking for a new location since Kmart is closing.
...and so it begins. These Kmart-anchored malls usually start failing with the closure of Kmart first with everything else following. It may not seem to matter, but there are quite a few malls barely surviving at the moment whose first anchor to go was Kmart. This is the south entrance wing to Kmart.
We enjoyed our visit to Indiana...um, Pennsylvania. Your mall may not have been in everyone's Top 10, but we enjoyed it. From here, we returned to our overcrowded and overpriced cities from whence we came.
Google maps view of the mall. JCPenney is on the right, Bon-Ton on top, Sears on the bottom and Kmart on the left.
ALSO: Here is a directory from the mall's website of the mall showing the locations of stores, planters and fountains.