See What the First American Mall Looked Like in 1956

The layout was revolutionary for its time.

Even if you do most of your shopping online these days, it's hard to imagine a world without the shopping mall. There's something about exploring store-to-store that just doesn't compare to using a virtual shopping cart. That's why Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota, was groundbreaking when it opened its doors in 1956. 

The mall was designed by Victor Gruen, and it was America's first indoor, climate-controlled shopping center. As you can see in video above, the layout is not all that different from the malls today. Gruen is considered "the father of suburban American shopping malls," and his architecture has been replicated by several malls across the country. 


Like most malls today, Southdale had an atrium, which served as the central space and was underneath a skylight. The mall's exterior was intentionally bland, with the hope that people would spend more time indoors. 

Even though Southdale Center remains in business, it looks like malls may not stand the test of time. In fact, in 2014, Business Insider boldly stated that "they're dying a slow, ugly death." Within the next 10 years, around 15 percent of American malls will shut their doors or be converted into a non-retail locations, according to analytics and real-estate firm Green Street Advisors.

(h/t Mental Floss)

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