Blue Hen Mall; Dover, Delaware

Former Woolworth's and center court area at Blue Hen Mall in Dover, Delaware

About a year ago, Labelscar friend CCMoore alerted us to a time capsule of a mall located in Dover, Delaware, called the Blue Hen Mall. We almost completely forgot about this on our recent trip to the area. By the time we remembered, we already found ourselves toodling around Dover, and by then it was hard to do much research (plus I mistakenly thought the place was downtown, for some reason). I assumed it had just been completely converted to offices anyway and would be shut on the Sunday we were in town, and this may have even been true.

CCMoore was kind enough to send along some pictures to fill in the blanks and give us some history on this strange little relic. He also was responsible for our pretty fantastic feature on the Salisbury Mall last fall, too, so if you’re itching for more malls of the Delmarva, check it out.

“The Blue Hen Mall opened in 1969, I believe. It sits just north of the Dover Air Force Base. It opened with JCPenney, Woolco, Woolworth’s and Braunstein’s as the main draws and was probably the first mall south of the canal (not counting the Salisbury Mall in Maryland 2 hrs south). I know the newer Dover Mall opened in the early 80s with Sears, Leggett’s (Belk) and Boscov’s. Penney’s left in the early 90s and after that the mall basically died. It’s never been the most exciting mall in the world but it’s a serious time warp in some spots.

“Because this is an office complex of sorts, the grounds are pristinely maintained. The plants in the planters in the mall are still there and are maintained by some botony/garden association and they exactly like they did when I was kid.”

CCMoore offers us some commentary along with each of the pictures. In case you are wondering about the above photo, he says that it’s of “the left side off center court. This always seemed like the busier side. At one point Woolworths(the brick store w/ huge windows), Danneman’s (fabric, crafts, bullshit), GNC, Braunstein’s, Buster Brown, some wig shop, Hess Apparel and Waldenbooks were all on this end, with a HUGE Penney’s store connecting to it. When I was a kid in the mid-80s this was the best place to go because you could wander around and just look at everything and it was SO big, even though it’s not really big at all now.”

Former wig shop near JCPenney at Blue Hen Mall in Dover, Delaware

“The wig shop which looks like it might have been a Parklane Hosery store, this was on the left (north) end toward Penney’s, the small store to the right was part of Danneman’s that wrapped around the wig shop. The main store front was to the left further down.”

Former Woolworth's restaurant at Blue Hen Mall in Dover, Delaware

“The old Woolworth’s restaurant. This is at center court, toward the back parking lot.”

Former movie theatres at Blue Hen Mall in Dover, Delaware

“The old movie theater. I saw a shitty concert here in the mid-90s and the theater itself is pretty cool, the lobby is intact too.”

Former Woolco/Roses wing at Blue Hen Mall in Dover, Delaware

“To the right (south) of center court. The two arched doors on the
right with the display windows was a beautiful women’s clothing store
called Benjamin’s. At one point, DELDOT (Dept. of Trans.) had offices
upstairs while the main DelDOT campus was being enlarged in the early
90s. I have no clue what is there now, or what was there when the mall
was thriving. At the end of this wing was Woolco and then Roses.”

Author: Caldor

Jason Damas is a search engine marketing analyst and consultant, and a freelance journalist. Jason graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Music Industry. He has regularly contributed to The Boston Globe,, Amplifier Magazine, All Music Guide, and 168 Magazine. In addition, he was a manager for a record store for over two years. Currently, he focuses on helping companies optimize their web sites to maximize search engine visibility, and is responsible for website conversion analysis, which aims to improve conversion rates by making e-commerce websites more user-friendly. He lives in suburban Boston.

87 thoughts on “Blue Hen Mall; Dover, Delaware”

  1. Wasn’t there a Sears here, as well as a Kennard & Pyle?

  2. Is this mall still open? The mall screams 60s architecture, from the distinct flooring to the black wall tiles.

  3. When I was a kid, in the 1980s I remember at Christmastime there was always a huge tree from floor to ceiling.

    2. There was also a mini golf.

    3. There was a Wee Three Records store as well as an arcade.
    Walt’s Dairy Bar was one of the last original businesses to close.

    The upstairs now holds offices and I think a local eye surgery center.

    A Mazda dealer was there. Two other local furniture store were in its place after wards.

    I remember a Dexter Pet Shop being there, too.

    Every year for as long as I can remember ther is a huge RV/Camping show held there every February.

    The Roses closed in 1994 and later became a Nationsbank then later Bank of America Calling center that recently closed.
    Where Penney’s was is now offices for Aetna Insurance.

    There are a couple of odd businesses left but no original ones.
    If I think of anything else I’ll add to it.

  4. The Blue Hen Mall began to decline as soon as the Dover Mall opened in 1982, but it actually did quite well (mostly with local stores) up until 1993, when JC Penney defected to the Dover Mall, and Rose’s and Woolworth closed within months of each other. After that, the mall emptied out quickly, and was renamed the Blue Hen Corporate Center in 1995. However, there were NO renovations to the common mall area, inside or outside. Aetna Insurance took over the former JC Penney, and NationsBank took over the former Rose’s. A few of the smaller store spaces were renovated into small offices, but most of the mall remains empty today.

    The second floor of this mall was always used for offices. Apparently it was mostly doctors and other professional offices. There is also a really neat fountain/waterfall under the stairs, and a mural painted by local artists in one of the entry halls. The building was sold earlier this year, and is scheduled to receive a thorough renovation soon, so if you want to see it in all its late-’60s glory, you probably have to act fast.

  5. I’m surprised no one mentioned the clock that hung from the ceiling in the center court. It was a cube-shaped affair with a Blue Hen (Delaware’s state bird) on it. It cackled on the quarter-hour.

  6. I really enjoyed looking at the flickr set of this mall(and even favorited a few of those pics into my flickr account). Thanks very much for posting those, Steve!

  7. thanks steve, great pics!

    I don’t remember the crowing clock … but I do remember the huge furniture store that was in the old Braunstein’s space, and the record store, though I remember it being Sound Odessey, and it was open iup until a few years ago. I also remember the pet store; it on the Woolco/roses side, under the secon floor offices. On that end there was also a beauty salon with really tacky 70s details … lots of gold.

    On the other side close to that Waldenbooks was a Buster Brown which had the slide in the middle and the Buster that blew up balloons.


  8. I remember when the mall opened. It had a very controversial fountain featuring a statue of a urinating boy — a copy of a European original. I think it was removed within a couple of years.

  9. That’s so funny, I remember the statue of the peeing boy too! My grandmother and aunt used to live in Dover, and when my mother and I would visit, we would always stop at the Blue Hen. I remember getting the giggles the first time I saw it (I must have been about five) which caused my mother and grandmother to start laughing too. Not sure whose idea it was to put such an, um, cosmopolitan statue in a suburban shopping mall in Dover, Delaware, but I think it was actually there for quite a few years. We used to visit my aunt and grandmother yearly, and would always go to the Blue Hen, and I remember the statue alwayse seemed to be there.

  10. When I was a toddler, the Blue Hen Mall was always the place my family took me. Even though I was only born in ’86, it always seemed busy and bustling. My grandmother always shopped at JCPenny and Rose’s and the Acme(that’s been razed and now is a county office complex). And then we would go across the street to Service Merchandise and May Co.’s The Dry Good’s. And it was great since it was only five minutes away because we lived right in front of Dover Air Force Base. My mum would take me to the mini golf place inside the mall too, after we went to the .99 cent’s store. And then to the dairy bar! I always wanted to go in to the woolworth’s restaurant but we never did, don’t know why. I do remember getting my picture taken with a tiger cub too, there were always events there. Good times. It’s sad to know that none it really exists anymore.

  11. The mall is so weird, it’s like time forgot it. I’m glad the offices that moved in didn’t completely gut the mall and make it some whitewashed cubicle farm.

  12. Hi,
    Yes, the statue of the boy peeing into the fountain, I believe, was there until the mall closed. It was sort of a wishing fountain with change at the bottom and huge carp (goldfish) swimming around. And Delaware Theatrical, a costume store that my brother and sister-in-law own, was just across the way from the Woolworths’ restaurant just past the Dairy Bar. Their name changed to Actor’s Attic (a much better name) and then they moved out about the time the mall closed. There was a soft pretzel and Icee shop in between the restaurant and costume store. When I was little, I believe the circus set up tent in the front parking lot of the Blue Hen when they came to town. Sears was located in old Downtown Dover when it was still called Sears Roebuck. Every Christmas duing the holiday parade, Santa would appear on the roof of Sears Roebuck. They moved to the Dover Mall when it opened. Ah, the old days!!! Thanks for the great pics and memories! :0)

  13. I’m trying to find out when the annual RV show is. Can you help with dates and times please? I enjoyed your comments..reminds me of the Old Salisbury Mall where my sister had a store.

  14. Which store did you sister own in the old Salisbury Mall??

  15. My first experience with the Blue Hen Mall was when my family moved to Dover in 1975, when I was 10. During our first visit my dad bought us a soft pretzel (my first) from a small concession next to the Carriage House (the Woolworth-owned restaurant), a tradition I continued until moving from Dover in 1984.

    The Blue Hen was compact and quaint, especially when compared to contemporary malls, but it contained everything one could want. My mother spent hours looking at fabric at Danneman’s (near JC Penney’s) and I bought old coins in a shop directly opposite. A Walden Books was a few doors down and across the way was a newsstand called “The Little Red Bookshop”. It was a door or two away from Sound Odyssey, a cool record shop.

    We all got our hair cut from Pat at Central Beauty Salon (which had a discreet area to the side for men) and always browsed the Hallmark shop next door after. [Which is also where we created the tradition of buying a Hallmark ornament each Christmas.] Across from Hallmark was a flower kiosk where we often bought roses for my mom.

    After the bookstores, Woolco was the big draw for me. They had a nice record section, and that’s also where we usually bought school and house supplies. [If not there, then at Nichols Discount City, a half mile down the highway.] During high school, my mother would treat my brother and me to dinner at the Carriage House a few times a month, which served good, basic fare. [JC Penney’s also had a lunch counter near the back door that few people seem to remember. We sometimes grabbed a sandwich and coke there when we were in a hurry.]

    The upper level was mostly professional (doctors, dentists, lawyers) offices, but it was also the place to go in Dover for your passport. And aside from facilities in the anchor stores and the Carriage House, the only public restrooms were up there. [Which you should check out if you like kitsch architecture.]

    My favorite memories of the Blue Hen Mall center around Christmas. Each year the mall would install holiday-themed animated dioramas in groups from one end to the other. They were ultra-cheesy, but I’d love to see them again. Standing in the space today, you couldn’t imagine how crowded it would be in the weeks before Christmas.

    Another nice memory is when Vincent Price came to dedicate the new Delaware History panels hung beneath the skylights in the center of the mall (since removed). He was in town to give a reading (Halloween as I recall) at Dover High School and, as a recognized art collector and scholar, was asked to host the unveiling. A memorable event for a devoted fan of horror movies such as myself.

    But the best feature at the mall was the movie theater, which had seating for a 1000 and a 60′ screen. Great facility, which spoiled me for the cracker boxes to come. We still kid my mom about the time my dad took us to see Alien and she spent nearly the entire time with her hands over her eyes. I asked permission to pop inside about ten years ago and the place hadn’t changed that much.

    And, yes, the clock in the center did crow on the hour, at least through the 70s.

  16. Correction to the above: I just remembered the store was called “Little Red Book House” not shop.

  17. i went to dover high school in the late 1990s. my senior prom was held at the blue hen mall.

  18. this was a cool mall,its a real shame its like a ghost town now,the xmas set up was cool, and the pizza place was good

  19. We moved to DE in 1998, and found out about the Blue Hen Mall a few years later. The first time we went, there were a few stores still open, like the record store & ice cream place. We never made it back there until this week. The only non-corporate place that is still open is Sammie’s, a small food place. But I can’t see how they stay in business since Jake’s Hamburgers opened in the parking lot. We looked at the Flickr site mentioned above, and we did notice that the Woolworth’s and GNC signs had been taken down since those pictures had been taken, and the waterfall was off that day. I think we entered the building on the Sears side, we made it to the JC Penney side until a woman who was talking to the people at Sammie’s asked us to not take any more pictures. She watched us until we left. I wanted to take pictures of the murals, I guess I’ll have to sneak in that entrance to do it. We were hoping to add the Blue Hen Mall to Anyway, this site has really helped us with info on the mall, since we moved here after it was pretty much closed. Thanks everyone!

  20. don’t forget dr pet, radio shack, chess king, thrift drug (had a lunch counter at one time), russell stovers, spegels catalog, singer, the old liquor store, the arcade, and baskin robins. lot of childhood memories, dover mall suck!

  21. the original record store was called ‘record musuem’– then it became ‘sound odyssey’– i remember record museum so well because they used to sell bongs (water pipes) in there! how 70’s.

    there was another store down by woolco called ‘world wide imports’– it was a total psychadelic store with lava lamps, incense, glow in the dark posters, etc….

    and yes, i totally remember the clock that crowed– and the boy peeing in the fountain. actually, i remember those other fountains before they became those planters.

    blue hen mall rocked back in the day!

    thanks everyone for the pix!

  22. I used to live in Delaware in 1985-1988.. my husband was in the AF.. I used to work in Roses in the restraunt.. wow, this brings back memories!!

  23. I have very fond memories of the Blue Hen Mall. Braunsteins gave me my first charge card and I’m still carrying a bag I got there. World Wide Imports was my favorite store and my first pair of glasses came from the Pearle Vision Center. Woolco used to cash my paychecks from my first “real job”. The Blue Hen Mall had a personality I haven’t found anywhere else.

  24. For some reason I got thinking about the Blue Hen Mall last night. I haven’t been there in years, but it was THE mall as I was growing up. I remember seeing decorations for the Bicentennial hanging as a kid. Sound Odyssey was the place to go. There was a Walden’s books almost directly across from it and a newsstand next to it. I think I saw Star Wars in the cinema there, and I remember the Radio Shack (which I think actually sold records for a brief time). There was a Baskin Robbins down on the Woolco side.

    Years ago I lived in Cleveland for a while and there was a mall there that was not only very similar in architecture (terrazzo floors, etc.) but it had a very cool retro feel to it. I think it may have been the North Randall Mall.

    I may have to try to sneak in on my next trip through Dover…

  25. I was wrong on my post from yesterday (11/25) — the mall in the Cleveland area that reminds me of the classic Blue Hen Mall is/was the Richmond Mall at the corner of Wilson Mills Rd and Richmond Rd in Richmond Heights, OH. It had a Woolworth’s (still in business the when I first went there in the 90’s) and a Sear’s with a script logo sign.

  26. I was stationed at Dover AFB from 1969 to 1971 and remember well the Blue Hen Mall. At the time it was about the only place to buy clothes. I’m moved by the pictures on this site, especially the shot of the old movie theatre. Before I was transferred I was living with my girlfriend, a WAF also at Dover and we went to see My Fair Lady one Sunday night. I was angry when I realized how long the movie was to last and started to leave when she caught me and implored me to stay and see it with her. She said, “I never ask you for much. Won’t you please stay with me to see the end.” I felt bad and stayed. She passed away in 1980 and I still think of her and that night often. She was one of the nicest people I’ve met and it’s unfair she’s gone. Thanks for the pictures, whoever.

  27. I used to work at the old Record Museum when it first opened.
    Boy those were the days you could sell bongs papers etc but also great music(alblums). Made some lasting freindships as well to this day.
    Was a big thing in the 70’s. Thanks for the memories.

  28. what was her name..I was stationed that dafb from 69-72 also..worked ub military pay…

  29. Her name was Stephanie Helmkay. She was from near Philadelphia, Pa.

  30. wow! i never knew so many people remembered the blue hen mall or thought of it so fondly! 😀 when i was 2 i used a potty in jc penny 😀 it was a potty for sale in the children’s section. i have a vague memory of my mom walking me to the double doors to the bathroom with the potty in one hand and me in the other with my pants down around my ankles (unless i have been told the story so many times I just remember it that way:D) that was in 79 i guess. i always thought the mall was really crowded at Christmas time with a bunch of kiosks and stuff, but i can’t remember clearly enough. I haven’t looked at the pictures here yet…i’m going to when i finish this note. thank you so much everyone! i never saw a movie there–not many kid movies in theatres then, i think my first one was at movie 6. i did spend a lot of time in waldenbooks though, and i remember thinking the restaurant in woolworths? or was there one in roses too that I am remembering? behind a colored glass half wall? always smelled like a nursing home. I remember nichols too, at christmas time, there was a little red arch for kids to go through to see santa and pick out presents for our parents.

  31. I remmeber eating Giacomos Pizza, (now located on rt 8) in the mall. I worked at Roses DEPT Store oppposite anchor of JC Pennys

  32. I used to love the Blue Hen Mall. I went there for years until I moved for good in the early 90s. JC Pennys was still there though. I miss the record store which always had interesting stuff and the bookstore as well. Nothing gold can stay, eh?

  33. Since my last post in August 2007 I remember something else about the mall.
    I’m not sure what kind of business it was but, if my memory serves me correctly it was called Eagles’ Nest.
    I remember always getting an ICEE at the little pretzel stand near walt’s dairy bar.
    Also I think the arcade had bright green carpeting.

    To respond to Elaine Patterson’s post: The RV Show is usually mid February or early March.

  34. Now, by the end of the year (2009), the Aetna Insurance call center (former J.C. Penny’s) will be history. According to Aetna they plan to close thier facility at the mall/corporate center and let their employees either work from home or transfer to another facility.

    After that, with the exception of the upstairs offices, (doctors and otherwise) and the sandwich shop which will probably close anyway after Aetna leaves if it hasn’t already, the mall will be just about totally dead.

    Ahh, the memories. R.I.P. Blue Hen Mall

  35. I just stopped by the Blue Hen Mall this week.

    They have walled off the left half of the mall (north wing) so that you may only walk through the center of the mall and the south wing. It’s funny since you can still look through the window of the adjacent stores and see that the walled off wing is just empty.

    Many of the south wing store fronts are being occupied by city, county, and state offices. While I was there, a training class for employees was taking place in a storefront. The old Roses’ that became a Bank of America call center is a shell of itself. When it was occupied, a guard would be stationed at the mall entrance with a desk and electronic badge reader. Now there are “scars” on all the surfaces.

    The fountain that contained the urinating statue is dry and contains only a few plants. The statue that everyone remembers is not there.

    The upper level is only built over the south wing of the mall. There are only a few businesses occupying the space (probably fewer than the mall’s heyday).

    It’s sad for me to see this place. Most of the wall’s corridors are built with brick or tile… not drywall. The corridors and very wide… wider than most new malls. The terrazzo floor covers the entire mall and looks brand new. The center entrance contains a series of murals painted by local artists for the 1976 celebration. There are so many that they run the full length of the entrance to the center of the mall.

  36. Oh, Blue Hen Mall. I was stationed at Dover AFB from late 81 to early 85. My wife worked at Roses and I was at the mall often. I like the lunch counter at Woolworth’s as did my 2 boys (2 and 4 at the time).

    As other have stated, was a small mall but seemed to have what one needed. Of course when Dover Mall opened, Blue Hen seemed to suffer.

    Visited the area in 1997 and was sadden to see what happened to Blue Hen. Went to Dover mall and it seemed very small also.

  37. I was the manager of Sound Odyssey at the Blue Hen Mall from it’s opening in, I believe, summer 1981 until I moved over to the new Sound Odyssey at the new Dover Mall, next to the race track about 2-3 miles north of Blue Hen, 2 years later.

    I loved working at Sound Odyssey. The people who worked there were great. The owners, Richie and Aram, gave us total control. Larry, the co-manager was my roommate as well. We came from the Annapolis store to open one, then two stores in Dover.

    I spent a total of 6 years with Sound Odyssey, then left in January of 1986 for Atlanta.

    If anyone I worked with ever reads this, I wish you the very best and thanks for making my Dover years a fun and memorable time in my life. Hard to believe it was over 25 years ago.


  38. Wow. This is such a blast from the past! I had the fortune to meet up with some fellow classmate from CRHS class of 1978 a few weeks ago and I asked about stores in the Blue Hen Mall. Most of us worked there in our high school years. We came up with quite a few.
    Woolco was an Anchor Store along with JC Penney’s. The palces to eat in the Mall were a tiny diner type cafe in JC Penney…I could eat here to go if I ran from the Blue Hen Bakery and back!! My pals Brenda and Robin worked for Mrs. Knight (very sweet lady) at the Pretzel cherry slush ever. Then there was the Movie Theater where this guy who looked like Sebastian Cabot worked…did a childrens theatre event here and saw that they stored the popcorn (popped mind you) in huge plastic bags. Never ate it again! Saw Rocky here. Yeah the first one. Then my favorite place was Woolworths Harvest House. I used to go there with my Mother as a child. Don’t forget Giacamo’s ..right next door to the Bakery. He wasn’t even married to Vickie yet when I worked there and I remember my favorite waitress was Holly. The Purple Cow! The Monkey Inn. Hmmm. Well you could get snacks at Thrift Drug before you went to the movies. OH yes. Russel Stover…those Easter eggs, Chocolates by the pound. So the stores we were remembering were….Benjamin’s, Heaven to Eleven, Craft Bazar, Craft International, Giacomos, Blue Hen Bakery, The Piano and Organ store with Rosalee, Miles shoes, Singer Eyes, Oh and upstairs was an Army recruiter or Air Force…Berack Photography, Dr. Kidd, a state agency. Back to down stairs…Central Beauty Salon, Chess King, Gordons Jewelers, Some kind of News Stand, OH Carousel Gifts, Braunstines, A couple of book stores Dannamann Fabrics, An intamate apparel store, Hess Apparal, Thom McCann Shoes, Father and Son Shoes, Bresslers 32 flavors (licorice voodoo & Bubblegum)
    Woolworth’s where you could get anything from a toy to a hampster to a bra! The beautiful paintings as you entered through the main enterance. The Brass place. Can you add any to this list??

  39. wow.. What memories!

    I wish someone had more old photos of the mall in it’s prime. Places like that don’t exist anymore and if they do, it’s forced and we label it “vintage.” My girlfriend and I took a walk through there about 2 years ago. Memories flooded back in so quickly – the smells, the reflective sounds of the floor, even the skeletal remains of what was were enough to visually put me back in 1980.

    I remember eating at Woolworths with my grandmother, seeing The Empire Strikes Back with my mom and dad and throwing pennies in the wish fountain.

    I wish we could go back to that simpler time.

  40. I remember it well too, Josh. Being a child of the 80’s, I remember making the 2 + mile hike to the mall with my best friends and eating at Woolworth’s.

    It’s tragic to see such awesome little places disappear. Every time I go back to Dover (at least 2x a year), I see how much has been lost — All the wonderful little places downtown have been raped by the slots and chain restaurants.

    That flickr set was awesome… I almost got a little choked up at the sight of the old Blue Hen mosaic. People call it campy now, but it still is most loved by the locals.

  41. I briefly worked at the Blue Hen mall in Sept-Oct. 1969 i was stationed at the Air Force Base and worked in a restaurant whcih was cafeteria style. For the life of me I can’t reember the name of it Can You?

  42. Mark, that cafeteria style restaurant was probably The Harvest House.

  43. I remember going to the Blue Hen Corporate Center once- it was in 1999, when I was 13. It was pretty much a dead already at the time, though. It was with the now-defunct Delaware history camp, and we doing something at one of the offices that was affiliated with the Delaware State Parks department.

    I thought it was fascinating how the buiilding looked so much like a mall, but wasn’t. I didn’t know later that it was actually a mall once. I grew up in north Delaware, and Christiana Mall was my stomping ground.

  44. I miss the “old blue hen mall”, I always love thinking back to when I would go there as a kid. Some of my memories from the blue hen mall are vague….I was about 6-7 when my mom started taking us to the dover mall…probably because of jcpenney’s(we’re jcpenney shoppers). I remember jcpenneys at the blue hen mall….I remember walking in from the outside entrance and there was pajamas on the left, and in the middle was a counter….Of course my memory could be wrong. I remember the pajama section because me and my twin bought night gowns that came in a little drawlstring sack. I also remember that when I would walk in the main entrance of the mall, I always loved looking at the blue hen that was on the walls…surrounded by stone…and the blue hen was really colorful, and I would always look at the marble walls as I walked into the mall…..And we always seemed to turn right when we walked into the mall (going toward the stairs, and walden books), not sure why we didn’t go the left as often…Althought that’s where Jcpenneys was. I remember buying a mickeymouse book shaped like mickeymouses head at WaldenBooks during Christmas time. And I also remember Santa at Christmas time…I have a memory of sitting on his lap atleast once. Miss the mall…Wish it wasn’t just a memory.

  45. I was wrong when I mentioned marble walls. I think it was actually stone, but it was very pretty!

  46. @Sandi Naumann,
    Scary Sandi, As I was reading through these I remembered Donnie’s mom at the pretzel stand and started thinking about old times in the mall, then I got to yours. Steve and I used to hang out in there when we were skipping school and when we bought Icees she would sometimes give us a pretzel to split. It was an Army recruiter upstairs, Steve almost convinced me to go in as a helicopter pilot. I also remember a weird dude that used to follow people around that were wearing sneakers. He would look down and just follow the shoes for a while and then drift off. I think just about half of our class worked out at the mall at one time or another. Closest I’ve been is a couple of years ago, just outside of Philly, I saw a couple of guys that still live in the area. This really brought back memories.

  47. I really missed old Blue Hen Mall , all of my good
    memories in variety of shops there like
    Woolworth Co and small cafe and I drank taste
    old fashin coke soda. Pet shop, Buster brown
    shoe store,dannman’s,Waldenbooks, Sound Odessey, and Rose’s and Cinema Theatre.
    I love to go shop at Rose’s and Waldenbrooks and
    other magazines store I forgot it called but
    nice water fall under the beneth full of Goldfish
    in the water pond. I want Blue Hen Mall back again
    no ghost town.

  48. @b brown, the pizza place was Pizza by Giacomo and we now have 2 Giacomo locations in Dover. I believe they are the same but not sure.

  49. About 13 years ago, when I was working at a remote banking site in Dover ,I stopped at the BHMall during my dinner break. I had been there when I was really little, right around the time that Dover Mall opened. It was already in a decline then; many of the merchants had moved to Dover Mall…I remember Kennards, Braunsteins, both local clothing stores…When I was there, one of the stores was opened because I think they were cleaning and I went in…I am pretty sure that it was an “old school” Gap store…with the orange interiors and the clear bulbed lighting all over. The wall fixtures were all intact and I was thinking that this was pretty cool and sad at the same time, how pristine it all was…I was fascinated by it…in some ways, it was like an archaeological trip…I have to give credit to whoever was running/managing that mall, because everything was so CLEAN…the Gap looked like it had been opened just last week…weird.

  50. I was in Dover at the end of the 60s. I remember going to the Purple Cow and eating grape ice cream. Going to the pet store and seeing an ocelot for sale. He was in a penned in area that you could reach over and pet him. How stupid were we in the 60s. I remember the theater and they had some kind of celeabraton and had helicopter rides you could take. I don’t remember the seond floor or the peeing statue or much else but i have fond memories. I hate to hear the mall has fallen on hard times.

  51. @elaine, I managed the other little bookstore when it was called “Maxime’s”. That was after it was “The Little Red Bookhouse”. And my sister managed “Waldenbooks”. And I worked at the pretzel stand before that. We had great times working in that mall and made a lot of friends.

  52. Wow, a friend told me about the Blue Hen being a ghost town now. I remember the peeing statue, he even had an injury at some point. Many fond memories of the Blue Hen Mall, moved away in 1979. Always seemed strange when going home to visit that we no longer went to the Blue Hen Mall but the new one. I plan on going to see the Blue Hen with my friend, didn’t know this was a possibility prior to this. I’m sure as many have posted it will take me back in time, can’t wait.

  53. Earl Teat’s music shop was located in there for a long time too. My friends and I spent many hours there. I lived a few miles from there in the late 80’s and early 90’s and would go there a lot. I am glad to see that it is still open in some capacity.

  54. I remember spending many hours with my friends in the late 80’s and early 90’s there. Earl Teat Music was in there and the best music shop around.

    Chess King and Sound Odyssey were also some of my favorite stores to go to. Before the Dover mall was built it was the place to go shopping. We would travel over from Denton to shop there.

    I am glad to see that it has not been torn down to put some fancy new shopping center in its place. I miss living in Dover and all of the good memories there. The Blue Hen Mall is certainly one of those great memories.

  55. I came to dover in the late 70s from North Jersey & was amazed bhm was the ONLY place to shop. But I did shop there. I loved the carousel..& bought my first freezer in woolco for $90. (Still have the freezer!). I worked at GNC in the 80s. I also remember the peeing fountain. I have seen its steady decline over the years. Now I walk there when the weather is bad w a handful of old timers….we try to remember the stores & the people of the malls heyday. Now alls that’s left are memories & a few strategically placed buckets to catch the drips when it rains.

  56. I moved to Dover from North Jersey in the late 1970s .. coming from a large metropolitan area, I couldnt believe Blue Hen Mall was THE ONLY place to shop; and people came in there in droves. I bought a $90 freezer at Woolco (which I still own to this day!). My favorite stores of that day were the Carousel Gift Shop, Waldenbooks and Woolworths. I do remember the peeing boy fountain and the pet store. I dated a boy that worked at Giacomo’s and I worked at GNC on the Penneys end of the mall. I now walk around the deserted mall a couple days a week to get some exercise. The other day my fellow walkers and I were trying to remember what was there in the mall’s heyday. I do remember Dannemanns, Thrift Drug & Gordons Jewelers where I picked out a ring with my pizza shop guy. Alls thats left now are a few offices and some buckets strategically placed to catch the drops when it rains. Its a shame no one wants to resurrect this relic…a monument to a bygone era.

  57. @Dave, That was a really sweet story. I am glad that you stayed.

  58. @Peg, Yes, but it was called Pizza Delight in the Mall. And it was Giacomo’s!

  59. @Dave, Did you know Carl Caradonna? He was also there the same time you were.

  60. It was one of the few malls that even had a liquor store

  61. The Piano and Organ store was called Kimballs, ate many a slice of Pizza at the Pizza Delight, the Movie theater was by far the best for it’s time on the Delmarva peninsula. I remember meeting Richard Petty and many other drivers when I was a kid. They used to set up their cars during the Mason-Dixon 500. The Dover Mall sucks…..refurbish the Blue Hen Mall! lol

  62. I love the molding on some of those storefronts. Truly a blast from the past.

  63. My Dad maintained the Self Service Postal Kiosk in the front parking lot till he retired. I remember all the stores and woolworths restaurant. Saw most of the movies as a kid at the Capital downtown off Lockerman next to the old Sears store. Enlisted in the Army after talking with the recruiter on the second level. As a twist of fate, I left for basic training after being picked up by the shuttle van at the postal kiosk I watched my Dad work on as a child.


    Lynn, no I that name is not familiar. I was assigned to the 436th FMS as an engine mechanic on C141 aircraft and did not know many from other squadrons.

    Forgive my long delay. I just happened to revisit this site and didn’t expect an responses to my post.

    Helly to Elizabeth K too!

  65. @Dave Stibe,

    Should be Dave Stone. (Don’t know how it got mangled).

  66. This mall is every bit one of the most important spots in all of Delaware….I remember a few things as a kid growing up and I truly long to see this mall whipped back into shape. For all you who have posted on this site you have given me new found motivation to help build the culture of DE using this mall as the starting grounds. Hopefully when it goes underway you all will check out the new and improved Blue Hen Mall….I Love this place even though its a ghost town….I think we should all pitch in as a community and help put small businesses back in there that the community would all love and enjoy. I’m currently talking negotiations with staff for the Blue Hen Corp Centers resurrection

  67. We would goto to jcpenny’s for all our clothes. I can remember when atari came out you could play it in the store. Kid’s would line up for a chance to play! The Blue hen clock was removed because of roof damage from the rain over the year’s. The statue of the boy was also removed but was there still until 2005. I remember because there is a motorcycle show there and my first daughter had just been born . My wife looked at it an pointed saying ” look that would have been our son!” I remember a black gentleman for year’s at Christmas time would walk around the mall shouting “repent! for the lord is coming!” also in 1976 my grand father bought me my first train set from woolco’s! I still have it today! The pet shop had pet skunk’s forsale! Isaw smokey and the bandit and part 2 in the theater! The arcade was awesome when it opened! it was dark lit with neon and only the game sound’s and light’s to lead the way. Rose’s took over and had an allu can eat buffet. we would eat there on saturday night’s. Santa would be right out side of woolworth’s and you would get your picture taken with him. I have 10 of those with santa! also Dover furniture took the store on the corner for a while across from woolworth’s. These memory’s make me smile. Kid’s now have a sucky Santa at dover mall in a chair. The mall was open on Sunday’s because we lived in maryland as they were closed. So Sunday this mall was packed after church! My mom and i stopped by yesterday to the mall. we rode around looking in window’s . we didn’t go in but you could! We ate at Giacommo’s pizza too last night. My mom said ” this taste’s just like in the blue hen mall”! Now back on the website today i had to call her and tell her it was! There was glass blowing in the summer time in the middle of the mall. They would make glass swann’s . The floor’s looked in 2005 like they had just been put down. thanks for the trip down memory lane! i’ll post current pic’s as soon as i can!

  68. Thanks for the wonderful memories, all! The Blue Hen Mall has always been my favorite mall. The Dover Mall could never hold a candle to it. I loved the variety of shops at the Blue Hen Mall, something you don’t find in modern malls. Christmas was always the best, and as someone said, I’d give anything to see those animatronic Christmas figurines in action once again. I loved the eating places. It was such a treat getting some fudge at Russell Stover’s, or a black raspberry cone with chocolate sprinkles at Bressler’s, or the fantastic pizza at Pizza Delight. The Woolworth’s and Thrift Drug counters were only for special occasions, but what a treat. It’s so sad that so many think that bigger is better, and a small mall like the Blue Hen cannot compete. Every store closing was a sad day. But, we’ll always be able to see the mall in our mind’s eye, little peeing statue boy and all!

  69. @Bruce Bubier, Hi Bruce! My hubby, Jim DeFio, and I lived in Felton, Delaware in 1978. My husband was manager of Hardee’s. We married in Dover. His best friend was stationed at Dover AFB and was manager at Radio Shack in Blue Hen Mall. Do u know him…Kirk Flegal? I can’t believe I came across this site…brings back memories!! Please let us know if u know Kirk?

    Best Regards,
    Julie DeFio

  70. @Sandi Naumann, Hi Sandi! My hubby, Jim DeFio, worked for a while at a Pizza Shop that was on route to Dover AFB. Then, later on after we married in Dover in 1978, he worked at Hardee’s. His best friend, Kirk Flegal, was manager or worked at Radio Shack in Blue Hen Mall…he was stationed at Dover AFB. TY for bringing back memories! 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Julie DeFio

  71. @Lisa, Hi Lisa! My hubby, Jim DeFio, and I were married in Dover, DE…and his best friend, Kirk Flegal worked at or was the manager at Radio Shack. Do u remember a Kirk? He was stationed at Dover AFB!

    Best Regards,
    Julie DeFio

  72. @Gwen, Hi Gwen! My hubby, Jim DeFio was manager at Hardee’s in Dover and we were married in 1978 in Dover. Would u remember a Kirk Flegal who worked or was manager at Radio Shack in the Mall. He was stationed at Dover AFB…he was best Friend’s w/my hubby. I can’t believe the memories I have after reading this…TY for sharing! 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Julie DeFio

  73. @Brandon, I’d hate to see the lOok of this mall change. Its very unique and in excellent condition for its age. Reading a lot of the comments, I’m sure many people who shared memories would agree


  75. @Joe Zaferis, i mean wow the blue hen mall

  76. I gotta say you guys are cool. I remembered the Woolworth’s restaurant at Eastland Mall in Bloomington, IL, near the Pekin Mall you’ve been to. Ever see the fountain with colored lucite near Fannie May at Eastland Mall? I got photos of it, to my cousin’s embarrassment, before they tore it down around ’97. One day, I’ll have to ask my mom to find the photos. I’m glad other people like this old stuff. We should buy one of these malls and make it an apartment building, a dream of mine since I was a kid.

  77. @Bruce Bubier,

    Bruce! I was led to this website by a wave of Dover nostalgia on Facebook, where earlier today I posted about Gentle Giant’s live album, Playing the Fool, which you gave me as a gift upon my departure from Sound Odyssey after the 82 Christmas rush, before you hired me again in 83 when a spot opened up. So you were already on my mind when my nostalgia trip brought me here.

    Many fond memories of Sound Odyssey. Atlantic 16001! Columbia 38002! Mercury 810 308!

    I’m still a huge Fripp/Crimson fan these many years later, as I suspect you are as well.

    If this message somehow finds its way to you, greetings!!!

    Chip Orr

  78. The mall was and is my favorite mall and I wish stores would go back to it. It had a soft pretzel and frozen drink to die for. Auntie Anne’s has nothing on this one. The original Pizza Delight was in the mall. If I remember right it was down by the stairs end on the same side as the pet store. The movie theater / concert hall was nice (perfect size). There was a little shop about that sold fur coats and hats Dannemans was so much more than just fabric and sewing supplies, but Bresslers 31 flavors and little arcade was the true place to hang out. BRING IT BACK.

  79. @Bobby,

    There was a JC Pennys there until it moved to the NEW mall (YES I STILL CALL IT THAT)

  80. I was stationed at Dover AFB when I came back from Vietnam in 1970. The mall, at that time, was still very new. Always hung out their with my friends. Use to eat at the Harvest House Restaurant all the time. Had a great book store, and bought a lot of things at Woolco. Also use to go to Bressler’s Ice Cream store, and the Purple Cow. Wonderful memories of Dover. Once outside the city it was a lovely landscape. Use to fish in all the old ponds in the area. Catfish, and carp were the main catches. Thanks for the great memories of my favorite duty stations….

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