Indian Springs Mall; Kansas City, Kansas

Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS

Indian Springs Mall opened at the corner of State Road (U.S. 40) and I-635 on the west side of Kansas City, Kansas in 1971.  The 700,000 square-foot mall looks pretty much exactly the same today as it did when it opened over 35 years ago, save for many stores which have come and gone and very minor decorating updates.  Unfortunately, more stores have gone than have come, and today Indian Springs Mall’s days are numbered as redevelopment plans have picked up steam.

Indian Springs Mall former JCPenney in Kansas City, KSFor dated retail architecture lovers, Indian Springs Mall is an amazing dream come true.  The two-level enclosed mall stretched from Montgomery Ward in the north to Dillard’s on the south end, with a JCPenney in the middle.  Impressive high ceilings with windows flank the JCPenney anchor in the middle of the mall which has a long frontage.  The lower level of the mall only exists from JCPenney to Dillard’s and not from JCPenney to Montgomery Ward, and feels like a strangely dark subterranean world because it is only open to the upper level intermittently.  Several retail fans like us have created a film documentary of the mall and the circumstances surrounding its condition, which is to be released in Spring 2007.  You can even view a trailer at their website.  

Today, with zero anchors and a hybridized focus, Indian Springs is most definitely a dead mall.  It actually died as a traditional retail mall about a decade ago, but like many others it has carried on with other purposes.  In 1997, Dillard’s closed, and JCPenney also closed.  The last anchor to close was Montgomery Ward, which closed when the entire chain folded in 2001.  As the anchors left, so too did many of the typical national retailers.  The mall was then repurposed to focus on attracting a mostly Hispanic retail market, and remains with this focus today as about a dozen Hispanic stores and restaurants have opened, many featuring spanish-only signage.  In addition to the Hispanic focus, several spaces in the mall have been converted to office use.  The large former JCPenney space was retenanted to the Kansas City School District in recent years, which runs their entire operation from within the mall.  The former Dillard’s space has been used by the U.S. Postal Service as a customer service center.  In addition, several programs featuring humanities and the arts operate at Indian Springs as rent is low and space is plentiful.  Also, the mall’s name was tweaked at some point during repositioning from Indian Springs Mall to Indian Springs Marketplace.

Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KSIn 2006, the Kansas City government got tired of Indian Springs and decided it was time to assign it a blighted status, much to the chagrin of the mall’s owners and remaining tenants.  As the city sought a developer to tear down the property and replace it with The Next Big Thing, mall owners have sued the city to challenge the blighted status.  Also, as of January 2007 the Kansas City Schools are mulling over where they will move once the mall is torn down

So why did Indian Springs fail?  I suspect a combination of over-malling in the Kansas City area in general, the erosion of the local economy of KCKS, and competition from dominant super-regionals such as Oak Park Mall several miles south in Overland Park killed the chances for Indian Springs’ success.  As redevelopment and razing of the structure seems inevitable, we are reminded of how fast many enclosed centers like this one are disappearing.  Better catch it while you can.  The pictures here were taken in April 2006, but also check out the mall’s aerial photos on Microsoft Virtual Earth.

Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS Indian Springs Mall former Wards in Kansas City, KS

Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS Indian Springs Mall Foxmoor in Kansas City, KS Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS

Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS Indian Springs Mall in Kansas City, KS Indian Springs Mall former Dillards in Kansas City, KS

Indian Springs Mall former Wards in Kansas City, KS

 

 

 

57 Responses to “Indian Springs Mall; Kansas City, Kansas”

  1. Is it safe to say 1971 was “the year of the indoor mall”?

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    jeff shannon Reply:

    this mall failed because of the VIOLENCE. inner city creeps raping people in the parking lot. I was attacked here and had my jaw smashed for no reason. murders, etc. it was a ZOO.

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    ana Reply:

    @jeff shannon, Actually, the mall failed because the land there is sinking. That’s why the medical buildings that USED to be across the street are nothing more than a big hole in the ground now. My father’s lived here his whole life & the place STARTED sinking when he was a kid. No one want’s their store/merchandise inside a sinking mall. It has nothing to do with the “violence” as you said. If you got your jaw smashed, sorry but that’s not why the mall failed. lol Wyandotte County may not be the best crime wise but that was not why it failed.

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  2. Let’s see……nicely labelscarred…..plain flourescent lighting….plywood over some of the windows…..retrofitted skylights….

    I think I’ll give this one a 9 out of 10. I like it a lot. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. 1971 was the year of the mall. By then even small strips were being developed with mall elements (e.g., enclosed sidewalks connecting anchors, with the smaller stores facing them). The mall really does look like time piece and a reminder that 1971 also was the nadir of mall architecture–hulking anchors and effort to make the service entrances to interior stores look like something else. It’s a period piece but malls like this will never catch-on like “Googie” architecture of the 50s.

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  4. This place has some nice old -school touches, like the fully intact JCPenney storefront with the showcase borders like Blue Ridge Mall had.

    I can’t believe they painted over those Wards signs. That’s a crime against mall nature.

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  5. I also believe the 1970s were the outer limits of eccentric and most experimental design we’ve seen yet in retail architecture. Could argue the 1960s did more of that, but the 70’s were just something special – making particular light of darker colors.

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  6. Never been in here, but have gone past it about a million times…The former Ward’s area (facing the highway) looks in seroius disrepair; remnants of the signage still there. It even still features the old ‘Electric Avenue’ logo along the front.

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  7. Maybe off topic but my father has opened a business in the old Firestone, located on the outside of this mall..

    Apparently, this weekend (Sat, March 31, 2007) there is a “Save The Mall” concert at his business…. KC Car bay

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  8. I have never seen that sort of GNC signage before. How old is that, or is that a prototype?

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  9. Here’s a new article for you about Indian Springs:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/kmbc/20070419/lo_kmbc/12446148

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  10. Considering that Indian Springs Mall has been in decline for nearly two decades, it’s amazing the place has managed to survive this long. What’s more, it managed to outlive other KC malls (that seemed much healthier a few years back) such as Blue Ridge (razed and now a Wal-Mart), Mission (razed) and Bannister (set to close in May.)

    A few notes from 30 years of patronage:

    The mall croaked largely (big surprise!) due to a reputation of crime, which in most cases was probably an unfair accusation. For example, sometime in the early 90s there was a shooting in the movie theater, which was initially reported as if it were a random act of violence– it was actually a domestic dispute. In 1996, during one of my last visits to the mall until 2003, the KCK police kept a squad car parked at each entrance, in an attempt to project an image of security.

    The Dillard’s ceased to function as a department store and morphed into an “outlet” which eventually moved to the Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, sometime in the mid-90s.

    Somehow, the Italian Delight restaurant is still open for business. It was one of the malls original tenants.

    The mall only recently molested the Wards signage. Back in 2003, I photographed the 67-era blue and white outdoor signs, which were still in excellent condition. Also, the inside sign (which was the 82-vintage logo) was actually still lit! I’ll upload the photos if anyone is interested.

    The lower level is called “Aztec Plaza” and contains many hispanic businesses. They even resurrected the old AMC theater (where I had seen many movies over the years) for hispanic films.

    Indian Springs served as the only mall for Kansas City, Kansas for 1971 until the “Legends” opened near the NASCAR speedway. When I visited in 2003, I got the distinct impression that it still served as the only shopping center for the people in the area who don’t own a car and are forced to use the bus. I imagine the closing of Wards was probably a big blow to these people.

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  11. I lived in KCK form birth until age 16 and yes it was the ONLY shopping area for KCK period. Before they MADE all the farmers sell their land and property to build The Legends, we had no else to go. But it seems that KS was not interested in making Wyandotte County a better place to live, so they focused on Johnson County. When I was little I remember the trips to the mall for the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and for Halloween- those were such fun trips!

    However, I think my most memorable moments of the mall is when I went out with my best friend to the movies and we had a blast!!!! It was my real first outing as a teenager-I loved it. About 2 year later she died from cancer but I will always remember how much fun it was.

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  12. The county government has bought this mall now for $7.5 million. It looks like they’re going to tear it down.

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  13. Such a shame. If someone could only buy the mall, kick all non-retail/restaurant out, and give the mall a cool and varied look, it could be revived. For example, Aztec Plaza could become nice looking with live music, delicious food, and nicer stores. Then, we add an Asian, French, Caribbean, and good ol’ USA (complete with faux brick facades and colorful awnings) sections and give each section a unique architectural look, then they could rename the mall something snazzy like “International Marketplace Mall”.

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  14. Personally as a dead mall fan, I would leave the mall untouched. If I were wealthy, I would buy the mall from it’s current owners and leave it in a state of suspended detoritation. I would not update it or try to bring in new tenants. I believe it is better to hold onto these dying malls rather than letting them meet the recking ball, even if that means leaving it the way it is. I find it facinating to see these malls in such a state of despare, I think it is wonderful. I still wish Blue Ridge and Mission mall were still around.

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  15. I am a lifelong Wyandotte County resident. The reason the mall closed is simple, the customers with money selected “safer” malls than Indian Springs. For far too many years security had little control over the mall. While outright crime may have been exaggerated, the feeling of intimidation existed and went unchecked. High shoplifting rates by “customers” in this entire area caused many businesses to close doors. Venture and K-Mart closed at 4301 State Avenue for similar reasons. There simply exist no base of support willing to shop in this area. When it opened many of us looked forward to going to the mall, but by the late 1970’s Indian Springs already possessed a reputation. It’s a beautiful place to see, but it’s understandable that patrons chose to shop elsewhere.

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  16. I have a vision for this place, but don’t know how to get it started.
    I see it a place for learning and family fun place.
    Where kids can go after school and learn about the Jungle, Astronants, Daycare, sakte board area, Cd library.
    And so much more. It can be a place for job fairs, and education for the future.
    A place for kids to go and learn while parents are still at work.
    I need help it getting the right people to help get this going and prayers.
    I just have a vision and God’s faith.
    Help me to upgrade this place,
    nbice66103@yahoo.com

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  17. Remodel Indian Spring! Put what the city needs there like a place for kids to go afterschool for fun and tutoring and learning of their future! If they tear it down it is still possible to rebuild for make east side of Kansas City Kansas a better area too!

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  18. This was the place to be in the 80’s as a teenager, Taco Via and the Fun Factory were staples of the Mall. But like what most people stated in this thread, shoplifting and gangs are the real reason the mall went into a rapid decline. Why fear getting mugged or shot when you can go to Oak Park or Legends for a safer, family shopping experience, Sad but true!

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  19. Let’s face it. Malls are slowly dying. Unless you’re Independence Center, Oak Park Mall, or even Ward Parkway Shopping Center, it’s a losing proposition. I would think it would do the business owners a big favor to find cheap deals out in the open, in downtown KCK or nearby. I read somewhere that a business park would be built on the site if Indian Springs gets the wrecking ball. Why not? Lets make this place vibrant again. I would love to see business prosper again in KCK instead of Johnson County. Don’t build it in Village West. Bring it further in. KCK is a great city with a great heritage. I don’t see that mall as part of its heritage. Knock it down. Look to the future.

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  20. The unfortunate thing is the documentary meant to save the mall “I Saw You At the Mall” won’t launch until spring ’08, meaning Indian Springs Mall might meet the wrecking ball. A skate park, a public library division, or something would go great here. Redo the parking lot and the exterior (maybe destroying the parking lot for a field or something, make it a section of a park)

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  21. anyone interested in a joint venture for Indian Springs Mall. I have some inestors who wiuld like to turn the mall into a series of lofts/villas. Any takers?

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  22. anyone interested in a joint venture for Indian Springs Mall. I have some investors who wiuld like to turn the mall into a series of lofts/villas. Any takers?

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  23. was the crime ,plain and simple
    “DONT SHOOT ME BRO”

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  24. . I was at the grand opening of the mall in 1971 and lived in the area for 35 years. I-635 had not even been completed south to I-35 when it opened. It was quite busy during the 70’s into the early 80’s, it declined very rapidity during the 1980’s. The shoppers were all white, rarely saw a black shopper during the 70’s. That changed in 80’s along with crime. White’s quit shopping at the mall, and stores starting moving out left and right. That is the true story of what happened to Indian Springs. I watched it happen from beginning to end. The area around the mall also began changing for the worse.

    The crime was not that bad, was more like a few events over the years, a kid got killed in front of the video arcade, a brinks guard was killed in the mall during an attempted robbery, etc.

    The best thing to do now, is tear it down and build probably a mix of office buildings and maybe some retail. It’s location at I-635 and I-70 is a very desirable location for something new. It will help in a renewal mid-town of KCK.

    KCK need’s rebuilding badly, it quit growing in the 1960’s and began a long decline, Indian Springs being an exception against that trend for a few years. The new growth in the western part of the county, show’s thing’s can change, trying to save useless structure’s will not be a positive step for the future of the county.

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  25. I hope they don’t tear it down. It’s a great showpiece of what happens when a mall reaches an “Undead” status.

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  26. I also grew up in Wyandotte Co. and can remember going to Indian Springs mall from as far back as I can remember. I remember riding a tricycle during a bike safety campaign through a bike course in the lower level of the mall. I remember my coloring page won first place and hung in the mall during fire safety week. I remember going to the movies and the arcade as a pre-teen, you know back in the days when you could leave your kids at the mall and felt safe.

    I would agree with Nina from above that I would like to see the mall turned into something for the kids. I vision a large teen center that would incorporate volunteer work with community service utilizing the area university and colleges. I vision tutoring, computer cafe, and continue showing movies at the theater. Turn the old JC Penny, Wards and Dillards into a skating rink, bowling alley and dance club. Bring local bands to perform.

    With the West KC area growing and revitalization of the downtown, let’s bring the middle together full of something that REAL kids in kc can afford and benefit from.

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  27. Shockingly, the mall is still around:

    http://www.kmbc.com/news/12446148/detail.html

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  28. Wow, that’s incredible. I would have thought this mall would be closed by now, since it has been in terrible shape for over a decade now. I’m guessing the hispanic-oriented retailers are keeping the thing afloat because it’s one of the only places in the metro where such a thing exists. Maybe they could just use one of the dead anchor spots for Wal-Mart and leave the thing open.

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  29. wow, I can’t believe that just 12 yrs ago I lived in kc area. I would agree with all of you from above that I would like to see the mall turned into something for the kids expecually the teenagers. They need somewhere to go in the evening not just after school. I enjoyed going to the mall for a good movie. Even though the movie theater is gone both the outdoor and indoor. Mabee they should put up another one for them.
    I don’t want to see it turned into a apt area, but a nice park would be nice too. I can’t believe I’m reading this, but I do think we need to do something in that area to bring in more family-oriented things.

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  30. I grew up working in this mall in highschool. my first job was at national shirt shop there. It at one time had 8 movie screens and dozens of resterants.What killed this mall was crime.

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  31. I was born in kansas city and as the days went by the mall slowly dwendled down to hardly anything and anymore all you hear on the news is who shot who and this person was beat by this person or this person raped this person it got really old. so eventually you just didn’t even watch the news cause you were tired of hearing the same old thing just a different day… well i hated to see that mall to go but it was the violence that killed the mall cause noone would go there after dark cause of robbers and shootings…. well i thought i would put in my opinion…. well i hope the do good to it i hate to see it go.

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  32. I grew up in KCK as well, and worked at Indian Springs during high school in the mid to late 90’s. During this time there were several stores still there. I worked at One Hour Photo, and also GNC for a short time (about boomshakla’s comment above, The GNC was a corporate store, not a franchise — this may be why the sign looked different).

    At One Hour Photo, we had a photo booth in the store, but not the normal kind where you only get 3 photos. You could pay for 12, 24, or 36 and YOU chose the zoom, vertical or horizontal, and when the photo was actually taken by pressing a button on a remote control, and a video screen showed what your photo would look like before it was taken. It was the coolest thing. When I needed a smoke break, all I had to do was step out into the mall where smoking was allowed, much longer than other malls that had banned it by this time. At GNC I worked for a lady named Donna, who was a total riot and smoked all the time. She actually allowed us to smoke in the back room. It was funny when some customers would come in shopping for their health needs and say “Is someone smoking in here?”

    I used to love going there with my friends over the years, we always had a blast. Some of my favorite places were Musicland, Dillard’s (Outlet), Taco Via, Italian Delight, Harold Pener, Montgomery Ward, that ice cream place that sat in the middle of the lower level hallway next to Big Al’s, the movies and of course The Fun Factory. When I was a little kid my grandparents liked to go there to a huge restaurant that used to be in a corner space near the Dillard’s entrance (It had the Children’s Museum there recently). I remember going shopping there with my parents as a kid, the mall was always full of people.

    Does anyone remember that maze that used to be set up for kids on the lower level? And what about that giant hanging sculpture that was in front of Dillard’s? It hung in the upper level and went through the mezzanine to the lower level over a fountain. Beautiful piece but is gone now. They must have sold it. Or does anyone remember that little jewelry place just outside of Montgomery Ward called Christie’s? It was kind of an enclosed kiosk. Anyway the lady that ran that place was a weirdo and always had messy hair, but I used to like to go there and pay $1.00 for a mystery bag. I always hoped I would get something expensive. There was always a bird cage with a bird in that store too. My best friend’s mom said that when the mall opened (or shortly after) there was a Fredrick’s of Hollywood in the mall — wow.

    I think what turned people off was the crime. Even so, I love Wyandotte County and especially KCK. I hate to see this place go, so full of memories for me. It hurt my heart to hear that the mall would be torn down.

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  33. Any more news on this mall? Has it closed yet?

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  34. My brother and I have a bet going on and need some help. In the early 70’s does anyone remember some type of hobby or craft store at Indian Springs? What was the name of the store? Please email me at k9shelter@aol.com.
    We have one dollar riding on this bet ;-)

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    Aaron Reply:

    @Cindy, It was Hobby Haven. And I remember before Big Al’s it was Smacks. But My all time favorite place to go was Spencers .

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  35. To Cindy:

    I think it was called Hobby Haven.

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  36. My next door neighbor worked at JC Penny’s when Indian Spring first opened. Where the sitting area’s are in the lower level were initially fountains that people would throw coins in to. The first day the mall opened they had goldfish in the fountains that you could catch and have for no cost. Spent so much time in the mall growing up it is sad to me that it may be torn down. Thank goodness that Italian Delight lasted this long! I personally believe that a skating rink, bowling alley and even move theater could survive there if the Unified Govt. would organize and monitor it thoroughly( I don’t know if that would be possible) but it could become a viable area again.

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  37. What year did Indian Springs close?

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  38. There use to be a place at the mall that sold old stock or unused craft type items from Hallmark. Does anyone know if this is still around somewhere? Thanks

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  39. The Childrens Museam moved out they sold the craft type items. The mall is still open, mostly Unified Government enties downstairs and some few hispanic retailers upstairs. Back in the summer there was a soulfood restaurant which may still be there. Itailan Delight is still there unchanged and super busy at lunch time. I think one of the major items that sealed its fate besides malls just going out of style was Fun Factory. Lots of teens just dropped off or walked over. Little or no money but a place to hang out and at some point trouble follows. Idle hands and such. I rememeber in the early 90s my then GF now wife bought me a looney tunes jacket from Merry Go Round upstairs. It was made by the guy who made all of Arsenial Hall’s Jackets for his late night show. I can remember all the Christmas seasons when the lot was full of cars, helping my dad buy his last minute selection of Channel # 5 for mom, for Christmas. Which was funny, because we had little money. So he would save up money all this time just to buy it for Christmas but then run like a mad man to get it last minute. Lots of fun memories of that old mall. I remember I was a teen and took my kid brother to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when it first came out. We were a little early and the place was packed. We were forced to sit up front and get a neck ache. Last I heard a year ago it would be demolished and new UG buildings put in its lot. I have lots of great memories, but the mall needs redone or dropped. I’ll always have my childhood though!

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  40. I practically grew up at Indian Springs myself – it opened just before my 10th birthday. One of the old fellows at church told me he remembered when that was all pasture land, and after a bad flood one year there were dead cows floating in the pasture. I think Worlds of Fun opened the same year up in North KC – or maybe it was the following year. KCK was booming then.

    There was a lot of controversy when the mall first opened. Some “psychic” said the mall would collapse on a specific day, of course the prediction was false. Supposedly the mall had been built over underground springs that were undermining the whole area, or some such nonsense.

    There was indeed a Frederick’s of Hollywood in the mall – one of my good friends worked there in the 80’s. There was also a Smak’s burger joint on the lower level. They had the greatest onion rings. In later years it was replaced by a deli shop, J.T. Pickleman’s, I think. I used to buy all of my LPs at Musicland, and Taco Via was *the* place to hang out. I had forgotten the maze! My little sister and I had so much fun in it, even though we had memorized the path through it. The mall used to have these huge plexiglass rectangles that hung from the ceiling. They were translucent neon colors – orange and pink and blue. Originally the fountains had big rectangular structures in them that the water splashed off of. There were no barriers around the fountains! I can’t tell how many times my friends and I would try to push each other into the water.

    I saw my first R-rated movie at the original Dickinson theaters on the Wards end of the mall. The Dillard’s was originally Macy’s, I think. Or maybe the Jones Store. My wife and I bought our wedding bands at Kriegel’s. She worked at KayBee Toys before we got married. I used to hang out in Hobby Haven and wish I had enough money to buy some of the model kits they had in there. There was also a pet store in the mall (Petland?), a Spencer’s Gifts, a Wicks and Sticks, Lim’s Oriental Gifts, Orange Julius, and a Wurlitzer store. I played in a Christmas concert with my school orchestra on the lower level of the mall one year.

    I have many memories of that mall, but it died like all malls seem to be doing. I stopped going there because of the crime, and quite frankly it won’t matter what gets built when the Springs is razed, because that whole part of town is riddled with crime. That’s why Sears at Tower Plaza died, that’s why Venture died, and that’s why developers moved out to the Legends – to get away from the crime.

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  41. I grew up in Johnson County, and the only person that I have ever known who shopped at Indian Springs was abducted from there, and then raped. It has always been thought that KCK is a very dangerous neighborhood–much more so than Kansas City, Missouri. So, obviously, how could one expect the mall to come back to prominence? It is sad, and reading these former posts makes one feel very disheartened. Yet, it is enlightening , too, as I never knew that anyone ever actually liked Kansas City, Kansas. Who knew?!!

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    sarad Reply:

    @brookster,

    even if not on purpose, your statement is offensive…just b/c we didn’t have the money that joco has had all these years doesn’t mean that we don’t have respect and love for where we grew up. i lived off of 65th and State Ave from 1985 to 1998, and even though i wanted so bad the things that the spoiled brats had in joco, i’m so incredibly thankful that i grew up in the dotte…i am who i am b/c of wyandotte county, and i wear it as a badge of honor!!!

    ps. your parents were likely from the dotte, but moved b/c they were scared of black people and had the money to move…and just so you know, i have heard of some pretty gruesome stories regarding oak park mall, but it was never front page news like indian springs mall crime. one of the previous comments said it right when kck/wyandotte county has always received negatively skewed press…

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    alicia Reply:

    @sarad, ive lived in wyco for 26 years. not once have i been the victim, or have i known the victim of a violent crime, victims over here, deserve it, the victims in wyco are the drug dealing thugs who bring it on themselves. so sure wyco has alot of crime, but we have robberies.. and assults.. car jackings.. ect.. now when you look at the crime in joco… olathe.. overland park.. ect.. you see the sick discusting random crimes that can happen to ANYONE living in joco.. i guess the criminal element there have enough money that it isnt their concern to just rob someone.. when ever you hear about people sodomizing then murdering little children.. it happened in joco.. or the richer communities.. so.. with that being said.. you can keep you rich community full of discusting rapist/ child murderers.. ill keep my money hungry gang bangers who rob from each other.. at least i have a little more confidence living in wyco that my children wont be abducted and killed (and that is always a possibility.. i know.. but it would be more likely to happen south of dotte) although over the years my community has changed.. and no necissarly for the better.. we as a community own that.. where you grow up makes you who you are.. whether you are better or worse for it.. we are proud of who weve became.. or who we were. and if there is one this us kck “thugs” have. it is pride.. and commitment.. we stick together.. and we have our faith.. genuine faith.. we dont use our faith as a facade to look better then our “friends”

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  42. Ah, I have nice memories of Indian Springs as well. It opened the year of my birth. I remember working at Taco Via, my first job.

    Glad that someone else remembers the maze downstairs under the escalator, it was AMAZING!

    I remember weird round and tall dressing rooms in the girls area of Macy’s. Also, remember the TALKING CHRISTMAS TREE near Macy’s at Christmas?

    Once I fell in the coin pool area near the pet shop/musicland and luckily my dad was friends with a lady who worked at the oriental shop nearby(Lims?) and got paper towels from her to dry me off.

    My mom worked a a gift shop in the middle of the lower level, later replaced by an ice cream shop where they mixed in stuff into your ice cream.

    I remember when Penney’s had a little restaurant/soda shop in the back. I remember when Woolworth was there before the AMC 6 went in, they had an eating area also.

    I remember BEFORE Fun factory came in, I’d play
    Donkey Kong in the Little King sandwich shop.

    Has anyone mentioned the Talent Contests they used to have every year on the lower level, right near where the Smaks/later Big Al’s was. I think it was sponsored by a country music radio station.

    Kay’s was a fancy women’s dress shop, which also had a salon inside.

    There was a nice Russel Stovers on the upper level near Penney’s, they used to give out samples.

    What fond memories. I went there a few years ago and was saddened that it all was pretty much gone. The only thing remaining from when I used to hang out there was Italian Delight, still serving yummy food.

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  43. I drove past the mall yesterday and it looked like the entrance was boarded up – did the mall finally close?

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  44. PROUD KCK native, grad Sumner ’78 with very fond memories of Indian Springs. As a kid, shopped at Musicland and loved Russell Stovers; as a teen, Thom McAn, Kays, Montgomery Ward, JC Penney and Macy’s. LOVED Smak’s hickory burger and ANYTHING at the Forum Cafeteria; who could forget drinks at Orange Julius?!? Many a great show at the cinema (matinee $1.25….who wanted to pay the “high” price of $2.50 after 4pm?!?). Now live in Texas and get home every 2yrs or so, always drive around to look and remember. Sad to see so much change but memories live forever……

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  45. I remember going as a kid to the candy shop “Nuts and Nibbles” and getting the candy in the orange bag sour cherries and also the regular cherries. Does anyone remember when KFC was inside Indian Springs it was right across from Italian Delight then it became one hour photo. I have found memories of the movie theater as well I remember seeing “coming to america” and “boyz in da hood” there as well. Also they had the $1 movie theater upstairs and i remember seeing the “five heartbeats” in junior high we used to get t-shirts made there the ones where they would press letters on the back. Wow so many found memories of a place that is now gone too bad it couldn’t last, but as others have said we will always have the memories, so hopefully it will get re built as something else where our children can make some found memories just as we did in our childhood. Btw the ice-cream shop that was on the lower level of the mall near wig-city was called “cone-a-copia” I also remember “Merry-go-round” and “Spencers” ahhh memories memories

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  46. ANYBODY know IF someone STILL has one of the “Cone-a-copia” ice cream machines around SOMEWHERE ???
    Bill.

    816 387 3673

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  47. Does anyone have contact info regarding the Indian Hills Mall? I’m interested in leasing space.

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    Frank Weber Reply:

    @Frank Weber, Excuse me… Indian Springs Mall
    I’m Interested in leasing space

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  48. Italian Delight looks like it moved in late 2010 or so, but as of summer 2011, Indian Springs is *still* standing and looks like (at least parts of it) are still open to the public.

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  49. I remember Indian Springs quite well. Surrounding counties particulararly Johnson and Jackson in neighboring Kansas City, MO had more than one mall. As for Indian Springs, it wasn’t the only mall in just Kansas City, Kansas… it was THE ONLY MALL for ALL OF WYANDOTTE COUNTY which included Kansas City, Kansas, Bonner Springs, (my hometown) Edwardsville, Piper (before recent annexation by KCK), Lake of the Forest, Delaware Acres and Victory Junction. Also it was the only mall for much of southern Leavenworth County which includes Lansing, and Basehor. For Greater Kansas City Area, going west it was the last major shopping center (until the Ledgends was built). Wyandotte Plaza was around, but it was not the major shopping destination Indian Springs was.

    At one time you had the Indian Springs Bank, later known as the “mobster’s bank of choice” (I remember them for the big indian statue the bank had along with the chandelier which with the one next door were the biggest ones I had seen as a child at that time…even today only the ones in Union Station top it), along with Indian Springs Cleaners next door to Coronado Savings, The Indian Springs Theatres which was the original built with the mall on the upper level and the lower level one was built in the space formerly housing the lower level of FW Woolworths once they left the mall. So actually Indian Springs had 4 anchor tennants. Believe me they would not put an excalator in a store that was not one.

    It was like a town only without residences. You had Wig City, Chasnoff’s, Steve’s Shoes along with later a Cake Box baker (both Kansas City staples), the there was Smaks and Forum Cafeteria (which actually had locations outside of Kansas City, but not many) Cone-a-Copia came as a kiosk with checker board like decor and there was also an Orange Julius and of course who can forget Italian Delight which is still in business at 82nd and State.

    The GNC had front doors that folded, but when closed looked more like french doors. To this day I never saw anything like this in another mall. It did have a maze with designs painted on the walls (probably sold for scrap metal) and the fountains.
    After the renovation they removed what made Indian Springs unique.

    For a brief period the mall was also used as a depot for Jefferson (Bus) Lines. And it did have a Children’s Museum with recycled goods saless. One could still tell that this was the Forum Cafeteria’s former spot. Upon learning of the possible mall demolition, the muesum searched for a new spot without much success and eventually merged with Wonderscope. City offices went where Musicland (now called Sam Goody) and
    Hobby Haven were.

    The stores had unique character. Waldenbooks was there with a green storefront that looked almost what you’d use on the outside of a building rather than inside a mall, and K&G men’s store with specially carved doors and an interior that made it look more like it was built in the 1800’s than 1971. Several mall stores were that way. The light fixtures in Russell Stover we only about 30 to 50 years older than the mall. Jarman Shoes had the stone wall and I’m not sure but I think it had a fireplace too, Kay’s fashions would be mistaken for a french parlor had it only had tin ceilings. In fact almost all Macy’s stores built by the company up to that era had cornerstones and this one was no exception. But that’s about the time they started using brass rather than concrete. As of this date the cornerstone which solely has “1971” on it is still there. The one at the Landing Mall reads “MACY’S” above “1961”.

    The mall was a rare example of old and contemporary used in the same building with success. Up the street there was a T.G.&Y family center too so the mall even served to bring business to the rest of the area.

    My funniest memory was when Indian Springs became Plaza Azteca. I remember it. They really tried to make it “Latino” in every way possible. Even the main exculator in the hall was set to run backwards for a while there. For close to a year it was the only building in the State of Kansas where you walked to your left to go between floors. Until Indian Springs, I didn’t even know you could do that with an exculator. About that time my lover worked at Teletech a contractor for the postal service and this was no longer the mall I grew up it.

    There was Burstein Applebee (an electronics catalog chain) that closed and the space was occupied by Fun Factory. That’s where the trouble began Fun Factory
    had 3 Kansas City Locations, Blue Ridge along with Bannister Mall, and of course Indian Springs in Kansas. Those last two were soon known for their fights (and later shootings). This is probably a main contributor to what brought both to dead mall status. Then with Indian Springs you had the spring issue, and yes part of it really was built above a spring. They probably used bridge building techniques on the foundation.

    I hope they get creative and at least save part of it, but if they don’t it still lives on in our memories. Thank God it didn’t end up like Dixie Square in Harvey, Ill….known as “the grandfather of dead malls”.

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  50. As someone that grew up in the Parkville, Missouri area in the late 70’s, early 80’s I used to go there to hang out, shop, go to the movies. It is located in an older section of town the at that time was still livable
    I have many fond memories of that time.
    Then in the mid 80’s I joined the military, got out and moved away. When I returned to the area in 1995, I decided to make trip there and boy was that an eye opener!
    The urban blight around the area had really set in. Upon entering there was phone at the entrance with a sign saying if you would like a police escort, use this phone. That raised red flags and I decided to leave.
    Later I learned that the had been several incidents of assaults, shootings and various other criminal activity in and around the mall.
    It sad-end me that it had declined so far.
    .

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  51. Does anyone recall the incident where the mall’s maintenance manager (“Mr. Williams” is all I recall, (but perhaps it was his first name?)) fell to his death while changing a light in the 40′ ft. high ceiling near the mall’s main entrance? I believe it was Dec. of 1985, but am not certain.
    It happened right in front of me… a mere 25 to 30 feet away. With (only) first aid training, I ran to assist, but it was immediately clear all assistance would be futile (I’ll spare the details).
    HOWEVER…
    Though the answer was unequivocally “NO!”, I was nagged by the question whether there was something, anything more I could have done to help. That prompted me to take an EMT course, which prompted me to work as an EMT, which prompted me to pursue a Paramedic license… leading to a productive & successful career as a Paramedic for Kansas City & Flight Paramedic on the former Research Eagle.
    Perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree, but I feel compelled to share with Mr. Williams’ family that their family’s tragedy has a silver lining in that their loss was directly responsible for a career that would see to countless lives saved. I understand the loved ones of organ donors are comforted by hearing about the lives those donations saved… I can’t help but think that this situation is not at all dissimilar.
    Any information or leads would be appreciated… hours searching newspaper archives have been fruitless thus far, and I have to admit self-doubt in the goal of my endeavor tends to undermine my efforts.

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