Metcalf South Shopping Center; Overland Park, Kansas

Metcalf South exterior in Overland Park, KS

Located in Overland Park, one of the largest suburbs of Kansas City, Metcalf South Shopping Center opened in 1967 to immediate fanfare.  Launched by infamous mall developer Sherman Dreiseszun, Metcalf South is anchored by local Kansas City department store The Jones Store Company and Sears.  It is enclosed and nearly 800,000 square feet on three levels, including anchor space.

Over time, Metcalf South has fallen flat on its face and despite being open for business it is definitely a dead mall.  The two anchors, Sears and The Jones Store, remain at the mall, and The Jones Store is expected to go through with the Macy’s conversion in September 2006.  However, other stores in this large mall remain largely vacant and the center is a shell of its former self.  An art theatre and Vaudeville theatre operate at the mall as well as a handful of other stores, but most of the national retailers have flown the coop.  Mr. Bulky Treats & Gifts, Suncoast, Mastercuts, Foot Locker, and County Seat are among the visible store shells along the mall’s corridors.  The third level of the mall is mostly shut off to the public and has been partially converted to offices, except for at center court.  The mall’s floors are shiny almost constantly due in part to the janitors who are doing a great job as well as the fact that old people are the only people walking the mall (and they leave in the morning). 

Metcalf South Jones Store interior entrance in Overland Park, KS

A bit more about the mall’s owner, Kansas City developer Sherman Dreiseszun.  At 83 years old, he’s led an fascinating life in the realm of retail development and continues to do so.  He’s helped develop several malls throughout the country and holds a stake in many of them today, including Metcalf South.  What’s notable about these malls is that they aren’t always in the best condition.  His malls in Toledo, suburban Cincinnati, Denver, and this one have all languished in recent years.  He’s also been described as a very hard-nosed man with a personality of steel, and is known to drive hard bargains.  It’s therefore no surprise he’s been listed on Fortune’s 400 wealthiest Americans.  He has developed and owned Metcalf South since the beginning back in the 60s, and operates his base office from within the mall.  Many municipalities have been upset with his mall management policies and procedures as of late and have threatened eminent domain or condemnation of his malls in order to remove their blighted status.  The controversy surrounding his malls is notable as he continues to operate some very beleagured malls without divulging many plans to renovate them or make them viable again.  It’s all very interesting, and I think he’d be a great person to talk to about retailing because of so much first-hand experience, and a still presence – it’s too bad he refuses interviews. 

As for Mr. Dreiseszun’s plans for Metcalf South – he divulges none.  He says there are a few things he’d like to do with the mall but remains tight-lipped as to what they’d be.  This is probably part of the reason there is a bit of controversy surrounding the man.  People like answers.  People don’t like giant, blighted shopping malls sitting in their communities, especially when it seems unnecessary.  Overland Park is one of the nicer and larger suburbs of Kansas City, and in fact the second largest city in Kansas with a population around 170,000.  The city was incorporated in 1960, making it entirely suburban and defined by sprawl.  Perhaps as a result of this, it’s not surprising the city allowed Dreiseszun to give himself some competition and open another very large mall in Overland Park, a couple miles down 95th street from Metcalf South.  In 1975, Dreiseszun helped open Oak Park Mall which became Overland Park’s second mall.  It was immediately successful, and Oak Park is today one of the more dominant malls in the entire Kansas City market and boasts 2 Dillards, JCPenney, Nordstrom , another Jones Store, and over 180 specialty stores.  In the past decade as Metcalf South has rapidly declined, Oak Park Mall and the newer lifestyle center a few miles south in Leawood

Right now Metcalf South just sits and waits for the next big thing to come, but it’s definitely past expiration in its current state.  Let me know what I’ve left out about the history of Metcalf South, and add your own stories.  What other stores were there?  Leave some comments.

UPDATE 12/18/06: The ‘next big thing’ has come.  A Colorado developer has agreed to overhaul Metcalf South and another ailing Kansas City mall, Metro North Mall, into new mixed-use developments.  Metcalf South will be renamed The Streets at Metcalf and “will include upscale boutiques, national and local retail shops, an entertainment complex, office and residential space, and a hotel” according to the article.  With wildly successful Oak Park Mall and Town Center in Leawood so close by, I wonder how this will fare.  Preliminary plans for the new development are due sometime in 2007, so don’t expect the mall to come down immediately.  We’ll keep an eye on the death watch.

Metcalf South Jones Store exterior in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South exterior in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South exterior in Overland Park, KS

Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS

Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS

Metcalf South dead County Seat in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS Metcalf South center court Mr. Bulky in Overland Park, KS

424 thoughts on “Metcalf South Shopping Center; Overland Park, Kansas”

  1. Metcalf South is an interesting case. While most dying malls are dumpy and dingy, Metcalf South is clean and sparkly. That probably adds to the sense of wasted potential you feel as you walk through.

    Just a few miles to the north of Metcalf South is Mission Center Mall, presently being torn down to make way for new development. As I’ve driven past nearly every day on my way home from work, I’ve thought that I should take some pictures. I’ve kept neglecting to remember my camera, though. Now the last of the logos is gone, and I expect the last corner of the building to be destroyed by the end of the weekend, leaving a huge pile of rubble to be removed.

  2. This is one funky mall. It’s like it’s frozen in time. So many old store carcases, such bizarre interior architecture.

  3. SInce Mr. Dreiseszun’s offices are in the mall, it’s probably not a great surprise that the floors are so shiny. I’d like to see what some of his other developments look like (the ones being threatened with eminent domain, etc.).

  4. It’s amazing to see a vacant County Seat still remaining. I wonder how many years that space has been empty.

  5. Looks to me the last time this mall and many of its shops got remodeled was in the late 1980s. The chrome/mirrored ceiling panels and the marquee lights around the atriums gave that away to me.

    Just check out the old FootLocker in two of those shots….it’s wooden facade is a dead giveaway to what store it was.

    Even though the mall is dead, at least they’re keep its outdated decor looking nice. I’ve seen worse in person.

  6. I honestly have no idea how The Jones Store and Sears have been able to remain open all these years despite the rest of the mall being dead. I also wonder how the interior stores have virtually all been able to die despite the fact that they were in a mall that had all of its anchors still present.

    Actually, the mere fact that the two anchors are still there despite the rest of the mall’s terrible condition makes for an interesting observation. Usually, most dying malls don’t start dying until one or more of the department stores close. In this case, however, the opposite is true: the department stores still remain while the mall’s interior stores have closed.

  7. There is one more thing that I should have added to my last comment: I found it very unusual that most of the store signs were still up on the stores that were closed. Is there any reason why the store signs have never been taken down on the stores that have closed?

  8. Max: You’ve presented an interesting observation. Many stores will choose to take down their signs when they close, most often in successful malls with low turnover and high occupancy. This is not always the case in smaller or completely forgotten malls. It seems that even large chain-stores in mostly empty malls will leave their signs up; it’s up to the individual store in each case. Also, when store chains go out of business entirely, their signs tend to remain up for even longer. That explains the County Seat sign and many Montgomery Wards signage which remains up to this day on both the interior and exterior of many malls, 5 years after they went out of business.

    Steven: County Seat went out of business during the Spring of 1999, so it’s probably been vacant since then. Pretty amazing!

  9. This is a awesome dead mall. I paid my first visit there in 2000 and they still had a food court and a few stores but since then it has died…the last mall store there to close was After Hours Formalwear(desmond’s formerly).in 2005. Originally they had a Hartzfeld’s(Local Kansas City Chain) it’s been closed for decades but it’s also a dead giveaway with their marble black-white striped enterances…the one at Metcalf South eventually became a Jones Store Furniture gallery(moved to Oak Park Mall in 2001)….Kansas City has many dead malls…many..Oak Park Killed this place but it’s still a sight to see for those of us who enjoy the old air-conditioned shopping centers…all the have there now other than Macy’s and Sears and what yall already mentioned includes a Topsy’s popcorn and a home accents…again this is a dead mall freaks equivalent to heaven…if your in Overland Park pay a visit it’s one of a kind but unfortunatly past its peak

  10. Me and my friends stumbled upon this mall in October of 2005 by accident. We were in town for a wedding and were told to go to After Hours Formalwear to pick up our tuxedos. After driving around for some time, we realized that the store must be inside the mall.

    To my surprise, it was the only store open, with the exception of a pet rescue facility where you could adopt homeless cats. Very strange.

    I also realized that I had been to this mall before in 1992 with my parents when they came to visit me while I was attending the University of Kansas. It was much more lively then!

    The After Hours Formalwear was stated to close a month after we visited it. As you can see by the photographs, it did.

  11. It is really sad to see this mall this way. It is really eerie to walk through the mall because it is so nice and clean but vacant of people and retail shops.

    I used to work in the mall at the Original Pizza which was on the first floor just across the way from where Skaggs and later Osco was. Now Gifts and Accents (one of the only open stores) has the entire spot where Skaggs was.

    I worked there as a teen from 1985-1990 and during that time the mall was thriving..although traffic did start to slow toward 1989-1990.

    Here are some of the stores I remember besides Sears, Jones, Osco
    Hooby Haven
    Command Performance
    Trade Secrets
    Cinnamon Sams
    Discount Furniture Showcase
    Panda Garden
    Topsys ( I Think it is one of the stores still open)
    Western Heritage
    Gloria Jeans Coffee Beans
    KG Mens
    Casual Corner
    Radio Shack
    Big Als Burgers
    Foot Locker
    Lady Foot Locker
    Taco Via

    Note i worked in the Original Pizza before the food court was built. They were building the food court shortly before I left in 1990. When I worked there all the food places were scattered throughout the mall. (Which was better if you ask me) Original Pizza really had good pizza and they still have a store in Oak Park and Shannon Valley center that I know of.

    Just really sad to see that mall empty….I really think it doesn’t have to be. Just entice tenants and the shoppers will come!

    Sherman Dreiseszun is a lunatic from what i hear!

  12. This is a very strange place, basically empty once you get past Sears on one end or Jones on the other. There’s still the Gifts and Accents shop around (somehow), but it’s right next to Sears. Pretty much a void after that.

    It’s still such a nice, busy area, tons of traffic, but it tends to go to the area big box joints or over to the bustling Oak Park, which is practically a stone’s throw away.

  13. I see it mentioned that the third floor of the mall is basically empty. Does anyone remember when there wasn’t EVEN a third floor?

  14. This mall will be redeveloped, along with a similar mall (Metro North) in North Kansas City – a front-page article from the Oct. 13 edition of The Kansas City Star says:

    “Interests of the Morgan and Dreiseszun families, which originally developed the malls, have struck an agreement with Alberta Development Partners, a Denver-area company, to jointly redevelop the properties.

    Metcalf South, at 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, will become The Streets at Metcalf. Preliminary plans call for a 1.1 million-square-foot, mixed-use project including upscale boutiques, national and local retail shops, an entertainment complex, office and residential space, and a hotel.”

    The article says construction could start in 2007. The developers haven’t said whether Macy’s and Sears would stay. Metcalf South was KC’s first enclosed mall.

    I walked through it the other night when I had a family photo appointment at Sears and my wife wanted to return something to Macy’s. The stores are well-stocked and clean, and very pleasant to shop in on a Sunday night. They were also open until 9 or 10 on a Sunday night, which shocked me. The mall inbetween is very clean, if eerily empty.
    I walked throu

  15. Wow, I hadn’t heard about that! Really, Kansas City has to be one of the top ‘dead mall’ cities areas in the US. We had two of ’em demolished outright in the last year, and about 5 others that are in bad shape (including Metcalf). The only enclosed malls doing well (off the top of my head) are Oak Park and Independence Center; the rest have really deteriorated…

  16. I am so very sad that this mall is seeing its last days. My friends and I have spent a lot of time exploring abandoned stores and the mall corridors.
    By far the strangest aspect of the mall is the totally random dungeon door. Also the Walden Books filled with motor scooters.

  17. The last time I was at Metcalf was November 1996, and it was eeirly empty back then (I remember thinking that the wrecking ball could come crashing through at any moment). I can’t beieve it’s still sitting there empty. But I must say the pictures on this site bring back a lot of memories. Vacancy aside, the place looks exactly the way it did back in the 80s when my parents would drive up from Pittsburg. Does anyone know if there’s still a stage of sorts on the second level of the center court? I had quite a few Santa photos taken there.

  18. I just went to Metcalf South on my lunch hour today to Sears and picked up a burger at Back-Yard Burgers which is on a pad site in the parking lot.

    One mall business that I haven’t been able to find any info about is “Nearly Famous Pizza” on the outside lower level. It looks like it’s been vacant for 20 years and Google turns up nothing. If you know any history, I’d love to hear it.

    I went to Metcalf South in the late 60’s on many shopping trips and one thing that stands out were all the in-floor fountains that had no side rails or edges. There would be a cut out square or other basic shape with water fountains and lights in the floor and no barrier to keep the elderly or youngsters from falling in. If you look at some of the seating areas now you can recognize where they filled in the fountains.

    The second floor stage was still there the last time I was upstairs, I remember meeting some of the Gilligan’s Island cast there a few years ago when 98.9 The Rock hosted them. Bob Denver, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells signed autographs and sold books and shirts.

    The theatre on the second level is rebuilt from the left over seats of the once great Glenwood Theater on the West side of Metcalf.

    As for the floors, when the mall started to lose tenants all the old tile was removed and new tile was installed and the rents were subsequently jacked up. I knew the owner of Hobby Haven on the lower level and his rent went up beyond what he could afford so he moved out along with just about every other small tenant. It seems like a backwards move to raise rents when faced with falling occupancy but that’s what the mall management did.

    It’s a shame to see the mall nearing the end of it’s time, considering the location it should have never had difficulty attracting traffic.

  19. I grew up in OP and went searching in Google for references to home in the 1960’s and ’70’s. I grew up on Woodson Drive and remember the mall being built. Topsy’s was a favorite as a little girl. My sister and her friends worked at Putch’s Restaurant. When I was really little, my mom worked at the Jones Store. So sad and it sure makes me feel OLD. Everything has to change. My family moved to Oak Park in ’74, but I still remember our house being the first on the block in 1961. Goodbye to Metcalf South-I;m glad I found this spot on the web before it’s gone forever. I now live in Portland, OR. I still love Overland Park. SMS ’76.

  20. I grew up at Metcalf South! From the year the mall opened in 1967 straight up through the early 1980s – what a great mall it was in those days. When it opened, there was a Safeway grocery store on the lower level front (no kidding!). That pizza place in the back was originally a Pizza Hut (I think) and was very popular through the mid 1970s. During Christmas time, people used to have to park on neighboring streets and across 95th Street (in what was called the French Market – now Kmart). They really had some weird stores in the mall (even weirder than placing Safeway there). They had a drive-up locksmith in the middle of the parking lot. There was a local electronics store called Burstein-Applebee that sold everything from diodes to very expensive stereos. I always thought it was such a shame no one ever revived this mall. I will always remember it the way it was in the good times.

  21. I remember this mall well. I spent most of my free time in grade school there. On the North end of the bottom level, in a corridor that was sloppily disguised as part of the Vaudeville show was a comic book store, Clint’s comics. Next to it was an arcade, whose name I don’t recall. We would go get our comics, play some games and then head over to Orange Julius. The ‘funky dungeon door’ someone referred to was the employee entrance to it.
    The Home Accents was an Osco Drug then. Past that, on to Hobby Haven for some RC car parts and then down the hall to Topsys. What a great place!
    I hadn’t been there in years. Today, on a whim I stopped by. Like a previous post said, it is frozen in amber! Stores long since defunct are preserved like empty museum pieces. The Mastercuts where I would get a trim before my school pictures still has it’s styling booths and everything. Walking around there, it’s like being the only actor in the movie “Last Man on Earth”! Haha.
    To answer a previous posting, the stage is still there. My little sister and me saw Santa a few times there. Strangely, the quarter-scales that tell you your weight and fortune are still scattered about. I wonder if the owner still checks them for money. Its sad to see a place like that go downhill. Still, who knows, if this redevelopment plan goes through, it could be good. Although some shopkeeps didn’t like kids like me jumping from store to store (without much money), a place like that gives kids a safe place to go and have some fun with their friends.

  22. I work right across the street from this mall. There is a testing center, and sears and the gift store. Jones and well I think that is about it, Other then the places that have offices in it. We like to go to Topsy’s for popcorn and ice-cream from time to time, and I do Sears shopping every so often…But that is about it. This is a great place to visit, and I wish that instead of tearing it down that they would just revitalize it. I love the gift shop that is on the west side lower level. I will have to find out where they are going to move.
    Visit this place before it is destroyed. If I had known that they where going to tear down the Blue Ridge Mall in Independence I would have gone there one last time. I grew up there. My Mom worked at a Photo shop there when she was a teen. Now it is a Wal-Mart. What a complete waste.

  23. This mall was always a treat for me to go to, because of its “Johnson County” location. This was because I lived near UMKC, and that was considered the “bad” side of the tracks.

  24. I’ve seen the outside before, but never been inside it. The mirror ceiling things are cool, they have those at Metro North Mall, which probably is because he owns it as well.

  25. I remember when the mall opened. I was in grade school then, at East Antioch Elementary. The whole area was new and wonderful. I miss those days. What a shame to see what was once a great mall go by the wayside.

  26. I also remember when this mall opened. For that matter, I remember when the nearby French Market opened, and when King Louie West just a few blocks north on Metcalf opened. I was also in grade school then, at Antioch Elementary. My mother loved to shop at the Jones Store, and every August we would shop for our “Back to School” clothes at Sears and other shops in the mall. Too bad to see it go downhill.

  27. In September of 2006 the company I work for had their training site inside the old County Seat, it was really weird walking around that mall and seeing all of the old signs still up. It was almost like they pulled a Baltimore Colts and left in the middle of the night. Very bizarre.

  28. I stumbled onto this website by accident while looking for something else and what a trip back in time. In 1968 I was stationed at Richards Gebauer AFB with the activated Ky Air National Guard. Metcalf South was a favorite place to go on Saturdays to shop and just browse.
    When I pulled up the picture of The Jones Store, it was just amazing to see it now, 39 years later looking just as I remembered it. It was one of those strange back in time moments.

  29. This was always the other mall to go to besides Oak Park, but Oak Park didn’t have a Sears or Jones Store. I remember the Swenson’s Ice Cream, the Jack Henry and Magic store upstairs. I even remember the balloon vending machine downstairs at Sears. Original Pizza and Taco Via were my favorite places to eat. I don’t know what was so Original about it, but it was good pizza for a dollar.
    When a five year old crossed a fountain with no rails, he had cheated death. When he’s a little older, he could hit the top tier of the BIG fountain with a penny. She still didn’t kiss me.

    To me the mall is like a skeleton without a soul. You remember when it had a soul: When George Brett jerseys hung at the Jones store, and the Royals were in first. Now at dusk, the mall nearly rests in peace though it refuses to rest in pieces like the Mission Center. Perhaps if the mall will die, it is embalmed in history for people to pay final respects. Death will come for the mall when a South Overland Park big box mart sits upon the unmarked grave of what was once an indelible memory.

  30. What a strange blog to stumble upon. I also have many memories of times spent at Metcalf South. I believe I was among the few that caught Tiffany the 80’s teen pop star who toured malls, Metcalf being one of them. As a kid I always craved Orange Julius and wanted to work there when I was older. What happened to them?

  31. Orange Julius is actually owned by Dairy Queen International now. Over the past few years, they’ve opened new kiosk-type locations or combo Orange Julius / DQ stores in mall food courts or corner spots.

    I recall though in the early / mid 1990s, older locations (the ones with the fake oranges and wood paneled storefronts) were being shuttered.

  32. I lived in Kansas until 1980. I remember this mall well. The memories that stand out are Mickey Mouse visiting The Jones Store-there was a huge crowd and I got separated from my mom, and throwing coins in the fountains and getting in trouble for putting my hands in the water! I loved Topsy’s -especially the cheese popcorn and cinnamon suckers. I found this site while searching for things I remember from my childhood in Kansas. Sad to know the mall has died out.

  33. I took pictures of the mall the other day. Enjoy.

  34. I did a search for “Metcalf Mall” and this strange blog was the result. The pictures bring back fond memories of getting frosting-filled cookies from “The Great American Cookie Factory” and then proceeding to the strange shaped fountain without rails laid into the floor. I thought it was odd but an interesting architecture treat. The triplet fountain was my favorite spot in the mall, save for Original Pizza. Hitting the top tier was a kid was a must before leaving for the day.

    From the pictures it looks like the coins still remain in the fountain’s leaves. Is water still in it? I imagine the bottom has since been drained but each leaf as well? If so, you would think they would have removed the coins as well. If it’s ever for sale before the demolition I would love to purchase the smallest of the 3. It would be a great way to preserve the memories. I’ll try to get to the mall before it’s destroyed to take some last snapshots.

  35. Strange to find this site and the photos that accompany it. I grew up around this mall in the mid 70’s and early 80’s. I remember the comic book store, a arcade next door, and the waldenbooks I used to frequent. Seems like there was a pizza place on the first level too, and a K-B toy store on the second level. It’s been awhile, my family moved to Tulsa in 1985, and I have only returned to the mall once or twice. Many fond memories there, and I hope to return before it is destroyed.

  36. My brother found this site and told me about it. I am glad he did. Him and I both spent alot of time at this mall. We lived at 97th and Walmer and attended John Diemer Elementary, Nallwood Junior High and I graduated from Shawnee Mission South. I actually remember the Taco Via, which we loved to eat at, and Smacks Hamburgers on the third floor, ha how many remember that one!!? And there was a Red Lobster in the parking lot at K-mart. We spent many a Friday and Saturday night at the Pizza Hut on the bottom floor. This mall was actually about 4 blocks from out house and back then it was safe to walk there, which we did alot!!! I also remember riding my horse over there with a close friend of mine; Jan and it was cold and we were hungy so we rode up to the side door and brought the horse inside the stair well and i ran upstairs to grab some hamburgers at Smacks. Meanwhile my friend was stuck with the horse inside this stairwell, and a cop came in and about had a heart attack. After his intial shock of seeing a horse inside a stairwell at the mall he laughed and let her keep him in there till i got back. I had also worked at the Pier 1 imports when i was in high school. The last time i was at the mall was about ten years ago and it seemed to be doing well then. Its sad to see something that you have so many fond memories of fade as it has…..

  37. If anyone is interested, the mall is having what very well could be it’s last major hurrah this weekend. The Johson County Library is holding it’s annual used book sale this weekend, Thursday the 7th, Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th.

    Kind of bittersweet for me, I helped my mom at her annual AAUW book sale and later at Waldenbooks, well after the majority of the mall had become vacant. Waldenbooks survived mainly thanks its location (just outside Jones Store) and a small, but fiercely loyal, band of shoppers.

    It was kind of weird, there are just enough of those shoppers to keep Sears and Jones (now Macy’s) operating, but that buidling could never compete once Oak Park really got things rolling.

  38. I also grew up hanging out at Metcalf South. Lived just 2 blocks east, on Riggs. Loved going to the PiZza Hut on Friday nights, and as I recall they sometimes had live entertainers in. We took our dog to MS animal clinic. Used to love checking out the sporting goods at Sears. The Woolworths store was really something..2 floors with its own escalator…a soda fountain upstairs, and a pretty good sporting goods dept downstairs. Loved Topsys (of course) and had more than one Orange Julius in my day. Patronized Katz’s soda fountain and also ate a few donuts purchased at the Safeway bakery dept. Still have a “i am loved” button from Helzbergs.
    Enjoyed many a movie at the Metcalf theater. Worked at Sears during the very busy XmAS season of 1974. Bought my first 2 guitars at Jenkins Music, and spent lots of time at Burstein-Applebee checkin out the stereos…indeed..bought my first stereo cassette deck there. I am glad I got to live in that time when it took so little to mean so much.

  39. Wow. I thought I was the only one with sentimental feelings for good old Metcalf South. It’s great to hear stories from all of you. I’ve actually been keeping tabs on this mall for the past 10 years. I grew up in Brookridge estates about a mile away in the late 70’s and early 80’s and this was “the Mall” This was where I was first introduced to video games at Nickleodeon down next to Clint’s Comics across the way from a t-shirt shop. I’d visit Santa Claus on the stage every Christmas. Remember the Peter Pan diorama they had in the corner by Jones and the video electronics store every Christmas? Kay Bee was on the second floor where County Seat is in the pictures. Spencer Gifts was on the third floor. Musicland and Hobby Haven on the bottom floor. Does anyone remember the puppet monkey’s with the squeakers in their mouths you could buy at Hartzfelds of all places in the early 80’s? I remember eating at Putch’s (?) Cafeteria once a week with my parents. And I remember when Skagg’s was there. I also remember falling into the fountain on the second floor. Remember when the stage was a huge fountain that shot straight up? At least it was huge to me when I was about 5 years old.
    Anyway, I’ve since moved out to Los Angeles and I’m now a filmmaker. I’ve been documenting the mall for the past 10 years praying that it doesn’t get torn down because I wrote a screenplay about a group of local Overland Park kids growing up in the early 80’s. They go to Brookridge Elementary school and Shawnee Mission South and the high school kids work after school at…Metcalf South. Well, this story has sort of sat on a shelf for the past few years but fortunately, I’ve now made some great contacts at Warner Brothers and it’s looking like this and other projects getting produced is becoming more of a reality. Now I’m scared to death that this place will be gone before a single frame of film can be shot which would be tragic. You can’t just recreate Metcalf South. When I first moved to L.A. I lived next to the Sherman Oaks Gallery where Fast Times at Ridgemont High was filmmed and I watched as it dwindled down to just a few stores and was finally demolished.
    Let’s hope Metcalf South can hang on or at least retain it’s exterior form and come back to life on the inside. I’m loving all of the anecdotes you all are posting. If anyone has any more stories and memories they’d like to share, especially if YOU worked there in the early-mid 80’s, I’d love to hear them. And who knows, they may just become immortalized in my love-letter film to Overland Park and the mall of OUR lives…Metcalf South. Peace.

  40. I miss Eddy’s and The Red Baron.

    Long ago in a galaxy far far away……

  41. Metcalf South is on now… but they put it under Missouri, instead of Kansas

  42. “Deb said,

    on June 3rd, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I took pictures of the mall the other day. Enjoy.”

    ^ Cool pics! I noticed you asked about Topsy’s locations — there’s one in the northland mall, Metro North ^-^

  43. Wow! I looked over all your pictures, and it looks so much like Metro North Mall (same owner, Dreisezun), but still… Metro North has those awesome metallic-silver reflection pillars, the reflective ceiling diamond-patterns, similar wooden benches, a stage w/ surrounding pool (bigger than Metcalf’s), and even those green lamp posts w/ 4 lights on them… wow…

    Although, it’s got more updates storefronts than Metcalf, they still have the familiar dated decor ^-^ hehe, ty for pictures

  44. I lived in Overland Park during the 90’s, and remember this mall a little past it’s height…
    It had a lot of empty stores even at that time,
    There was an indoor amusement park on the Metcalf side.
    My husband and I are planning a trip out there this winter (we’re in New England), and I hope this is still standing to show him!
    (Dorothy Moody, Indian Woods, SMS)

  45. Deb, if you can see this comment, I just looked through all your Metcalf South pics, and really enjoyed looking at them! It’s a good reminder too that I need to get by a certain particular mall(*cough* ….Randhurst *cough*), before it’s gone, and more or less, becomes ‘lifestyled’/’turned inside-out’/etc….

  46. Yeah I forgot to mention Eddys Loaf and Stein…a nice place indeed. Metcalf South had TWO over by Sears and one mid-mall. As a young kid we ate at Putschs also. Later there was a Browns Chicken there. Heck…back in the late 60’s there was a gas station there. Used to buy and build so many models from Hobby Haven. Later we got into Estes Model Rockets, which we generally shot off over at Nallwood Jr High. Living on Riggs, we young men would cut thru yards to get to Metcalf South. Well…the homeowners on the west side of Glenwood didnt like that so they put up fences and barbed wire even to keep us from cutting thru. We just climbed over it all, being the hot shot young punks we were. One time the OP cops busted us for throwing snowballs at cars. We stood behind the wood fence on the east parking lot. Later we shot off some homemade pyrotechnic devices out in the middle of Metcalf South parking lot late at night just to see if security would come….yup they did.
    Pappys BBQ wasnt bad at all. Cant remember the name of that Oriental store on the bottom level but remember the incense. Also remember about 1975 when they added the 3rd level. Standing on that level…it was a long ways down to the bottom! Naturally, the mall had a County Seat. All the young people (including yours truly) wore Levis jeans, shirts, belts, wallet, you name it. There was also a store at the mall called Garb-Age and they had the jeans in these metal trash cans.

  47. I too happened to this site by accident, and I am smiling as I read all the fun blogs. I grew up visiting this mall. We ate at Putschs bought bell bottoms and leather belts from the County Seat in the ’70s.I rode my bike there often. I rode my new purple speed bike, locked it around a pole on the lower level.. came out and it had been stolen. Bummer! I loved Topsys – favorite was cinnamon popcorn balls. Loved the fountains… barely ever made the top with my pennies.. always begging mom for more. Running across the in-floor fountains that had no side rails… Wow.. forgot about the Katz’s soda fountain .. love it. And the “i am loved” button from Helzbergs.. different languages too. Smacks hamburgers~

    Thanks for the memories.. think I might take a visit to the mall this weekend~ Would love a memento when they do tear it down. Good luck on the movie Jeff… can’t wait for it.

  48. Sad indeed. That mall is a great reflection of my youth. Lived in OP from 77-84. As teens we tourtured the poor security guard of said mall, Vernon May was his name… NO skatboarding was allowed anywhere near that mall as far as he was concerned. Reflecting even further back to a more innocent time, I remember being 7-8 years old and Winter shopping with my family there. My sister and I were allowed to stay in the parking lot and play in the giant snow hills left by the snow plows…along with a hundred other kids, while the parents shopped.

  49. Stumbled here searching for Smacks hamburgers. I grew up behind “calf” and spent much of my grade school years running around the mall. There where “hallways” behind most of the stores that where all interconnected. We used to run around in them and light firecrackers when some employee left the door open taking out the trash. Kelso’s pizza was located on the east side in the lower level, soon to be Dennings Pizza, then Nearly Famous Pizza. How awesome when they put the NEW Third Level on and Spencers (schwing!), Smacks, Taco Via etc. We took some fire extinguishers from the movie theaters and escaped to the row of pines running along the east side (there was a trail that went from 95th to 97th, ending on the south-east corner of the parking lot… by the grace of god that those pines never burnt down via those pyro punks in the area). The 2 bucks I got for mowing the lawn always went to Mall. Woolworths (old school skateboards), Bernstein Applebes Records??? turned into Musicland, Red Baron Arcade (before Nickelodeon..) with the music store next to it, SHIRT MAN, Skaggs (and that crazy key place in front of it in the parking lot) Hobby haven (rockets and electric ignitors), and that AMAZING beach ball hanging in the air by a fan at Sears. Let us NOT forget Charley Chans with that beautiful brunette who gave me free chicken sandwiches, or Swensons ice cream, and Putschs. You could buy a Smacks hamburger for 50 cents right across from that leather place that would punch your name in a belt, how cool for ’76… with tube socks pulled to the knee. We would buy bags of spanish peanuts at Morrows Nut House and hit unsuspected shoppers off the 3rd floor balcony by the big fountain. Sounds juvenile? Of course. We were juveniles. The thrill of running from the mall security cops was too much for bored suburban white boys to ignore. I still have a scar on my left knee from jamming it into the edge of the escalator steps during some bloody escape to Glenwood.

    And finally… Anyone know who stole my purple single speed bike with banana seat and matching grips?

  50. Paul Stanley,

    Its amazing we don’t know each other…we both seemed to be up to the same mischief!! I’d forgotten about those hallways you mentioned running through…I did the same!! I also remember that cut through at the far corner of the parking lot. Used it all the time as I had friends on that part of town (nearer Nallwood Junior High while I lived on Lowell off 95th Street (Valley View Elementary School). I don’t really remember the burger places at the mall but I do miss that Taco Via…all the fastfood Taco places today have nothing on the great Taci Via!! Ha! Anyways my group of hoodlums consisted of David Rawich, Flip Lamonica, Chris Bean, Mick Nagy (whom worked at one of those Pizza joints on the 1st floor for a stint) Know any of those guys??

  51. What a great bunch of memories all these posts have brought back. I lived in OP in the mid 70’s and remember fondly all the times spent at the mall. Used to hang out at the Red Baron and hustle business men on the pinball machines. Even worked at Eddy’s Loaf n Stein for a brief while. Bought my first stereo at the Bernstein Applebees and loved Topsy’s. Back in the 70’s the mall was very active, with frequent special events throughout the year. Christmas was always fun. It’s a shame to see what’s happened since, but time moves on. I even remember a Christian Science Reading Room in the hall near the offices. I have visited several times over the years and was able to witness the changes and was rather surprised to see how far it’s fallen since the 70’s. I took some pictures back when the 3rd level was being built, but they were taken on a cheap camera and I won’t be able to post them, if I figure out a way, I will.

  52. The Christian Science Reading Room is still there

  53. This was great to read so many memories of Metcalf South. I used to do many of the same things. I remember going to Smacks and ordering a plain hamburger (probably around 59 cents) and heading to the “condiment” bar and loading it up with free lettuce, pickles, onions and tomatoes. I guess I was pretty cheap. Speaking of cheap, I remember being asked to leave Swiss Colony after eating too many of the free cheese samples. I don’t recall ever actually buying anything. I do remember my mom buying her fondue there for the classic ’70s cocktail party. I went to the mall a couple of months ago. It was surreal experience.

  54. Malippa – I know Flip through his dad. He actually bought my white VW rabbit. I hung out with Susie who lived across the street from him. I know Nagy to, he was in my ’84 class (unless there are two of them). Most of my mall activity was from ’74-’78 with guys at Diemer and some other Brookridge clowns. Had an open container run-in next to Kelsos Pizza with a trip to 87th&Antioch.

    SMACKS: Loading up the 50 cent hamburger at the burger bar until it almost fell over was one of the best deals around, maybe that’s why Smacks is history. I forgot about the Swiss Colony, but not fondue.

  55. i grew up hanging out at this mall-i rember woolworths’ taco via scaggs.the movie theater.rember the trail cut through behind sears ont the way home.a clasic vintage mall. to bad. shakeys pizza!

  56. woolworths,shakeyspizza,tacovia, a kid growing up the mall was a great place to shop,it also was a place to escape.that mall has alot of heart,it lives in all of us.who rembers the trail through the pine trees behind sears? pure sweat times with friends so long ago.

  57. This site is Awesome! My sister told me about this, and it is too funny. Taco Via and the magic store next to it was a great saturday afternoon combo. That Music store with the self-playing keyboards up front was the truth! I don’t think anyone on this site has mentioned Malliards, they had some sweet polos. Hobby Haven was the best, I got my Hornet there, could never afford the Grasshopper or any of the other top of the line remote control cars. Somone mentioned the arcade earlier, that was Nickelodian with the shaddy fortune teller up front. I live out of State now, but will be back to KC in early November, hope its still there so I can take some video.

    (Rosehill, Westridge/Leawood Middle, Blue Valley North)

  58. It was Nickelodian, huh? Forget about the fortune teller…I was into air hockey and Galaxian!! Ha!

    Gene Simmons, that sounds about right as Mick was a couple years our senior. My former-step-brother was Bob Huff. Think he graduated from South in ’84??? Metcalf, and O.P. in general, were a great place to grow up in the 70’s/80’s.

  59. This site is awesome. I stumbled on here by accident. Yes, OP was an awesome place to grow up in the 70s and 80s. I remember that little shortcut thru the trees behind Sears. I took that many times. I remember Brown’s Chicken where Backyard Burger is now. Across the street was a Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant/Amarillo Grill, and Children’s Palace. Anyone remember the Save Mart grocery store that was on the south side of the Kmart building? Back in 1984, there was a big ice storm that had our power out for a few days on Somerset Drive, and I remember walking down with my family to Metcalf South to keep warm since they had electricity. I also remember when Jones Store expanded and they created that covered parking area you see now on the north side of the mall.

  60. Oh the stories. So many of them. Where do I start. I could start with the leather cigarette case i had stamped with my name that I still have and keep my old concert tickets in. Or I can talk about the old elevator in the back hall on the opposite side from the theater (Spencer’s Gifts side).
    The time I got to 3rd base with my first love in the Sears elevator between floors. You could hit the stop button half way down and the doors would open to reveal a montage of Graphiti. I loved all the names carved into the wood wall outside the Red Baron. They wouldn’t let me and my fellow mallrats bring our skateboards into Taco Via so we’d leave them in the wood framed spaces just outside the Via then we’d get a drink, sit in back and light our paper straw wrappers on fire and see whose burnt all the way to the end first. Spencers was so riskae back then with it’s fart spray and vibrators that they had a security gaurd stand outside only letting you pass if you were 18 or older. The first thing I ever stole was from Woolworths. I was one of those little metal bombs you put a cap in and when the head hits the ground it pops. WOW! I could just go on forever. Malippa (Doo), David (Foz), Mick (Snag), Chris (Bean) shoot me an email and let me know what you’re up to. We’ll talk Me(d)calf South.

    Later. Flip

    And I loved that white VW rabbit with the Deadhead stickers (yes Doo I had a Deadhead phase) already stuck on.

  61. Let’s turn back the clock to 1975 and see what it would be like if Metcalf South became the dominant mall and Oak Park never existed.

    In 1975, a major expansion was done to Metcalf South. Metcalf was expanded, gaining a new JCPenney and Montgomery Ward. A new court and third level were added during this time.

    In 1984, the mall was expanded again to roughly what it looks like today (except with more neon). Service Merchandise is added during this time. Sold to CBL Properties.

    In 1994, the mall is renovated a third time and it adds Dillard’s as a 6th anchor.

    In 1999 and 2000, Service Merchandise and Wards close thanks to bankruptcies, respectively.

    In 2001, the mall goes through a minor renovation and adds Nordstrom to replace Wards. Dillard’s divides, putting half of its store in Serv Merch.

    In 2006, the mall goes through a major renovation. Dillard’s expands and absorbs its department stores back into it, and the former Dillard’s in the Service Merchandise becomes Rainforest Café. Jones Store becomes Macy’s…

    But then the tale of Metcalf South won’t be as interesting. We won’t share tales of old, and that place selling homeless cats won’t be in the mall.

  62. All these stories are very interesting! Thanks for publishing this information. My family moved to Overland Park in 1969. I was 12 years old, and Metcalf South was a favorite haunt of mine for quite a few years. I don’t know if we realized at the time how new it was! Lots of good times there. I have faith in the creativity of mankind; surely it will be put to good use in some new and innovative fashion before long.

  63. at least there are still christmas decorations put up…

  64. I too grew up in Metcalf South. I remember when we lived at 65th and Metcalf, and how we would drive “All the way out to the south side to go to the New mall and French Market.” It was practically the end of the road in the late 60’s. In the early 70’s we moved five blocks east of Metcalf South, and like Lisa Stewert I went to John Diemer, Nallwood Jr. High, and SMS High School. More to the point I worked at Metcalf South, as a stock boy at Kenney’s Shoes. It was my first job. I remember when they added on to the mall, and when they added onto the Jones Store. Hobby Heaven was king. Does anybody remember Steves shoes? I think there was one there at one time. Recently I’ve moved back to Kansas City, and going through the mall brought back a lot of memories. It makes me want to get out my old yearbooks and see what stores from the mall adverised in the back. Oh, I remember a barber shop being on the first floor.

  65. Awesome stuff. JW and I stole a fire extinguisher from the theater and weaseled it out to the pines on the east side of the parking lot. Took it home and fired it off… until someone called the cops. Hello community service for 10 hours. Hey DUFFY – you and I fought at 97th and Walmer in 4th or 5th grade. Broken up by Joe Boyd, the third grade teacher. I remember being in the Metcalf parking lot one night with some friends, then some other guys came along, then one of those guys (D Shade) jumps on a volkswagon bug and turns the roof concave – Holy Sh!#. Were runnin, cops set up on Glenwood and bust us. Does anyone remember the name of the record store next to the Red Baron??? The barber shop on the lower north side was Bachs or something like that. Got my first and only open container by Kelsoes pizza with GH. Should have ran.

    Flip – I am very jealous hearing about the elevator in Sears that can stop halfway between floors. I did not know. I worked at Swensons Ice Cream. The managers brother wrecked the ice cream delivery truck. They found a bunch of full whipped cream containers with no gas on the floor of the van. Metcalf was a cool place and it provided a lot of fun and employment opportunity for a bored suburban punk needing cash.

  66. The mall’s owner died a few days ago

  67. That’s really too bad. Or is good? Too bad…the mall is doomed anyway. But it was one of Drieszun’s favorite malls. If Overland Park got enough bobble-headed city officials, they could convert Metcalf South into a memorial to Drieszun.

  68. Wow. This site is freaking me out…….It’s like 20 other guys all lived the same life I did.

    My 1st job was at Orange Julious. The owner was a guy from India with a pleasant accent. I was only 15, and this guy would talk for hours about sex with his wife & how to make a chili dog. His name was Modi. He wore a lot of DRAKAR NOIR and a gold chain.

    The detail given in these replys really taps the memory bank. SMS 1995.
    Summer movies at that Theatre were $1 with a coke and pop corn. Every summer a new Calendar of movies would be sent. I bought some weird black slippers for $2 at that Oriental Store. They were slip on with brown plastic bottoms.

  69. i have gotten into the back hallways of this place, where they delivered stuff to stores and for the projection booth access, something interesting, on all the back doors to the vacant storefronts, there little stickers, like those security seal stickers, that read police evidence/crime scene or something like that from the OP police dept. a couple were broken but most of them were still sealed.

  70. December 26, 2007 I had woken from a dream that I had. There I stood with my sister Josephine on the 3rd floor of Metcalf South Mall right next to Spencer’s gifts throwing pennies down the fountain that stood in the center of the mall. My sister and I practically lived in this mall back in 1980’s this mall once was just not a mall but, a place where families existed. The center of the mall held events on a center stage that kept the mall thriving like Santa Clause, Mickey Mouse, performing arts, live broadcasts from major stations and the fountains alone. YET we want convince in today’s society turning to buying online and going to major Corporations that typically do not support local small business chains. Our economy, growth and so many factors play a big role in why Metcalf South became a dead mall by the 1990’s. Time changes most of us and we forget what family time is about. I miss that the most. I was a child raised in a generation that is long gone.
    My father is one of the owners of the Original Pizza. One of the best SMALL BUSSINESSES still left in this city that serves NEW YORK STYLE pizza. I am not just saying that but, its really good pizza if that is if you ever had New York style pizza. Valued customers please keep that in mind when you come to our restaurant that a Sicilian man is making NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA. This breed has died out you can’t even go to New York City and Find a true Sicilian that knows how to make a better pizza. When my father came to America back in 1970’s he started out in Brooklyn, New York. He came to Kansas City to leave the memories behind of a brother he lost due to a horrible accident and so my father was told by a realtor in New York that Kansas City was going to be the next booming place. My father came to Kansas City in hopes that he would be able to obtain a loan and open a pizzeria in the thriving Metcalf South Shopping Mall. The American Dream of ownership led him down the street from Metcalf to Valley View Bank where he was given a loan to pursue his dream for a better life for us. My father instilled great qualities in us.
    Cleaning dishes and wiping trays was a few of the duties I did in the pizzeria but, it brought me joy that I got to see this man make a pizza. It’s just hard this time of year to think what Christmas was like at the surrounding Malls. All these families would come in to the pizzeria and kids would just love this pizza. You could see my father’s accomplishment bring so much joy to him. No you have customers on there cell phones at Oak Park mall trying to order food and complain that we have $5 dollar minimum for our credit card machine. So long Metcalf Mall, Banister, Down town and many other Dead Malls and great retail establishments that once my father had a pizzeria in. Good bye good old days where there once was a generation who weren’t so Johnson County. I hope to relocate my fathers business to new shopping strips, or free standing building but it’s so said to see a memory die and future ones to come. Like all change man has created this. So People when you go out just do something small like open a door for a women who is having a hard time getting thru a door with her kid in a stroller. Take time for time. I try as a First generation Sicilian American not to think about what it will be like when the time comes to raise my children but, love will be there. Society has changed time. So think about what you want be involved in your communities to better them. Maybe that’s why I moved to Gardner because of all the events, and celebrations this small town offers. This Christmas hit hard again when Oak Park Mall got bought out by some guy who put a similar product across from us in the food court. Thank you valued Customers for listening.

    Isabella Leone
    Sales Executive
    Reece and Nichols

  71. I also would like to take this time to remember “Sherman Dreiseszun” for he gave my father the opportunity to make his dream come true. He made Kansas City Come to life!

  72. The mall will be open through the middle of Feburary, then it will be closed forever. It will surely be missed.

  73. Oh I have much to add. I grew up in the shadows of Metcalf South mall. When we were old enough, we walked through the drainage tunnel under the field what later was devoloped to become the Venture Store, across the wild field, to Metcalf South. In the 60s, we went there to buy Major Matt Masons and Hot Wheels at the mall. ONe summer, Metcalf South had a Hot Wheels tournament where it was a single-elimination race tournament (not unlike a Pinewood Derby). We all brought our single favorite Hot Wheel to participate. Mine lost horribly because it was well-played with and the wheels were crooked. My brother’s did better, because he kept his carefully in a carrier, but the kids who won were buying brand new hotwheels and raciing them. And I remember there was a long delay in the competition, because the huge track they had set up in the “atrium” on the second floor of Metacalf South started to bubble up when the classic orange track warmed in the sunlight of the skylights. OMG! Such warm memories.
    If any of you can relate to these memories, PLEASE email me at
    The whole reason I stumbled onto this site was I Googled Smaks hamburgers, which used to be where the BK is now, near 75th & Metcalf. Oh and Shakey’s Pizza across the street (sublime) and I worked during the 70’s at L&M Steakburgers at Metcalf South, across the aisle from Eddy’s Loaf & Stein, and down the sidewalk from Topsy’s, which in those days made all the flavored popcorns in the shop fresh.
    Email me if you can relate, Please!

  74. OK, let me add more. Venture was famous for its giant bags of popcorn. LOL. Before it was built, we used to shoot Estes rockets on the field. Never got any of them back. We lived on 76th Terrace off Lowel, just west of there. IN those days, us 9-year-olds had the run of neighborhoods on our bikes, and our parents never thought a thing of it. As if I’d let my 6 and 8 year olds now loose like that.
    We just had to back in time for dinner.
    At L&M Steakburgers in Metcalf South, it was a knockoff so to speak of Winsteads. Lloyd and Max were the owners, both former managers of Winstead’s(hence the name L&M). They also had another location on Raytown Rd. in idependence. My mom and I were having lunch there when I was 15, and she asked our waitress if they were hiring kids. Next thing I know, the mgr. was at my table, interviewing me as I ate my hamburger. He asked how soon I could start. I worked there for 4 years. I loved it. I worked my way up to fry cook and worked the grill even under “rush.” Formative work experience for sure. My buddies worked at L&M, Eddies, and Topsy’s.
    Oh and the night manager would buy us beer underage. AS IF!!!!
    That was a different era, like a different lifetime.
    I’m a foodie-kind of person and one of my best takeaways is Winstead’s recipe for homemade onion rings.
    Smaks was tasty and cheap, but the McDonald’s a block up crushed them.
    Oh and one more: Anyone remember Pizza Queen at 95th & Antioch?? The best pizza EVER, before or since. They later move overd to Valley View, until they went out of business. They were origianlly in the origianal Hayward’s BBQ space, which later became another BBQ joint, and as far as I know now lays empty. The Valley View space now has Leo’s or some such, pizza, not the same.

  75. Oh and just one more! The Metcalf Theaters were were where we saw all the first-run Disney movies! Saturday matinees of The Love Bug, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, all the disney classics, al those Dean Jones and Kurt Russell movies. One giant theater, not like divided up now into tiny theaters. And it was always jammed! And if the Metcalf was sold out, we’td try the Ranch Mart. And once, we went to Ward Parkway to watch a Planet of the Apes trilogy and we got an Aldo the Ape action figure outside. That was like gold to me.

  76. I always wondered why this mall was dead for the past 20 years when the retail establishments surrounding it flourished. I always thought it was mismanaged and now this site confirms that.

    I remember back in the early 70’s buying bell bottom blue jeans from a place on the first floor called “garb age”. The dressing rooms were round and the walls were made of that zig-zag type of galvanized tin. So it gave the appearance that you were trying on clothes on the bottom of a giant garbage can – very creative. And I also spent a few quarters at the Red Baron arcade. Of course back then it was all pinball and mechanical games. And Eddy’s Loaf & Stein was the best bristo around!

    In 1987 a Mexican restaurant ran by a little old lady and her sons opened up on the first floor across from Sears called Concina de Ramirez. It was one of the best authentic Mexican restaurants I’ve ever dined in. Mrs. Ramirez did all of the cooking and her kids served it. Unfortunately the establishment only survived for a little over a year.

    Fast forward to 1997, I got a job though a temp agency working for the company that owned the Jones Store and several other department store chains throughout America. Their headquarters was the entire 3rd floor of Metcalf South! I remember the conference rooms being referred to as “goldfish bowls” because the entire front walls faced the inside part of the mall and had huge floor to ceiling round windows with no curtains or blinds. So anyone walking by could look in. It was a great job with great people that only lasted a couple of months before the company was sold, everyone lost their job and the third floor was vacant and sealed off again.

    This mall deserved a lot more than what the owner gave it.

  77. What was the name of the Sporting Goods shop?

  78. Wow, this is incredible.

    Lived in OPKS from 62-75. My mom managed Arts International (right next to Hobby Haven) in the mall for many years, so I spent a lot of time there. Used to love Orange Julius, Smaks, Putches(sp), Eddies.
    Remember Anchor Savings – had an automated teller in the Mall parinkg lot. First one with a “TV Teller” and a tube to carry your transaction into the building. I remember the beachball floating o air in the Sears store and playing the first consumer Video Game, the Odessy by Magnavox in the Burstein Applebee store.

    My mom’s number at the mall was a Mitchell 9 (649) and at home it was Tuxedo 8 (888).

    Lots of mischeif too, but let’s leave that between friends.

  79. I used to go with my family back in the 70’s. Eddy’s Loaf n Stein had the best corn beef.

  80. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and memories. How amazing that this mall affected so many people’s lives. It was more than just a place to shop. Reading these blogs really takes me back and it plays in my mind like a movie. The mall will not doubt be destroyed, but we will still have our memories of a special time in our past.

  81. I also have fond memories of Metcalf South. My sister & I were one of the first 200 customers at the mall in the late 1960s. She got a transistor AM radio for being one of the first 200. We used to walk from 91st & Hemlock to go to the mall. I remember all the fashionable clothes and the fun we had hanging out. When my kids were little we moved to Nall Hills where my children attended John Diemer, Indian Woods and then on to Shawnee Mission South. The kids still talk about hanging out at Metcalf South. Some of their fondest memories were going there to Tick or Treat and then going throughout Nall Hills to clean up by getting oodles of candy.

    Many merchants have told me that the owner jacked the price up so high on the rent after Oak Park opened that they could not survive. After hearing this from so many of the merchants, it makes me wonder. It’s too bad if that is true because if they were to take a survey they would find that a vast majority of this neighborhood (Nall Hills with over 900 homes) and other area neighborhoods don’t want to go to Oak Park. That is why Macy (Jones) and Sears have stayed around for so long. That is probably why this mall has not met with the demise of other malls sooner as this mall has a loyal following. I would bet if and when they do remodel this mall they will see a revitalization they did not expect. Hopefully they would survey the neighborhoods to see what shops this area would like to see.

    I for one would love to see a new Metcalf South or Streets of Metcalf. I hope they keep the indoor feel with outside entrances. I also hope this lastest plan doesn’t fall through like the other one did years ago. I think I can safely speak for this neighborhood and say that we really want to see the revitalization of Metcalf South. We know that part of our property values depend on it and don’t want our neighborhood that so many have chosen to stay in due to the small town values damaged by the lose of this old friend.

  82. The record shop was Record Bar. The sporting goods was Gateway, and later, downstars they opened a Merle Harmons Sporting Goods.

    Remember Thom McAn, with that huge front window full of shoes? Best shoe store ever!

  83. Hopefully they’ll let everyone know when the final night is. It would be great if the mall was full of people on that final night to say goodbye.

  84. The record shop was called Record Bar.

    The sporting good store was Gateway. Later they built a Merle Harmon’s Fan Fare downstairs.

    Remember Thom McAn shoes, with that huge front window full of shoes? Best shoe store ever!

  85. I’m surprised nobody has brought up this shopping center’s connection to one of the most sensational murder cases in Johnson County’s brief history.

    In 1980, Sueanne Hobson, a lifelong resident of JoCo, told her son, James Crumm, and Crumm’s friend Paul Sorrentino, that Hobson’s 13-year-old stepson, Chris Hobson, was too troublesome and needed to be killed. With promises of financial compensation from Sueanne, Crumm and Sorrentino subsequently drove Chris to a deserted spot in rural Miami County, Kansas, ordered him to dig what would become his own shallow grave, and shot him in cold blood.

    After Chris was murdered, Sueanne (who lived in a townhouse near 103rd and Nall in Overland Park), drove to Metcalf South Shopping Center and planted Chris’s wallet in an outdoor stairway (the big stairway visible in the photo at the top off this page, with the main “Metcalf South” sign on the front if it). She intended for the wallet to be found later at the mall, thereby convincing the authorities that Chris was abducted at the mall.

    Crumm was later convicted of murder, Sorrentino was convicted of aiding and abetting Crumm, and Sueanne Hobson was convicted of ordering Chris’s murder. Of the three, Sueanne is the only one who remains in jail.

    This was a widely-publicized case in the local media and was followed very closely by most Johnson Countians. I’m sure many of the Metcalf South-area residents remember it, since it happened in such a nearby area and involved local kids. (I believe Crumm and Sorrentino were students at Shawnee Mission South High School at the time, and Chris, I think, was a student at Indian Creek, which was either an elementary or middle school.)

    The Pitch printed an article about the case in 2003 here:

    There was also at least one book published regarding the case. I think it is titled, “Crazymaker.”

    Anyway, every time I drive by Metcalf South and see that big outdoor stairway, I think of that tragic episode.

  86. That’s horrible. What an awful lady, I hope she never gets out.

    I hate a tragic event colors my impression of a place for good. Though strangely, the more local and frequently I visit the place the more I can forget about something tragic that happened there, rather than someplace I rarely go.

  87. Rumors of mall abductions have been common (sub)urban legends since at least the late 60s. Probably the basis for the mother’s dropping the wallet there. Probably didn’t realize that the police would be the first to look skeptically at that kind of scenario.

    The victim’s father/(ex-)husband of the murderer (see the link above) really does sound like “a sap of galactical proportions” (the DA’s words).

  88. Hi, saw a post there about the mall closing in Feb. Where would you get that idea? Just wondering because I work for the mall and that’s not true. Just FYI. 🙂

  89. So who runs the mall now that Sherman’s gone? And, what are the status of the renovation plans?

  90. I loved going to Dales Sports to buy sneakers and getting a free T-Shirt.

  91. I grew up at 95th and Metcalf as kids we used to walk over to the mall and eat and hang out, this was in the early 70’s. Anyway I have since moved way up north and I was looking for a Mr Bulkys candy store, it gave me Metcalf South is the candy store still there? We had one at Metro North and it has gone out along with everything else there.

  92. I think that Mr. Bulky is closed. I remember the chain too; we had them in Wisconsin, and they were all over the midwest in the early to mid 1990s. The chain was operated by a company called Sweet Ideas based in Troy, Michigan, but I’m not sure if the current ones are the same.  Anyway, there’s still one open for sure in St. Clair Square mall in east suburban St. Louis, and possibly a few others as well.

  93. That damn nearly famous pizza was never open when i went, but I do remember the top level restaurants. We used to get into so much trouble running around the taco via and across to the long john silvers… great fun. the best was the Clints comics.

    I once saw Dale Earnhart at Metcalf South, Jamie Walters at Bannister and got autographs from the Comets at Metro North mall. Not to mention, got lost in the winter wonderland maze at Indian Springs.

    Remember those malls?

  94. I found this website while looking for any information of the web about Smack’s. This was a fast food restaurant in the Kansas City area with the greasiest hamburgers (it was an acquired taste). It turns out that there once were several of these restaurants in the greater KC area in the 70′ & 80’s; i don’t know when they finally all left – but i missed them.
    When going through my ‘mall rat’ years i spent as much time in the Metcalf South mall as i did at the Oak Park mall; the latter still thrives. Among the great memories at this mall: The strange Orange Julius drink (OJ plus malt), the Clint’s comics (great source for SCI-FI, fantasy & geeks), I had my eyes tested for glasses in this mall, Jones, Sears, 2(?) bookstores, a record store, various specialty stores & the movie theater where i saw “Star Trek – The Wrath of Kahn” and many other movies.
    I will leave it there – may the next generation find their own shopping paradises.

  95. Do any of you guys that grew up near Metcalf South remember the treehouse way up high near the southeast corner of 95th street near the gas station (right across from the McDonalds)?

    Up until recently you could still see the makeshift ladder boards nailed on way up high in the tree while sitting at the intersection.

    I didn’t realize they were closing the mall in mid-Feb per the post earlier, I’m heading there tomorrow just in case!

  96. Here’s a follow-up, I went by Metcalf South today and the Waldenbooks is closed along with Mark’s Rugs, about the only things open in the mall were the stray cat adoption place, Topsy’s, and the gift shop.

    Redevelopment is planned but according to this link, it’s not expected to occur until 2010. Still no telling how long the mall will remain open.

    Sadly it doesn’t look like the old mall structure is included in the new plans, so get out and see it one last time while you still can.

    That nearby treehouse I mentioned in a previous post- it’s gone along with the whole tree.

  97. Are you sure? Because it looked like they would keep the anchors and demolish the parking lot and mall structure and build from there.

    The other plan shows what happened to Blue Ridge Mall.

    The worse part is, if an enclosed mall couldn’t survive in Kansas City’s overmalled area, what makes people think an open-air mall could work?

  98. open air malls don’t have high heating and cooling costs, I think this will be a Zona Rosa type development

  99. Remember the mall well…used to meet up with our SMS gang of girls after school at Kelso’s…them and their goofey soaps to watch (GH)..the boys would go burn one and then feast on pizza and beer and hang with the girls…..
    I took the stand during the /Crumm Sorrentino crime drama….kids prayed upon by a parent..Sueanne should have fried….such a waste, lives destroyed..scarred my high school days…
    Cruised through the mall last year when i was in town visiting..lots of memories…..good and bad….

  100. I grew up about an hour from Metcalf South. In the 70’s, the place was crazy busy…I remember getting Orange Julius’ and my older sisters shopping at a store called “the Fashion Conspiracy.” I later worked in the shopping center business in KC in the 90’s and the mall was still in decent shape – aging, but still viable. The mall died in about a 5 – 7 year period, in large part due to competition and, as one can see, not a single penny put into renovation. (the same is true of Metro North Mall in KC North, also owned by Sherman). I keep waiting to see this mall rented by a film company for a movie set in a 70s-era shopping mall. It’s perfectly preserved!

  101. Nice mall, brought back memories of the Jones Store, now Macy’s and Sears, well, they just stick around malls until they die, i remember when the Quad in Whittier Ca. closed, Sears is still there, even if the mall was torn down, they just closed the entrance and became freestanding, i hope they do the same here, keep Sears, Penneys and Macy’s and rid the mall, make a nice powercenter

  102. Found this site via a friend and Wow! My wife and I had a date night last night and we ate near Metcalf so we stopped in to check out the mall – still wide open on a Friday night at 7 PM. Half the third floor and some of the ground floor is closed off, but the mall is still in spotless condition. I forgot about the cool escalators by the movie theater that have the mirror and light strips in the ceiling.

    Although most of my mall memories growing up in the 80’s took place at Oak Park this mall had definite significance for me. As a Junior High kid in 1984 it had everything you could want – the only comic book store that I knew of, Clint’s South – Hobby Haven – an awesome arcade -etc. Why would you even need to leave the ground floor!!!! Of course when I moved into High School Oak Park became the cool mall.

    I did not know that the original mall only had two stories.

    Does anyone remember the satellite TV place by the Jones Store? They sold Laser Discs and players there and I thought it would be so cool to own one. The store is still there -it sits out in the hallway – still has an old HBO satellite sticker on the door.

    Where was Shakey’s Pizza? I don’t remember it. Were they open in the 1980’s?

    I love to see the photos, but it would be cool if someone had old photos of the mall. I know most people don’t take random photos of a mall, but if you have them it would be great to see now and then.

  103. Looking at these postings is really amazing…what an incredible blast from the past. I lived on 97th St Terrace from ’64-’70 attended Valley View Elementary, Brookridge Elementary and Nallwood Jr. High(Played for the Nallwood Bisons-B team) I remember walking through the storm drain and across the field to get to the mall too Matty. My friends and I would stick our hands in the fountains and go buy comic books with the pilfered change, hobby haven for rockets ,etc. I saw the “Amazing Kreskin there and bought his “game” aptly named “The Amazing Kreskin Game” Anybody out there remember the TGandY candy counter at 95th and Antioch and of course thePizza Queen…my mother worked at that laundromat next door to it so I did eat alot of pizza from there…Overland Park was a great place to grow up .

  104. I too, stumbled upon this site while going down memory lane.

    Good ol” Metcalf mall :o)

    I lived right near there as a child (on Riggs, for those that know the area)and went to that mall so much it’s like an old childhood friend to me.

    I also went to John Deimer elementary and Nallwood Junior high. My family moved away in 1980 ( I was fifteen)and other than going back in the early eighties for my brothers wedding I haven’t been back since.

    I’d love to see that mall again.

    Loved Orange Julius

    I have fond memories of Smackies (you could make your burger up how you liked it) and Taco Via. There was a gourmet chocolate shop on the third floor I’d buy chocolate mint drops from. I’d hang out at the miniatures/dollhouse store there (near Smackies) and dream for hours.

    I can still remember all the excitement around the third floor opening up for the first time.

    My younger sister and I use to go to Topsy’s all the time for icecream or popcorn, or candy apples.

    My best friend and I woudl go to the movies there a-lot.

    Both my older brothers worked there as teenagers. One at Eddy’s Loaf and Stien, the other at Putches Cafeteria.

    My mom even had a part time job at The Jones Store for a while.

    Such happy memories.

    Warms my heart.

    God bless Metcalf South Mall.

    Thanks for the memories.

  105. Hey Greg, the video/lazer disc place outside of Jones store was Master Video..owned by the Boring family, all the J named boys. Jim, Joe, John, Jerry etc…I think there were eight boys….I went to school with Jerry and Johnny was the year ahead of us…WILDMAN Posts!

  106. I remember the Kinney Shoes at Metcalf South. They had a large wooden boat at the back of the store that the kids, including myself, loved. I also remember the animatronics of Peter Pan, et al, that the Mall would put out every Christmas. They were great.

  107. Wow, I just spent the better part of my workday reading every word of this giant blog, lots of great stories and I just learned alot more then I did before. Im going to go back there sometime in the next week or 2 just in case its going down soon, Im gunna take my camera with me.

    Im 28 so my memories are mostly as being kid in the 80s, 90s. I remember having a temp job there from Manpower right outa highschool in like 1998 or so…one job I unloaded trucks for sears and I would spend my breaks walking around the dying mall.

    The other job brought a couple more memories, I think I was working for Jones Store as a temp doing odds/ends like folding and hanging clothes, doing stuff in the stock rooms, etc. What I remember most is one time me and a couple of the other guys were working in one of those closed down stores emptying boxes, and the caged door was down but open enough to get in….well we were in the back room of that store close to quitting time, and i guess the security guy came and closed/locked the caged door. We came out of that room and were locked in, no phone or cell phone or anything, way down the hall from jones store where boss was, we were in there almost an hour before anyone came, lol

    The other random things I remember from that mall:

    -When the theatre was a dollar theatre, saw movies cheap, even though the theatre was horrible. I remember seeing home alone there and the film actually melted because it got stuck or something in front of the projector light.. and there was like a 20 minute ordeal to get it fixed. anyone remember that happening???

    -As mentioned above the small set of escalators with the light strip down the mirrored ceilings right outside of the theatre.

    -Who can forget the huge coin fountain.

    -I loved suncoast back before downloading, lol

    -The indoor themepark/arcade im pretty sure had an indoor roller coaster.

    -The old music store on the top level

    I believe someone mentioned it above, but it is definately frozen in time but not worn down at all, its like in perfect condition from 1988 or something, kind of eerie really.

    Thanks for all the great stories everyone, I will post a link to the pics I take when I get them, Ill try to get as many as possible.

  108. The interior of the mall floor/ceiling is originall to 1968.

  109. With the exception of the 3rd floor which was addned in the early 70’s.

  110. This has really been a trip down memory lane. I lived in KC from 1970-1980, arriving when I was 6 years old. I remember Santa arriving at Metcalf South via helecopter, and loads of people there to greet him. The shop windows and the middle display areas of the mall were always so wonderful during the hoildays. Lots of my school clothes were purchased at the Jones Store. I remember Kenny’s Shoes and the big boat, which was awesome. Eddie’s Loaf and Stein was mouthwatering, and I ate at the L&M Steakburgers on it’s opening day. Very fun, very innocent days. I am visiting KC in June, (first time in over 20 years). I will drive by, and if I dare, stop in the mall. Thanks to all for sharing your memories!

  111. Hey Jenn,

    You gotta stop in the mall!

  112. wow, somebody just shot and killed himself in the parking lot today…

  113. Good Lord I’m Old. I remember wen the drug store there was Katz Drugs!!!! I think it was called. I remember when the first Orange Julius came…(around 1971 I think) I went to Nallwood and SMS. I live in Indianapolis now. The girl who rode her horse there… did you keep your horse at John Hunter Stables? I had a horse there. We all rode our horses in a parade in downtown Overland Park. I remember Harzfeld’s…. the fancy store I bought a bikini at one spring. All those unique smaller “dept. stores” went the way of 3 companies buying up all the dept. stores – its so sad. Everything is so Generic now. Everything tasted better back then…. and wasn’t it Smaks hamburgers… i think it was spelled that way. I remember Joses Mexican Restaurant – AWESOME – I worked at the Sears toy dept one Christmas – ’72 I believe. I graduated in ’73. I remember that Putch’s Cafeteria (spelling?) —- anyone want to write me:
    I miss the old days, a simpler time, better food (ok i love food!) and no that bikini wouldn’t fit me like it did back then 🙂 I also worked at the kmart across the street – it is still there?

  114. The Kmart is still there, across 95th street to the north.

  115. I was looking up some info on Dillards at Oak Park for a friend from Omaha Neb and drifted into this fascinating blog. You guys brought back a lot of memories for me as I used to ditch classes on occasion at SMS 77-79 to go hang out with my hoodlum friends at MS Mall. I still live in the Overland Park area and I have to agree with you guys that this was the greatest area to grow up in!! Anybody have memories of the old Glenwood Manor hotel and theatres on the south west side of 95th and Metcalf?? It seems like they showed the original Star Wars Movie for 12 yrs straight !!! Cory

  116. I remember the old Glenwood Theatre, it had the largest screen in the Midwest and was our first choice for those big blockbuster movies. My Mom took me and my best friend there for Star Wars, so I thought it would be neat to see Episode 1 there when it came out.

    Unfortunately the Glenwood was bought out by some discount chain and they’d pretty much done away with the standard the Glenwood once stood for. The auditorium was hot and clammy and the projector was super dim, capping it all off, the place was filthy.

    Shortly after that, it closed and they held an auction where you could buy the seats. They also hauled in a bunch of movie posters and passed them off as if they’d been displayed at the Glenwood.

    A few things did escape the mismanagement- the landmark Glenwood sign was relocated to Metcalf South Mall and some of the seats were used to refurbish the Metcalf Theatre.

    The only remaining Glenwood icon is the stacked stone monolith fountain which is now dry and landscaped but still in it’s original location which is right next to Cinzettis Italian Market Restaurant.

  117. Yeah, i have eaten at Cinzettis a few times and had no idea that that was the Glenwood fontain outside of restaurant. Pretty bizarre!!

  118. When Metcalf South opened it was a huge deal. Radio DJs did remotes and it was quite a spectacle. As a teenager we would head over to Red Baron and play pinball all day. The stoners would go up the outdoor staircases that led to nowhere and smoke their cigarettes. Remember, we’re talking about the late ’60s early ’70s when it was cool to smoke and get high. I think there was a Woolworths with a lunch counter, but that was primarily used as a cut through to the mall. There was a large fountain that you could throw pennys/coins in from two different levels. I remember watching Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception from the stacks of TVs at Burstein-Applebee electronics store.The KMart across the street used to be the French Market. There was a miniature golf course on the side that was left abandoned for many years. As for Glenwood Manor, that was quite the place. The theatre was the best screen and seats for miles around. The KC Chiefs used to spend the night there before home games. There was a Putt-Putt golf course acrosss from what used to be a Wendy’s. I haven’t been there in years. I wonder if Dud, I mean Bud, Brown Chrysler is still there. Schlozman Ford was across the street as well. Frank Schlozmann was a member at Meadowbrook and he had a regular foursome with the car dealers (Martin Gerber, the guy who owned Metcalf Datsun, etc). They would rather lose a car sale than lose a 50 cent Nausau. As for Sherman Dreiseszun, he was richer than God even back in the 70’s. I think he owned, or controlled, a good chunk of Metcalf Ave all the way down to 75th St.

  119. Hey folks, I was looking for info on the dead mallin our area (Toledo, Oh) and I came up this site. I was once passing throrugh KC, never stopped at your mall but reading all the memories made me nostlagic for mine which was also built by the same man that built yours. His name also was not met with much respect around here. Nor is Bill Dillards. We had two Lion stores at Southwyck here in Toledo. Dillards bought the chain in 1998. He has basically made a bad name for himself in these parts. He closed the home store in 2003 and the main store just last fall (2007).

    Sadly, our mall will close in about three weeks. I walked through it again today (I have an office across the street) Three stores remian open. None are anchors. Southwyck used to be the premiere shopping mall in this area. Long eclipsed by Westfield’s Franklin Park Mall which is a bit older but has undergone many transformations over the years it hardly looks like it did when it first opened in 1971.

    Reading about your stores brought back memories of ours, many of which were the same. Burstein Applebee was a favorite. Red Baron, County Seat, Orange Julius, Montgomery Ward, Kinney Shoes. We had a lot of the same stores. The mall opened to great fanfare in the fall of 1972 I was a young teenager and me and my siblings looked forward to the weekend trip to the mall that our mother would treat us to. We also had a theater complex (AMC Southwyck 6 later 8 Theaters).

    We had a section of the mall called Old Towne, which was a snapshot of life in the late 1800s to early 1900s. There were a lot of boutiques and food stores. It was connected to the mall but you had to walk down a very long corridor that was lined with old pictures of Toledo to enter Old Towne. My sister had her picture taken in old cloths of that era. She just turned 37. She was maybe 8 at the time. We still have that photo somewhere. Old Towne succumbed in the 1980s.

    Our mall was renovated 20 years later in 1992. I see many of the same design elements in your mall of old. A food court was added in 1993, but as I read, with yours it was poorly designed and hidden in a section of the mall that used to contain a cafeteria. It never really succeeded.

    I read of the connection to a murder in a few posts above. I don’t think we had anyting like that, however memory does bring back that when they were renovaing the mall in 1992, one of the workers was killed falling from working on one of many skylights that were added. Many of the store fronts were also built out (at that time) giving a more three dimensional look to the mall stores.

    It is really sad that Driesezun took the same approach to our beloved Southwyck as he has to many of his properties. He sought to have cities bail him out. I guess Denver taxpayers did a number of years ago.

    Our mall except for the leaking roofs still looked fine.
    There was a beautiful center court which a dome and a large pool with a fountain. Many activities took place there. People also used to take breaks from shopping and sit on the steps waching the pool and the people go by.

    There was also a Merry-Go-Round (Carousel). Yes there was a store with that name too. But the kids used to love to ride that amusement ride. Sadly, they ended the last rides just last week and now it sits dark, waiting the final demise of the shopping center. They are no removing the plants from the planters and the large pool and fountain has been shut off.

    I think what is most sad, is that the owners and there is Driesezun’s partner (Morgan), as well as Bill Dillard and yet a third, Buddy Herring from Dallas who owns bits and pieces of the mall. The opening story mentioned how hard-nosed Driesezun was. Well Dillard is a jerk as well. He has held up other redevelopment projects in this area as well. Anyway, it is this complicated ownership that prevented the mall from being redeveloped and to this day, threatens any future moves. At one point, the Westfield people who turned the Franklin Park Mall into a regional mall here was seriously looking to do something similar to Southwyck. But the “old men” just could not come to terms with Westfield and that as well as other attempts to turn things around fell threw.

    You can probably imagine I have no kind regards for any of them. In less than a month, all that will remain is a mountain of memories and a heap of blight. As I said I have an office directly across the street. What is all this going to look like after they shut the lights off?

    I hope someone will move to at least tear down the structure and let it rest in peace. But that remains debatable as well. No future is in sight for Southwyck.

    At any rate, it was good to read of your memories and to relive some of ours of the beloved Southwyck, may they both somehow coontinue to evoke good memories over the long-run. Southwyck: R.I.P. 1972 – 2008. I have many fond remembrances. I hope good things will come of your mall. Sooner than later.

  120. I should’ve mentoned in passing that an entire community was built around Southwyck. There are residential subdivisions, along the back semi-circle along Southwyck Blvd., a dozen or so office buildings were erected that faced the mall from three sides. Many apartment complexes also were built as was much retail on theother side of the main corridor (Reynolds Road) including an 11 story hotel, numerous restaurants, some strip centers, and a K-Mart store.

    What will happen after Southwyck closes? There has actually been some regrowth and new building in the immediate area, so all is not lost, so-to-speak. A McDonalds (originally in the mall) took over a former bank. Last year they tore it down and put up a new McDs in the same spot. A new strip center opened on the site of another former Toledo institution: Dominic’s restaurant which catered to many stars and other celebrities when they appeared in our are for shows and other events. Still, there are some buildings that are showing their age or are closed or both.

    So inspite of the owners of Southwyck, the area is trying to reinvent itself. I hope that the old center wll at least be demolished and perhaps provide further incentive for expanded growth.

    I’m sorry if I hijacked your thread here.

  121. I am 45. Came to the area to go to college. While my memories of Metcalf South are not from the tender Jr High and Sr High years, I was just 18 when I first discovered the mall, so was certainly still a baby, (comparatively speaking!)

    It was in that parking lot that my Uncle John once met me (he and my aunt lived in 7300 blk of Santa Fe Drive) to check my car’s fluid levels one evening, taking advantage of the parking lot lights. I was a dumb college kid, and poor, and bad about car maintenance. I believe that was a winter night in 1981. Perhaps he was afraid I’d have inadequate anti-freeze, and ruin my engine. Uncle John was about 57 then, early 80’s now. Where does the time go?

    By May 1985, I was employed at SEARS, in the paint dept. and sold house paint like crazy. I believe one famous person I helped was Mr Hayward Spears, of Hayward’s BBQ.

    I once was shaking a plastic 2 gallon jug of deeply colored paint dye, mustard yellow, and spilled it on myself, for someone had not put the lid on correctly. The manager went up to menswear and bought me slacks and shirt while I used a lot of paper towels in the restroom, trying to get the mustard color off my skin!

    I would walk the mall during lunch hour, and it seemed every store was leased. I spent too much money eating and shopping on lunch hours, and didn’t take very much pay home.

    I won’t name all the stores, but Merry Go Round sticks with me, as does Jack Henry.

    By summer 1989, I was driving for the Johnson County Bus, and the mall still seemed fairly healthy. Visited that Orange Julius often.

    I did a lot of Christmas shopping at Metcalf South, as well as other Kansas City malls, not that I could afford to buy much, but it is part of the holiday experience. Bet it’s less so, in a dead mall!

    As of Spring 2008, I have noticed the certain death knell of any mall: They have stopped maintaining the escalators, and they are cordoned off, silent and still. I imagine they are one of the high-cost items to keep going.

  122. Do you remember where the “Merry Go Round” store was in metcalf south? Was it in one of the stores pictured above?

  123. Mercy! Maybe I’m the only person in the world who loves the fact that Metcalf South Mall is peaceful and free of the hustle-bustle of stress and the hurried life of the mega moneychangers of America!

    I love the fact that I can walk the mall and not be approached by people who want me to allow them to flat-iron my hair or try a new lotion or sample their bourbon chicken and interrupt my walk and give me the option to order a $8 meal and sit down and get more and more obese.

    Its great that there is a place where peace is celebrated in the sound of waterfalls and calm music, plus the occassional “hello” or “good morning” from walkers and cat-lovers and people who just want to shop at Macy’s and/or Sears and actually be able to find a parking spot without turning on their blinker to signal other motorists that they’d better not attempt to park in “THEIR” signalled spot! LOL

    Look, I come from a small town where peace is valued. I love the fact that I have lived in Overland Park for 25 or so years and worked at Sprint, Pegasus, T-Mobile, Time Warner Cable, etc, etc… What I am not crazy about is the fact that working in this city stressed me out soooo baaad that I almost lost my mind because of how mean and nasty people can be on the phone. Places like Metcalf South or few and far between so I Thank God for PEACE when I run into it because I am 50 years old and dead malls are just one more way I can walk off these extra lbs, and listen to my ipod if and when I want to!

    I can walk slowly up and down the mall and in the parking lot and use the bathroom in peace and not be in such a big hurry. Life is not just supposed to be about shopping until you drop and working your brains out! Its also about taking a moment to listen to birds sing, smell the flowers, appreciate the small things…… like the fact that even if this dead mall is never re-developed I have a place to walk in winter and summer and the man who owns this mall is a cool-dude in my book. I wish I could sit down with him and laugh and talk!

    Listen to this! I’ve got to be happy this mall is still standing because I’ve managed to lose almost a hundred lbs walking at this very mall. I wish they’d turn it into a big excercise center and put up basket ball courts and everything right in the mall. Would be great to have personal trainers here to advise walkers and patrons, as well. That would absolutely ROCK!

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have an old-fashioned picnic back there on that bench where seemingly no one goes. Well, I took pictures of the beautiful flowers out there a few weeks ago! I have one on my pc as my screen saver! Its the little things. Its the beauty in the fact that the mall is empty! Its a treasure… it has seen many seasons… this is its season to give peace to the weary and those who need to be alone with their thoughts for a while. A place for lovers to visit and share something special with or without fanfare. A place for poets and cats. A place for misfits and anti social people who don’t quite fit in at Oak Park Mall…. whatever. A place to wander and THINK.

    Praise God for the great staff who work hard, long hours as if the Pope were coming even though they know few shoppers will show up….because few people appreciate the freshness that comes from not being pushed aside by kids running through the mall and acting up because their parents aren’t around.

    Think for a moment what Metcalf Malls Walls would say if they could talk…..

    I was with you in diapers…
    I was with you in jeans….
    With you for a lifetime, so it would seem.

    Through all your spills and thrills!
    Through courtships and lies, whys…
    those coy alibis.

    Raindrops and sunshine alike…
    Early morning dew… stormy skies outside – I gave you blue.
    I am forever giving back…. you may not know – but its just what malls do!

    I helped make you what you are, who you are, and shall forever be.
    Alas! Spoken to you in dreams, whispered amidst breezes anew, attended weddings – funerals… even puckered up and said “cheese”
    Be patient with me – for I yet live; though brought to my knees.

    For now I am old….
    Tired… but true.
    Filled with memories.
    Of glad times when I made your grey skies blue.

    Hear me when I say I am NOT dead…
    Not as long as each of you shall live –
    Enough said.

    Hope thats not too corny….but I was inspired.
    As a matter of fact – we should all get together and petition for the owner to have a great big party of sorts at Metcalf South so we can all get together and appreciate the fact that we don’t live in a crazy third world country or New York City! Mercy. Overland Park is a great place to call home not only… but due to this gentle, humble fact: old semi-dead, empty, out-dated METCALF SOUTH MALL. Selah.

  124. To answer Ruth’s question…
    Smaks was the restaurant, and “Smackie” was the puppet seal who starred in the TV commercials along with the owner. Was the owner’s name Ted Lewellen? It’s mentioned elsewhere here, but I remember Smaks locations just south of 75th and Metcalf, Ranchmart and (for a while) Prairie Village shopping center.
    My grandparents built a house on Eby south of 95th in about 1964. There were only 2 houses nearby. It was the top of a hill and there were no trees in the area at all. From their backyard you could clearly see the French Market and later, Metcalf South under construction. During construction, the press wondered who would go all the way out to 75th & Metcalf to shop. Just a few years later they asked the same question about Oak Park Mall- who would go all the way out at 95th & I35…

  125. Well…

    Awesome memories. I can’t add much, but my first job as a sophomore at SMS (1982) was a Swensen’s. Lines around the corner in January!!!

    I do remember the fountains… eye level on the second floor.

    I don’t think that anyone has mentioned Florsheim shoes.

    Also, I believe that Smaks closed all locations after it was reported that it had been serving horse meat!! Sorry to ruin the memories, but it may explain the “acquired taste” mentioned earlier!!! I ate so many of those burgers I couldn’t count them. Around JO Co, Smaks was it!! Pre-McDs!!

    I still eat Taco Via whenever possible (in fact, I ate there tonight).

    I think someone’s reference to Jose’s may have been an error. Jose’s was actually a mom and pop Mexican restaurant at 95th & Mission (there’s an Irish bar there now). They were probably thinking of Taco Via.

    I remember driving all the way from 103rd and Antioch with my dad to pick up Pizza Hut pizza, on a cardboard disc and stapled into a cone-shaped paper carrier!!! No boxes, and brutally hot to have sit on my lap.

    I remember Santa landing in the helicopter in the parking lot.

    I still put Salvation Army bellringers out at Sears and Macy’s on Saturdays!!

    I would love to see something, anything, done with that mall!!

  126. Hey Everyone,

    All of these stories and memories brought me back, you all have inspired me to put this collection of photos together for this slideshow. I have uploaded it to you tube. It didnt come out perfect because of the youtube limitations of 10 minutes , so as I had everything right before i put it on youtube I had to cut off some of the show so the music doesnt end how I would like it to and the slides dont show for quite as long as I would like but it should work. Please take a look, ENJOY!!

  127. Hey Chris, Great photos of Overland Park in its infancy!!! I was going to ask if anyone recalled the Smaks at 95th and Antioch (Cherokee Shopping Center) and you showed a great pic of that location. Spent a lot of time their in my junior high days at Hillcrest (1975)!! Thanks, Cory

  128. Yeah the third level was added later, it was not a part of the original construction. I think in the mid 70s.

  129. I am a real estate investor…I am looking for the name of the contact person and/or owner of the metro north mall. could anyone help me out? email my company with any information at

  130. I believe the owner of Metro North mall is a Morgan and Dreiseszun property group.

  131. It’s sad what happened to the mall.
    It was a great place in the 70’s and 80’s.
    In the early 80’s I worked at the Orange Julius.
    Worked at Hobby Haven, and the flower shop on the lower level, for a short time.
    I also worked at the Dairy Queen when it opened.
    Lots of memories. Every week someone would fall in the giant fountain, because they were not looking where they were going.
    Would talk a lot with the Jim the janitor, a very friendly older gentleman, when you got to know him.
    Spent a lot of time in the arcade.
    A few years ago I was there and saw it was like a was a time capsule. Some of the places closed up still had their fixtures, would have been a perfect place to do a 80’s movie,

  132. I also spent the bulk of my childhood at this mall in the 70´s and 80´s, and even visited frequenty in the early 90´s. My grandma worked in the shoe department at Harzfeld´s for about 15 years, and my mom at the Jones store up till the day she died in 1998. The mall brings back so many mixed feelings…from sexual encounters under the men´s bathroom stalls in the lower level bathroom near Jóhn´s Tailors, to my father opening the Taco Via on the third floor, to visiting my mom and grandma at the mall every time I went back into OP – even before I went home. My dad used to hang us over the railing by our feet for fun…today you´d be jailed for that! I never worked at this mall, but did work at several places at Oak Park. Still, Metcalf was always my favorite and always will be…

  133. What is happening to Metcalf South? Last I heard they would be tearing the mid-section down and rebuilding/revitalizing the mall with shopping, condos and offices. Now they are laying asphalt on the east side, stripping the parking lot and there is what appears to be a new store moving in close the the staging area. Does anyone know what is going on?

  134. I just added about 200 photos to flickr everyone, enjoy:

    Also enjoy my youtube video I posted a few weeks ago:

    Another favor to ask, if anyone knows any history about the objects or stores in each photo please comment on the flickr website under them about each storefront, what it used to be, etc…some are obvious but some are a mystery. Please feel free to comment about anything, also feel free to tell stories about any certain area of the mall under that picture, I find it very interesting.


  135. Chris, Thanks for sharing your photos.
    YOU GUYS!!
    I cannot believe how much that old mall means to us all!
    It really warms my heart.
    I loved the poem.
    Someone should put all this this in a book or something.

  136. This is all fascinating as there seems to be some type of pull to Metcalf South and Overland Park in the 70’s. I just recently visited Overland Park in Juky after having moved away 32 years ago. Going by the old neighborhood and visiting this mall reminded me what a special place and time this was. I have lived in Chicago since we moved away in 1976 and am 43 years old. For years I would tell my wife about this place and how special it was to the point where she insisted we visit.
    The trip was incredibly fulfilling and reading everyone’s insight here confirms that Overland Park was a great place and that it was a great time to grow up.

  137. Anyone remember the Service Merchandise store across the street from Metcalf South??
    You would pick out what you were going to buy and instead of just taking it to the front of the store and paying for it you had to give an clerk a ticket for the item and about 15min later it would come rolling off some conveyor belt. Gee I wonder why they closed?? HA!!

  138. I finally got the chance to head out to this mall today, and fell in love with it. I’m not a Kansas City native (from Chicago, actually!), so I don’t have any ‘memories’ to share, but I am a dead mall fanatic, and this mall was just…lovely. It sounds silly, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a mall so CLEAN before! There were tons of people with headphones and i-pods doing mall-walking, janitors sweeping the floors, and the giant center fountain was still running – I threw in a coin and made a wish that the mall would still be up when I could return with my camera in tow to take a ton of photos.

    Does anyone perhaps an image of a recent directory – or rather, recent for when the mall was occupied. The current directory was rather pathetic, of course (with hardly anything on it but Macy’s or Sears!) and I would love to be able to match up the store fronts I don’t recognize/don’t have labelscars with a directory. Even a really complete list of past tenants would be great – I saw so many in your guys’ comments on here, and tried to write them all down, but I’m sure I missed some!

  139. Oh, and in response to the person talking about Mr Bulky way, way earlier in this thread – I know Mr Bulky around here were at least operated by probably a different company than the one in Michicagn (maybe run more like a franchise?) My fiance used to work for Mr Bulky at Oak Park Mall, and the store eventually had a temporary close to move to the other side of the mall, and changed their name to ‘Sweet!’ in the process. She was fired shortly aftewards (they wanted to do an ’employee reshuffling’ – the owner was a real jerk), but since then all the Sweet!s around here have closed up – not that there were many left. It shows how old the one at Metcalf South is, or at least how long it’s been closed. Mr Bulky changed to Sweet! here in 2005, maybe 2004.

  140. I grew up at this mall, and can’t believe what a sad, empty place it has become. I have so many fond memories, dating back to Smacks, Taco Via, Morrow nut house, the Cake box (I love those cookies), Shirt Man and Spencers! I could actually name all of the retail stores that have occupied the mall. After school, wayyyy back in 6th grade, we would walk up “Metcalf Hill” and go to the mall (a safe, fun place to hang out). Later, I use to volunteer with my mom for the ORT gift wrap and eventually worked (as did 15 of my close friends) at the Jones Store. When I wish upon a star…I will wish for a revamped Metcalf South!!

  141. What is really bizarre…..I am reading these posts (with only first names mentioned), and I know who these people are…people from my past! Patrick, Nancy…I have not heard from you in 25 years, but I know that it must be you. I am a John Diemer/Nallwood alum, as well!

  142. Hey Nancy from Indianapolis… who kept her horse at John Hunter Stables. I just got back on here and read your comment. I kept my horse at Dutch Benders Stable, it was first at around 95th Antioch. Then some developer bought him out and he moved the stable out to like 115th and metcalf. Dutch was married to a younger girl named Susie, and she ended up taking her life sometime after they were married. Bizarre!!!

  143. I was the very first “Little Miss Metcalf South”!
    I was five years old at the time. The winner of the contest recieved a free dinner at King’s Food Host (75th and Metcalf), a crown, a trophy and we met the band, The Buckingham’s. My older sisters and their friends wanted to meet the band. Their hits include, “It’s Kinda a Drag”, “Susan”, and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”.
    The rock band and the free meal was a BIG deal for my large family. I am the youngest of ten children.
    In later years I worked at Putsch’s cafeteria.

  144. who is ReBel? I testified at Crumm/Hobson drama as well. who are you?

  145. Oh boy this is truly a sad mall but i do have memories of this mall, not just memories but i currently visit the mall quite frequently just like all the other “mall-walkers”. I am 23 years old and live not far from the mall at all. I remember the “Kids at Heart” toy store on the lower level and when i got my first teddy bear there that was like in 1991. The mall seemed to be booming from when it was built until the early to mid 1990’s from what i know. I remember the Orange Julius too and the dungeon door which still exists haha. The beautiful fountain in the middle of the mall with water still running and the nice clean floors which are still kept shiny even though it is hardly visited by many people. Even music is still being played over the speakers. The owner of the mall Sherman Dreiseszun actually used to live across the street from me he just passed away last year and their home has already been sold. Maybe there will be a change soon and maybe there won’t. All in all i really like the mall it is kept up clean and it is a nice quiet peaceful place just to walk in or sit down. I have a couple of videos on youtube of the mall. just type in “Metcalf South Mall” they should pop up hope you enjoy them! I’m glad i have them for memories before the mall is torn down.

  146. This is all really cool stuff guys (and gals). I grew up fro the most part in the 70s/ We lived near 95th and Antioch, and all of these memories shared really take me back. All the talk of smaks and Red Barn in particular really revive some old memories. I was watching the video (saw on Chris’s youtube page link) related to the story above and noted still shots of smaks on 95th (Skelly gas station just behind- wow), Jacks or Better on Metcalf, Kings food host wow! Are these still available as jpgs anywhere? As I get older I find myself wanting to rediscover the everyday icons from my youth because they show me perspective. Pizza Queen, Kids Saturday matinee at metcalf south, cool. We used to go there almost every weekend in the summer! After the move we would spend hours drifting from Spencer’s to the Swiss Colony (getting thrown out of there for eating too many free samples), head down tot he animation store and see all the cool cels from all my favorites films- we consumed that whole mall. Hard to explain, but when I see some of these images, even the smells from those days are relived. I even have vague memories of the French Market- though I was just about 6 years old when it was in it’s heyday or final days. It’s like stepping into a time machine, if even for a moment. Cool.

  147. This is so strange. Metcalf Mall. WOW! And to see so many generations loving it still! I laughed when I heard some of the names. Mine is Christina Erickson now, Christina Hoffman. I remember you Ronnie Malippa and of course Fozzy and Flip. I married DJ Hoffman. Small world. Where are you now Malippa? Do you remember your parents and my parents having the disco parties at your house. Your pool was awesome! Where are you now? Where is your family?

  148. I used to love going to Carrousel Park. Sadly, it closed about six or seven years ago. They had arcade games, a merry go round, an indoor roller coaster, and other rides too. The entrance is in the mall and outside by where comedy club used to be and by topsy’s.

  149. How fun!
    I was a Diemer Eagle (go Mrs. Smith, Miss Hanson, Miss Short, Mr. Mendola) a Nallwood Jr. High Knight and an SMS Raider (’86)
    Right now, on Halloween, I am sporting my NJH cheerleading outfit that my mom kept all these years! My girls can’t believe it still fits me (nor can I), but since our colors were orange and black, it’s the perfect costume!
    I, too, grew up at Metcalf South. LIved right behind it on 98th street. Loved Adler’s, Hartzfelds, seeing all the “burn-out’s” at Kelso’s, Woolworths for cheap mascara and blue eyeshadow, and Foxmore!!! In 7th grade all my friends started shopping at the Limited–I was too small, but I remember salivating over the clothes just wishing they would fit me! I did end up working at Wolf Brother’s after high school graduation. It was just beginning to lose business then. My very favorite memory about Metcalf would have to be the glorious fountain bridge thing–you know, the poured concrete walkway/bridge that had inlaid rocks and diamonds!!! Remember how sparkly it was!!! This has been such a fun trip down memory lane!

  150. What a great site and discussion. Everyone has revived some really good memories. I was really interested in Chris’ video of Metcalf South and other local places. Great job Chris. I worked at the King’s Food Host he shows in his video, 75th and Metcalf. “Welcome to Kings. May I take your order please? Two hamburgers, one tuna frenchee, a bowl of chile, 2 bannana splits, and three cokes. Would you like anything else? That will be $8.25.” Remember, the no tipping by each phone in the orange booth?. Great memories. By the way, Lori, enjoyed working with you and your mom.

  151. A couple of other questions about Chris’ video if you see this Chris.. Was the Smaks you showed in front of the Holiday Inn on Shawnee Mission Parkway? Also, what was that building with the playing cards on the outside wall? It looks so familiar, but I can’t place it. Finally, to the 1968 – 1971 crowd at Kings Food Host and the Metcalf strip, Lori, Lori’s mom, John, Paula, Carl the cop, Fred the washer (recently deceased), Dick the manager, Linda, Richard, Bob, and the grey haired older gentleman greeter in the gold coat who lived on 71st street (surely deceased also)….and all the others whose names escape me, thanks for a great time!!!!

  152. Wow. It’s really sad to look at those photos. Each one brings back memories of a crowded Saturday afternoon. Free hot dogs at Top Dog (my sister worked there when she was 14), shopping for clothes at Ups-and-Downs, looking at posters at Spencer Gifts, working at Mark Henri, playing with magic stuff at the magic store on the second floor…. the memories go on and on….

    Anyone from Shawnee Mission South HS, class of ’89 on here? I’m currently in Chicago and keep coming back to Metcalf South Mall. Overland Park just isn’t what it used to be.

    Kelley in Chicago

  153. Hello again,

    I have heard a lot about Red Barn and what was at 95th and Metcalf in the 70’s. Can anyone elaborate? I was there from ’84 on, so I remember the Venture, Houston’s, Bennigan’s, TJ Maxx, the Sprint Towers, Ocean Club, the publishing company a bit down the street…. what was it like in the 70’s? I’d love to hear all about it!


  154. To answer Jims Questions:

    Was the Smaks you showed in front of the Holiday Inn on Shawnee Mission Parkway? Yes

    Also, what was that building with the playing cards on the outside wall? Jacks or Better

    Thanks for checking out my video and pictures!

  155. Does anyone know where I can find a detailed floor plan of the mall, including the attached office and access hallways?

  156. I grew up in the 95th & Metcalf area and went to Metcalf South from the day it opened. Great memories at that place growing up.

    The Smaks restaurant was on the 3rd floor at Metcalf South right across from the Taco Via… which was in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

    I lived right next to field where the Red Barn was at on 95th & Foster. It was an appliance store right before they tore it down and there was a restaurant along the entrance drive which was originally a BBQ place but became a German restaurant before they tore it down along with the barn. That was my very first job at 14, working in the German restaurant as a dishwasher.

    Does anyone remember the Shakey’s Pizza place on Metcalf near 75th St.? My family used to go there all the time until they shut it down. Loved the player piano and the bowling-pin shaped balloons with cardboard “feet”.

    I spent the first 32 years of my life growing up in this area and would love to hear more stories about “the good ole days” in Overland Park.

  157. They just reopened Shakeys on 135th and Stateline, original recipe and everything.

  158. Chris, Wow! Thanks for the info about Shakeys! My parents and I used to go to the one on Metcalf and I was hoping one would open in the KC area someday. Since my folks are gone it won’t be quite the same but it will be great to have some of their pizza.

  159. To answer Kelly Hood’s question about the Red Barn. This is interesting because there are two Red Barns from the 1970s on 95th street. The alluded to above was a furniture/appliance store called Albert Bell’s (I think). However the Red Barn that is more from my memory is the hamburger joint just west of 95th and Antioch. I have lots of memories about that place. In particular the $0.10 hamburgers on Sunday. It’s nice to hear everyone’s memories of this time and place.


  160. Ignore my comment about shakeys reopening I heard it wrong, its another old place but I cannot remember the name at the moment.

  161. Diemer/Nallwood/SMS. Grew up 97th and Russell, three blocks east of Metcalf South.
    I remember taking guitar lessons at Jenkins Music on the main floor when I was 7 years old. Mom dropped me off and I dragged the guitar that was almost as tall as me. We used to ride our bikes through the “secret” dirt pathway between the trees at 98th and Glenwood near the Sears parking lot. We would go to Helzberg’s and get I AM LOVED pins in different languages.
    Often, we went to an afternoon show at the movie theater at the Mall. Orange Julius under the staircase was the best. Great hot dogs and great drinks. When Spencer’s Gifts opened, it was the hottest spot for a long time.
    My high school girlfriend worked at Wolff Brothers when they opened at MS in the late 70s.
    My mom worked at Jones for 25 years.
    My brothers and I got our first baseball gloves at Dale’s on the main floor in the late 1960s.
    I also worked as a bus boy at the Seafood Chalet in Windmill Square when I was 14, then moved up to Hardee’s on 95th and Antioch. Quite a career path.
    In high school, I worked at the Corner clothing store on 95th and Nall. Anyone remember that? Jeans and corduroys stacked to the ceiling. Everyone got their jeans there.
    Great pics and great posts. Nall Hills subdivision was a great neighborhood in which to grow up.

  162. First time to see Santa- Metcalf South
    First job- Gap, Metcalf South
    First Beer- Kelso’s, Metcalf South (boys played PacMan there- lol)
    Loved Taco Bell, the coin fountain that had the pathway across it, going to Putches’ with my Grandma (haha), Foxmoor, 5-7-9, Limited(Outback Red 10 button shirts), Osco and Orange Julius, Gift Horse, and thought we were so cool going into the “bad part” of Spencers…Mainly, I remember just walking the mall with friends: looking at boys, meeting up with friends… good memories. It makes me sad to see the mall die out. I wonder why this mall can stir such emotions.
    Nallwood/SMS ’84

  163. Steve wrote..
    ” Nall Hills subdivision was a great neighborhood in which to grow up.”

    SO true!!
    that neaighborhood was awesome for kids in the seventies (when I lived there)

    Halloween was THE BEST back there and then. You just don’t see that anymore. Kids everywhere..trick-or-treating.

    Kids use to play in the storm drain by John Diemer until that one boy drowned there and they put a cage over it.

    That memory sticks out a-lot for me. Tragic.

    I see they are going to renovate Metcalf South. Restyle it. I hope they keep something from the past in with the restyling. Even if it’s just old pictures of the mall.

    The mall is really a landmark, at this point. It has SUCH historical value. As is witnessed, here.

  164. Man I just thought of something that would be awesome, I know they would not go for this but how great would this be, instead of renovating…have the very first “Mall Museum”. Recreate each level of the existing mall in different decades, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. Each level would represent what it was like to be in a mall and hanging out during those times.

    Maybe not have working stores but like a museum with products and styles and such that were from those times. Put an old school arcade on one of those levels from the 70’s 80’s era. Make the food court your old style pizza and burgers instead of the superchains that have invaded malls.

    Have dedicated nights for each decade where everyone dresses that way for a night and comes out, have a gameshow in the middle of the mall or something, live band, the way they used to do it.

    Have a music store from the 60’s, all the posters and records, 8 tracks , etc…80’s with the huge CD boxes, those were awesome, the madonna posters, long haired hippi as the clerk.

    Toy stores with exhibits of the old toys and video games, old displays and kiosks, that brings back alot of memories for alot of people….just the advertising.

    Style the mall with decor from each decade for each level. They could rent it out for christmas parties and stuff. I think it would be awesome.

    I know its a dream, but what do you all think!!

  165. Sounds like a fun idea, I would go to that. You can find throughout the mall original architecture from the 60’s. This is especially true in the East Mall wing, all original store fronts.

    Has the mall ever had a liquor store called Metcalf South Liquor, just wondering?

  166. This is such a trip. I grew up on Riggs and spent many a day in that mall. I got my left ear pierced there six times at the earpiercing booth/store.
    I have fond memories of shopping their with friends and getting my picture taken with Santa. I also remember trick-or-treating there in 9th grade with a best bud. We were dressed as our version of punk rockers. I miss Taco Via!! Their sauce was great.

    Wasn’t Michaels (if it’s still there) a Milgrims grocery previously?

    To add to your memories: I worked at Pastaficios during its 6 month stint. I then worked at Amarillo Grill for 7 years, commuting back and forth from KU on the weekends. After work we’d head over to Bennigans for drinks.
    Hi to all of you Diemer/Nallwood/SMS alums!

  167. I am trying to think of the lady who was the spokesperson for Milgrims… I think her name was Jean or Jeannie. I think the Mall Museum would be a great idea. There would be a bunch of us middle agers wandering around in bell-bottom jeans looking at different exhibits. The “bad part” of Spencers cracked me up too!

  168. As a kid in the 60’s we lived on west 100th street,one time in the mall I lost track of my mother paniced and walked home, I was 7 years old.
    After about 20 minutes my parents finally showed up thinking I might have walked home. Thank goodness the area wasn’t too dangerous at that time, different world…

  169. Join the Metcalf South Shopping Center group on Facebook!

  170. Last I heard the renovation was on hold for Metro North Mall and the renovation for Metcalf South was completely canceled. I think I heard this back in the summer or early fall of 2008. Since the economy has significantly worsened since then I doubt this will change.

    By the way, the Glenwood Arts Theatre in the mall is now 3 screens and shows ‘art’ movies mainly. About two years ago they were also showing weekly Baliwood/Indian films one night a week. I don’t know if they still do that.

  171. When did Mr. Bulky’s close and when did the food court close?

  172. I was talking about Metcalf South with my family the other day. It is a part of our hearts and minds as we grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. We agreed how great it would be if someone could pool together enough cash to buy the mall from the current owner and turn it into something special. How about a “Bring Back Metcalf South Foundation”?

    We also were discussing whether malls like Metcalf south ever have a chance of coming back. My answer is yes — I think “shopping centers” like Zona Rosa, while great — have a key limitation — they’re outdoors. I don’t think that people are against indoor malls — it’s just at one time there were too many. I however, in huge JoCo, think that there is room for both Oak Park and Metcalf South as there was in the 80’s and 90’s — back when JoCo had less than 400K people (now it has almost 600K). The fact both are realtively close doesn’t matter too much — Metcalf is still very well traveled and Metcalf South could succeed, especially if it did things a little different than OP…more on this below.

    It would take some planning but I think Metcalf South could be brought back to life the following ways:

    First of all, find a friendly investor(s) who is focused on making the mall successful and actually cares about it, and isn’t one of the bureaucratic “far away” type creeps who charges ridiculous rent. Easier said than done, I know. You could even have a “mall board” of some kind. Just a thought. I have heard thet mall is actually paid for — so something creative like this might be possible.

    As for making it work, I think if they kept the interior similar to as it is now — the fountains and walkways — and gave a great facelift to the outside — they’d be well on their way. Make rent reasonable enough to get businesses to give it a shot. Give it a retro focus by perhaps getting some still existing area businesses back in — Topsy’s, Taco Via,etc. Market it heavy as “going back to metcalf south”. Perhaps even bring KC legends like the Town Topic and Winsteads there. With the Glenwood already there that’s a great first step. If only we could resurrect Swensens and Smacks, right? But you get my drift.

    I know there would be three stories to fill of stuff, but I think it’s could work. Make it attractive to the 80’s generation who are in their 30’s and 40’s now (i.e., not just teeny bopper stores).. Get Borders to move across the street and give them a nice section, perhaps a big part of the third floor, with a great reading area for people to just hang out there. With Barnes & Noble opening at Oak Park this could work.

    Of course, we can’t bring back all the old favorites but I think if they focused on recruiting stores with a focus on that generation and then marketed the hell out of it, it could work. Be creative. Put an old style pizza parlor in there, not just a chain. Put clothing stores that appeal to all ages. Put stores that are affordable but still somewhat “classy”.

    You get where I’m going. I think it could work. Just wish I had the money.

  173. Another question — can someone actually rent one of the stores in the mall right now, if they wanted? Say, if 20 store owners showed up tomorrow and said “we want to open”, could they? Just wondering.

  174. I also found this site by accident. I am about to turn 50 and got nostalgic I guess. I grew up in this mall. I got my first job when I was 16 at Smacks on the 3rd floor. I worked there for 3 years from 74 to 77 and have many fond memerories. I met my first girlfriend , April at that job. I often think of her and the other counter girls grabbing handfuls of burgers abd screaming out we need more cheeseburgers.
    I remember how crowded the mall was on Saturdays and how we used to get a rush on the store after the last movie was over. Taco Via was across the way and there was a store next to Smacks that sold furniture made from tree stumps. I used to go downstairs to Orange Julius on my breaks. I visited a year or so back and got a bit teary eyed.
    Every time I see Fast times at Ridgemont High , I think of my teenage years at Metcalf South.
    Those were good times!

  175. I just checked out your video Chris. Great work thanks for the memories.

  176. Thanks Mike, anyone have any older pics of metcalf south? Im sure someone has to have some family photos or something…it would be awesome if we could get some from the Owners but I wouldnt know who to contact now. I tried contacting Oak Park mall and they say they have TONS, I would love to see them too…I suggested they post them, they said they would look into it but never heard anything back.

    Who knows maybe if we get enough people to suggest it both places will…..trying sending an email to this address ( ) or through ( (contact us link at top) asking that they post them on their site or somewhere else….that we really would like to see them…”the history of metcalf south” or “oak park mall”.

    Of anyone knows who to email or call for Metcalf south please post so we can do the same.

  177. Metcalf South in Overland Park, KS was THE mall for many years. My Mother, Sister and even my Father for a short time, worked at Metcalf South. My sister worked there for 12-15 years in The Jones Store. I think she contracted Asbestos cancer from all of the remodeling that store experienced internally through the years. My Mother worked in the shoe department at the Jones store for a year or so and also at Hartzfeld’s when it was operational. My father worked at one of the several men’s stores (all were sales folks). Metcalf South was a huge part of my life for a very long time. When I visit there now its like seeing a friend die a slow, painful death.

  178. Hey I actually work for MS part time so I thought I’d try to answer some questions. Getting a kick out of some of these old stories too, lol.

    “Bring Back Metcalf South”– yea, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to rent a space in there… maintenace keeps the place so freakin clean still you could eat off the floor, and that goes for all the empty spaces too. wouldn’t take much to get one going again I’m sure. Call the mall office or MD Management (owners)

    “Chris”– not sure about an email address, but try calling the main office. management is there M-F 8-5 @ 913-649-2277

    “Tommy”– why do you need a floor plan including service halls? kinda weird…

    All the stories are great, I must be younger than a lot of you all so walking around the mall at night when it’s closed and dark and such now I can picture what it was like with all you guys’ info here. Thanks. 🙂

  179. Thanks for those answers….I dont think Tommy means any “foul play”, lol….I would love a blue print of the mall as well. With the software available today we could recreate the mall virtually, put in whatever stores we remember or liked at the time, it would be really cool. Kinda like what this guy did:

    Go to youtube and type in: Arcade 84

    I’m pretty good with architectural and 3D design software. I would definately attempt it if I had a plan.

  180. haha, i know… i was just playin about the maps. if you go in the doors by ‘almost famous pizza’ you’ll see an architect’s office right there. i think his group was part of the original mall design or something cause he’s got tons of old pictures of the building process and all the blueprints and stuff. an there’s boxes and boxes of rolled up blueprints of the mall in one of the storage rooms, but i don’t think i should mess with those.

    that 3d design deal would be pretty sweet though!

  181. Jeff: I was reading your blog from June 07’ and started down memory road. I too have fond memories of the old mall. I moved away for a while but moved back in late 2005. It was very disheartening to see the mall die while I left. I worked for Original Pizza when I was 15 and 16 so 1985/86. And, when we were even younger we’d all go to the mall for the arcade, comics, the rock n’ roll store. I can go back even further to when there was a Chinese restaurant on the bottom floor in a corner that my parents liked to dine at. That mall was basically out go to mall because I grew up at the 95th & Antioch area. Very fond memories of getting chased by Vern the mall cop back in the day. I also worked for Swenson’s Ice Cream parlor on the second floor and Steve’s Shoes. I took guitar lessons from the music store on the second level by Sears. And what other mall now a day gives you THREE huge floors. That’s what set it apart from the others. Remember the Taco Via on the third level in the corner? It was a blast as a little kid to have Mom or Dad give you a penny or two to throw into the fountain. You would make it a game by trying to see which plateau you could get the coin in. It is truly sad to see it go. I feel like part of my youth is being ripped away from me. Oh well, time marches on and waits for no man. I guess all things must move forward in progress. I just wanted you to know that I shared your sentiments.

    FYI: I notice that you are now a film maker in L.A. – Do some research on the first American serial killer family The Bloody Benders.

    That would make a great movie if made correctly. It would be a film makers dream because you can make up almost any ending your imagination can conceive. You’ll see what I mean once you do the research.

  182. Metcalf South playeda huge part in growing up. This site blows me away. Grew up on 100 terr off of glenwood. Nall Hills/ Nallwood/ South (82). I think about how we grew up at Metcalf South. Hung out with my brothers at Red Baron playing fooseball. Summers spent swimming at Nall Hills C.C. We walked and rode our bikes everywhere! Friday night football games at South were great. Worked at Steve’s shoes Minsky’s Pizza and the Amoco gas station at 107 and Metcalf. Great neighborhood to grow up in.

    Briefly Played soccer with Sorrentino at South. My older brother hung out with them a few times. Bought a set of wheels from Crumm. Dated a gal that lived down the street from him. My younger brother was actually in Chris’ class. Strange memories.Twilite Zone.

  183. Well, I’m a Dorothy Moody/Nallwood/SMS guy.

    I worked at Swensens in 1982. The guy who was asst. Manager, John Lehr, is now in L.A., and has his own comedy show on TBS, “10 items or less”.

    Not sure how many of you still check in on this blog, but “Ace Frehley”, who are you?? “JW” is probably Jon Wilke, who I would love to catch up with, and “GH” was probably Greg Hyde, so who are you? SMS class of ’84 most likely. Anyway, why so secretive? I think that you’re safe with your minor offenses at this point!!

    Anyway, if you check in, clarify for me, would you?


  184. marcie: That grocery store across the street that you are referring to wasn’t Milgrams. Milgrams was down at 95th and Nall. Where Michaels is (or was) used to be a Save Mart grocery store. It was a basic no-frills store.
    I actually met Steven Speilberg at Amarillo Grill when I was out to dinner with my parents for my 9th birthday. That would have been Jan 1983. He autographed a napkin for me to which I still have to this day. Lots of good memories. The John Diemer area was a great place to grow up in the 70s and 80s.

  185. Ruth: Do you (or anyone) remember what year that boy drowned in the storm drainage behind John Diemer?? I vaguely remember that, but don’t remember any details.

  186. Just a head’s up to anyone wanting to get some pictures of the mall, the “security guard” there is completely intolerant of any picture taking. My family and I were wandering around the mall’s interior, I was taking pictures of the mall’s various hallways, not going anywhere off limits when the security guard sternly asked what I was taking pictures of. I responded “Just getting pictures of the mall’s interior.” He responded by saying that this was private property and my family would need to leave immediately.” Over-react much? The “guard” claimed that had been there taking pictures and broke into stuff to get pictures. I’m not sure if he really meant this site or what.
    This guard also claimed that we (my family) had something to do with some teenage who was hoping over the barriers blocking the escalators. It really makes you wonder, with this kind of public relations how the mall ever failed.
    If you want personal pictures of the mall, all I can say is good luck.

  187. I can definitely guarantee that we’ve never “broke into stuff” to get photos of any malls, much less this one. He was either making stuff up or talking about someone else (possibly Deadmalls, but more than likely just some independent person as the Deadmalls guys are in upstate New York and don’t make it out that much nowadays). These shots were taken by Prangeway but you can pretty plainly tell that he didn’t go anyplace that was off-limits to get them.

    These mall security guards are just doing their jobs, but the policies they’re enforcing are woefully short-sighted. What happens when Metcalf South doesn’t exist anymore and people want to see what the old place looks like? That’s what Labelscar is for. We’re not hurting anyone.

  188. I never went anywhere off-limits here, including the blocked-off escalators on the upper level (though, I think it might have been open in 2001 when I first went). As a general rule, I don’t go into blocked off/closed off areas because I don’t want the attention, and more importantly, it almost certainly changes your status from ‘mall walker’ to ‘trespasser’ – and with that can come criminal charges.

    With that, a few hints for the ever-elusive rule-breaker who wants to snap a few shots:

    – Be discreet. Put your camera in your pocket or in a shopping bag or something when you aren’t actually using it. Don’t walk around carrying it out in the open, especially in a totally empty mall like this one where you will be scrutinized for simply being there.

    – Look around. It’s very possible that a security guard is lurking behind you, or perched on an upper level looking down at you. Look 360 degrees around you before pulling out your camera to take a picture. Also, keep in mind that although they’re less likely to do something than a security guard, mall employees such as janitors, kiosk workers, or even people working in the stores may see you and report you to security, who will be on your tail fast. So look around, see who could be watching you, and determine whether or not that could become a problem.

    – Know your rights. If you do get caught, know that although taking pictures in/of malls on private property is prohibited by the owners of the malls, it is almost always NOT illegal. The only recourse security has if you are caught is to ask you to leave, or ask you to put away your camera. They can’t confiscate your camera or harass you, or they themselves are in hot water. However, if they do ask you to leave, do leave, because then you are trespassing, which is a crime.

    -Take advantage of places where you can set up your shots to be the least intrusive. For example, in a two story mall I’ll often just place the camera on a railing and take a shot down the mallway, and do this several more times to establish different shots. This way, no one is directly in front of you, blocking your shot, and if you are discreet enough no one will even notice what you are doing. Taking shots of a crowded one-level mall is a bit more difficult, but you can position yourself along a wall, against a planter, or behind a kiosk (providing the kiosk person can’t see you!) and take a shot in the opposite direction pretty discreetly.

    I know this all sounds very creepy, but I try to make it as easy as possible and I haven’t been caught in a few years. Good luck!

  189. Are there any areas blocked off at Metcalf? Are there any stores left? Do the anchors still open into the mall at both levels?

  190. I wasn’t trying to accuse this site of any wrong doing (I really enjoy your articles!) so apologies if it came across that way. I just wanted to make sure that the readers of this blog knew that there’s one employee who is very unnecessarily hostile towards picture taking.

    It really is sad, with as many memories as so many people have of the mall, they won’t allow them to capture what remains of those memories with photos.

  191. I must have inadvertently missed the intolerant security guard when I was there at Metcalf on Monday, March 9th. I took pictures from about 10:30 to 1:00 with no questions from anyone. I would suggest calling their office and asking them beforehand. I talked to two different gentlemen at different times that worked there. They were as helpful as anyone possibly could be. I didn’t talk to them about taking pictures, but I’m sure one could get some sort of clearance to do so.

    I have always lived in Topeka, but my dad owned a Lowery Organ Center in about 1979-1980 at Metcalf South, somewhere on the 3rd floor, I believe. I am not sure whether it was at the inaccessible area of the 3rd floor (behind the glass) or around where the inoperable fountain is, where you can still get to. It may have later became a Jenkins music company after dad got out. I would sure appreciate any specific location information or anything about those stores if anyone happens to remember. I have sure wracked my brain trying to remember.

    I have very, very fond memories of those days as well and I have never even lived in Kansas City. Dad also had an organ store in Metro North at that time. I went to Metro the same day just after visiting Metcalf for the first time in nearly 30 years. I was questioned by a security guard at Metro, but he was very pleasant and understood and allowed me to continue. The not so friendly guard at Metcalf just needs to not let his panties get in such a twist because these places mean so much to all of us and they are much, much more than just shopping malls.

    If anyone would like to read my personal blog about my fond memories of those days, go to The subject is more about fathers rather than the malls, but it will explain much more of why these places are so special and important to me. Some of you may be able to relate. Thank you in advance for reading any of my blogs. It is my wish that Metcalf can stand forever, even if it remains dead.

  192. Greg asked..
    “Ruth: Do you (or anyone) remember what year that boy drowned in the storm drainage behind John Diemer?? I vaguely remember that, but don’t remember any details. ”

    Hi Greg…
    yeah i still check out this site..I’m thinking Metcalf South needs to be declared a historical landsite and protected.

    To answer your question…
    I think it was around 77’/78′
    So sad..
    I dont remember too many details.
    I remember a group of boys were swimming and playing in the water that had backed up (durign a strom)and then watever was clogging it let loose and it suddenly went into the drain pulling one of them with it.
    One of the boys inovled was an older brother of a boy I hung out with back then.
    He had told me the details..but most of them are forgotten (as is his name right now..too bad..he was a great kid..lived on the next street..I lived on Riggs)

    Up until then many of us local kids played in that storm drain all the time.
    This was SO long

  193. This website is great.

    Unlike most of you, I am not an OP “native” (that’s “Overland Park”, not “Ocean Pacific,” as in those awesome shirts we used to wear back in the day); but I happened to discover this website as a result of a recent trip to Metcalf South…which I had never, ever been to before, believe it or not. Even so, I think I can safely say that the feeling I got when I visited this mall was unlike anything I have ever experienced before.

    I was in town recently and had to visit a branch of the computer learning center. I couldn’t tell you what floor they’re located on, though, since I was (and still am) mezmerized by the whole…”experience” of this place.

    Now, I am 35 years old, and like many of you, remember the shopping mall phenomenon with a great deal of whistful nostalgia. Walking past the deserted storefronts in Metcalf South brought about one of those strange, scary phsychosomatic responses that one gets when the configuration, look, smell, whatever-you-want-to-call-it of a place just bowls you over and takes you back in time.

    I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe the condition that this place is in. It is as if someone invented a fucking time machine with a Google interface, typed the words “awesome” and “1986,” and hit “enter.” The wood paneling. The near-perfect floor tiles. The mirrors on the ceiling. I could almost smell my granddad’s Brylcreem wafting over the Cookie Factory Bakery as I tugged on his hand,begging for a G.I. Joe action figure above the din of the food court crowd–all the while taking in the fun, colorful neon signs.

    Even though I grew up in Hutchinson (KS, four hours away), we had our own little now-defunct mall that once was thriving and awesome (and apparently had decor similar to what was on display here, judging from the subconscious memories this place snatched up out of me). I have no doubt that in its heyday Metcalf South was “off” the proverbial “chain.”

    The condition of this place and the eerie-ness of its preservation got me searching on the internet, and eventually I wound up here. I didn’t even know sites like this existed, or what a “Labelscar” even was until I visited this site. Now I’m hooked.

    This site really is something special. It’s funny how reading the memories of strangers about a place you’ve only been to one time can evoke such a collective consciousness, but there it is. Thanks, everybody, for that.

    And while I’m shuffling electrons I might as well say–thank you Grandpa. I’ll probably be seeing you again soon, and if you’re not too busy with other things, maybe we can hold hands and walk through the mall again one more time.

  194. Steve Myers…did you also play soccer in the 70’s for coach Nagi?

  195. Wow, I’ve loved reading all of these memories. I was just there this evening to pick up something at Sears, and had to get a popcorn and cherry limeade at Topsy’s. I took a brief walk around the lower level, and threw a few coins into the fountain – the only sound in the mall.

    When I started in band in 1971, my first horn came from Jenkins Music which was at the bottom of the escalators by the main fountain. Every year, back-to-school clothes came from Jones. I love that mall and every memory of it.

    SMNW ’80

  196. Just a correction on the grocery stores along 95th in the 1960s / early 1970s —

    95th & Nall had a Thriftway on the SE corner, a Kroger on the SW corner

    95th & Metcalf had the French Market on the NE corner, which eventually became K-mart and Milgram’s (which eventually became a Save-Mart in the mid-1970s). Metcalf South initially had a Safeway, which flopped miserably due to poor parking; that closed in ~1972 and was converted into two small wings that included, among others – Record Bar, Garb-Age, Eddy’s Loaf-n-Stein. On the SW corner of 95th and Metcalf, Venture opened in 1971 with a grocery on the west end of the store.

    95th & Antioch had a United Supers on the SW corner and an A&P on the NW corner. The A&P relocated to 103rd & Metcalf in 1974 (across the street from the Safeway – turned – Food Barn).

  197. Hey all I reposted my Youtube video to another site that still has the audio, youtube pulled the audio from the original. Also this one has better quality

    Here is the new link:


  198. Chris, excellent video!!! Thanks for taking the time to put that together and post it.

  199. @Thomas Long,

    Wow! Great memory! You nailed everything.

    One tiny correction: the Milgrim’s next to K-Mart became a Save-Mart in the early-to-mid 1980’s, about the time Milgrim’s completely folded (around 1980-1981). I remember it well because that was not long after we moved to the area from Lenexa.

    Any other memories of the area you can think of?

  200. Chris… check out the photo at 7:06 on your video… Kinda creepy… Looks like a “ghost” boy. Do you have the original that you can send me? Thanks.

  201. Wait, Never mind, the same boy is in the photo at 7:27, obviously superimposed or digital imagery. Looks good though.

  202. @Alex Johnson,

    I know the owner of the Cigar and tabac cigar store (now located at 103rd and Metcalf). He told me his original store was in Matcalf South Mall. Maybe you can add that to your list of stores that used to inhabit the mall.

  203. I was at Metcalf South earlier today. I commute to Overland Park from rural Missouri as my office is in OP.

    Prior to today, I had never been in Metcalf South. I have drive past the Mall several times a week using Metcalf to traverse OP.

    For regular readers of this blog, there were a considerable number of cars in the parking lot as they were holding the/a Johnson County Library book sale. I went into the mall to see what all the comotion (over the book sale was). Instead of perusing old library books, I found myself wandering the vacant, quiet cavernous spaces of the mall. As other posts on this blog have noted, I felt as if I was in a virtual time machine which took me back to my teenage years in the late 80s & early 90s. Metcalf South is a structure which seems to be the quintessential late 20th century suburban shopping mall. As a 30 something who grew up in the Lincoln/Omaha, NE area (which has numerious INDOOR malls), my mind’s eye was creating visions of going to the mall as kid to waste money on the arcade or buy a new pair of tennis shoes.

    As I pulled out of the parking lot of Metcalf South I was waiting to see Marty & Doc testing the DeLorean to see if they could get it up to 88 mph!!

    Nice blog/website!!

  204. Yeah I have no idea, that was someone elses pic, I dunno if it was on purpose or what, kinda funny.

  205. Just a correction regarding the grocery stores:

    Milgrams was actually located at 95th and Nall on the Southeast corner until the mid 80s when it became Frank’s Foodland. Payless was located on the Southwest corner. Milgrams had a Tron arcade game up by the door which I blew through many an allowance.

  206. @Thomas Long,
    I think you and I are the same age! I even remember when 95th was a dirt road! Yes French Market and B.A…..I had wonderful times. Very sad to see it now. Moved to Hutchinson Kansas in 1990, but go to the “mall” whenever I get back. ..memory lane..

  207. I used to hang out at Metcalf South when it opened sometime in the mid to late 1960s (when I was in junior high school). Believe me, it was a very crowded place in those days. Sears and Jones were there, of course, and I also remember an Orange Julius, a Topsy’s, and even a Kroger Grocery Store (on the lower western level). I worked at Jones and the Hallmark Store in 1968 and took my girl friend to the Metcalf Theatre. The fountain was a great place to sit, smoke, and watch people. I agree with many of the posts here that this is a very odd place now, a mall ghost town.

  208. I used to work on the mysterious 3rd floor of Metcalf South back in the summer of 2000. Back then a big chunk of the floor was occupied by a giant direct mass mail marketing company whose main business was buying, repackaging, and selling names and addresses to compile lists so people could send you catalogues and junk mail. They had just merged with another giant mass-mail marketing company, and I was hired (at age 23) as a computer consultant with two other guys out of New York. I wish I could remember the name of the company…

    We commuted to this weird (huge) office in a basically abandoned mall every weekday (we’d fly into KC every Monday). The offices had no windows, but explicit instructions for what to do in case of tornados taped to each filing cabinet. The only things still opened in the mall were 2 restaurants in a sort of mini food court, on the second floor, and a manicure place on the bottom floor. The mall walkers were plentiful though. And I loved the “Nearly Famous Pizza” sign.

  209. Ok, I can honestly say I was at the GRAND OPENING OF METCALF SOUTH sometime in 1967. I was 5 years old and it was a BIG deal in the neighborhood-like all the kids went. I lived in the 97th block of Slater Road(anyone?) I remember Timmy Donahue getting lost from his parents…and that was the big drama on opening day. Then how we all got COOKIES and what a thrill that was. I remember how COOL the fountain was that went from the third floor down to the bottom. That was supposed to be a cool fountain back then. I remember running around the round fountain on the main floor and the adults telling me to get off of it. Later I remembered Orange Julius…

    In high school (SMS) I worked at the Jones Store circa 1978(jean dept) for the summer. Anyone remember the organs playing or the Putches cafeteria? I have vivid memories of that stupid fountain splashing. Also, Skaggs, the hobby store, Spencers, Woolworths, Malliards, Wolf Bros, that smoke shop, the other hobby store the movie theater…God it all seems like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Whatever happened to these businesses, where did all the people go…It is frozen in time now

  210. @Carol,
    Carol…I grew up close to you, on Lamar…one of the first houses. I actually watched them build Metcalf South out of my bedroom window. I take it you went to John Diemer. What’s your maiden name. Mine is Reynolds

  211. @Raymond,
    I remember Woolworth’s dimestore. They had a little hamburger joint attached to it. Later, it became a jewelry store and a bunch of other little stores.

  212. @Bill Goodfriend,
    I remember SMAKS on the top floor. I actually watched the mall being built from my bedroom window on Lamar.

  213. @Paul,
    It was Janey from Milgrims. I remember too!

  214. @marcie,
    Are you Marcie Schultz? I grew up on Lamar.

  215. @Brian,
    They had the best fried chicken there as well.

  216. @Rob 1960,
    My folks built a house and 95th and Grandview in the late 1950’s and people thought it was way out. French Market was the Barthol Family Farm. Then, in 1964, we moved to 95th and Lamar. Could still see the old house until they built Metcalf South.

  217. Hey Alex,

    My brother Chris Smith worked at Original Pizza with some italian dude as manager. Another buddy of mine also worked there, Bob Simmering.

  218. MetSouth was always welcoming, even in it’s emptier days. I often visited the Burstein-Applebee store, as I worked for their Pro-Industrial Div, and serviced all the video surveillance cameras.

    The prettiest girls were in MetSouth, and people just acted nicer there.

    The SCCA put on several driving events in the massive parking lot, as well. Ahhh, 1976 was a blast there. All she needs is people walking through her hallowed halls, to fill her arteries with the blood of noisy conversation.

  219. My husband works for the real estate company that owns Metcalf South Mall. The name of the company is MD Management (located in Mission, KS) and you can reach them at 913.831.2996 or you can visit their webiste at Their company recently finished renovating East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, Missouri and I would highly recommend checking it out. Like Metcalf South, East Hills was in severe decline. MD did an amazing job on bringing that mall into the 2000s and I know that plans for Metcalf South are in the works. I will certainly show this site my husband and encourage him to share it with his company.

    Ironically enough, we now live on Riggs (just two blocks East of 95th and Metcalf) and I can see the mall from our upstairs window. As a member of gen-X, the only Metcalf South Mall I know is the one that you see today. I have loved reading all of your stories and memories about growing up in Nall Hills and in Metcalf South Mall. I have lived in this neighborhood for two years now and absolutely love it. I hope to see the mall make a come back as well.

  220. @Got Some Info, this makes me very excited! I live on Horton and we go walking at this mall during the winter (and the hot summer days) and frequently go to the Glenwood. I would love to see this place be revitalized – as I’m sure you would as well, living so close! yay!

  221. @Erika M.,

    I remember going back to Metcalf South after I had moved away… I was there on business and visited the company you’re talking about. They were a mass mailer of educational materials/seminar information. I swear I’ll remember and email you back…The name escapes me right now!

    A bit about my history with MSM:

    I grew up in Overland Park (lived in Brookridge Estates, across the street at 99th) and used to go to this mall growing up in the late 80’s. I worked at Paul Harris in the stockroom in the far rear of the store and remember unwrapping all of the many shipments of crazy 80’s earrings for working women. I remember that Paul Harris sold suits and career wear.

    My sister worked at Top Dog when she was 14. Kind of a funny story… she’d invite my mom, sisters, and I to visit and we’d arrive to find the place completely ransacked…old, wrinkly hot dogs still spinning in the rotisserie, greasy french fries thrown all over the floor, tables sticky with dirty napkins stuck to them..and there was my sister just having the time of her life. Of course we’d get free nachos and all the nasty dogs we could eat! Oh the stories…

    Does anyone remember shopping at Ups-N-Downs for school clothes or Foxmoor? I bought a slinky prom dress at Merry Go Round. I’m surprised my parents let me out of the house with that on. It was really, really short.

    There was also a food court with Taco Via! Loved the food there. Remember the Chinese store downstairs? We’d buy the green shoes that looked like slippers.

    Anyone else go to Metcalf South between 1985-1990? I’d love to reminisce…

  222. I grew up going to MS as a kid and still stop by Sears to this day. It’s a shame what happened to the mall. One plan for renovation that I heard about was that the mall would be leveled between Macy’s and Sears with a newer strip mall style of stores in the new space. While I’d like to see the mall used, I don’t really like this idea. What I’d really like to see if a resurgence of the mall as it structurally is…I have little interest in a “Zona Rosa South”.

    Does anyone know what’s currently planned for the mall? Are they still considering leveling everything between Macy’s and Sears?

  223. @Scott L,

    LOL..I remember the Putches Cafeteria…I think that whole corridor is now part of Macys. I remember the Nut Hut on the top floor near Smaks, which was across from the Taco John/Via. I really miss Metcalf South…going to either Sears or Video Concepts to play the latest Atari or Intellivision games. There was a magic shop and a couple of book stores on the top level. It was a great mall…would love to see it renovated as is and not levelled.

  224. @Got Some Info,

    Any news on what the plans are? Does it include renovating the existing structure or turning the middle of the mall into a strip mall section, like the Ward Parkway Mall did?

  225. I am glad I found this site, brings back alot of memories. I worked in the key shop that was in the parking lot outside the west side of Sears from about 1982 -1984. loved the Taco Via on the third floor, the deli by orange julius, and topsy’s. would love to hear from all the old gang from back then.

  226. I grew up in OP, moved there from Independence in 1968. My buddies and I would ride our Schwinn Varsities on Saturdays from ~101st and Roe. My oldest sister worked at Jones. There was an Eddy’s restaurant there also if I remember correctly, I think I saw a lot of movies there in the 70’s!

    Yeah, Orange Julius, Topsy’s, Jenkins Music Store. I vaguely remember that comic store also. I am visiting my Dad in 10 days who still lives in KC, maybe I’ll take a trip down memory lane! I went to Indian Creek Jr. High and SMS. Hope the mall can be renovated or put to good use. What happened to Roebuck????? Ah well.

  227. @Scott Acheson,

    You’re thinking of Clint’s Comics on the bottom level next to the arcade. That was probably the quietest section of the mall as they had a hard time keeping stores in that corridor. If I remember right they had a soup/potato place briefly across from Clint’s and I think a water bed story a little further down.

  228. Wasn’t there a J.P. Tod’s at MS Mall? J.P. Tod’s, now Tod’s, the upscale leather goods store? I remember how posh it was for the guys to have J.P. Tod’s penny loafers. There was a cheap store called DEB I think on the top floor. I did a fashion show for them, modeling prom dresses. I also did another fashion show on the main stage near the fountains. We modeled UNITS. Does anyone remember UNITS? They were the multi-use clothing line where one size fitted all. Those were really big in the mid-80’s.

    @Linkin Logs, ah I remember that arcade and Clint’s. I felt so out of place at Clint’s because it was all guys.

    What about Taco Via!? My friend Doug and I used to play a game where he’d pretend to insult my weight while I dined on Taco Via. People would stare at us and I’d say “I promise I’ll work out if you let me eat just one taco.” ha ha… we were so mature back then, weren’t we?

    See my earlier post about Top Dog. My sister worked there and that place was always a disaster. Hot dogs and nachos everywhere. The owner was never there, so she gave us free dogs all the time, albeit nasty, two-day-old dogs, but what the hell. They were good.

  229. Wow I have to look at this again. Parents built a house near 95th and Metcalf in 1968. Got in minor trouble once because we decided to walk to Nallwood instead of taking the bus. Walked past the mall. I think. Did make it to school. Juvenile delinquency! We must have been forgiven.

    Anyhow, remember roaming the mall. All of the names of these stores are etched in my memory. I won’t tell the stories.

    Anyhow, we had to move up north in 1970. That was the end of that. I am sort of a northern girl but will never forget that time in Overland Park.

    I did have an I am loved bracelet or something. Also bought some love beads.

  230. When I was a kid, in the 70’s, when you would buy Topsy’s caramel corn at that mall, it would come in a plastic bag and on the bag was a character drawing of a girl whose body was an ear of corn. She had a long yellow ponytail stretching up to the top opening of the bag. There was a saying on the bag….”Twist my ponytail to keep me fresh”.
    If I hadn’t moved away in 8th grade, I would be SMS’83.

  231. How I miss the old days. I use to wonder the mall in the early and mid 80’s. Plus I use to work at Doctor Pet, Top dog and cone a copia.
    Plus I knew Security really well there. And what is funny the same security officer still works there.
    This was a great mall sorry to see it like it is now.
    I was just there 2 weeks ago.

  232. @Got Some Info,

    Interesting! I live in CO now, but grew up in Prairie Village (SME 91). MD is (I think) the same company that’s always owned the mall. Perhaps the death of the last original principal (Sherman Dreiseszun) a couple of years ago has spurred some action from the heirs. The family may be wanting to see some actual revenue. And with 2 anchors still going, it might be possible to somehow revitalize the place. But getting a now-old-fashioned “70s mall” back in business may be tough.

    I do like the idea of the mall museum, though!

  233. @RaisedinJoCo, I went to Indian creek Jr. High with Christian. He was a great kid and a good friend to everyone he’d meet. At the time it was grades 7, 8 and 9. The days of not knowing what had happnd and the rumors filtering down from SMS, the announcements asking for any information. It was all very devastating then finding him and the funeral. So very very sad and unforgetful. But, maybe that is a good thing because he was too young and deserves to be remembered. Kimberly SMS 85′

  234. @Alex Johnson, I remember Smaks, Taco Via, bernstein-applebee music store, DQ,Wool Brothers, Adlers and Swiss Colony. Remember those?

  235. I had to hop 2 fences and down a small path and we were at Metcalf South. It was hoppin with Skaggs, woolf brothers, Taco Via, DQ, Adlers,Swiss Colony, bernstein-applebee music company,Original Pizza,many others to walk me down memory lane.
    I miss that place. I had heard that CWB was thinking of purchasing the mall turning it into a Zona Rosa type property. Hasn’t happened!
    What a great place it was.

  236. @Adam,
    Was it Gateway Sporting Goods? One time on my 3&2 baseball team, they sponsored our uniforms and I remember they had a store I think one location at Metcalf South.

  237. I used to hang out all the time at Metcalf South in the early eighties when I was in junior high (was Nallwood, now is Indian Woods I think). My friends and I would climb the stairwell at the back of the mall outside and drop pennies on people that were coming and going (I know, bad kids). We would eat at Original Pizza (I think the sign is still there) and buy albums at Musicland on the bottom level.I was in an Adlers (remember Adlers?) fashion show in the early eighties that took place in Putch’s Cafeteria. I later worked at Putch’s in 1986/87. I saw Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at the theater there in 1984. That mall holds a lot of fond memories for me. It is so surreal to walk through now with it basically empty. I hate to see it torn down. I wish it could just be renovated. There are a lot of nice storefronts that could be given new life.

  238. @Erika M.,

    I think it’s Fred Pryor/Careertrack Seminars (the mailer on the top floor at Metcalf South).


  239. I wandered through Metcalf South last night, after picking up some Christmas presents at Macy’s. It was the strangest thing to walk through the clean, shining, empty mall – all full of Christmas decorations and empty store fronts. It made me want to cry, imagining it in it’s heyday. County Seat! The Christmas decorations were just eery in a dead mall.

  240. @Greg Gaul,
    Was that at Ranchmart, I remember a record store in the bottom of Ranchmart that had a Tron game. Bucey use to work at the Ranchmart theatre.

  241. @Paul Stanley, “Let us NOT forget Charley Chans with that beautiful brunette who gave me free chicken sandwiches”

    Guess what – owner of that very restaurant here and glad to hear you enjoyed our food and counter help – sorry to hear you were getting freebies but that’s a long time in the past – 20 years ago as Charlie Chan was in operatin from 1981 thru July 1989.

    A lot of our enegry and family funds went into the venture at the time the mall was in decline – the handwriting was clearly on the wall in the mid and late 80s.

    Wish i knew which of our beautiful brunettes you refer to. Thanks for the late plug and remembrance . The latter years in Metcalf South were nailed by occasional Saturday Night Live sketches centered on “Puppyland” – a pet store in a declining shopping center. As an owner the “Puppyland” segments were pretty close to home.

    rjw – still in Kansas City but no more retail .

  242. Does anyone remember Ocean Club, which was located across the street from Metcalf South in the Windmill Plaza? If so, please let me know your memories. I remember going there, but can barely remember… It was the mid-80’s.


  243. Yes I remeber Ocean Club I was 17-18 years old when my friends and I use to go there every weekend. I believe it was in 1988-1989. It was a fun place until the wrong crowd starting showing up and causing fights. Overland Park rounded everyone up in Patio Wagons. Remeber that?

  244. @Mark,
    I don’t remember that! I remember there was another club out in Olathe I think… Pogo’s. Anyone remember that place?? I think it was dry, but I can’t remember.

  245. @Paul Stanley, damn–now i really want a chicken chan

  246. I was in a fashion show (maybe at Adler’s) when I was five. I remember the marionette show that was always there at Christmas. Shopping with my mom at Jones. Once when I was about three I got my head stuck in the railing outside of Taco Via on the third floor. Even though my family moved way south, we still preferred to go to Metcalf South. It was OUR mall. Oak Park was horrible. I can’t believe a mall is evoking all these memories!

  247. Oh, I’m so glad so many love this mall as much as I do. I also remember when it opened in ’67–it was something, and my father even made my sisters and I put on dresses to go there–like going to church! My friends and I were original mall rats there as teenagers; it was the coolest place to hang out. I sometimes was so determined to get there that I walked all the way from home at 91st and Switzer! My very first kiss took place on that old metal staircase. I later worked at both the Waldenbooks and B. Dalton’s for many years–still occasionally have dreams that I’m working there and walking around in this mall. I can still remember a “hip” men’s clothing store called Sliverman’s across from B. Dalton’s blasting out Michael Jackson’s Thriller album while I worked.
    I lived overseas through much of the 90s, and used to return to OP in the summers where I’d go to the mall to buy clothes to take back overseas with me. Each summer I noticed the mall becoming emptier and emptier until it was basically just the anchor stores. It was unbearably sad to see this.
    I can remember when the mall expanded three times–two extensions in the basement (one where Topsy’s eventually moved from its prime center middle-floor location) and the extension to the third floor. Even at the time people felt they were over-expanding and wouldn’t be able to maintain so many shops.
    Anway, thanks for the memories. Here’s one more for you baby boomers–remember the little women’s fashion shop on the lower floor called “Mode-‘O-Day”?

  248. This mall was the first one I saw on and at You Tube,w/ the old man walking.This mall is so nice inside.The lay out and design are so much like the old mall I miss in my city.It was bulldozed down and replaced by a swanky outdoor shopping center.A Dutch company owned the old mall and what killed it first was the demo’ing of the popular K and W cafeteria.There is a bigger more popular mall nearby.The privately owned elegant cafeteria there was killed by Cheesecake Factory.I was in this area 16 years ago but only to see where President Ike is buried.

  249. The Ocean Club was also a Wild Bill Hickok’s or Silverfox or something country like that, and Bananas.

  250. Original Pizza was first called Pizza Place when the mall opened.

  251. @Kelley,

    Pogos was an 18 year old 3.2 beer bar. Disco city.

  252. Well, for those wondering about Metcalf’s fate, it is still open AND has new shops! The bad news, unfortunately, is that said stores are wholesale stores that only sell to licensed business owners.

    A whole mall where you can’t actually buy anything! What fun!

  253. hymm well i find this all very interesting and sad in a way iv seen the video footage of this mall and others and its very troubling to see store after store empty. I live in Boise Idaho and our mall is located right near the main highway connector, the mall itself i believe was built in 1988, currently in this economic disaster it has lost quite a few stores but retains sears, macys, jcpenneys, dillards, and alot of others smaller stores, it did loose mervyns however, now i wouldnt suggest going to boise town square mall to take any pictures or video because they have an extremely strict rule about picture taking and on several occasions have called the police and have either removed or hauled people off too jain now you might be able to get away with a cell phone camera il bet but thats it the only thing i can figure is thier paranoid about lawsuits or some such crap and dont like camera’s.

    My feelings are if they ever go out of business i wont miss them, the mall is very small anyway with no special features that i can recall and i can say with much emotional feeling that all the other malls i have seen on utube deserve more respect.

  254. @Lewis,
    Strange. I don’t remember those other bars being there. I remember when there was a Venture over there and we’d go to Bennigan’s for dinner. Sad that those places are gone.

    Musicland was such a big store back in the days of Metcalf South. There was also a magic shop and Victoria’s Secret was just starting out and was on the top floor, near Ups-n-Downz. I always shopped there with my mother for high school clothes. Merry-go-Round was a good place for funky prom dresses. What else…? Oh yeah; Spencer Gifts! I remember looking at all of the posters of good-looking guys of the time (probably the brat pack).

    Keep the memories coming… Maybe someone can explain more about how this area looked in the 70’s? Popular places that are no longer…? What things used to be and what they are now? This would be really interesting for me to hear about!

    Thanks and have a great week everyone.


  255. @Mike Smih, I don’t recall Chris but I did work with Bob Simmering and Steve Parker. I remember they were in a band together. I also remember Scott Kleban, what a character!

  256. @Lisa Stewart,
    Is Stewart your maiden name? What year did you go to Diemer. I started in 1966. We moved to 95th and Lamar in 1965. My mom still lives there!

  257. @D Scott,
    Wongs was a chinese restaurant on the bottom level. There was also a flower shop owned by a a former music teacher at Diemer. I remember walking to the mall and cutting through as well.

  258. @Dave MacGill,
    Hey….you lived behind us…next door to the Wenzel’s. I remember you.

  259. @Ace Frehley,
    Duffy fought with a lot of people. What a bully!

  260. @Isabella Leone,
    I cannot tell you how much of my allowance I spent buying your father’s yummy pizza!

  261. @ReBeL,
    Johnny passed away recently

  262. Steve,

    Steve, when exactly did you work at Hardee’s at 95th and Antioch?

  263. I remember Pogos. Don’t think I ever went there but I recall, for a time, they hosted “Rising Stars.” Eddie Money played there early in his carreer.

  264. @Lewis,
    Oh yeah! Thanks for reminding me. Funny how some memories stick and others don’t.


  265. So to clarify, Jose’s was the mexican restaurant on 95th street, originally just west of Antioch – north side of 95th. Thier second location was at 95th and Mission. I worked at Jose’s (Antioch location) beginning in 1979 – until Chi Chi’s opened on Metcalf.

  266. @Mike D, yeah…I DO remember that treehouse. Believe I climbed up in it back in the late 60s. As you said, the steps for it were there for many years. IN about 68-70 me and pal Danny M used to go to the (then new) Valley View state bank and trade rolls of pennies with them to fish out the wheat pennies for our coin collections. Used to play down that that creek for many years before Venture was built. There was an abandoned farm house there..we called it the “haunted house”. I also recall when Glenwood lake was a pay fishing lake…

  267. @Greg Gaul,

    Remember the “Hall of Phones”?


  268. Hey Greg

    Remember the “Hall of Phones” ?


  269. @Kelley Hood,

    I really love everyone’s comments on here. I am an SMNW class of ’89 who spent a lot of time at Metcalf South. I remember being really little and going shopping at the Jones Store with my mom and older sister and “hiding out” in the middle of one of those circular clothes racks. There was a yard stick in the middle and I took it and was hitting all the women that were looking at the clothes on the rack in the ankles until my Mom found out it was me……………..I also went to the Ocean Club and performed there with my then band The Paisley Pepul. I now live in Phoenix and many bands later perform with Moron Kassandra. I was just at Metcalf South about a week ago over Memorial Day weekend and how true it is that things in OP are just not what they used to be. The Royals are averaging 12,000 people a night and the landscape has truly changed. It is great though to be able to walk into Metcalf South and think about how things were when we were growing up. With the pace of how fast things change in our lives, I think that it is great that even though Metcalf South is a “dead mall” that we are still able to go in there and visit memory lane.

  270. I have fond memories of this mall growing up in K.C. and travelling to it. It’s an odd one, now. I’m wondering about the possibility of using the space as a practice turf arena for indoor youth soccer games, as we’re so extremely short of facilities, which would gather some really good traffic, crowds if the space allows, inside?! Would love to hear feedback bc who likes to see these areas die? And what a great way to accommodate youth and families in a fun and real setting (unlike the caroussels).


  271. very strange to see pics and read about this, I grew up in OP Ks till 1976 and used to hang out at The Red Baron, I remember fountains in the main walkway, those seem to be gone too….just very strange looking to see something so clean & empty

  272. @Kelly, also hung out in Spencers, esp in black light room they had LOL!

  273. @Steve,
    I remember buying a pair of red plaid pants with a 2″ cuff on them at the Corner in 1972. I can’t believe I threw them away. They’d be great for a Halloween party. God they were ugly. Everyone from SMS bought their clothes there. I graduated in ’73.

  274. @Kelley,
    I remember when it was called “Bananas” back in ’81. That place drew a very interesting crowd. Yes, I also remember the Ocean Club. I think it’s a daycare place now. Quite a reversal from a nightclub.

  275. @Lewis, Actually origional pizza came after Pizza Hut. From what I remember, this was OP’s first Pizza Hut Restaurant.

  276. @mike, Plans are back on track to tear everything between Macys and Sears down and redevelope it. Will be a couple of years though.

  277. @Carrie, Topsy’s is one of two tennants still there! I would have been SMS ’83 too. What was your last name???

  278. @Linkin Logs, It was put on hold, but is now back on track. Will be a couple of years though.

  279. @Duff, Actually Jenkins Music was located on the 2nd floor next to sears. Soonafter Jenkins closed, Lowry Organs opened on the 3rd floor. I took organ lessons at Jenkins, and later at Lowrys. My teacher was Vicki Colletti, who moved from Jenkins to Lowrey as well. Many fond memories of playing the organ in the stores with shoppers stopping in to hear me! And I was only about 8 years old—and quite the keyboardist!

  280. @Greg Gaul, Actually at 95th and Metcalf where Michaels used to be, it was built and opened as the French Market, then divided the space where Milgrams went in. Milgrams was there for years before it turned into a Save Mart grocery store. We shopped there. And yes, Diemer ROCKED!!!

  281. Slum lords, like the pathetic owner of this mall, are the only argument I have ever seen for government intervention. It is a crime to see such a beautiful space and building wasted, because some senile old fart controls it.
    He, and his ilk, are the biggest contributors to the failing economy. If the fed made it expensive for these turds to let their properties sit — overpriced and under rented — young start-ups would have an opportunity to contribute and thrive!
    Whoever is in his family (assuming, God forbid, that he actually reproduced), should take him out “fishing” on some secluded lake. Hopefully, he’s as shaky and stupid about staying in a boat, as he is at contributing to society!

  282. @Tammy,

    What black light room? What was it? I remember running into one of the priests who taught at Rockhurst High School at Spencers! Needless to say, when he saw my boyfriend and I, he was a bit surprised!

    There was a shop called JP Tods on the second floor, I think. I believe this is the now-famous Tod’s during its beginning? Does anyone know?

    What else… Cindy Crawford came to sign autographs back in 1988 or 89. I was so excited to meet her and I remember also asking my mom if she would buy me some Red perfume for prom. Boy, that stuff was potent! Good times…. Please everyone keep adding! I’m loving these memories.

  283. @Art, the owner of the mall mentioned in the entry, Sherman Dreiseszun, died nearly three years ago.

    Last I heard the non-profits like the playhouses were still surviving, and wholesale stores now take up retail space.

  284. @mike,

    Let’s not forget Clint’s Comics and NICKELODEON!!! Clint was and still is a shyster businessman and Nickelodeon was the best arcade in Kc for years! 🙂

  285. @Alex Johnson, Was that Bob Kleban’s son? Bob owned Eddie Jacobson’s at The Landing. Eddie Jacobson was in business with Harry Truman. My dad worked there until they closed. He went to JP Todd for a short while until landing at Michael’s for a couple of decades until he retired. All men’s clothing stores.

  286. @mike, I used to go with Dale Partridge for lunch in 4th grade from Santa Fe Trail School, 71st & Lamar, all the way to Taco Via on 75th just before Metcalf. I loved their nachos and taco burgers. That was in 1970-71. I moved out of OP in ’78. Didn’t know there was a Taco Via at Metcalf South. I definitely remember BA, Burstein Applebee. We had one on 75th between Lamar & Metcalf. I remember all the stores you mentioned. Do you remember the huge slides at French Market that became K-Mart?

  287. @Mike Sachs, I forgot, do you remember Woody’s Bar-b-que? Wasn’t the arcade The Red Baron? I won an air hockey tournament between Nickelodeon at Oak Park Mall and The Red Baron. First I won at Nickelodeon. I remember the first video games at Red Baron. there were two cowboys facing & shooting at each other. Then I’d go get an Orange Julius.

  288. @Lisa Stewart, LOL, did it have a bag to catch droppings?

  289. @D Scott, Scrolling through the comments, at this one I was reminded of working once for one day at The Corndog Factory. I can’t understand how they hired a 14-year-old Jr. Space Cadet and thought I’d be able to run the store & remember all of things I had to do when taking the money to the bank after close. I couldn’t remember what I had eaten for breakfast back then.

  290. @Jim, I remember an Eddy’s but not what kind of store it was. I posted on Red Baron a few minutes ago.

  291. @patrick duffy, I remember Shakey’s not far from 75th & Metcalf. Moved from that area in ’73, not far from “Great things are growin’ on, great things are growin’ on, at Oak Park, Oak Park Mall.” Those two malls were far enough away from each other for Metcalf South to have not gone through what it did. Lower rents, quick nickels are better than slow dimes, attracting cool businesses, etc. would’ve kept them in fine shape.

  292. @Matty, I got a prize or something if I finished my whole plate at John Francis.

  293. @Matty, Remember Pojo’s?

  294. @Matty, The 1st movie I remember was The Love Bug. I saw it at The Waldo Theater, close to 75th & Warnall, 1968. I think it was before July so I was still 5.

  295. @TDogEast, I think my neighbor’s number was Randolph 2, my aunt’s, Niagra 8. I don’t know what 432 was. That was our number at 71st & Horton. We had 888 on Goddard. I never heard it called Tuxedo 8.

  296. @doug s, Wasn’t there a restaurant called The Red Barn a little west of Metcalf?

  297. @Mitch, I remember Putt Putt. Thanks, Mitch.

  298. @cory, Hillcrest ’75, I remember a Cory Lovelace.

  299. @Brian, I definitely remember The Red Barn, just West of Metcalf, and it was a chicken place, now that you mention it. This was the late 60’s/early 70’s. I don’t remember a Red Barn west of Antioch, for some reason. I moved away in ’78 but was very familiar with 95th & Antioch.

  300. @Steve, We got school clothes at The Corner for years. I remember Gar-bage. Remember the pants that were made up of all square patches? Of course, they were bells. Then came Jordache. Anyway, back to the older days. Besides The Corner, another great OP clothing store was Litwin’s in Old OP. I think that they were on 83rd between Santa Fe & Metcalf. They had 11 stores in Kansas & maybe MO.

  301. @Rob, There was a Milgram’s next to Katz just East of 75th & Metcalf.

  302. @Lewis, Pojos was an arcade that had pool tables set up with one hole, like a mini golf pool place, with foos, pin ball, air hockey at Valley View Shopping center on the East side, around the building from Valley View Theater.

  303. @Kelly, Oak Park was cool, too. It wasn’t their fault that MS had bad management.

  304. I was a teenager in the 70’s will never forget cruising the mall had some great times there. Sears was especially fun place elko nv guy at yahoo dot com if I wasnt at the mall went to Loose Park or Seville Square

  305. I went walking around Metcalf South a few hours ago (too cold to walk around outside) and I’m really surprised that the old Carrousel Park sign on the inside is still up and that some of the fountains were even full of water and coins. Carrousel Park is my fondest memory of the mall (I’m a 90s baby) and my parents would take me there all the time as a kiddo. The only other people there were employees of Macy’s (who didn’t mind me taking my time trying the sharper image massage chairs), Sears, The Kansas City Women’s Choir (they rent a space on the second floor next to Sears to rehearse) and mall walkers both young and old. While the weather is still not fun for a jog around the neighborhood, I may just hop over here until something happens to it.

    Also a few years ago The Repo Road Show came to The Glenwood Theatre with Repo! The Genetic Opera (directed by hometown hero Darren Lynn Bousman [directed Saw II, III, IV] who is SMN class of 97. I thought that was pretty cool to come to our tiny beloved mall to show their musical masterpiece instead of an AMC or Cinemark.

  306. In the late 70s, there was an electronics/AV store on the top floor and as any kid at the time would tell you It was the best place in town to buy Atari game cartridges. It was called Video something or another and I used to lobby hard to go there.

  307. My grandparents built a house at 99th an Riley in 1963. I was born in 66, I remember as a young kid walking to the mall with grandma, up the gravel sides of Metcalf and walking in the open concrete water drains. My mother worked for Sears accounting for 19 years. I modeled clothes with Winnie the Pooh in the 70’s and ran the mall when there with mom probably driving her nuts. I worked at Sears Auto in 1984 for 6 months with Steve Anderson and Buck (I forget his last name) just before joining the Army.
    I now do camera work for retail companies that takes me to Sears and Macys on occasion. From what I hear, all the plans they had for renovating this mall are done, the sons of the dead owner sold this mall a couple of years ago to another firm who has no desire to renovate. I have a lot of good memories here, just memories. Did anybody ever eat at Nearly Famous Pizza, I never did, parents never took me there. I am assuming after reading some of the entries that Pizza Hut was here prior to NFP, it was probably a oven baked pizza instead of todays belt baked pizza?
    Its a shame but this mall should be knocked down, it will never be what it was and could never compete with OPMall now. The kids will never come back.
    I remember the fountains and the moving Christmas scenes throughout the mall, playing in the fountains, running over the bridges being told to walk or fall in the water( no ropes).
    I am so glad I grew up when I did before all the PC safety stuff. How did anybody survive? My sister and I used to lay in the back window of our 70’s tank four door Bonneville and laugh as Dad would hit the brakes and we would hit the floor only to do it again. SEATBELTS!!! HA

  308. @Dave, \
    I remember buying a suit at KG Menswear somewhere on the back east side of the mall and wearing it to an employment service. The guy told me if I wear a cheap quality suit like that to an interview I’m toast. Never wore it again or shopped at KG again. Did get a job eventually though. My mother used to shop at Adler’s upstairs back in the late 60’s and she would haul me with her in our ’65 Pontiac Star Chief. Talk about no seatbelts. I remember reaching over and stabbing the brake pedal while she was in the lot one time….stupidist thing I ever did. Let’s just say we both hit the dashboard.
    ………….Great memories.

  309. I worked at Hickory Farms in the 80s…I passed out cheese and beef stick samples. It was always very busy..

  310. worked at this mall for years with Marcets and miss shopping there : ) Orange Julius’s mmmm

  311. @Rob, I do believe that I remember Vicki and she worked for dad. She had blonde hair. I was there one evening with my brother and she was playing the theme song for “Benny Hill”. She was playing to a tee, so I could believe she would have been a great instructor. Also Chuck Nixon worked at the south store for dad and also another guy named Brian. He was pretty young and dad told me that Brian’s dad was very wealthy. Chuck was probably in his 40’s at the time. He had an aggressive personality but he liked us because we gave him a hard time. It could be that we crossed paths back in the day.

  312. grew up nearby and this was the mall to go to in the late 60s and early 70s. Remember the candy store and Orange Julius on the first floor, the shoe store with the big boat , the other shoe store right inside the mall entrance that had a stage coach you walked on/in to test shoes, Dale’s Sports on the top floor (after they expanded up), Topsies, Taco Via,. Jack Henry’s, Hartzfelds, Woolf Brothers, Maliard’s, being trapped at the Jones Store for hours buying school cloths for me and all my siblings. Hobby Haven and their great selection of car models and train sets and accessories, Skaggs Drug store (with restaurant/counter), Putches Cafeteria with it’s big round booths, fireplace and fancy curtains, the Nickelodeon game arcade, the movie theater, the stepping stones across the fountain, the afternoon puppet shows. What about the French Market across the street, the real lake and Glenwood Manor Motel complex where the fake corporate lake and flash cube buildings are now. Haven’t thought about these places in ages and forgot about the key making kiosk in the middle of the parking lot. That was fun!

  313. @Kurt, can you believe seat belts were optional equipment in the sixties. And the stepping stones across the fountain in the center of the mall would surely not fly in today’s litigious world. times have sure changed!

  314. @derek,
    I remember all of those places you mentioned. Metcalf South was the place to be in the late 60’s and 70’s. It was pretty much the end of the line on Metcalf. There was nothing at 103rd and Metcalf to speak of except for a horse farm on the SE corner. The French Market was big time, especially about 1964 or 65. No other place like it. And you’re right about the seat belts. I don’t think they were required until ’68 when cars were also required to add “head restraints”. You bet those worked. You also mentioned the stepping stones. Can you imagine if some kid fell off of those in this day and age? Big time lawsuit.

  315. I remember shopping on Sunday when MO still had the blue laws.

  316. @Matty, the theatre at Metcalf South was our most common theatre home as well in the late 70’s. My biggest memory of the mall was taking my siblings and and younger cousins to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory there – my younger brother got terrified at the “blueberry” girl so I had to take him out into the mall for a bit to cool him down. Since videotapes and DVD’s weren’t around, it was many years before I ever saw the parts of the movie I ended up missing. As a Lenexa resident, the building of Oak Park was a big thrill and certainly enjoyed it much more than Melcalf South once it was open.

  317. I went there today, I LOVED it even though it is dead it DOES have potential but its on the managers who run the place. i would love to see some sort of upscale shops and good atmosphere which IS there but who knows…

  318. I was just in the mall, about 3 weeks ago. Macy’s still going, along with Sears. Not many shoppers and a number of stores are WHOLESALE ONLY, so guess that’s one way to keep it going. Yes, it’s still clean & polished, with the fountain still functioning. Many memories in M/S, but the salesman in MACY’s was clearly sad. Seems to me like Johnson County Community College should pick it up for a campus – it’d be terrific.


  319. Hi fellow MS Mallrats!

    Well, I’m back to this board. I’m actually going back to OP to visit my parents in a few weeks, so I’m going to take some photos. I’ll let you know when I do and post them.

    In the meantime, I wanted to ask everyone if anyone remembers all the women’s/girl’s clothing stores from around ’85-’89? I remember Foxmoor, Upz-N-Downz, Merry Go Round, Paul Harris, DEB, Casual Corner, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret (before it got hot pink cheesy-young-21-slutty)… what else?? Also, any fellow SM South grads from ’89 on here by chance? Seems like so long ago now, doesn’t it??


  320. @J.J. the Jet Plane,
    I just saw this old reply from you! Sorry to have missed it last year (wow, time does fly)! You and I are the same age. You’re right; it is something to still have the “shell” of what was our childhood still standing. I plan to take some photos in a few weeks when I visit my parents. I still am teary when I look at all the photos of the storefronts. The empty stores are still instantly familiar to me, even without their interiors.

    Thanks for sharing your memories!

  321. @Lisa Stewart, is this Lisa from SMS ’89? If so, hello! Not sure if you remember me (if this is the right Lisa), but if it is, it’s great to hear your memories… another time.

  322. @Mike Sachs, Yes, Pojos (with a “j”)was an arcade at Valley View Strip Center. Pogos (witha “g”) was a large disco bar at 75th St. and I-35 by the SM Hospital.

  323. @Tammy, Ah yes, Red Baron. And I used to hit on the chick working at Hot Sam Pretzel right across the hallway. Foos ball and pinball.

  324. @Lewis, And Garbage jeans store next store.

  325. @K, It was called Video Concepts….across from B Daltons.

  326. Anyone remember the Smaks in the corner of the top floor it was across from Taco Via. Also on that side was the Nut Hut (or something like that). How about the flags (international I think..) that use to line the windows on the top floor?

    I’m headed over there in the next week or two..I’ll post if I hear anything about the plans for the mall.

  327. We hung out from 68-74 (formative years!) at MS, always sat on the concrete edge of the 2nd floor main fountain in our army jackets and smoked cigs with the stoners (fountain was removed in mid-late 70s for a platform that staged events). Scored 2 jobs there from 72-75, Kinneys Shoes and Robinsons Shoes (very cool to …have a job at the mall back then!). Got to meet the best looking girls from S.M. South, who worked at Chasnoffs, Rothschilds, Jones Store, etc.
    I recall the pizza joint on the back side on the bottom started out, however briefly, as Pizza Place. I know this because we got in trouble there for underage drinking (3.2 beer, 18 year-old age limit back then). It went through many names later.
    Jenkins Music Store is the answer someone was looking for in an earlier post, and was located right between Robinsons and the 2nd level Sears entrance.

    Also remember Sunday SCCA sportscar events in the parking lot in front of Jones Store on the west side until there was a crash.
    As early teen trouble-makers, we’d heist sewing needles from Singer Sewing Store and wait at the upper level edges for the people selling helium balloons to walk underneath, then drop a handful… of needles into the batch of balloons. Pop-pop-pop-pop!, sometimes as many as 4-5 balloons would blow at a time, we’d take off running and laughing so hard we could hardly breathe, and our stomachs would hurt for hours afterwards.
    Yeah, it was a fun-filled Saturday at the mall…

  328. @Linkin Logs,
    I remember the Smaks. Why do all great things have to vanish. A Smak-A-Roo sounds pretty good right now.

  329. Wann know why Jones/Macy’s and Sears are still at Metcalf South when all the other stores left 20 years ago? Because per square foot those two stores are both the most profitable in their region. Neither anchor wants to move when the sotr eis so profitble– and Metcalf SOuth willnot close while the two anchors are there.

    I was there the day MS opened in 1967. My little brother was about three at the time and got lost in the huge crowd at the Jones Store. I remember the store personnel found himand paged my parents over the loudspeaker. I also remember the great mechanical Christmas displays. My favorite was in an interior Jones Store window– a mother putting her children to bed and as soon as she turned, one of them would pop uo again.

  330. @Barbara,

    I had heard that the developers/owners were trying to get Sears to leave as well at some point. The problem is that Sears (supposedly) owns the building/space and can’t be forced out. Plus…why would you (Sears) give up the space and probably try and lease it again after the area is redeveloped?

    Yeah…definitely miss the mechanical Christmas displays. I believe there was a Peter Pan one as well.

  331. @Ace Frehley,

    The record store was called Record Bar.

  332. @Mike Sachs, It was called Manor Barn. There was also a Red Barn chicken fast food joint just west of 95th and Antioch.

  333. @Kelley Hood,

    Hi Kelley, I was wondering how your trip back was. I was looking at the site because I am going to make my annual pilgramage back to Kansas City in about a month and was wondering what the state of Metcalf South was. Did you get some pictures taken?

  334. @deb,

    I remember when it was a Swiss Colony before it was Hickory Farms. Lot’s of good times at that mall.

  335. @Tom Dailey,

    What this mall needs is another high traffic store like a Walgreens/CVS and then add a Borders Express (since the landlord at the nearby strip mall jammed the original Borders and it had to close down). I’d love to see a multi staged renovation where one floor was renovated and leased at a time. Bottom floor then middle and finally top last…maybe the financials wouldn’t work out but it’s nice to dream.

  336. @B.,

    I remember those places as well as the multiple stores they tried to fill that hall with. They always had problems keeping those spaces leased. I think were a couple of short lived eateries across from Nickelodeon…a potato themed place? And wasn’t there a mattress place in that hall as well plus the furniture place at the back corner were New Horizons is now located.

  337. @Pseudo3D,

    The last thing I heard is that the family sold their interest in the mall to a developer. At one point the rumor was that they were waiting for the redevelopment of the metcalf corridor.

  338. I stopped by the mall over the Memorial Day weekend. It was pretty empty except for those walking. I did happen to hear from an employee at one of the stores that the newest plan (which seems to change every other year) is that the mall is to be renovated in 2013. So it sounds like things have switched from demolition to renovation to demolition back to renovation. Hopefully the renovation plan stays and they actually get that place back on its feet. I hear that the water piping/plumbing is in terrible shape.

  339. Well, I went back to see my parents in May and forgot to post! We went to Jones Store to purchase some lipstick for my mom, and wow….. The clothes are really not what I remember as a kid! Not attractive. In any case, the floors of the mall were spotless as usual, and the wholesale stores were all gated as they were closed on Sunday. Just walking through the mall again took me back to 1988-89… Very sad, but I’m hoping Linkin Logs is right and the mall is renovated in 2013.


  340. @Kelley Hood, Are you the same Kelley Hood that lived on Floyd? Did your parents buy my parents’ house in 1985?

  341. I got to thinking about Topsy’s popcorn, so I googled it to see if they were still around. I used to live in Kansas City, but haven’t been back for 10 years. My family used to go to Metcalf South every Christmas to kick off our shopping. I have VERY fond memories of that mall, but I am surprised that it is still around. Does anyone remember Pappy’s BBQ? It was between the tobacco shop and Topsy’s. I have taken a walk down memory lane reading the comments posted. Thank you.

  342. @Jeremy, I just now saw your post and believe it or not the stage is still there but that’s about all that’s left.

  343. @deb, I remember Swiss Colony, too. We used try to act so grown up as we tasted each sample and pretended to consider purchasing it.

  344. @Janet Reynolds, Do you remember the John Diemer million bottle cap collection? I was searching for old newspaper clippings on that, when I came across this fascinating blog.

    Also, were you a redhead? Did you have Mrs. Kreighbaum as your first grade teacher? If so, we knew each other as 6 year olds!!

  345. I go to Metcalf South now and then to take Microsoft tests at New Horizons. The place is so creepy. As mentioned, it is well maintained and clean, but all the stores in the interior are closed, the escalators have barricades around then and all the stores have the metal security barriers in front. Really kind of post-apocalyptic and always reminds me of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead!

  346. What was the “French Market” like? Best I could tell, it’s currently being used as a Kmart and a few smaller tenants, but what was the original like? I heard it was a discount store/grocery store (of the early 1960s variety, probably had separate checkouts)

  347. @Pseudo3D,

    It’s heydey was about 1964 or so. It carried items that the standard grocery stores did not. More of a high end grocery. I was too young to remember if it carried anything besides groceries, but it probably did. At the time 95th street for the most part was southernmost major street in Overland Park. It was always a big deal for my mother and her next door neighbor to make the “trip” out to the French Market. I liked it because there was a miniature golf course behind it. (I think you can still see the remnants of it.)

  348. @rkaynan, and The Police, Elvis Costello, and i think possibly The Ramones!! all played Pogos in their early careers!!

  349. @Chris, Hey thanks for the video where you showed the photos of The Glenwood Theatre. I worked as a busboy/room service delivery guy at the Glenwood Manor next to the theatre while attending SMS 77-79!! I moved to OP from Omaha in 1975 at age 14 and never looked back!! I still call OP home!! Those photos brought back a flood of memories to an old guy (Im 50)!! Thank you so much!! Cory

  350. Brian was right earlier. There was an appliance store located near the northwest corner of 95th & Metcalf that looked like (was?) a barn and was called Albert Bell’s. Will never forget the name because of the radio ads, a sort of jungle that ended with “ALBERT BELL’S!” Used to still reference that ad years later when Albert (Joey) Belle played for the Cleveland Indians.

    Switching it up some from MS talk, does anybody else recall Bananas, the 18-year old 3.2 bar/disco across the street in Windmill Square? Forgot many an evening at that joint as well as Pogo’s (75th & I-35) and the MerryGoRound (3 bars in one on SM Pkwy/63rd St.).

  351. @D Scott,

    I believe the “Oriental Shop” was called Far East Bazaar. Lived in Nall Hills 71-76.

    Re: the Chinese Restaurant I recall a Joe Wong at Nallwood whose family may have owned or managed it.

    Orange Julius was originally a somewhat makeshift stand. A few years later in college my class did a marketing study for the owner of an OJ at an IL mall that was struggling. Our conclusion…the stuff sucked!

  352. @pellboy, It was originally called the Manor Barn. Bananas later became a 21 country bar called the Silver Fox, after a few incarnations as other bars.

  353. I have very fond memories as a teenager cruising the mall, esp the sears. the sears was very very active, this place was better then seville square & I was too young for the strand. Anyone else have similar memories

  354. Wow, the memories. I probably spent more time at this mall than anyone who did not actually work in the mall. In the late 80s/early 90s, while in middle school/early high school, I lived in the row of duplexes directly across from the mall. If you walked on our front porch, you were literally looking at the mall. I walked across the street to it all the time. My parents would send me over to bring back cinnabons. Or pizza or Amigos from the food court. YUMMM! When I forgot my key and was locked out, I hung at the mall until my parents got home. It’s so bizarre to see it so empty now. I went to Jones earlier this year for a formal dress, being there was like travelling in a time machine to an old ghost town.

  355. @Rob,
    My name was Carrie Sinelli. I lived in a neighborhood called “Hanover” and walked to Dorothy Moody Elementary.

  356. @Matty,

    I’m so glad that you LOVED the Pizza Queen! I’m one of Ray’s granddaughter, and I can’t wait to show him that people still remember his pizza joint!

  357. @Brian,

    What’re you favorite memories of the Pizza Queen. I’m one of Ray’s granddaughters and I would Love to show him some of his customers fondest memories! :).


  358. @”Bobby” J,

    What were some of your fondest memories of the Pizza Queen. I’m one of Ray’s granddaughters and I would love to show him some of the customers memories and thoughts on his Pizzeria. 🙂


  359. @Jeff, It looks like it’s been over four years since this post. Is a film still in the works? The mall is still here but it’s been slated for demolition, although it will most likely take a few more years…

  360. @Mass Dude, Or corned beef…

  361. @Kelley Hood, Well, I grew up at the 87th & Antioch area, so I would go there quite a bit, but I was a kid in the 70’s and still not driving,so I have “kid” memories of it. The Red Barn I remember as being just that. It was real and large. It sat approximately where the McDonald’s is now, but further back from the road. The Sprint towers weren’t there, of course, but the pond was. In fact, when I was a little kid, I’d see people on it in paddle boats on Sundays and that, because you could rent them there by the hour. I never did, sadly. In the late 70’s, at the rear of the Red Barn, a furniture store operated that was called “Albert Bell’s”. I still remember their jingle from the adverts. My uncle worked there in the early 80’s, just before they closed. It was a great area, and Metcalf South ruled before bloody Oak Park Mall opened and got popular…

  362. @Jeff, Thanks for a great post, and thanks also for spelling SMAKS right! It wasn’t “Smacks”. The appliance store you referred to in the Red Barn was Albert Bell’s, which had a great advert on TV and a memorable jingle.
    I don’t remember any restaurants there, but now you’ve got me really intrigued!! Please let me know if you can find out the names of the BBQ place and German place!

  363. @Steve Cox, P.S.– Shakey’s was the BEST!

  364. @Chris, Uuuhh, no. I think that’s Zepi’s. No where nearly as good…

  365. @Mike Sachs, Kelly Hood and Brian,
    I STILL get these mixed up! I think because I grew up so near to both of them, and it being from when I was a kid, I always got them mixed up…
    I THINK that the Red Barn was a great restaurant just west of Antioch on 95th St. that was known for its fried chicken, and The Manor Barn was the big actual barn that was at 95th & Foster, just west of Metcalf, and housed Albert Bell’s furniture store in the late 70’s…

  366. @Chris, Bloody hell!!!
    That is a BRILLIANT idea!!! I like it so much that, if I ever win the lottery or come into a large amount of money, I’d try to make it happen!
    With the right nationwide publicity and with a lot of the “baby boomers’ getting to the retirement age, I think it would be a success!

  367. @cory, Sorry, but you’re way off on that one. You’re referring to One Block West.

  368. @Lewis, Yes. “Pogo’s”, the 18 club, was at 75th & I-35 (frontage road) in Shawnee/Overland Park.

  369. @Kelley, The “black light room” was just a space at the rear of Spencer’s that sold posters, risque gifts, and black/strobe/rainbow lights and stuff. It always smelled like incense and had good rock music playing.

  370. Random thought.I don’t know what made me think of this but…. I remember when GNC used to be either next door to KB Toy or a couple doors down and I would always go in there where they would almost always have free samples of those cherry-flavored vitamin C chewable tablets. (This was in the late 70s and throughout the 80s) They tasted like candy and I loved them. Unfortunately, they no longer make or sell them. They always had a little dish of sunflower seeds too next to the free vitamins and you could use the little plastic spoon and dish yourself a handful.

  371. Many good times there – I worked for BA, and took care of all the surveillance cameras et. al. BA closed up shop in 1980 and all the stores went with ’em. Putch’s was a great place for lunch or dinner, and later on the SCCA ran gymkhana’s (parking lot sports car races – against the clock) in the big parking lot. Macy’s and Jones always saved me when it was a birthday, Christmas, or anniversary for which I’d forgotten a gift. Walked though about a year ago – mostly wholesale shops which apparently only open upon appointment or demand… but the writeup is correct – it’s still SHINY and CLEAN. I think I bought a pair of “high heeled” multi-colored shoes in 1972 at Thom McCan….. gawd.

    Tom in Denver

  372. @Linkin Logs, SMAKS….

    Did you know they only cooked SMAKS burgers on ONE side? That’s ’cause they were so thin, they didn’t NEED to be turned over – but at 15 cents, they were a screamin’ deal. Yummers

    Tom – Denver

  373. Great memories. I lived on Riggs during elementary school and later worked at Jones from approx. 83 through graduation (SMS 85) and then sporadically during college.
    As a child I remember getting screen prints at the Shirt Man, getting a sundae at the Skaggs counter, going to kids movies (Don Knotts, Tarzan etc.) at the theater, burgers at L&M, shopping for toys and models at KB and Hobby Haven, pizza in the corner on the SE side (then Pizza Hut, I think), waiting in the back lounge before getting my hair cut at Bach’s, wondering what really went on in the ornate Chinese Restaurant, reading comic books at Woolworths, and getting caught sneaking through the service halls.
    Wasn’t there a large covered wagon in the boys section of Jones or Sears? I remember playing on something like that.
    Anyone lose or have a black bike stolen? I found one on the “trail” to the west of MS. I fixed it up and kept it for a time.
    Wasn’t the record store on the main level, east side (near the hallway to the Christian Science room)?
    I remember when Red Baron got its first digital pinball machine, requiring 50 cents.
    I remember the Manor Barn (later perhaps a gymnastic studio upstairs) and the Red Barn (vaguely). Somewhere I have a Red Barn phonograph record (kind of an early version of the happy meal prize?)! I think there was another “barn” out South where we had sports banquets/family style dining.
    I remember Jones expanding mid 80s (perhaps into the former Putch’s space?). I also remember the Mall adding a downstairs area, perhaps near the theaters. I remember working at Jones, getting cokes and sometimes cookies at the Cookie Factory. If I was particularly hungry I might get a hotdog at the nut place (Morrows?) near the Mall center. Later there was a decent deli by OJ. I also think there was a small pizza place near the hobby store at some point.
    There was a specialty tobacco store down near Sears where we bought clove cigarettes.
    Someone asked about the Diemer drowning. I don’t recall specifics, but a metal cage was installed on the north end of the sewer supposedly in response. Prior to that, we used to enter the sewer at that point and explore.
    Someone mentioned Pizza Queen. Not to get too far off topic, I think there was a Tiger’s Records in that same shopping area (95th & Antioch). I don’t know if it was also owned by Anthony Cardarella, a suspected mobster found murdered in the trunk of his car.

  374. @Libby Frolichman, I too have just stumbled across this posting while looking for John Diemer’s million bottle caps. I was in that class room and was curious if you’ve found any corresponding news articles?

  375. @Kati,
    Hi. I’ve been looking for info on Pizza Queen. I have seen a couple posts of yours. One stating that you were gonna look for recipies for his Pizza. I think a new Pizza Queen with the old Pizza would be a huge hit. Have you found the recipies?


  376. this mall will be knocked down in 2014 when the lease of all the stores is up but sears owns there property and they will redo the area into some fru fru shops.

  377. So glad that I stumbled upon this blog.

    Usually around this time of year, I get nostalgic and take a trip to MS for old time’s sake. Had our two children with me today, and while doing some shopping in the area, walked the mall (at least, everything that’s still accessible) pointing out to our three year old all of the “neat places daddy remembers when growing up.”

    Damn. So many little memories from my youth thru the 80’s/early 90’s spent here.

    – Like the countless model kits I bought with every penny of allowance money from Hobby Haven.
    – The Robocop action figure I wanted so bad I could taste at the Osco Drug across the way.
    – My mom taking us to see the marionettes show in the mall around the holidays.
    – Throwing coins into the fountain from the third floor and daring siblings to “look down” from between the railings.
    – Chasing my brother back and forth across the zigzag walkway over the fountain pool (that didn’t have safety rails!)
    – Endlessly riding the escalators up and down by the movie theater (yep, the one with the mirrored ceiling and lights).
    – Seemingly hours spent at Musicland while my parents shopped.
    – Sitting on Santa’s lap in front of everyone on the second-floor stage.

    Growing up, was much closer for us to visit Indian Springs (which I have TONS of memories of also), but was always a treat to go to Metcalf South.

    An incredibly wonderful and important memory from childhood.

    Like others, it still escapes me from year-to-year how immaculately clean the mall is kept. Christmas decorations continue to grace the inside of the mall every year, (most) of the fountains are kept running, and the only signs of age are the decor (which always brings me back) and looking up to see the occasional water-damaged or partially-missing ceiling tiles over/around the atrium area.

    What a great place, and an even better place to be during its later heyday/while growing up.

  378. @Doug Ellis, I, too, absolutely LOVED Pizza Queen Pizza. There has never been any other pizza to match it. I would LOVE the recipe!

  379. @Travis, Hey mate, i remember the castle dungeon door, but i was too little to remember if it was part or an entrance to orange julius??? i moved to California with my parents in 1989 when i was 5 yrs old so i dont remember very well

  380. My dad is from the KC Metro area and he recalls shopping there as a kid (he was born in 1957, so he must have been middle- to high-school-aged by then). I’m going up to that area in a few days; maybe I might be able to sneak out and stroll through the mall for old times’ sake…

  381. When I was 19 years old, (back around 1973) I worked at Jack Henry Clothier for Men. This store was very popular for well made and fit to size Mens Clothing, Furnishings, Shoes, Hats and a small Gift Department.
    I remember Mr. Hernandez who was the man who sewed all of the alterations. I remember Mr. Klein who was always smoking a short stump of a cigarette, buffed his nails to a shine (very upscale) and someone who I knew looked out for me.

    I remember dating the Mall Santa Claus whose name was Brad ______ and he told me he loved me, I was very naive but hid it well and after a week or so, Brad dropped me like a hot rock. So, ‘he’ was not a happy memory. I do remember that I really enjoyed working with the people that I worked with.

    I remember Putsch’s Restaurant and the creamed chicken livers, and the cold chopped spinach salad and Katz Downstairs. Which I believe reincarnated as Skagg’s and then Osco Drugs.

    When we all turned 18 (and some of us before…..) would go to the Pizza Hut and drink pitchers of beer (I never liked beer, but had to pretend since everyone else was drinking it.)

    Last memory was of the ‘Jim Conna’s’ and I am not sure if I am spelling that correctly. It was taken place on the West Side of the Shopping Center Parking Lot from about the middle entrance (Topsie’s location) to the end of Sears. Very loud cars would come and sit under the port de l’entrée and rev up their engines (deafening but cool to be seen there) and then the cars would drive around a ‘track’ and race for time. The cars were of no real interest, it was the cute guys that we would meet.

    I must mention the Glenwood Manor, were my father built the swimming pool. The ‘opening for the glamorous and ‘foo foo’ luxury motel, movie theater and the swimming pool in those days was considered ‘top notch’. During the grand opening dinner my Father invited Mom and my sister as well as myself to join him. It was a grand evening at that. I remember it very well, as my Mother had on false eyelashes and one of them came off and fell in her soup. My sister and I simply died laughing as we were in High School at SME during that time.

    Can not image in my life time that this ‘Glenwood Manor’ with all of it’s amenities was decided upon, designed and built to be on the cutting edge and then it declined and was torn down. We may now buy ‘Whole Foods’ of eat at one of the City’s ‘Chop Chop’ restaurants. I do remember Joe’s Barn, the predecessor to the Glenwood.

    Hadn’t thought of Metcalf South until today when I ran across this site. Will surely have more thoughts throughout the day.

  382. Addendum to my first blog of memories. I just remembered the fellow that was the Mall Santa Claus in the Season of 1972-1973+. Yep, he was the ‘hit and run’ type and of course ‘he loved me’.

    He was cute and funny and his name was Brad Bartlett. His full name just came to me. I was barely out of high-school and certainly not known as a ‘loose’ girl but this fellow was cute. Once in the back of his car, once on the floor of his bathroom, then I rarely saw him and when I did, he acted as though he did not know me. It was a sharp pain for a girl just out of high-school back in the ‘double-standard’ days. If I only knew then what I know now.

  383. I wish the ability to ‘edit’ your comments was available, I would not have to ‘Leave a Reply’ to myself when I remember something that needs to be edited.

    The fellows name was Brad Bartling, not what I previously wrote as his name. Yep, this is the fellow; he went to SMS and was one year older than me.

  384. @TimL, Reading through this post and remembering seeing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at the theater with my sibs as well!!

  385. My family and I were passing through from Minnesota on the way to Dallas. We stopped at the mall. It was like a scene from Dawn of the Dead. The mall was clean, but vacant. Signs were up, but stores were closed. There were a few mall walkers walking around like zombies in the vacant mall. Every once in a while the kids swore they saw a security guard peeking around a vacant corner, yet when we would get to the place of the sighting, there was nobody there. We ran around the mall, danced on the stage, and pretended like we owned the place. Eventually, we saw cats in what looked like a vacant store. We weren’t sure if they were real. When we opened the door to check it out, a little old lady suddenly appeared out of nowhere like a ghost. We asked her when the mall gets busy, and she replied “sometimes we’re busy at Christmas”. She also told me that I couldn’t adopt a cat since I was from Minnesota. Anyway, after exploring this fascinating place, and imaging that we were in a real life version scene from Dawn of the Dead; we went to Topsy Turvy and bought a soda. I think it was the only place in the mall where we could actually buy something to drink. We had a great time. We plan to go back next time we pass through. This was a unique experience. Check out the video from the movie, this is what our experience was like:

  386. @Kelley Hood, This is Kendall Thoennes from SMS class of ’89 as well. Wow…I was came across info on the mall, thought I would check it out. Does anyone know the month and year of the fire at the mall…I think there were 2, this would have been around the summer of 1986 I believe.

  387. @Mike Doyle,

    Was just showed Nearly Famous Pizza yesterday by a friend. He said it was a very popular place. He said the owner died in the Hyatt Regency walkway disaster in 1981 and the family left it exactly like the day day he died and closed it. The family continues to pay rent but will not sell the place. That’s the story I heard.

  388. @Linkin Logs, I remember the Smaks well . It was my first job. I started in 75 and left when I graduated high school in 77. The Hickory Smak was my favorite. I remember how busy it got around Christmas. I worked the window and wouldlook out at the long lines and wish I wasnt working.
    I met my first love there. I still remember everyones name…There was Patty, April, John, Dennis and there was a guy that worked at the music store named Gino that always bought overcooked fries with pepper.
    I said it before but I cant watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High without reliving those days.

  389. What great memories of a really cool mall…back in the day! I worked at the Topsy’s Ice Cream Shoppe on the lower level by Sears from 1977 to 1980, when I graduated SMS and left OP. MS was a hip, happening mall in the 70s! The parties, both in the mall and at peoples homes, were outrageous! Some great old friends back then worked at Mannings Jewelers, Putsches Cafeteria, Pizza Hut, L and M Steakburgers, and all over that mall! We lived at the Red Baron arcade, playing Evel Knevel pinball and foosball (the old timers of the stores would come in there and kick ass on the foosball tables!). MS was a great place to work and hang out, and I will have great memories forever of it!

  390. Returned to the Mall over the holidays, before hearing Macy’s was closing. As mentioned above, I worked at Jones in the 80s. Macy’s was, frankly, like a mini-version of itself. They had even erected false walls to narrow down the floor space. Not having been there in decades, it was a little difficult for me to get my bearings because the large service area/gift wrapping counter from the 70s and 80s is not really there anymore. (I can’t count how many Christmas gifts I received over the years in a Jones Store box!)
    The Mall itself was actually busy with indoor walkers. It looked like there were a few stores actually in business. Not exactly prime tenants, but some retail. It is amazing how many facades, signs and fixtures are still in place. The facade for KG’s Men’s store still looks impressive.
    Took a picture of the dungeon door on the lower level which I believe was the access to the Orange Julius counter back in the day.
    John’s Tayloring appeared to still be in business! I had a suit tailored there back in the 80s, probably by John himself. He was ancient then, so now long gone. But the shop lives on.

  391. @Matty, I grew up at 92nd and Antioch and spent much of my childhood at Metcalf South and Valley View Shopping center. My best friend worked at Pizza Queen and I spent MANY hours there enjoying the pizza and the company! Earl May, Country Mouse Hallmark, the movie theater where we watched Pippy Longstocking movies in the 70’s is all gone now. That entire shopping center has been form down (everything on the SW corner of the intersection) and a giant HY VEE grocery store is there. Very sad.

  392. I was at the mall today and Macy’s is closing in a few days on March 16th. That might shut down access to the top floor since nothing else is left up there except Macy’s. If you want to get a final look or some pictures, it might be a good idea to get over there before they’re gone.

    Without that anchor, I don’t know how much longer Metcalf South can hang on. This week it was sold to Lane4 Properties which plans to TEAR IT DOWN! Here’s the article:

    As long as Metcalf South has stood, I always hoped for some kind of resurrection where it could once again be a vital shopping center, but retain its vintage charm. It looks like those dreams are dying.

    Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could come together one last time and visit to share our memories at Metcalf South?

  393. All

    I grew up in th 95th and Quivira area. I went to Hillcrest Jr High then Shawnee Mission NW.
    I worked at Smaks at Metcalf South from 75-77.
    The mall was always busy back then weekends and Christmas were hectic at the old Smaks window.
    Hickory Smak anyone?
    I walked through the old mall about a year ago. The echoes of memories were still there.
    Happy Joes by the Safeway at 95th and quivira was my hang out during those days. I remember when they built Oak Park Mall. I used to walk to school through the field they built it on.
    Those were good times.

  394. The Kansas City Star had an article about Lane4 purchasing Metcalf South and the old French Market that housed K-Mart across the street. They have given notice to the tenants in the mall, if I recall it was to be out by June with the exception of the theatre, and plan to close it off to save on security, maintenance, etc.

    According to the article, it will likely be razed so get there NOW for your last walk-thru. It appears Metcalf South is finally coming to an end. Here is the article:

  395. The mall is officially closing Sept 19th with signs posted at all doors confirming this.

    Was there 2 Jones Stores on the 3rd floor? How were the stores divided into if so?

  396. I will miss Metcalf South Mall a lot. I grew up going to this wonderful mall. After we went clothes shopping for school, my Mom, sister, and I went to Putche’s Cafeteria. During Easter, I was the Easter Bunny for a few weeks. When I had children, we went to Kids at Heart and played at the tables there when they were young.

    I wish they would revive the Mall.

    We love you Metcalf South Mall.

  397. What is Metcalf Mall? Some faded, decrepit building from an era gone by? No. It’s a beautiful building with more than 20 years of history behind it. It’s a monument to everything that was great back in the day. I used to come here as a kid when I was little and loved every moment I could spend in it. I still like to come here from time to time just to walk through it all. Tearing it down just because the money isn’t there is a stupid reason. With some elbow grease and good advertising, it can easily be restored to it’s former glory. Some things in life are more important than money. This is one of them.

  398. Metcalf South finally closed for good in September of this year.

  399. I don’t know if it was the 3rd floor (I’m thinking 1st and 2nd), but in the 80’s jones did expand. I am having trouble remembering but I think they expanded across the hall south and into another space, absorbing the hall. I’m also thinking they absorbed the area to the east into the former cafeteria space? Maybe someone can confirm. Perhaps earlier in the 80s they built out over the parking lot on the north west side.

  400. @Mall rat, Yes they expanded across the hall. I found a souvenir handicap sign still in its placeholder. I think it was a home store before Macy’s consolidated into one building.

  401. The best memory I have of that place is walking about one afternoon about 10 years ago, alone with a girl who at the time I was in love with. Just walking, talking and looking at her while laughing and smiling. It was the kind of moment that will always be in my mind… Sorry to see it go.

  402. Jan 2016. Mall still here! Any updated plans? Such a waste!

  403. Amazing reading these comments in 2017. Just drove by the mall on my way into work. She is still standing! Well sort of. Demolition has been going on for a month or so now. Sears is still standing, but is now planned to close and be demolished. There is now a gap between the Sears and the rest of the mall (probably 75-100 yard gap) that you can see all the way through. I keep trying to get glances inside the part of the mall being demolished to see if I can recognize anything. Construction on the new project is planned for October 2017. Here is a link to an article in the KC Star. Thanks for sharing these memories, love the nostalgia.

  404. Does anyone remember the name of the ice cream place that was upstairs? It had really good peanut butter ice cream?

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