Lincoln Mall; Freeport, Illinois

So here we have possibly one of the smallest, worse-for-wear malls this side of the mighty Mississippi.  We’re actually surprised it’s still open for business at all; in fact, a website trying to sell Lincoln Mall indicates it has been “recently de-malled” and “recently rehabbed”.  In fact, the whole thing can be yours for the low, low price of $3.5 […]

Harlem Irving Plaza; Norridge, Illinois

One of the oldest malls in the Chicagoland area, Harlem Irving Plaza (also known as ‘the HIP’) is also one of the last independently-owned and operated regional centers in the entire country.  During its 5+ decades in existence, Harlem Irving Plaza has gone through only minor changes yet it remains extremely viable today, serving a densely populated area of inner-ring northwest suburbs […]

Alton Square Mall; Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois is a small Mississippi River city located 15 miles north of St. Louis.  With a population of about 34,000, Alton anchors the northern extent of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, which is the 18th largest metropolitan area in the country with almost 3 million residents.  Alton’s history reads pretty much the same as all the […]

Jefferson Square Mall/Wilderness Mall; Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois is a booming sprawlburg located about 40 miles southwest of downtown Chicago with a current estimated population of nearly 150,000 residents.  In its long history, Joliet has worn a lot of hats, from industrial-era superpower to beleagured rust-belt city and back to a different kind of economic success supporting the great machine of […]

Evergreen Plaza; Evergreen Park, Illinois

Evergreen Park, Illinois is an inner-ring southwest suburb of Chicago with a population of about 20,000, located about 10 miles from the Loop.  Although established as a village in 1893, most of Evergreen Park’s growth occurred during the middle of the 20th century.  This, combined with the fact that Evergreen Park is sandwiched in on three sides by […]

Belvidere Mall; Waukegan, Illinois

Most of our retail “fall from glory” tales are variations on the same theme.  Larger, more modern competition swoops in and leaves behind a swath of older retail in the dust.  Literally.  This particular story is no exception; however, it’s a lot more complicated (and interesting) than that, at least from a retail history standpoint.  Apparently if you […]

Deerbrook Mall; Northbrook, Illinois

Bueller!!  Many will recall John Hughes’ 1986 hit movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and hardcore fans even know the locations, mostly around the Chicago area, where different scenes of the movie were filmed.  One of these locations was in north suburban Northbrook, where Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South high schools were used to represent the ficticious high school featured in […]

St. Charles Mall; St. Charles, Illinois

As mentioned previously in our North Park Mall posting, the Chicagoland area was spotted with small, enclosed neighborhood malls built during the late 1970s and early 1980s during a trend in this type of retailing.  In around 1979 or 1980, St. Charles Mall opened on the west side of St. Charles near the intersection of IL […]

North Park Mall; Villa Park, Illinois

In January 2006 the Goodwin Williams Group of Chicago released a document outlining the current and future development environment in Villa Park, Illinois.  In their findings, they noted Villa Park is a mature suburb 18 miles west of downtown Chicago, with a population of 22,000 and an income level near that of adjacent suburbs like […]

Northwoods Mall; Peoria, Illinois

With a population of 112,000 and a metro statistical area population of 350,000, Peoria typifies working-class middle America.  In fact, Peoria was often a test market for many national media products.  The saying “That won’t play in Peoria” referred to this testing, and how Peoria was commonly used as a benchmark for media standards in music, movies, and television intended […]