Crown American’s Martinsburg Mall debuted in 1991, located west of downtown directly along I-81. When it opened, the mall was anchored by Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Sears, and Allentown-based Hess’s, with space for about 60 additional retailers, and, according to ICSC, 556,000 square feet in total. Interestingly, Crown American owned Hess’s at the time, so putting a store here was a natural fit. This one level mall also features a food court, and was Crown American’s signature period mall design, similar to the centers they built in Lancaster (which we’ve featured on this site) and Newark, Ohio. All of these malls are designed with two main hallways and a “loop” at one end containing the food court area.
I’m talking about Mountaineer Mall. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, Mountaineer Mall is the kind of mall dead mall fans dream about, with all sorts of retail antiquities and dated accoutrements. We’re talking about wooden railings with tarnished, aging brass fixtures, brick facades, tile- and wood panel-laden planter fixtures, intact dead store facades from 20+ years ago, and more. Mountaineer Mall was once the dominant – and only – mall in the Morgantown region. Located 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, Morgantown is home to West Virginia University and has the healthiest economy in the state. It has a population of around 30,000 residents, which nearly doubles when the University is in session, and a metropolitan area of 115,000 to boot. Morgantown has a quirky, progressive college town feel, and with its low unemployment and unique culture feels mightily juxtaposed to the rest of the state, or anywhere for that matter. One example of this is the fact that the small city has its own rail-based mass transit, a people mover called the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system, which connects downtown Morgantown to the WVU satellite campus located a few miles away.
With a population just over 50,000 in the city and over 300,000 people in its metropolitan area, Charleston is not only the seat of state government but also the largest city in the state of West Virginny. In its early days, Charleston grew and prospered due to manufacturing and deposits of natural resources such as [...]