Blue Ridge Mall; Kansas City, Missouri

Blue Ridge Mall Jones Store exterior in Kansas City, MO

Opened in 1958 at the corner of U.S. 40 and I-70 in east Kansas City, Blue Ridge Mall was a major shopping center anchored by The Jones Store, JCPenney, and Montgomery Ward.  Once the fourth largest mall in the Kansas City area, Blue Ridge Mall slid into a quick decline and today is nothing more than a Wal-Mart Supercenter with a few outparcels.  The story is interesting and even somewhat controversial, so read on.  

The mall was enclosed in the 1970s following a national trend to enclose large, existing open-air centers in North America, and it also expanded as JCPenney moved into a new location.  The newly enclosed mall was well received, despite competition from both nearby Independence Center in the mid-1970s and Bannister Mall, which opened in 1980.  Success at Blue Ridge Mall during the 1970s and 1980s was at least partly due to its highly visible location with impressive frontage on I-70.

However, the fate of Blue Ridge changed dramatically during the 1990s.  The changing demographics of the area surrounding the mall combined with a general trend favoring only large, super-regional centers left Blue Ridge with more vacancies than ever before.  One of the worst blows occurred in 1997 with the closure of the largely popular Woolworth’s store as that chain folded.  According to a deadmalls.com submittal, by 1999 the mall had lost many stores; however, all three anchor stores remained open by 2000.

Although Blue Ridge Mall declined dramatically during the 1990s, the first few years of the new millenium proved to seal its fate.  In late 2000, Montgomery Ward closed up shop around the same time the entire chain closed.  Then, in 2001, JCPenney closed, prompting mall management to think about massive renovations to save the troubled center.  MBS Mall Investor-98 LLC, who owned the mall since 1998, contracted plans for the renovation.  It was to feature a hybridized enclosed-outdoor combination, retaining most of the old enclosed space but complementing it with new exterior frontage facing I-70, where 216,000 cars pass daily.  During the planning process, they also added non-traditional tenants to the mall, including a 97-table dinner theatre and a 91,000 square-foot antique mall.  That’s a lot of antiques.  In addition, they eagerly announced a national sporting goods and outdoor-supply chain were both interested in space at the renovated Blue Ridge Mall.

Blue Ridge Mall JCPenney in Kansas City, MO

Sadly (and rather mysteriously), the ambitious renovation plans disappeared completely after being announced in 2001, which is very similar to what happened at nearby Bannister Mall.  This caused many more stores to become frustrated and leave.  Finally, The Jones Store called it quits in 2003, leaving Blue Ridge Mall anchorless.  Like a car without wheels, the future of Blue Ridge by this point was rather grim, with only Applebee’s and a few stores hanging on. 

The following year, in 2004, Blue Ridge Mall’s owners got in bed with Wal-Mart and announced they were going to demolish the entire mall and build a shiny new Wal-Mart Supercenter, while developing some of the outparcels and the whole shebang.  But they would only do this once they secured a TIF from Kansas City to redevelop the blighted property.  Hmm.  And so it goes, I guess.

And so it went.  In February 2005, they got their TIF and demolition began in Fall 2005.  By early 2006, the former mall was a pile of rubble (with a huge rat problem), and the new Wal-Mart was up and running in January 2007.  At least it’s a “green” Wal-Mart, meaning the urinals don’t waste water and the store uses renewable energy, creates less waste and sells products that sustain our resources and environment.  That makes me feel better about the tons of diesel fuel they use every day, among other things…

At any rate, the mall is gone now, but lucky for y’all we’ve preserved it here on the interweb for future posterity.  The pictures were taken in April 2001.  Check out the decor, including the awesome vintage Jones Store scripted logo.  The middle of the mall was renovated at some point, probably during the late 80s or early 90s, but the outside of the mall was as old as ever.  Also, check out Rod Shelley’s cool demolition pictures.  As always, feel free to add your own opinions and if possible, more information about the mall itself. 

Blue Ridge Mall pylon in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall Jones Store exterior in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO

Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall former Montgomery Ward in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO

Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO

Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City, MO

 

 

129 Responses to “Blue Ridge Mall; Kansas City, Missouri”

  1. Does anyone know much about the history of Montgomery Ward? I live in CT and I can’t recall for the life of me EVER going to one of thier stores, yet I’ve noticed in the past few posts there has always been at least one anchor of Ward’s or the mention of them in the post. Did they have any stores in the New England area, (I’ve lived in Rhode Island for college and frequented Eastern Mass as well) and dont reccollect seeing them anyplace. I find it intriguing, being it was known as a “national” chain.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! in advance.

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    WILLIAM Reply:

    @bagman64, I LIVE IN GREENSBORO AND WE HAD A MW WITH A AUTO CENTER HOWEVER IT WAS REPLACED 15 YEARS AGO BY YOU KNOW WHO WAL-MART OF COURSE. MW WAS AN EXCELLENT STORE AND I SHOPPED THERE REGULARLY

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  2. Also, I would do ANYTHING to get my hands on that old Jone’s store logo, Damn, its superb! The red tile behind the JCP logo in the mall reminds me of one of the entrances to the main G.Fox (now Macy’s) store in the Westfarm’s Mall in CT. The 3 exterior entrances were each a different color tile, Red, Blue and Yellow, what a great memory that brought back!

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  3. This mall looked pretty nice in it’s later days especially with those strange looking ceiling panels and torch lightings. It almost gives the mall a persian appeal. As far as the outside; totally a 70′s mall as far as the “blue ridge” font goes and ridged concrete. So it looked a little classier… make way for another Wal-Mart I guess.

    Great pictures of it right before the bitter end!

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  4. a breef history of wards is
    1872-founded by aaron montgomery ward as a catalog house (simmler to sears) in chicago
    1926- first store opens plymouth ind.
    1928-wards has 244 stores
    1929 there are531 stores
    1939 there advetising dept emploee robert l. may creates rudollph the red nosed raindeer for the company
    1957 first new store since1941 opens in portsmith ohio
    1968 mobil oil buys wards
    1988 wards becomes privately heald company ‘closes catalog and poenes first new store since 1981 in chicago
    1994 opens first electric avenue and more store
    1997 files chapter 11 – for first time
    1999- is bought out by ge capital
    friday december 29th 2000 company anounces it is bankrupt and is closing all stores by spring 2001
    in 2003 a ceader rapids ia. commpany buys all wards names and trademarks and starts a new catalog witch can be found at http://www.wards.com

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  5. This mall looks like it had a lot more personality in its day than the usual suspects. Sad.

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  6. wow..this is sad. I remember when I was about five or so in 1997…the mall was huge back then..& I remember how I accdentally ran off from my parents & was right behind this really big lady. All I remember..is that they had a pet store on the 2nd level..its really a shame that I can’t go back & visit it today..since it was demolished.

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  7. Does anyone know(in pic 1) what the red sign is, that can be seen from a white building inbetween the 2 exterior Blue Ridge Mall signs? I was trying to figure out if that was an exterior Montgomery Ward sign or not.

    As for the rest of this mall, I really like the pics of this place. It looks like it was a very nice mall back in its heyday, and its sad to see it was leveled for a Wal-Mart(similar to what occurred with Lakehurst Mall in Waukegan, IL).

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    Kevin Reply:

    @Allan, The red lettering says Automotive Center and was part of the Montgomery Wards store. This addition was perpendicular to the main body of the Mall, with Wards being at the intersection.

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  8. (should’ve emphasized the FORMER Lakehurst Mall in Waukegan, as it no longer stands…)

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  9. Picture 1 features (very small) the former Montgomery Ward auto center exterior sign.

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  10. Looks good, I’d shop there Too!

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  11. Re the first post…

    There were a handful of Wards in New England, but not very many. The old Newington Mall in Portsmouth NH had one.

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  12. Love the pictures. Where do those escalators in (small) pictures 10 and 11 go?

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    B-ri Reply:

    @Matt from CLT,

    I believe the picture is taken from the entrance where the McDonald’s used to be. I remember working there (at McD’s) when I was 15. I would make deliveries to the different stores in the mall. Even then (1989-1990) the mall was a labyrinth of passage ways and tunnels underneath. We used to take our trash out our back door, into another unused locked entrance, down an unused elevator, through a closed off retail section of the basement, and into the underground service tunnel. Brothers pets used to be down those escalators befor moving upstairs. There was also a cafeteria down there as well as Hair Care Harmony and another entrance to the JC Penny home store.

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  13. Good looking mall overall. The Jones Store Co. had a great logo and exterior and the JCPenney retained its interior showcases with the rounded interior frames to the bitter end.

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  14. this was and is the most beautiful,ageless mall i ever seen…..blue ridge mall was a big part of my life….as for the pics 10 and 11 that was where the antique mall was and that part of the mall was originally jcpenney before they moved up to the end of the mall when it was enclosed…..this mall was what you could say perfect..with it size,attractiveness..etc….i miss this place and all that is left of blue ridge mall is the signpost that now says wal-mart…and in my opinion kansas city really screwed up when they let blue ridge mall get replaced with wal-mart….this mall was 5 minutes from arrowhead stadium and kauffman stadium home of the royals and the chiefs and this mall could have been saved……a sad loss for us mall enthuasists that loves malls because blue ridge was a definately a must see and even at the end when all that was left was applebee’s the mall was still graceful and ageless as it always was and always be

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  15. Coincidentally, this week’s Pitch has a piece on the new Wal-Mart, the now-closed Bannister location, the fate of Blue Ridge Mall, and TIF misuse.

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  16. I was just looking at the aerial view of this mall (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=blue+ridge+blvd.,+kansas+city,+mo&ie=UTF8&z=17&ll=39.045653,-94.443895&spn=0.003675,0.010729&t=h&om=1) and I couldnt’ help but wonder-what the HELL was that misshapen leg of the building that stuck out towards I-70? It looks really strange.

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    Kevin Reply:

    @Caldor, As mentioned above, that was the Wards Automotive Center addition.

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  17. That leg is the Montgomery Ward Auto Center, visible in picture 1, which was taken at the interchange of US 40 and I-70, looking west. It is a rather odd setup, though. The auto center must have faced outward, parallel to the store.

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  18. the wards at blue ridge mall had a elevator that you could take from the garage under the auto center into the wards store…..and in 2004 when blue ridge was in the process of getting ready for demolition for walmart….i went into the old woolworth’s to find that it was left the same as it was when woolworth’s closed…the diner still had all the booths and lunch counter and the kitchen still there….and below the food court there was a theatre that was open until the late 90s it was unique and the old blue ridge theatre outside the mall is still standing as of now it is vintage 70s and still has the sign up and all it closed in the mid 90s and has been abadoned every since….

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  19. These are great photos! Love this mall… it’s architecture is very in line with what we saw in the late Sixties, early Seventies. Well, the BONES of the mall look that way, some of the decorations obviously look more late Eighties.
    I find it amazing one Wal-Mart can replace an entire mall. So much for choices, now it’s all cheap junk. :(
    Scott

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  20. Yeah, I remember visiting the mall towads the later part of it’s life. I went there with my mom a couple of times in 2004 and 2005. Picture 11 shows the down esclator where the last time I went there, which was in the early part of 2005, I wanted to jump the closed gate and explore the dark lower level. I still regret not doing it, to this day. I also remember looking at cars on display with my parents sometime in the late nineties. They had a collection of local classic cars on display on the lower level towards the left side of the down esclator in picture 11. I am still bitter about the demolitoin of the mall. I wish it was still standing today even if it was a class three mall toward the end of it’s life. That is another example of why I do not like Walmart, and they also tore down Mission mall. I also did some burnouts in my dad’s Volvo 245DL in the Montegomer ward auto center parking lot, “That was fun”. The mall is still missed.

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  21. I wish I could explore the mall, just one more time.

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  22. I loved Blue Ridge Mall and discovered it on a road trip to Kansas City when I was in college at Mizzou. I was told by quite a few people that the mall had been given an interior face lift as late as 1993/94.

    I was at the Woolworth’s in the mall the last day it was open in early October 1997 and have pictures somewhere that I can possibly upload later. I also took a menu from the closed Woolworth restaurant and two of the handbaskets that said “Woolworth” on them… one the later logo they used and one an early geometric kind of font from the 70′s and early 80′s. All I remember is that when I found the Woolworth’s in that mall on my first visit I was so excited. I was from St. Louis and all of our Woolworth’s there closed in January 1993. So from 1994 to 1997 I made MANY road trips to Blue Ridge to eat and Woolworth’s after spending a day at the Plaza in Kansas City proper.

    Blue Rigde was a pretty full mall in the mid-1990′s. I remember some of the other specialty retailers that were there being stores like Pretty Plus, Musicland, Merry-Go-Round, J.Todd’s, the Coffee Beanery, Lerner, Payless Shoes, MC Sports, and a few other smaller, local chains.

    So sad that a small, neighborhood mall is no longer good enough. If the right tennants would have been at Blue Ridge, a Gap and Gap Kids, American Eagle it may have survived. There is no need for so many of these large super-mega-regional malls when all of these smaller malls already exist.

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  23. The antique mall location was a video arcade on my first visit in 1990 or so, I’m pretty sure. The red sign in the first picture is an Applebees, the first one I went to in my life. The mall suffered from a number of things, but what killed it were 2 things, IMHO… 1. fears of it being part of “Kansas City” (i.e. supposed black violence and shootings) were recounted to me when I first moved to the “white redneck” Independence around 1996 (which, Ironically, was the meth capital of the USA at the time… stupid racists). 2. Independence Center, just down the road, was starting also to decline, but the $ went back into it with a makeover and new stores and a zillion box stores around it. The AMC theater killed the small blue ridge theater, etc.

    Blue Ridge was just too small and too close to compete after it got tagged as “a place where you could get shot…”.

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    Maddie Reply:

    @Jon,
    Strange you mentioned it having been tagged as “a place you could get shot…” because just a few days ago (last week of July, 2010) there was a shooting at Walmart. None of the local people like to go to Blue
    Ridge Crossing (as it’s now called) other than to go to Lowe’s or a row of smaller places at the far west end away from Walmart. Really is sad.

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    clink Reply:

    @Jon, I was at the mall in one day in 1996 when there was a local videogame company gameco there when 3 young male thugs jumped the counter at gunpoint, assaulted a white FEMALE clerk and robbed the store in broad daylight taking cash and whatever merchandise they could get in their big bags they had, yes they were black, and you are a uninformed dumbfuck the area was a real bad high crime area at that point because of the exact aforementioned incidents becoming all too common ,why don’t you take your liberal punkass, midwest conservative redneck white people hating self to the place you came from ok

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  24. These are the vague memories of a five year old, but I’m thinking there was a Putches (spelling?) restuarant on the lower level of the mall with a rotating dining section back in the late 70′s, early 80′s maybe. Does anyone have more info on that?

    As a teen, I remember going to Blue Ridge Mall every year for my birthday. We’d have dinner at Chi-Chi’s, which was in a seperate building in the mall’s parking lot, then load up on candy at Woolworths and sneak it in to the theatre. Since we lived 40 miles from anything, a trip to the mall was a big deal!

    While I was sad to see this mall go, I do think the Wal-mart store is a more practical soltuion for the people who live in that area. I just wish they could have intergrated Wal-mart into the structure of the old mall, like they did with the Target at Ward Parkway.

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    Cindy B. Reply:

    cherripepe, Yes, you are correct. Downstairs, there was a Putche’s Cafeteria a B.A. Music Store and a Don’s World of Beef!

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  25. This mall has a lot of my childhood memories as well. Living in inner Kansas City, we had our pick of all of the malls.. All of which were about the same distance from us. Antioch mall, Metro North a little further and my favorite, Blue Ridge Mall.

    BR Mall had a great arcade in the lower level, right across from a theater. My mom would toss me a twenty and I was good for 4 hours. Movie, snacks, games. It was heaven. Great food court too. So many back to school shopping trips there. Of course, the arcade and theater packed up long before Blue Ridge Mall closed. Arcades are another item I would love to have some similar research done on. What happened to the arcades?? My son has no idea how great it was to always have video games near by, anyway, I digress. There is still the second Blue Ridge theater that still stands. Closed for years. Great design. Very dilapidated.

    Ironically, I live about a mile from this new Walmart. Very sad indeed.

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  26. I’ve read all the posts now and I have a agree with Jon, in some degree.. I’m not sure it was the fear of being shot, but that of the “black” presence in general. Independence is basically all white and when the shopping at Indian Springs left and the very racial security at Ward Parkway beefed up, the black community started to travel eastward.

    Also, Noland road, a mile down the road has been crappy for years too. The stretch of 40 highway, going East, to Noland really looks bad too. For those not familiar with the area, Noland has several miles of stores and stripmalls. The “miracle mile” that is comprised of about 12 car dealerships too. All of that stuff needs a facelift.

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  27. Blue Ridge Mall was pretty nice, and I really liked going there. The food court was cute, it was REALLY small :P

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  28. My aunt lived in Raytown, MO in the late 1970′s, and we frequented Blue Ridge Mall. The Woolworth’s was, indeed, classic old-style Woolworth’s, with the luncheonette and everything–priceless. There was a bookstore that I believe was local–Anderson’s–very nice. There was also a Harzfeld’s, a classic Kansas City-based department store that closed up shop in the early 1980′s, I believe. Harzfeld’s was a KC institution, and I remember the Blue Ridge store being beautiful to a 10 year old–black and green marble everywhere. I was heartbroken when it closed. As a child, my favorite part of Blue Ridge was that small lower level. It did not run the entire length of the mall, and indeed there was a Putsch’s Restaurant or Cafeteria (another bygone KC institution) down there, some gift shops, and long corridors that went to who knows where, but were mighty fun to explore. Blue Ridge had been enclosed for a long while by the time I started going there, but you could still tell that the Jones Store used to be free-standing–the outer brick was still visible from the inside of the mall. Years later, when I lived in KC and went to Blue Ridge from time to time in the early 1990′s, I was saddened to see the mall’s decline. I had the feeling it was just a matter of time. I didn’t even know they had torn it down until it had already happened. How I wish it was 1977 again, and I could run around Blue Ridge one more time during its heyday.

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    Cindy B. Reply:

    JeffreyL,

    QUOTE: “How I wish it was 1977 again, and I could run around Blue Ridge one more time during its heyday.”

    Me too. 1977 was a great time for Blue Ridge Mall. Lots of great stores and lots of stuff going on.

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  29. Walmart is to blame for the absense of Blue Ridge mall, and Mission mall,
    thank’s Walmart.

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    Maddie Reply:

    @Jeff,
    AMEN!!!!!!

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  30. Wal-mart is to partially blame for the demise of Bannister Mall too.

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  31. I will write a real post about Blue Ridge Mall….

    When I was young in the late 1960s and 1970s, my mom shopped a lot at Blue Ridge Mall. It was the closest mall to us at the time. I remember spending lots of time there.

    Sometimes in the 1990s, I would stop by on my way home from work to shio there.

    I am really sad that Blue Ridge Mall is gone and just a place of memories for me.

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  32. Actually, Wal*Mart is not the blame for Mission Center Mall. Mission Center was at a high occupancy and doing good, but it got sold because of the elderly couple running it, no longer could keep it. The new owners decided to tear it down, even though it was doing well. Wal*Mart’s plans to take over Mission Center were killed when the city made a new law, basically banning them from opening, unless they made their store 4 floors high.

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  33. At least they kept the Blue Ridge Mall sign, but it it says walmart and blue ridge center now.

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  34. I grew up right down the road from the BRM. Use to ride my bike and go to Woolworth’s, the record shop. Worked at Steve’s Shoes later on. Does anybody remember the Blue Rooster Cafe located in the east end of the parking lot?

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  35. Does anyone remember the Brother’s Pet and Fish store on the lower level in the 70′s? l loved going in and seeing all the fish tanks as a kid. That part of the lower level was closed to the public from sometime in the early 80′s until it was reopened as part of the antique mall. In the 70′s the lower level connected through the lower floor of Hartzfelds. Up until the time of demolition the lower level hallway west of Hartzfelds to where National College eventually was added, accessible from a stairway next to Steve’s Shoes, still had a very late 60′s early 70′s appearance. I don’t think it was ever updated. Blue Ridge, like Ward Parkway and Independence Center before they were modified, was a fun place to explore. Kansas City is really losing alot of great old malls.

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    joe v Reply:

    @Brett,

    Hey I bought my little dashound there at brothers fish . they had him in the window with a reduced price on him ..
    I went in and asked “”””HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW “”” tHEY SAID HE WAS REDUCED BECAUSE HE HAD AN UNDERBITE AND AN UNDECENDED TESTICLE .I said Ill take him ,,,, I didnt even want a dog , but it broke my heart . He was 400 dollars ! ! ! ! good thing for master card (back then)
    I named him Vito and he ended up being my best friend ,through my cancer and all the treatments , he was always by my side . I sadly lost him in jan. 2010 he was 14 and was just tired . I miss you little Vito I hope you are having fun in heaven . your daddy loves you and will see you again someday Joseph

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    Randy Reply:

    @joe v, Joseph, I wanted to say I basiclly grew up in blue ridge mall. anyone remember the t-shirt transfer store in the 70′s.
    Also Joseph I’m sorry for your loss of Vito. You obviously loved him very much, and he loved you.

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  36. This was a good mall, but there weren’t enough stores to pull in a lot of business, the small food court, and bad management really killed the mall,
    but then again just as the blue mall was starting pick itself up off the ground, walmart walked in and kicked them back down to the ground, almost killing the mall, my heart sank when i saw that spaceport was closed, those light fixtures and the whole feel of it was cool, and it had some good games too. but then again the temporary wall but up cutting off 75% of the mall wasn’t a good choice either, when i saw that i knew the blue ridge mall was dead, there was no going back… there were so many things that lead the blue ridge mall’s demise, I miss this mall, it’s not the same seeing a wal mart there as i drive past the old location…

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  37. Is there anyone out there that has interior photos of the lower level, if so email them to labelascar.com and they should post them.

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  38. So the article acts like the antique mall and dinner theater opened. Did they? When did they close?

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  39. The Antiques mall opened in 2001 and closed in 2004 after the mall’s fate was seals as well as the last signs of the life at the mall…the dinner theatre opened in the former harzfeld’s in 2002 but closed soon afterwards i believe…..this mall could have easily been saved……the area wasn’t really bad….sports complex 5 miles west…..this was a prime location….but now we have to deal with the big evil box that replaced this stunning and ageless mall…..

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  40. Hi all – I have so much to say on this subject and not enough time for a long post.

    I was born the same year as the BR Mall – 1958 – and grew up across the street from it. It was my playground, my social life, my fashion magazine, my backyard, my education. It was a REALLY fun place in the 60s and 70s. What no one has mentioned above (too young?) are the activities that the mall used to have back then. Well, someone mentioned the Blue Rooster – of course! What a great place! And Newberry’s had a cafeteria too. Putsches had the Carousel Restaurant downstairs in the late 70s – I used to go there on my break while I was working at Jones. I worked at Wards, too – selling shoes, yuk – and sold Starlight tickets in the concourse one summer – entirely too close to the red and white striped fronted Cake Box bakery that used to be there…

    Random thoughts:
    It was cool to shop there when it was open to the air. There were planters that were a sit-able height and it was messy when it rained or snowed.
    Santa used to arrive in a helicopter and they’d chain off the west parking lot (later Penney’s) and drop ping-pong balls that the kids would chase. You could redeem them for a mini loaf of Wonder Bread at the Safeway.
    You could also buy a ticket at Safeway for the Merry Mall Choo-Choo – a little tram that went around and around the parking lot, stopping at Safeway every trip. Your mom would put you on the tram and then take you off when she finished buying groceries. No one worried about safety.
    The Jenkins Music store was next to the Safeway – we’d buy piano music there.
    Moss Magnavox – where we bought 45s and our dads bought TVs
    Velvet Freeze – they had pumpkin ice cream in Oct. and Nov.
    Newberry’s used to have disc jockeys like WHB’s Phil Jay doing live remotes from their basement – I always went down there to see the talking mina bird at their pet dept.
    You COULD go all the way through the lower lever (called The Concourse in the early days) – all the way from the bowling alley under the Safeway, past the radio station (you could watch the DJs through the window) and the nursery / day care center (they’d watch your kids while you shopped), into the lower level of Harzfeld’s, through to Anderson Books (later), a fabric store, Putsches, the pet shop, a Spencer Gifts, etc. At the end, there was the smallest elevator ever that took you back upstairs.
    PLUS:
    Jone’s Store fabulous 60s fashion shows in the parking lot!
    Crafts Fairs – lots of church-sponsored booths, lots of crocheted potholders.
    Eva Gabor’s live appearance to open her Wig Boutique (she admonished all the ladies who showed up in curlers that Sat. morning)
    Ginger Rogers live appearance for the opening of the new Penney’s (the playground of my elementary school was scoured with the dust of the construction for months!)
    The seemingly space-aged interior after the enclosure remodeling – that fountail in front of Penney’s with the glycerin dripping down the wires – how cool was that?
    Tory Southwick and his puppet Old Gus (hosts of a popular kids cartoon show) used to make appearances all the time. They were so mobbed once that when my mom lifte me up to see better, she was unable to put me down again – there was no room!

    And so much more! The time I was allowed to go to the mall by myself for the first time – the time I was accused (unjustly) of shoplifting from the little hobby shop in the concourse. My first date at the bowling alley! Yikes I’m getting old…

    Yes, they did a pretty good job with the renovations in the 80s and the 90s – they kept up with the times pretty well and I enjoyed the arcades, nail salons, theaters, etc.,etc. too. I don’t know what it would’ve taken to keep the place viable. If I did, I could be making a million dollars restoring aging malls across America.

    I had the great good fortune of moving back into my family home across the street from there again for the last 8 years. I moved to Overland Park, Kansas in July. It’s still a great neighborhood, Wal-Mart notwithstanding. But fewer and fewer of those that are there remember the great place that BRM was!

    Well, I spent more time than I really had on this. Thanks for the forum.

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    B-ri Reply:

    @Laura B.,
    Wow! I think I remember the day care on the LL. This would’ve been late 70′s It seems I remember it being by the pet store (Brothers) and that they had a separate small door for the kiddos that I insisted on using. I worked at the McDonalds in the mall in High School (Raytown) and explored the mall extensively. So sad that it’s gone!

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    Karen C. Reply:

    @Laura B.,

    Thanks so much for your memories! I, too, remember going to The Mall often when I was a kid. Your comments brought back awesome memories of my childhood.

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  41. Wow! Thanks for the information. Wait a minute, Safeway? Was that a grocery store in the mall? Did it have an interior entrance or was it an outparcel?

    [Reply]

  42. Safeway was part of the original, contiguous mall, at the southwest end (before they built Penney’s) where Lens Crafters eventually was, for all the way through to the middle. There were originally 3 entrances: one on the south, one in the middle of the west end (that’s where the choo-choo loaded) and one “inside” the mall – remember, it wasn’t enclosed yet, so you could park on the west end and go into whichever door was closest. There were grocery store style doors – step on the black rubber mat and the door opened at each entrance. My father was a refrigerator serviceman and did their service, so he knew the folks that worked there, too. Very handy when a little girl needs to use the restroom at the Safeway…

    Anyway, it wasn’t an outparcel, and was VERY much part of the fabric of the original mall (as was the bowling alley) – that’s where the train was, as I’ve said, and Santa and the Easter Bunny used to enter from the west end of the mall when they arrived for the season – usually with some fanfare and candy. Remember, that end was a big parking lot, slanted down toward Sterling a little, but not yet excavated for the Penney’s store.

    That big parking lot helps make sense of the placement of the Ward’s auto center, which was expanded later – it used to be a smaller space there on the west end, I think. Also, the west entrance snack bar / candy counter – so you could get popcorn and snowcones and stuff on your way in and out. You heard me, Ward’s had a snack bar…

    Did you ever see the memory window displays that the mall put up a couple of years before it closed? They had lots of old pictures of this stuff – fashion shows, helicopters, craft fairs, etc. We never thought to take any pictures – it was just The Mall, fer cryin out loud – but I sure wish I had some old pics now. I was wondering who would have those? Maybe the Blue Valley room at the downtown library has a file on the mall…? I wonder if the old owners/managers still have the stuff they were displaying…?

    Actually, I have some pics that my dad took when they installed the big ac units on top of the newly enclosed mall – they used helicoptors to lower them and he thought that was somethin.

    I’m really enjoying this – ask me something else! Man, I should start a BRM blog, I guess. Thanks for listening.

    BTW – my wonderful little one-owner Blue Ridge Mall house is for sale – if anyone is interested!

    LB

    [Reply]

  43. It could be like PennCanMall.com. Seriously, it would be awesome if you did.

    If Wal-Mart decided to take one anchor space, it would saved the mall and would have been a creative anchor. Too bad they weren’t that creative.

    [Reply]

  44. It looks like one could spend some time with the PennCanMall website. I’ll have to do that. Well, I’ll think about a mall blog. I was already thinking about a blog and that could give it an interesting shape. Something to think about. Who has that kind of spare time, though? Yikes. I guess I could stop sleeping.

    Yep, I had been hoping that Target would take up residence at BRM, but I haven’t known that discount-store-anchor-thing to work anywhere yet, have you? I think Ward Pkwy is still struggling (of course, the shooting didn’t help) and the place I know of in Marion, Illinois, where Target moved into a mall, didn’t work out either – Target even moved out of the space, I believe.

    It seems like such a waste, though – all that infrastructure. I mean, even if you forget about the memories – time marches on, after all – there’s just so much STUFF going to waste. Like Bannister Mall. I helped install the interior landscaping there when it was new. It was the biggest mall I’d seen at the time – we used golf carts to get around with the plants. We build so big now that when we change and want something different, there’s so much to throw away! I have to hand it to them though, rats notwithstanding, the BR Mall deconstruction was well done. From an environmental perspective, not much was wasted.

    I work for an environmental nonprofit, and I’m also a big fan of Wal-Mart’s environmental improvements, so having the HR-1 across the street from me was pretty exciting, even though the mall was gone. I mean, Wal-Mart’s footprint is SO big, that even small changes on their part have global impact and they seem to be going farther than anyone had hoped. Now, if they’d just give their human rights, social and community issues the same kind of facelift…Of course, the damage they’ve done to small town America can’t be undone. But we do love our discount shopping…

    [Reply]

  45. There are some interesting semi-success stories, such as Mall 205 on this blog. Maybe all anchor stores as big boxes might not do a lot of good, but one or two does not hurt. There are very top-notch malls (with Nordstrom in ‘em) that have Target, such as a few California Westfields and Glendale Galleria (it took the place of Robinsons-May) In fact, Hilltop Mall in California has a two story Wal Mart Supercenter in it!

    [Reply]

  46. Oh, my gosh – I was checking out the link you sent me, which sent me down a rabbithole of mall websites (I never knew folks were interested in this stuff) and I found a picture of the old Safeway at BR Mall. It’s from Pleasant Family Shopping – here’s the link.
    http://bp1.blogger.com/_Ei2Ik5quiI0/RvUVi1xXkTI/AAAAAAAAAP0/VPijZocQ8Ac/s1600-h/safeway+independence+mo+59.jpg
    Hmmm… I don’t know how to create a nice hyperlink like you did above… Anyway, it’s the mall of my youth!

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  47. I just stumbled across this site because I googled Tory Southwick and Friends. Boy did this bring back wonderful memories. Does anyone remember the huge big animals all around the mall that the kids could sit on or Don’s World of Beef, and Chasnoff’s? I too was born in 1958, and going to the Blue Ridge Mall was “big doings” for our family. We did all of our back to school shopping there. I no longer live in Kansas City, but it felt so good to read about this mall and go back down memory land. Thanks so much for this website!!!

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  48. There is only one way to bring back Blue Ridge mall. Rebuild Blue Ridge Mall exactly the way it was, when it opened in 1958. Of course, that would cost around 350 million dollars. Theres plently of land for that to become a reality, in Missouri.

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  49. Hey Brenda – I remember Chasnoff’s, but had forgotten Don’s World of Beef. Where was it? I don’t remember any big animals at the BR Mall, although there were lots at The Landing shopping center. There was a traveling show of life-size dinosaurs once, though, in the north parking lot. They had a vending machine that made plastic dinosaur replicas before your very eyes! Probably a quarter, and they came out warm from the oven…

    Jeff, I’ll bet there’s something to that idea, given enough venture capital. A real mall of the fifties – NOT a cutesy nostalgia ripoff – could be quite a draw – if it was done right.

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  50. Yeah, but not name it BRM, maybe just something inspired like it. The plastic dinosaurs are actually kinda common, I got one in a museum once.

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  51. There is a website called oldkc.com They have about 60 pictures of Blue Ridge mall. Most of the pictures were taken prior to being torn down. A couple are from the early seventies.

    Does anyone out there have any more pictures of Blue Ridge mall? Was the eating court added when the mall was enclosed, or was it built when the mall was new?

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  52. I’m not sure… Actually, I can’t remember a time when the South Court didn’t have the escalator down to the Food Court, so it must have happened then too. Putsche’s Carousel with the revolving table area.

    I’m pretty sure the North Court and the upstairs food court was added later – in the 80s maybe? – Chik-Fil-A or whatever it was, Topsy’s, lower level theaters and the arcade.

    Thanks for the info about oldkc.com. I’ll check it out.

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  53. I wouldn’t get too excited…it costs money to get the code. Wait…try here first.

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  54. I think it would be nice for someone that knows the CAD program very well, to create a virtual walk through map of Blue Ridge Mall to specificastions of 1959.

    It would give everyone, one more chance to explore Blue Ridge mall again. Mabey it could be set up as a Counter Strike map, that would be kind of cool and easy to download, just one of my thoughts!

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  55. I think it would be nice for someone that knows the CAD program very well, to create a virtual walk through map of Blue Ridge Mall to specificastions of 1959.

    It would give everyone, one more chance to explore Blue Ridge mall again, just one of my thoughts!

    [Reply]

  56. Everyone was saying right after they covered the Blue Ridge Mall that it
    was now “the largest indoor mall in the country.” Anyone else remember
    hearing that?

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  57. No, I have never heard of that. Keep in mind, that when Blue Ridge mall was inclosed in 1971, it’s square footage was around 900,000 give or take. There were tons of other malls at that time in the US that were enclosed and over 1,000,000.

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  58. In the upcoming local documentary, “I Saw You At The Mall” there was video footage taken prior to the demolotion of Blue Ridge mall for the documentary. There will be footage covering the interior and exterior of the mall. This DVD should be available around the later part of 2008. Just thought I would share this information with you.

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  59. Like Laura B. I could go On and On about the Blue Ridge Mall.
    My sister and I grew up in Independence MO so I spent a lot of time at the BRM.
    As did all of our friends.
    My Mother worked at the BRM when she was younger when it was an open air Mall, She was a photographer at one of the stores. Woolworth I think, but I will have to confirm that with her.
    Our Grandfather used to walk the BRM as part of the first mall walking club. (Interesting side note: Before the Blue Ridge Mall was a mall, My grandfather was thinking about buying the property. He went as far as to have the paperwork drawn up, (Which is in a box somewhere at my mother and fathers house.) He never did tell us why he decided not to go through with buying that property. But we are all just as glad that he did not.)
    As kids, my sister and I went to the day care at the BRM, they had a small door just for the kids and animal slides that seemed to me HUGE at the time, we LOVED it! Not to mention that we got to watch the DJs at the radio station, We even made it on air once or twice. The train was run by a great guy and we where rewarded with tickets for this ride around the mall. For a kid these where awesome things.
    Mom and Dad bowled at The BRM lanes for years. This is where I learned to bowl.
    We also shopped at the Safeway. My sister and I took piano lessons from Jenkins music for years. And mom still has the organ that our grandfather bought from there.
    My first visit to Santa and the Easter Bunny was at the Blue Ridge Mall. I venture a guess that my Mom has these somewhere.
    One year I remember that they had the zoo bring in animals and I have a wrinkled picture of me with a lion cub on my lap. I may have been 6 or 7 at the time.
    The North Center of the Mall had been the dime store long before it became the food court with Toppies Pop corn and Chick in a bun. To most of us however the REAL food court was down stairs. South side. Family gatherings where sometimes at Putsches. My sister and I loved the fact that the restaurant had a carousel seating area which BTW they later did call the Carousel. We would BEG to sit on it to eat our meal.
    There was a Pizza Shop sometime in the late 70s on the upper north east corner across from the Jones Store. Grandfather liked it because it was done in a 1920s style. and it had the ice cream parlor in it. (Sorry I can not remember the name of it.)
    Across from the Mall for a few years was a restaurant called the HAPPY CHEF with a great big statue chef out front, you pushed the button and he said one liners. Like “Make sure to drink your milk kids.” And “Dinner time is a happy time.” Silly to think about it now but as a kid I thought it was great. I would push that Button until Mom begged me to stop. The kid’s drinks came with little plastic animals on the side.
    We bought fish and other pet stuff at Brothers pets, Furniture from Wards, Shoes from Browns, (Which had a stage that you got to show off your new shoes by walking accross.) Party dresses from Harzfeld’s
    I remember all of the fountains, and I remember a time when some kid tossed a box of dishwashing soup into one of them and the whole East end of the mall was covered in Bubbles. One time there was a huge snowfall and the roof of part of the Mall caved in, and was closed for a long time. Mom remembers a fire at Woolworth.
    I remember the electronic moving display windows around the holidays. They had things like Elves on a ladder trying to decorate a tree and it would keep moving away from the tree. We would watch them for hours. I would pay a pretty penny to have at least ONE of those electronic displays now. Or to even just watch it for a few minutes more.
    When I was 12 I started taking dance classes at the Mall. and we had several recitals in the center of the mall. As a teen our church and school choirs sang there around the holidays.
    We played at the arcade for hours when it came to the mall and lost untold amounts of money there. I remember when they added the theater to the Down Stairs. They also had a tee shirt shop where one of my college friends worked. You would pick out your shirt and your thing that you wanted on the shirt, and they pressed it on.
    These where under the mall and you could get to it through the underground parking garage. Which might I say was a GOD SEND in bad weather? OR very hot weather. Where it was a constant 75 degrees.
    My Father taught both of us girls to drive in the snow and ice on a winters day in an empty BRM parking lot. Lessons that as a Midwesterner I hold to this day.
    My oldest sister Margaret bought her wedding dress from the Jones Store in 1982. I bought my Wedding dress from JC Penny 1987, and our adopted sister Joyce got her Wedding dress from the Jones store in1988. All three of us had most of our wedding pictures developed at the one hour photo. They did a great job believe it or not.)
    I worked at Claries in the center of the mall across from the toy store for a couple of years in the late 1980s. We where just starting to notice a small decline in the mall by then.
    I had no idea that the mall had closed because I had moved away for a time. Still unaware my fiancée and I drove down I-70 to Florida past the Blue ridge Mall and it was still standing. When we can back 3 weeks latter, I almost caused an accident on I-70 because the whole thing had been leveled. I had to call Joyce to ask what happened. I thought some horrible accident had taken place. She was the one who told me the whole sorted Wal-Mart tale.
    If I had known, I would have gone there just one more time. I still can not believe that it is gone forever. In my mind it will forever stand. Just as timeless as it always was.
    Thank you all for this trip down memory lane. When the weather clears, I will see what pictures I can find and send.
    –Diann…

    [Reply]

    Cindy B. Reply:

    Diann H, The name of the pizza parlour across from The Jones Store in the late ’70′s was “Happy Joe’s Pizza” I used to LOVE their spaghetti & meatballs!!! They were the best I’ve ever tasted.

    [Reply]

    Brenda H Reply:

    @Cindy B., Happy Joe is now Tim Pizza On 40hwy in Independence Mo.Tim and Joe are still owners

    [Reply]

    Elizabeth Reply:

    oh man I still remember going to Happy Joes as a kid….happy times indeed!. I think they still have cafes in Iowa & around the midwest

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    Dotti Reply:

    @Diann H, Do u remember the big dinosaurs they had in the parking lot back in the 60′s

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  60. Opps Sorry it was not Claires, but the Pericing Pagoda I worked at in the 1980s. In fact see Picture #9 right accross from Waldons books.
    Diann…

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  61. I loved the Cake Box Bakery and their seven minute icing on their cakes and cupcakes. Thanks for reminding me of this local icon back in the 60′s and 70′s, as I remember.

    [Reply]

    Bobby Reply:

    @ray, I remember the Cake Box at 7th and Minnesota Ave. over in Kansas where my mom would take me once a week to get a dozen of those pastel muti- colored tea/butter cookies.
    I miss those and would love to have the recipe.

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  62. What a stroll down memory lane. I practically grew up at the mall too. Funny to hear sentiments about the sign. That’s not the original sign. The original from the 50s through the 70s was a big vertical sign that spelled MALL in white lit tiles. The food court with the theater and arcade was originally Newberry’s dime store, similar to Woolworths. I remember it had stairs between the escalators. I loved the South court (where Penneys started). The Brother’s Fish store, Jenkin’s Music and Anderson Books were all down there until they moved most of that upstairs. I worked at Penney’s in the mid 80s when it was still doing great. It was still getting new stores to replace old ones. When it did look like it would close, I wanted them to build a large indoor sports mall with with a health club, basketball courts, indoor soccer, water park etc. I never knew who to contact though. I don’t blame WalMart at all for the demise of the Mall. It was dying long before WalMart came. Most of the demise came from the construction of the shopping area around Independence Center. The 39th street big box strip malls took most retail traffic east. I don’t think if you rebuilt it today it could make it. The demographics support the construction of WalMart.

    [Reply]

  63. Picture #7 looks like the basement level. Is that the food court that is blocked off?

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  64. I think that picture is of the inside of the old Ward’s store…?

    [Reply]

    Pat Kenski Reply:

    @Laura B., that is the Wards store
    I’m a retired Wards employee…that is the intersection of the jewlery counter and womens fashions
    We used to call it 1st & main.
    I worked in the Electronics Dept. later to be called called Electric Avenue from 1976 til 1999
    Guess it was my retirement that put the Mall & Wards under (LOL)
    My mother (Evangeline Vogel) & daughter Suzy had both worked at J C Penny.

    [Reply]

    Jon Cerda Reply:

    @Pat Kenski,
    I hope you get this Pat…
    I still have dreams/ nightmares about Wards…contact me.

    [Reply]

  65. My best friend worked in the kay-bee toy store and did some modeling for Montgomery Wards back in the hey day of Kansas City malls. That would be the early to mid 80′s. Back when the movie “Valley Girls,” glorified life spent in a mall. I was a Bannister Mall shopper, but she lived down off 40 highway and the weekends at her house were spent at the Blue Ridge mall. It’s where I first saw the movie “Splash” with Tom Hanks, back when we called him,’”The guy on that t.v. show that dresses up like a girl”. The cone-a-copia was new. It was the first time I ever had a candy bar mixed into my ice cream, it was magic! It’s where we went to meet boys and see all of our friends. I guess every generation has those places that no longer exist, It’s just so sad when it happens. Life goes on, and these places now only exist in our memories. Sometimes I just close my eyes and hope that I have a “Peggy Sue Got Married” go-back-in-time experience. It could happen! Long live our mall memories!

    [Reply]

  66. I too grew up going to the BMR. My parents bought my first piano when I was eight down in the Jenkins store, and I went to the BRM every tuesday for lessons, down around the corner from Jenkins on the lower level, by the post office. My lessons were held in a back room of a big open space and the front of that space was alot of glass window and the glass door, I beleive it must have been the radio station I’ve read about here, but at the time I didn’t know what it was. Also, along with the South Court and North Court entrances there was the Community Lane entrance, and to the left coming in there was a small staircase that led down to the maze of corridors, one of my favorite stores was down there. Kims Orientals. She had ALOT of turqoise and abalone jewelry and my fingers were covered with them!! I also remember the carousel at Putches!! There was a Fredricks of Hollywood upstairs and the Gift Horse (kindof like a Spencers of that day) was downstairs I beleive. Do any of you remember a little restaurant downstairs around the corner from Putches?? It was like a German sandwich shop if I remember right, It drives me crazy trying to remember the name of it!! There was also a bookstore named Heaven Scent upstairs in the 80′s I beleive. Most of my memories are set in the 70′s though. Yes I do remember the little stage at Robinsons Shoes, as I was up there showing off my shoes my Dad told me to get down before I fall, I didn’t listen and kept goofing around, and a few seconds after he said that I fell off it, lol. Oh well, good times lol. I don’t remember Dons World of Beef, where was that located please? There was also a post office down stairs on the way to Kims Orientals, but the one I remember most was around the corner from Jenkins and the Carousel, it was at the end of a hall right next to the place that I took piano lessons. Also, there was a store called ‘The Hub’ were Levis were sold. I’ll write more as my memories come to the surface. : )

    [Reply]

    Cindy B. Reply:

    Julie,

    Thanks for helping me remember Kim’s Orientals!!! I too got TONS of turquoise jewelry from there (They had layaway – good for a jr. high school student!)

    I also remember The Hub (I kept thinking it was County Seat) I was in the dressing room the first time I heard “Emotion” by Samantha Sang & The Bee Gees. Saturday Night Fever had come out the year before and I loved all that music!!!

    [Reply]

  67. Laura B., Julie, Clif. Diann H, did any of you go to the Raytown school district? I went to Northwood Elmt., Pittman Jr. and Raytown High. Email me at: rlslh@sbcglobal.net

    [Reply]

  68. The basement is curious to me, as there seem to be no pictures of it. I see the escalators, but what was it like down there? Were there any ramps from outside to basement?

    [Reply]

  69. I remember back in the early-to-mid 90s shopping there as a kid. We shopped there as an alternative to the Independence Center. Still wish it was there because I hate messing with that place. Woolworth’s had these marshmallow twist things on a stick.

    My sister worked for a while at the Pretzel Time. I think this was the late 90s when it was getting more and more obvious that the mall wasn’t doing so well.

    The last time I went there was when it was a ghost town except for a few stores. I had to get a Topsy’s cherry limeade and some of their cinnamon popcorn.

    Sadly I have to say the Wal-Mart development was a savior. It would have cost a lot of money to redevelop and bring to code the place. Wal-Mart only does multi-level stores if it is absolutely has to (Downtown White Plains, NY/Suburban NYC for example). Cost wise, it’s not within their “value-driven” formats.

    We could have tried to hold out on the place but it was getting to the point of eye-sore status. There was no guarantee, especially the condition of the retail environment right now. The Wal-Mart and the other stores got built but even then there’s no guarantee that the Lowe’s Home Improvement store will happen. Depends on the economy.

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  70. Supposedly there was a murder here in 1995. Might contribute to going downhill.

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  71. Keep on the look out for the local documentary titled “I saw you at the mall”, which is about Indian Springs mall, put together over 5 years. There is video footage taken of the interior and exterior of BRM prior to deconstruction, when I find out more I’ll post some info! “I also happen to be in the documentary”.

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  72. Well, hey, looking at the contracted plans with the remodel with the hybridized indoor-outdoor look, it appears like they would demall the mall anyways. Drat.

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  73. There was a murder there in the parking lot around 95 or so. The kids name was Jay Pat something. He was on cruthces with a broken leg and some punks mouthed off to him so he challenged them to fight. They shot him in the back parking lot if I remember right. I loved this mall too and remember going to the theater in the basement along with the arcade.

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  74. I didn’t read every response, but I didn’t see where anyone mentioned that the mall, like many malls, was once an open air mall. I visited the mall a bit around 2001, and I remember a photo of the old mall used to be located on one of the walls there. I always thought it must’ve been a beautiful outdoor mall. Like Penn Square Mall once was in Oklahoma City, OK.

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  75. I grew up right next to the BRM. I worked at Wards, Putches, and Newberries. I was working the night the Mall got hit by the storm that took out Newberries. It was the same night that the Kemper roof collapsed. I can tell you anything you want to know about the BRM. My Dad was the person that ran the job hoisting the AC units on the Mall with the Helicopter. I got to ride in the helicopter that day. So here are some other ones for everyone. Do you remember the Rexall Drug store that was on the Southeast corner of the Mall? It had a basement with a pet store. I bought my first pet, “Charlie the turtle” there. Also do you remember the talking Parrot in Newberries? His name was SAM. Remember waiting in the long lines in the middle of the mall when it wasn’t enclosed to get into Santa’s house? And the Train, “Petes” Barber shop in the basement. The Mall Patrol? They always chased us when we rode our bikes in the open center of the mall. That was on Sundays. Because of the Blue Law they were closed on Sundays.

    [Reply]

    MORTY Reply:

    @David K, My dad was the original Mgr. of Newberrys I remember when the helicopter was there and some debris broke the windows and we had to come down on a sunday,they had pets with a bird named polly Lots of great memories..

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  76. I have many fond memories of this mall. When I was a small child in the early to mid 1960′s my parents owned a chain of toy stores (Kingcade’s Toys & Hobbies) and had a location in the mall. This was, of course, before the mall was enclosed. The location later became the Singer sewing machine store.

    I too remember Newberry’s as well as Woolworth’s lunch counter. The Carousel was a really neat place to eat. BRM was also where I got my introduction to the Orange Julius.

    I continued to shop there for many years, until ultimately moving away from the area. I was saddened to see the mall demolished, but understand that as an area changes the shopping requirements do as well.

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  77. In 2002, when the mall was in serious limbo, the newspaper published an article about ideas for the mall. One of the main “ideas” was turning into a giant indoor flea market! That would’ve worked, for a while.

    http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=KC&p_theme=kc&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0F23D2F9E1D309B2&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM

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  78. I grew up in that mall. I remember when the pet Store was downstairs in the old “dungeon.” I ended up working at the pet store for seven years. The name of the pet store is “Brothers Pets.” The pet store is still open. They moved to the little strip mall on Sterling Ave that is just on the other side of I-70 of the old mall site, between the new Wal-Mart and 40 Highway. It’s really sad to see that mall gone. I can still remember when that mall was thriving. Downstairs with the pet store was Hickory Farms, Don’s world of beef, the US post office, Putch’s Cafe, Barnes tobacco shop, the lower lever of Hartzfeld’s, and a few other stores that I can’t remember. There used to be a bowling alley on the other side of the lower level. Before the movie theatre opened, the north court was a Newberry’s store. There used to also be a Happy Joe’s pizza tucked in behine the Jones store. I spend enough time in that mall as a kid, I could tell about most of the stores that used to be there. The REALLY sickening thing is it was replaced by a freaking WALMART of all things. I wouldn’t exactly call that an improvement!

    [Reply]

  79. i explored BRM many many time prior to and during the demo , i was able to save many old photographs and blueprints to the mall. there aer many pics in the database at uer.ca and on kcurbex.org. i can be reached at doitallkc@sbcglobal.net cheers!

    [Reply]

  80. I remember my mom taking us there as kids back in the early 80′s. I especially like the pet store downstairs. I think it was Brothers Fish or Brother Pets…..something like that.

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  81. Does anyone know the number to contact the seller of the blue ridge theater? We are trying to clean and rent out the theater for a paranormal research fundraiser.

    We feel the publicity would greatly help the chances of it selling! Please, if you have any information email cassiopia@premiereparanormalresearch.org

    [Reply]

  82. Jonah Norason: “The basement is curious to me, as there seem to be no pictures of it. I see the escalators, but what was it like down there? Were there any ramps from outside to basement?”

    It was part of that big store next to the escalator — it use to be just some more stores I think, but it was turned into the lower level of the Antique store in the 2000s

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  83. ^ Also, as you can see the down escalator is located INSIDE the store, so it really was part of the store

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  84. My early life was all about the mall (BRM) . My dad was a high school science teacher that moonlighted at Zales (jewelry store). We bought our groceries at the Safeway (west side of the mall). When I was in the 4th grade, I remember getting to paint halloween pictures on the storefront windows. That was back when the mall was ‘open air’. I also remember the choo-choo. Also remember a circus setting up in the parking lot, one year. The mall also had a very distinctive sign out on US 40. Big vertical thing, with revolving lights on top. When I stayed overnight at my granpas place, the revolving lamps would put me to sleep. Also remember the Crown drugstore (Rexall) on the east end, Newberry’s, Woolworth’s, Western Auto, the bowling alley downstairs, the dance school, and the preschool. Not to mention, Pennys, Hartzfelds, Arrow shirts, the Jones store, and a toy store… Suppose I could go on forever about the place..
    Grew up about 2 miles away and went to the elementary school just south of the mall on Sterling Ave (northwood). Many fond memories….I’m 55. My Grandpa had a towing business that he started back in the thirties just east of the mall. If this stuff rings a bell with someone and you want to reminisce, I am xraymikelarson@yahoo,com.

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  85. Looking for pictures of dance academy of in Blue Ridge Mall

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  86. HI everyone

    SInce the holidays are coming up it always reminded me of the zblue Ridge Mall. I remember going there with my grandfather in the 60′s. Later on after my son was born, I went there to see his easter egg he made in school that was displayed with several others throughout the mall. I continued to shop at the mall then in 1990 I was the first female hired in security. I am still a security officer with the company but now work at Blue ridge Crossing. I was sad when they torn down the mall to build Wal-Mart which has been a nightmare. Reading all your blogs brings back wonderful memories. I probably have seen most of you. The Blue Ridge mall was a family mall all the way to the end.I will try and locate some photos for all to see.The Applebee’s that was at the mall is now located off Sterling on BRC site. Brothers Fish and Pets is now located on 40 highway and Sterling. Stop by and see the new site and say hi.Thanks for reading.

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  87. If you loved Happy Joes
    go to Tims Pizza about 3 blocks east of Lees Summit Road on 40 Hi way

    they are the ones who ran Happy Joes
    the pizza is the same & the have a picture window wher the kids can watch them in the kitchen

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  88. Lots of great memories here! I also grew up in the 50′s within bike-ridin’ distance of the Mall. I seem to recall there used to be a toystore in the mall called Jo Falk Toys (their commercial begged “Come In And Play With Us”) I’m also pretty sure there used to be a shoe repair store down on the 2nd level, just to the right of the stairs that came down from beside (Harzfelds?) There was also a tuxedo rental store down there where I rented a tux for my brother’s wedding.

    I have a few memories of the mall before it was enclosed, and how “cool” it was to see snow on the ground between the stores in winter.

    There was also a Zenith TV store up by Jones (you could only get in there from the SE parking lot, not from the enclosed mall proper, I believe).

    I really miss Anderson’s bookstore, with their large semi-circular checkout area at the front with lots of magazines all around.

    Does anyone remember when and why Woolworths and/or Newberry “boarded” up their huge plate glass windows with concrete? I seem to recall there was a tornado or some kind of a “natural disaster” that caused a lot of broken glass that prompted the incident… but maybe it was just a security precaution?

    I remember when JCPenney was in the middle of the mall, and they had a pretty large vinyl record department. I bought all my Beatles albums from JCP!

    Didn’t there used to be an above-ground enclosed walkway between the Wards Auto Center and the main Wards store?

    Thanks for the memories!

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  89. We took trips to the Blue Ridge Mall in the 60′s. Drove on 40 hwy, remember the first trip on I-70. We always ate at the counter at Crown Drug, and always met up a Newberrys when it was time to leave. Went to the lower level, tried to get Joe, the mina bird to talk while we waited on mom to get done shopping. I also remember a scale model of the new sports complex that was going to be built, includeing moveable roofs. I think it was best before it was all enclosed, at least thats my best memories. A trip to the mall was a big day, but became more frequent once I-70 opened. Made the trip from Concordia Mo a lot more pleasent. One lasts thing, the mall was the first place I remember that Santa scared the crap out of me! Its a shame my kids, grandkids could not expierence a trip to the Mall,, they just aren’t the same now. Almost forgot,, if I was good,, a cone from the Velvet Freeze was a treat for the way home,, didn’t always get one!

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  90. I remember Blue Ridge Mall’s theme “I’m Mall Excited” around the time they went to being an enclosed place. I remember Woolworths being there where I got 12 cent DC comics! Wish I could go back in time to see it as it was as well as remember more about it!

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  91. I am so glad to have found this forum!
    The BRM was a large part of my life for the 80′s and 90′s with either employment, entertainment or just necessity. Some stores I remember that haven’t been mentioned are V’s Pasta Parlor/ The T-shirt shop(next door)/ Who could forget Orange Julius in the center/ Bermans(later wilson’s) leather/ Merry-go-round(if you needed an authentic Thriller jacket or the latest Z-Cavaricci’s/ How about the Cafe located in the lower section of JCPenny just inside the parking garage entrance?
    I saw Star Wars at that mall.
    I saw Santa at that mall.
    I rented my prom tux at that mall.
    I rented my wedding tux at that mall.
    I worked in that mall.
    I fell in love at that mall.

    I miss the blue ridge mall.

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    Mike from Lee's Summit Reply:

    @Fred Smith, My good friends dad was the manager of the JCP at Blue Ridge Mall in the ’80s. Don’t remember his first name but his last name was Ross.

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    Rick Reply:

    @Mike from Lee’s Summit, Charlie Ross was an assistant manager at JCP in the late 80′s and early 90′s when I worked there. The manager’s last name was Zimmermann, and then when he moved on Bob McRoy was the manager. Good times!

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    Mike from Lee's Summit Reply:

    @Rick, That’s cool – what a small world!

    Just noticed also that someone else mentioned Don’s World of Beef. I remember loving that place as a small kid, circa mid-late ’70s

    Kind of makes you wonder… Were those days really as good as we remember, or are we just glorifying them? Does make you think though.

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  92. Does anyone know anything about Ginger Rogers being at the opening of JC Penney? When it was and if there are photos? Thanks,
    gretamarshall@gmail.com

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  93. [...] birthplace. Ginger Rogers also made an appearance at the opening of the JC Penney store at the Blue Ridge Mall, Kansas [...]

  94. whats this mall like

    why does it have so many dead malls and whats Kansas Citys crime rate like?

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  95. Does anyone remember the year the car exploded at the BRM? Had to be in early 60′s. Does anyone know where there would be an article or picture?

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  96. I tried to post my text on here several times but it would not let me, so I typed it up as a Note on my Facebook page. Go there if you want a long list of memories of the Mall.
    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&note_id=276839442328493

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  97. I moved my Blue Ridge Mall memories to my Blog,
    VROUK – Vast Reservoir Of Useless Knowledge,
    sorry for any confusion, but here is my Blog Link:
    http://vrouk.blogspot.com/2011/09/blue-ridge-mall-memories.html

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  98. Have been reminiscing reading all of these wonderful posts. Someone PLEASE help me out – in the late 60s before BRM was enclosed and State Blue Laws were lifted, what was the name of the cafeteria that was open on Sundays on the south side? And am I crazy, but at the end of the cafeteria line behind the cash register, there was a mynah bird???? Or was the mynah bird at Newberry’s (which wouldn’t have been open on a Sunday??). Was the cafeteria name also Putsch’s, which later moved downstairs during the enclosure of 1969-70 and became the “Carousel”? We lived near Swope Park but my folks enjoyed taking a Sunday drive out the new interstate “I-70″, which at the time went just about as far as Noland Road, where there was Wild Woody’s (and that’s another story for another time lol) Oh the memories, wish my mom or brother was still alive, they might be able to help me remember.. good times!

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  99. There was a yellow and orange merry-go-round in the lower level of Blue Ridge Mall that was added in the 70′s. I loved to shop at Harzfeld’s, Woolworth’s, Jenkins Music, Cake Box Bakery, and the Jones Store Co. with my mom. Loved that mall!

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    Jan Reply:

    @Jane,

    YES, YES, YES!!!

    Remember Don’s World of Beef?????

    And I still miss the Cake Box Bakery…..my mother worked for the family that owned them way back in the early 1950′s, she was a nanny for them one summer.

    Me and one of my brothers STILL to this day talk about the little butter cookies we used to buy from CB and wish we knew how to make them taste that good ourselves.

    So many memories!

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  100. Deanna, it was Fred Harvey’s Cafeteria. Not to be confused with Fred Harvey’s Blue Rooster coffee shop that was a stand alone building on the east side of the parking lot by the Blue Ridge Standard filling station.

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  101. Pat Kenski……where are you????? I still have dreams about getting the trucks unloaded and being late on shipping……

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  102. Does anyone have any info on the movie theater that used to be across the street from BRM? I can’t remember what year it closed

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  103. I worked at this Jones Store in the late 70′s, my mother actually worked for them in the early 50′s downtown. I spent literally 100′s of hours in this mall as a child/teenager before moving out of state.

    This pictures bring back absolutely wonderful memories for me!

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