Happy Holidays everyone! As you can see, I’ve been more than a bit busy with visiting multiple families and opening presents and cleaning houses and doing the other seasonal trappings that–despite a vacation from work–I haven’t had time to toss some malls to you guys in awhile.
I visited the Binghamton area’s Oakdale Mall back in October during my trip to the Syracuse area and other parts of central New York. Here’s the satellite view. Dubbed the Tri-City Shopping Mall in development phases, the Oakdale Mall opened in Johnson City, New York, on October 1, 1975, although the Montgomery Ward store opened in 1973.
This article contains some history about the mall, along with the following revelatory passage:
By mid-August 1975, the mall had an open house. None of the stores was open yet, but nearly 30,000 prospective shoppers showed up to see the progress.
“This is going to be wonderful,” one visitor told a reporter from the former Sun-Bulletin.
“There will be no reason to go downtown anymore,” the visitor added.
How true that comment became. One by one, downtown department stores in Binghamton moved to the mall or closed for good within a few years. This certainly wasn’t a unique problem Binghamton endured, as this trend was growing across U.S. cities.
I don’t know a ton about its history beyond a few of its anchor store shifts: the Macy’s seen here was a Kaufmann’s until 2006, and it was a Montgomery Ward from 1973-2000. Clearly the building was either demolished and rebuilt or dramatically renovated, since it’s a fairly standard May Company exterior. The Burlington Coat Factory was a Bradlees until that chain’s demise until 2001. Sears, JCPenney, and The Bon-Ton round out the anchor roster.
The Oakdale Mall is an old center but it seems to have been renovated relatively recently (probably around the turn of the century, which is kind of a funny thing to say. Try it!). It’s a long and bright one level mall that gradually stair-steps up a hill, and is the only major enclosed mall serving the Binghamton, New York metropolitan area.
A few of my own favorite features were the expansive court areas, the vintage (and best, frankly) Bon-Ton logo, and the design of the entire Burlington Coat Factory/Bradlees anchor. That funky hanging garden effect on the mall interior was especially cool.