Freedom Mall, located on the west side of Charlotte, opened in 1964 as a 330,000 square foot anchor to the westside retail scene. It is, to this day, the only mall on the west side as far as I know. The prime shopping areas in Charlotte are south and more recently north with the opening of Northlake Mall in September 2005. There are also the ever-popular (much to our chagrin) victims of new urbanism known as lifestyle centers, and they’re popping up everywhere.
Freedom Mall has seen better days; however, it still functions as a community center for the surrounding, largely African-American community. Flu shots and other community resources are regularly available at the mall throughout the year. In addition, families from great distances have been known to travel to the mall for the region’s only African-American Santa Claus at Christmastime. Freedom Mall’s lone anchor is discounter Peebles, a chain based in the mid-south and spread throughout Dixie. Other stores include Stuarts, a Rent-a-Center, Foot Locker, and several beauty supply stores. There are also local stores selling urban wear, music, and toys. The mallway’s design is a basic barbell between the Peebles and what I’m told was a grocery store, but is now offices. Aesthetically, Freedom Mall’s decor is extremely dated yet simplistic. There aren’t many wooden tones or facades typical of the era from which Freedom Mall came to us in its time machine; however, the marbled cream-colored floor is a gem as well as the ancient Peebles sign above the main hallway.
I took these pictures of Freedom Mall in August 2005. As always, comments, anecdotes, and more information about the mall to complete its story are much appreciated.