American Mall opened in 1965 along West Elm Street on the west side of Lima, Ohio. Anchored by northwest Ohio-based full-service department store The Andersons and Value City, American Mall is listed as having about 450,000 square feet according to the International Council of Shopping Centers directory.
The design of the indoor portion of the mall is a straight shot from the western anchor The Andersons to Value City. Until 2003, a Phar-Mor location anchored near the middle of the mall but it closed when the entire chain folded. According to deadmalls.com, there are also a handful of other stores and a Regal Cinemas.
American Mall’s decor is rather spartan with some interesting features. First, the floor is an M.C. Escher-like black and white checkered design throughout the mall. Second, the ceiling is encircled by an inlay of lights that emanates this green orb-like glow onto the ceiling and the sides of the mall. It’s really unique and kind of creepy, like you’re inside the set from some extra-terrestrial themed movie or something. The seating and decorations are also very old, and there are small plants and trees throughout the length of the mall. Another truly unique feature of the mall are the Television kiosks. There were two of them when I visited in the Summer of 2005; one featured CNN and another featured WLIO-TV 35, the local NBC affiliate. Kind of neat, huh?
As of recent, there is speculation that the Cafaro company who owns and manages the mall is going to shutter the mall and convert it into a lifestyle-type center, much like Easton Town Center in Columbus on a smaller scale. The mall has been on relatively hard times in recent years, with a large rate of vacancy. The stores actually in the mall number relatively few and of them, even fewer are national chains. One of them is actually called Butterfly Love and appears to sell T-shirts and knick-knacks, and has a very homemade-looking sign. Competition from nearby Lima Mall, which has all the traditional mall stores and department store anchors Macys, JCPenney, and Sears, has taken a great deal from American Mall. More simply put, Lima, with a population of 40,000, cannot support two enclosed malls. Perhaps the original developers thought Lima would be able to support two of them because of its distance from larger cities. Lima is a little over an hour from Toledo, Dayton, and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Too bad it didn’t work.
The pictures below were taken in June 2005. As always, any and all comments are appreciated.