Washington Mall; Washington, Pennsylvania

Washington Mall sign in Washington, PA

Washington Mall opened in a former cornfield in 1968 near the intersection of US 19/Murtland Ave and newly constructed I-79 (Now I-70 and I-79 run concurrently on this segment) in Washington, PA (population 15,000).  The cost of the mall then: $4 million.  The mall’s condition today: priceless.

Today, Washington Mall is a relic.  The 800,000 square foot mall is anchored by a huge three-level 132,000 square-foot JCPenney store which dominates the center visually.  Other major stores in the center include: Rex TV & Appliance, Eckerd Drug, Staples, Dollar General, Toys R Us, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Click here for a current pdf of the mall’s leasable area.  The inside of the mall is mostly vacant, and in doing research it has been that way for at least 5 years.  Wally Janicki, owner of the former Pretzel Oven which had to close due to poor business, was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette through tears as saying the mall is so empty at times that a bowling ball could be rolled down the corridor without hitting anyone.  Interesting analogy, and we’ll take it.

The near future of Washington Mall is bleak.  In 2004, the mall’s development agent, JJ Gumberg and Associates of nearby Pittsburgh announced massive plans to, what else, big-box the mall.  The inside of the mall would be demolished and the remaining stores would be turned outward to the parking lot.  The major tenants including JCPenney, Eckerd and Staples were to remain during the planned redevelopment. 

However, in December 2004 plans inexplicably changed.  An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stated that many of the mall’s remaining tenants were told they could ‘stay awhile’ and wouldn’t have to relocate for demolition, because plans had changed or were delayed.

So what killed Washington Mall?  I’m going to say the center’s age, competition, and possibly retail overkill in Washington all put this mall in its grave.  Foremost, the center is 36 years old and although it looks like it received some touch-ups throughout the years, most of it looks extremely dated.  People like renovations and clean, new looking shopping malls.  That’s just how people are.  Only in rare occasions (like Northpark Mall in Dallas) does an upscale shopping mall purposely go without renovations and makes it. 

Second, and probably most importantly, Washington has another dominant mall.  Washington Crown Center, then called Franklin Mall, opened only one year after Washington Mall on the other side of town.  The two malls seemed to co-exist somehow in this city of 15,000, at least until the late 1990s.  Franklin Mall renovated itself extensively and expanded in 1999, renamed itself Washington Crown Center, and attracted all the popular chain stores like the Gap.  When I visited it in March 2004 it was packed with teenagers and families and clearly successful. 

This leads into the third reason Washington Mall is failing: retail overkill in the area.  Washington is a city of only 15,000 people.  Although its trade area is much larger than a typical city of 15,000, and it does lie on the fringe of the Pittsburgh metro area, Washington is simply not large enough to support two enclosed successful malls.  People in Washington also have the opportunity to drive 30 minutes or less and shop at many of the malls in metro Pittsburgh.  In addition, Washington has a huge amount of strip malls and more are on the way.  In April 2006, it was announced that JCPenney would leave Washington Mall for a new big-box development down the road.  Perhaps this is why the mall’s redevelopment was halted?

In September 2005 I visited the mall on my way back from a trip through the southeast U.S.  It was about 8pm, and I planned to make this mall the last stop of the night before driving into Ohio to my motel.  My visit quickly turned from a non-event into a disasterous, scary fiasco.  I parked in front of the main entrance and started snapping photos as I always do, making sure I wasn’t being watched by mall security, who tend to frown upon such horrible behavior.  Mall policies officially forbid taking photographs or videotape inside a mall.  The only reasons I’ve been able to get out of them for this are competition and security.  With many cases, like Washington Mall, I can’t imagine either reason being valid.  I’m pretty sure the mall is not going to be on the radar of any terrorists, and I’m absolutely sure no one would say “Gosh, I better go copy Washington Mall’s business practices, they sure seem to be doing well!”  In any case, I was caught taking pictures inside the mall and some dire consequences were brought upon me as a result.  My story follows.

I walked the entire length of the mall and snapped the photos you see below.  The mall was virtually empty, except for this ancient security guard and an equally ancient janitor lumbering around the mall with his cart.  I avoided them seeing me during most of my nefarious, purely evil picture taking activities.  Then, as I turned to leave out the main entrance once again, I noticed the security guard had pulled up a chair to the WTAE-TV space in the mall and was watching Hurricane Katrina coverage on the TV they had on and broadcasting into the mall.  I thought this was amusing so I quickly snapped a shot.  Immediately, I noticed that the janitor, who was further up the mall, noticed me doing this and started walking toward the security guard who was seated watching TV.  Even though I was leaving anyway, I decided it was time to leave with more haste than originally planned.  I quickly walked to my car, but as I exited the mall I looked back and noticed the janitor was speaking to the security guard at that point and they were both looking at me.  OH $#%$.  Well, since I was leaving the mall, they wouldn’t actually pursue me, would they?  They would.  As I got into my car, which was not far from the doors because, hey, this is a dead mall, the mall’s security vehicle came speeding out of nowhere directly to where I was parked with the lights flashing.  OH $%&# again.  Right then, both the security guard and the janitor came running out of the mall’s doors after me and right to my car, screaming at me.  I turned on the car and sped to the nearest exit, and to my amazement they all got into the security vehicle and were in hot pursuit!  I had actually left the mall entirely by this point but I was stuck at a light waiting to turn onto US 19 and then I-70 so I could get the hell out of there.  While I waited at the light, they caught up to me and started flashing their lights and screaming obscenities and honking at me.  I don’t even remember exactly what they said, it was kind of traumatic.  I do remember “We got your license plate, you’re in big trouble!” and other things like that.  As far as I know, I hadn’t actually done anything against the law, they weren’t the police, and I was off mall property, so I continued to ignore them.  I turned onto US 19 north toward the interchange with I-70, and they continued to follow!  A few seconds later, I turned onto the on ramp for I-70 west.  They were still following me!  What were they going to do, follow me home to Wisconsin?  At this point I became concerned for my own safety against these people, who were apparently insane, and considered calling police myself, but they immediately exited the Interstate as soon as they got on.  I continued on my merry way, a little faster than usual, and 10 minutes later I was possibly the only person in history glad to see the “Welcome to West Virginia” sign. 

So, if you want to take some pictures in and around malls, here are a few lessons.  Look around.  Security usually walk up and down the mall all day and are sometimes even in stores.  If it’s dead, they’ll often be chatting with store employees or strangely even watching TV.  Also, mall employees like janitors usually don’t care what you’re doing (however, they caused this horrible situation) but I always take precautions and avoid them seeing me too.  Take pictures discretely.  Don’t use a flash, or attract any attention to yourself by anyone.  They will harass you for taking pictures, and it can be pretty nasty.  I’ve also been kicked out of malls, and both politely and not very politely asked to stop.  If you want to avoid the situation, don’t take pictures inside at all.  But that’s not very fun.  Overall, realize that you’re not doing anything illegal.  They have no authority to detain you, call the police on you (unless you stay after they ask you to leave), or do anything but ask you to leave and not come back.  They also probably won’t chase after you after you leave the mall entirely and follow you onto the freeway, screaming and honking, either.  But it happened to me, so who knows?  At least it made for a great story. 

Pictures taken September 2005.  If anyone has any comments, or can provide more information on the history of the mall before the 1990s, feel free.  Also, if J.J. Gumberg is reading this, it’s my opinion that you hire some pretty wacky people. 

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Washington Mall in Washington, PA Washington Mall in Washington, PA Washington Mall in Washington, PA

Washington Mall in Washington, PA Washington Mall in Washington, PA

206 thoughts on “Washington Mall; Washington, Pennsylvania”

  1. The rest of the mall can go, but they must leave the JCPenney! That’s a really slick store. I imagine it was even nicer with the ‘Penneys’ logo on the front. Hopefully it was bigger tha the current sign.

  2. I don’t remember it being this desolate when I visited the Washington Mall in April of 2004, but it was on a Saturday morning so it may have been unusually busy. While it may be hard to tell from these pictures, the (frankly dingy) gold-and-brick motif is actually somewhat astounding in person. I thought this mall was really impressive.

  3. Yeah, I’m pretty concerned about the mall’s future sans JCPenney. It could be why they abandoned ship on any sort of renovation for the time being.

  4. Add to that Toys “R” Us and their future. The store up the road 20 miles on 19 in Bethel Park was closed, so that may help it, but that store is very quiet (as with the rest of the mall). It doesn’t help that there is so much big-box development on the other side of I-70/79, where Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Target, Lowe’s, Kohl’s all operate.

    Giant Eagle operated in the basement below Toys “R” Us before opening their store next to Target. Lang’s was a local department store based in the mall at one time too that had other area stores. This mall I have asked about numerous times on my group (Remembering Retail) and no one knows much about the history.

    As for JJ Gumberg, they are a terrible developer, outside of their work at Butler’s Clearview Mall.

  5. But where is the pic of the security guard? 😉

    JJ Gumberg indeed sucks. They seem to specialize in small town malls and shopping centers, most of which (the malls, anyway) are not fairing well and will probably continue to do so.

  6. That picture didn’t turn out at all, unfortunately. And then I had to run for my life.

  7. i remember a while ago, they used to have a super bowl of chili….and i seem to remember a penny’s logo with a blue/black lettering. anyway the sad thing is with all the new developments in the area ” foundry @ south strabane” etc that the developers/owners wouldnt want to use this mall

    ps…i was there last week and the funny thing is they have NEW signs up that read ” washington mall….fun shopping for all ” or something like it…i started busting out laughing when i read that….what shopping buy a shirt at pennys and some coca cola at the drug store?

  8. Yeah, that old Penney’s logo was pre-1970s, when they invented their current logo. I rarely see them anymore, and I think they’re cooler than the rather bland-ish new one.

    I’m surprised they’re rebranding the mall with new marketing. Are more (structural) changes afoot? Maybe they’re just going to make it work as an enclosed center. That’d be neat.

  9. I recently moved from the area, but grew up shopping at this mall. It fell on hard times soon after the Washington Crown Center renovation you mentioned. This past winter, it felt as though they were not providing heat to the corridors. I spent several Friday nights here as a teenager shopping at National Record Mart (NRM), browsing the fish at Jerry’s Pet Shop, eating at Shorty’s and the pizza shop whose name now escapes me. Before the Toys R Us/JoAnn/Giant Eagle addition was built, the Giant Eagle occupied the spaces that is now Rex TV. That space went from Giant Eagle in the 1980s to Pottery Factory Outlet (selling pottery and other home items) in the early 1990s to a Sun TV and Appliance in the late 1990s prior to that chain’s bankruptcy, and ultimately a Rex TV as current.

  10. Additionally on the mall’s current appearance: The mall looked even more dated than this prior to the late 1990s. Seemingly in hopes of better competing with the renovated Washington Crown Center, Washington Mall installed all new flooring and repainted to the current brownish-red and yellow theme. Prior to this the floor was that gold-colored speckled type of flooring original to the mall. The interior walls were all white, and the exterior of the mall was a hodgepodge of various colors showing the additions over time. It was given a unifying paint scheme of brown and lighter brown. Also, the fountains you see in the photos were added in the 1990s.

  11. I now live close to Monroeville PA, just east of Pittsburgh (that has it’s own mall with some history.), but I grew up in Washington and spent a lot of time in both malls. The Wash. Mall was by far the better draw before any additions were made, or at least it seemed that way. One reason was before the Toys R Us/JoAnn/Giant Eagle addition was built, there was also a 2 screen movie theater on the ground floor underneath the mall. Back then, the end of the mall was where you now enter Joanne Fabrics and the theater lobby was directly underneath. With the expansion, Giant Eagle probably ended up using some of the lobby and seating area for storage. I always thought it was a unique idea for a theater and plus, I took one of my first dates there, so I remember it well. And I believe the name of that pizza joint was Pizza Boy…big slices that were nice and greasy! It was a shame about Shorty’s moving both from the mall and uptown, as I now have to drive a detour clear out to Wolfdale on my way to my parents off Beau St. just to get a dog.
    I also ended up having a kind of 2nd life at each mall as for a short time after college, I ended up working at Thompson Hardware(whose owner also owned the Pottery Factory Outlet) located at both malls and then at Altmeyer’s at Wash. Mall. That’s also when I finally got to visit the previously forbidden XXXI Admendment Lounge.
    But I’ll always remember sharing some dogs with my dad at Shorty’s, the Pretzel Oven’s pretzels being the best with a coke slush, and G.C. Murphy’s (where WTAE-TV is now, which includes most of the current Staples) was the place to go for a cheap toy and a sandwich at the old fashioned counter.
    Quite the trip down memory lane…now I just need a Shorty’s in Monroeville!

  12. i think shorty’s is still open in downtown washington, i always thought that were giant eagle was below toys r us that a best buy would bring some life to the mall, or maybe a large borders bookseller. but i wouldnt count on borders since on the map for the foundry showed a borders.

    i was recently up at staples and they had removed a small section of the wall behind what i think would have been shoe sensation/ dress barn section. the opening was about the size of maybe a 2 door entrance or a small garage door couldnt see inside, maybe there gonna do something…finally.

  13. What a fascinatingly outrageous story I surely will not forget (being a mall/hobbyist photographer). The deplorable (and beyond the call of duty) actions of those mall workers should result in both of them being fired. The janitor and security guard were ptobably both zombies who probably died years ago. If you don’t want to believe the zombie angle, maybe the place has just gotten to them mentally – the pictures do it enough.

  14. Ah, yes, good old Washington Mall. Like one of the commenters above said, the decor they had prior to this was even more ridiculously dated. The yellow panels above the entrances had this bizarre red & green box-like pattern on them…and the exterior of the Penney’s was decked out in a two-tone pink & green(!). It’s a shame I never was able to get pictures of this scheme, my description really doesn’t do it justice…

    I always liked the place when it was healthy, though…all the local businesses and the kitschy design gave it the feel of a real community mall. Shame to see it become a victim of Pittsburgh’s ongoing, pointless retail cannibalization…

  15. jj gumburg no longer owns the mall….january 14th post gazette ( washington section ) reported that the mall has been sold to Oxford developments ( village square )


  16. I just went to JCPenney’s this week, for the big going out of business sale. That store is still packed with clothes and everything is nice and tidy. It doesn’t even look likes it going out of business. I still remember the days of the Washington Mall–I think it was more popular than Franklin at one point. My mom just said tonight that she misses John’s Bakery and that there is no place around to get any good bake goods. Penney’s is supposed to open at the Foundry in February and who knows what else is going over there. Everyone is moving to strip malls again. Long live the Washington Mall : )

  17. how is this mall of picture taking? that is rediculious they followed you onto the highway. I told my dad this and I thinks that was way out of line.

    I am freaking out about this. I was never caught, I went to the King of prussia mall on a two week road trip (I went to cleveland, erie pa, niagara falls, buffalo, rochester ny, southwestern ny, king of prussia mall, allentown, phillipsburg and I took 8,000 pictures with my digital, I drove this myself) last june and the mall was huge and I took pictures and if I was caught would I have been asked to leave, how much of the time does that happen. If I did not leave and they called the police, could I leave and then not be charged with tresspassing. if you are asked to leave, do they follow you out to your car? if your car is in the mall parking lot, would they remember the car if the saw my car and remember who the occupant is? I am freaking about if that had happened (I was even nearly paralized by this thought all yesterday and today and it took me until 5 am to fall asleep due to it). do they warn you of tresspassing if you don’t leave. I have been to 100 malls in my life and have only been caught in like 2 3 or 4. last year one happened in the great northern mall in clay ny. I know they cannot confenscate your camera, but at that time my memory stick (one of the 4 I used on that trip) had like 2,500-2,700 pictures on it (And it had pictures all the way from cleveland to king of prussia) which was hard work.

    I am stewing about that If I was caught in the king of prussia mall, what would have happeend as that was a zenieth of my trip. that mall was a big part of the trip and had 400 stores and 8 anchors. the mall was busy that day. I saw a few mall security cars. if you take pictures from within your car windows rolled up, are you still at liable for getting it for it? would they notice? are they more likely to kick you out when you take pictures inside the mall or outside?

    when it says photography, filming require the prior written consent of mall management, how much of the time do they approve picture taking? I only take pictures outside the mall because of getting nailed if I do it inside and If I want to take the pictures inside I will go to mall management for permission (I did that in towoson mall in maryland last november and the manager was hesitant to, I wanted those few pictures as the inside was unique). I was told that “you can’t take pictures of storefronts”. I know that malls are this way becfause of advertising and I GUESS THE STORES DO NOT WANT THEIR DISPLAYS TAKEN PICTURES OF. the way I take pictures, outside the mall, what if the chances that if I ask for permission they would say no. I am also an out of stater in those malls.

    because of this mall being big and crowded, how are mall security do you think with seeing someone taking pictures? it said say among the rules photography, videotaping and filming require the prior written consent of mall management. how are they with that

    WHAT IS THE CHANCES THEY CAN SPOT YOU IF YOU ARE TAKING PICTURES IN THE PARKING LOT FROM WHILE THEY (SECURITY GUARD) ARE IN THE MALL if they are like 100 feet from the entrance and how close are they usually when they are in the mall near the entrance.,

    i am stilling obessing about what if I got caught taking pictures at this mall. the only malls I have been nailed at doing this were the Great northern mall near syracuse and holyoke mall.

    and ABOUT THE SURVEYLANCE CAMERAS!!!!!!! HOW OFTEN DO THEY NOTICE THAT (SOMEONE TAKING PICTURES)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    but if you refuse to leave and they catch you (or if they catch you back on the property and taking pictures), would they call the police and if so will the police take away my camera and the memory stick? can the police do that and can you fight them with that?

  18. well, now penny’s has closed and opened there new wonderful store, the now have signs up

    big box opportunities avaiable
    anyway…i heard a rumour that the mall is going to be redeveloped with a boscov’s or some other dept store as the anchor

  19. Any idea when Toys “R” Us opened here? It appears to have been remodeled (the road sign is up-to-date) and contains one of those typical blue-roofs that most remodeled stores have.

  20. that mall is dead i don’t know what they want but i heard staple is leaving as well i hope some thing big come hear its dead

  21. This has been the third time this mall died… i use to work at the taco bell that was next door and grew up in washington..i rememeber having birthday parties at giggles the old arcade and eating at shortys. giant eagle use to be there,pearle vison,langs dept store,g c murphys,nat record mart, video game exchange, pizza boy,shortys,sun tv, the movie theater, natl city bank,a tux shop,pastries by john. there also still standing is the old cimena world theater now a cheaie theater and a cicis pizza buffet where big boy use to be. There also use to be a strip mall that had a kmart next to the taco bell. the kmart closed in 1996 i believe. the strip plaza was tore down for a home depot. taco bell was closed in 2002 due to contract obligations. there also was a mcdonalds across the street that was managed off and on by my father. it had the greatest playground ever!!!

  22. Cool that I stumbled onto this site. I have been to the Washington Mall a couple of times. The first time I stopped there was just out of boredom. Inside they were having some sort of yard sale/flea market. I thought cool, used records. Found some records and was happy. I also lucked out by finding a really nice hobby shop inside as well. I spent some money on paint and supplies and went on my way. A year later (2005) I came back through and I thgouht i’d check the mall out again. Unfortunately the hobby shop was gone, and the yard sale was gone. This time it was dead. I mean depressingly dead. I think i might have seen 5 people through out the whole mall. I wandered around for about an hour or so and went on my way. I came back through the town earlier this year and didnt even bother to stop and look at the mall..

  23. I lived in Washington, Pa in the Mid to late 60’s. There was a KMart in a shopping center, I think, all by it self. It was on Rt 19 across from the McDonalds (whose sign at the time said it served 1 million hamburgers). I believe the McDonalds is still there. The KMart burned down in Oct of either 1966 or 1967. It created a bonanza for the downtown merchants. People didn’t have anywhere else to shop. I was one of the downtown merchants running a national chain variety store. The Kmart was rebuilt but lost all the christmas business.

  24. After reading of the pursuit, anyone could have robbed the mall blind while they were out!

  25. The old mall makes me sad. I remember buying books at the little kids bookstore and hiding in the clothing racks at Langs… and riding the little train thing they had around Santa at Christmas time.

    I heard somewhere that they were turning it into a hotel/convention center.

  26. I’m guessing it was an arcade/kids’ amusement place, possibly something along the lines of Chuck E. Cheese’s or Jeepers!.

  27. Actually, in the corner of DeadMalls.com, Giggles was a “a classic 80’s store, it had games, T-shirts, candy, pranks, etc.”, as so says in the Mall at 163rd Street’s DeadMalls article. There was also a Giggles in Penn Can Mall.

  28. Two more questions: Does anybody know where the National Record Mart was and was the name of that bookstore Mr. Professor’s?

  29. If you look in Mr. Giggles, you can actually see remainding booths and signs left. Very sad, :(.

  30. I think its just “Giggles”. That’s probably been left since the early ’90s. Many untouched Montgomery Ward signs exist today.

  31. What may I ask was the XXXI Amendment Lounge?

  32. ah yes the forbidden admenment lounge…i remember that place i heard it was a resturant/bar type of deal

  33. The national record mart was next to the middle entrance. The bookstore was the little professor. There was also a kaybee toys. and the drug store Revco.Hope that answers Corey’s question.

  34. 21st Admenment. It was a great little watering hole. It was always busy and served great food….not fried bar food…real food. I would drive 20 miles to eat there. I peeked into the kitchen which was about 8ft x 8ft with a prep table in the middle. 3 cooks were stuffed into this small space. They probably couldn’t walk around each other. The food was grea!. Rack of Lamb, lots of Italian, etc. I marveled that such good food could come out of such a small place. I took lots of dates there about 150 years ago. I miss the place.

  35. I went to nursing school at Washington Hospital and we used to walk from the hospital to the mall–right on Route 19–not quite as much traffic then. Besides Penneys and Langs, they had several other womens clothing stores, shoe stores, a specialty mens store, where you could buy or rent formal wear, plus all the stores mentioned by joe. There was also a travel agency in the mall. The bookstore was called The Little Professor. It really was a great place to shop; it’s sad that it was allowed to go downhill so badly. There’s still a Hallmark shop inside the mall–but they’re only open Monday through Saturday and close every day at about 5. I think it was a combination of poor management and poor marketing that really killed it. There’s been a lot of building in the area in the past several years and those new strip malls attracted a lot of new businesses, plus accomodated the old ones. Washington Mall just couldn’t keep up.

  36. I cannot believe the story I just read about Caldor’s experience at Washington Mall!!! I am also concerned that since this mall shooting in Omaha, that mall security will be beefed up everywhere, especially the big companies like Simon and General Growth with the deep pockets that can put a lot of extra resources into security. And not that this is a bad thing, it is great for the safety and comfort of shoppers, and that is wonderful thing, but this could be a bad thing for people like us that have turned malling, it’s history and culture, into a hobby, and way of life for some, like the authors of this wonderful website.

    Everyone that posts on Labelscar are extemely passionate about malls, from the history to their future plans, and I share this passion. To quote our authors,” Ultimately we disagree with those who view shopping centers as a soulless, culturally vacant dot on the landscape and we believe they are dynamic, community-building places of great value.” But we all know most people do not feel this way and could give two hoots about malls except when they need some new clothes, sheets, toys, or video games or just something to do, like eating out and going to a movie. And they will go to the closest mall or the “new” mall, leaving that old mall behind to die without giving it a second thought. And it will probably never occur to anyone that someone’s hobby is to travel from mall to mall to snapping pictures with the only intention to study and preserve the architecture, the layout, the store mix and it’s how it fits into that community’s retail sector. That is something that only big retail development companies do because that is there job. So why would an individual who has a whole other job and/or career care about any of this? Since when did studying malls and there history and future become a passion just for fun? This could be questions that would be going through the mind of a security guard or mall manager stopping you to ask you why you are taking pictures.

    I have just started this hobby of taking pictures at every mall I go to. I love malls, the architecture inside and out, the store fronts(especially the empty ones or old/vintage ones), the layouts, the fountains, the ceilings, the skylights, the benches, the anchor entrances, the food court, well you get the idea. I agree so much with Caldor’s disclaimer statement about how so many of these retail establishments go away forever with very little history left behind about them. And I want to start a pictorial history of every mall in Louisiana, and other malls in the gulf south states from lower east Texas to the Florida panhandle, from Beaumont, Texas to Panama City, Florida, there is so much rich retail history that is worthy of preservation.

    Is it going to be harder to take pictures inside and outside a mall? Malls are such big structures that are so WIDE open to the public, with several entrances all over, from anchor stores to the mall entrances, so naturally safety is a big issue. Most big office buildings or other types of buildings this large have one main entrance, and sometimes require a check with security to enter. But malls are not like this, they are fun places to go, a place to relax, unwind, shop and enjoy yourself. But with that kind of openness comes much more risk of crime like what happened in Omaha. Maybe in the next few months we will see a lot more security at malls, at least until the media hype about the shooting dies down. And there is always extra security procedures implemented around the holiday shopping season. And most malls have high tech security camera systems monitoring everything going on, especially during peak shopping hours or seasons. So since this incident in Omaha, someone walking around taking pictures would look even more suspicious or weird to most shoppers in the mall, let alone the security staff, or even the janitorial staff. They might think the place is being scouted by someone to do something criminal. And I can understand the business reasons for prohibiting photographs in malls. Even though they are such wide open public places, they are still private property, and just like any business owner, they have a right to protect their investments from competition possibly trying to learn there business secrets, as well as providing the best safety and service to there customers.

    Still, knowing all of this, I can’t imagine driving 100 miles to see a mall and taking pictures of only the outside and not the inside!!! It would take all the fun out of doing this at all. So how can we take pictures and continue our hobby without causing any rucus or suspicion? One of the malls in my area is about to make big changes, and I want to take pictures of the way it looks now, as it has been since it opened, and compare it to the new renovations. And I will attempt to do this in the first week of January when all the holiday shopping hustle has ended and maybe there will not be as many security guards walking around. And I have already taken some of Caldor’s tips of trying to watch out for the security staff patrolling and not take pictures when they are around. I also try not to take pictures of people’s faces too. I wonder if any of the executives at the big companies like Simon, General Growth and CBL know about this website and the many other’s like it. If they do, I wonder if they read the comments and use them in making important business decisions? It is some of the best consumer research they have on hand that they have to pay nothing for to get. Not to mention all the free advertising they get, because I want to visit almost every mall that is listed on this website, as well as other websites like deadmalls.com, the caldor rainbow and georgia retail memories. And more than likely I will make a purchase or two at one of the stores at these malls.

  37. Totally agree with what you said, Jamie. Since as it is, I’m planning to do some mall photography trips within the next few months, and I’m crossing my fingers that my same discreteness I successfully used when I last did some mall photography, will still work on my next photography trips to certain malls.

    I sure as heck hope mall security hasn’t been increased to the point where they go ape**** over any little discrete pics that myself were to take….

  38. it was just giggles it was an arcade. and something else i forgot to mention was their was a murphys with a soda counter up to about 1994

  39. I used to work at Penneys about 3 yrs ago when it was still at the old “mall” and there were times when it was dead in the mall, but we were always busy, but when the old “franklin mall” was re-done, then more people wanted to go there! Then before Penneys built the store in the “FOUNDRY” area, the old mall was to become a strip mall, and there were a lot of new places coming in there, (they were going to build a new Penneys there and tear the rest of the mall down, and re-build…Penneys would of been hte only store still standing til the rest of the mall was built) so the owner told all of his tennants to be out by a certain date…well all that fell through so the owner said ok…you can stay, but it was too late… it’s just a shame that there is all that space there wasted…and another thing I forgot to mention was when i worked at Penneys…the mall itself wasn’t heated!!!! In the winter time if you walked down to Eckerd, you would have to bundle up as if you were going outside….what kind of crap is that????

  40. About photography….

    When I went over to the QuakerBridge Mall, I first took tons of exterior pictures, but I was hesitant to take any more, because they had 4 patrol cars and a local cop driving around, and me parking in my Blue VW New Beetle all the way at the corners of the parking lot kind of seems odd.

    I did manage to get a bunch of great pictures, but then I started my interior tour, and managed to get all of the top floor, just about, avoiding all the security guards, but just when I was taking a photo of JC Penney, a guard on a Segway (damn you [Kravco]Simon!) suddenly stopped me and said I wasn’t able to take pictures. He said I should go to the office and ask management.

    Unfortunately I was there on a an empty day and no secretary was there to approve it nicely, and there was a random old guy who I think was head of Facilities. I introduced myself as an “employee” of Labelscar, which I realized was probably the wrong thing to do, then he asked what I needed pictures for. I told him it was nothing related to marketing or any competing businesses, and said it was all for preserving the history of the mall before the renovation, and he gave me the Marketing Leader’s card and had me on my way. I think I’ll give one of them a call and ask for permission.

    Damn terrorists. This never would be happening if it wasn’t for them =|

  41. I grew up in Wash. and didnt leave until I was in my late 20s. I remember when Kmart burned down and they rebuilt it. I worked in the mall as a teen at Foxmoors and the Athletes Foot. I remember Sten’s shoe store, Pizza Boy, Chess King, Bon Homme Richards, Nat. Record Mart, GC Murphys,the Pretzel Oven, BaskinRobbins,Teeks Shoes, Little Professor, Thrift Drugs,AND Jerrys Pet Shop! There were more stores and they all died. I also went to nursing school at Wash. Hospital and walked to the mall but we would go thru the cemetery and come out on Oak Springs Road. Didnt Falconis own the mall at one time? Yes, Ruth Ann Falconi (the wife) had the Lil Prof. bookstore in her hubbies mall. *sigh* now its all just part of “the good old days”. I’m still trying to find somone who remembers the old Wolfdale Grade School in washington. Seems like no one is around any more. Ah, well, life goes on even if the mall dosent. Last I heard, the washington hospital was going to buy the empty mall.

  42. Passed this mall on my way home from St. Clairsville, OH yesterday. Of course, I remembered your horrifying story about your run in with security and told my girlfriend about it. While I wanted to stop in, I wanted to get home before midnight so I bypassed.

    I’ve been very reluctant to deal with security or personnel at malls lately so I’ve been abstaining from interior shots. Exteriors are usually easy to get away with as long as you master car-side photography. A fellow walking around parking lots seems to attract too much attention these days so you ought not stick around too long.

    I’ve been doing this for awhile so I typically don’t care about people giving me “looks.”

    This will be an interesting Summer I suppose.

  43. The theater is still there its under toys r us. The steps that you had to use to get down to the theater are still there… How many people remember the steps. I would like to see them reopen the mall for the older crowds and for people who wanna just wak around and not be ran over by some teens who think they on the store.. The crown center is to crowded to go and enjoy yourself…

    I loved going to the washington mall. Two years before my wife and I got married we spent atleast 2-3 days a week in the mall just to walk around and decide on things to buy for the house. We would go into GC Murphy’s or Jerry’s pet shop. Pastry’s by John was a nice place to get some desert. After we got married and had the kids we would go and walk around and push them in strollers and spend time together as a family just to get out of the house….

    Darla I remember all the stores you listed… They also had that resteraunt in there I beleive it was called the Dairy Barn or something like that… We still go to the mall cinema’s instead of the other one… brings back memories and it’s more relaxing with less people…

  44. If you visit Washington again, we now have a Wal-Mart Super Center, Lowes and even Penney’s moved into a new center. That is three! Bass Pro is soon coming to town. Gander Mountain is located at the Washington Crown Center. I cannot understand how so many shopping centers can maintain enough business to stay open.

  45. The Washington Mall is soo sad. I still go to Eckerd there sometimes. To answer Darla’s question about Wolfdale school. I went there K-5. Great memories of my childhood!

  46. When was the Lang’s store built in the Rt19 (KMart) shopping center? When I managed the DisKay Discount store in downtown Washington in the late 60″s I thought that there was only one Lang store in the downtown area which was across from town hall. Al Lang was the owner and a member of the church I attended. Is he still alive?

  47. I saw E.T. when it first came out there!
    There was a piano/organ store across from Jerry’s Pet Shop…
    There was also a Baskin-Robbins at the front, across from Little Professor…
    There was also little doctor’s offices and odd little places hidden inside the corridors between the stores….I remember getting a haircut (that i did NOT like) at one such place.
    I have a cousin that used to be a buyer at Lang’s……
    BUT as a 3-5 year old kid, what i remember most of all was that SMELL inside Lang’s…..it was disgusting………….some god-awful perfumey smell……i can almost smell it now LOL
    Sad to see it like it is now 🙁

  48. i was in the mall couple weeks ago…..south strabane township should condem the properties soggy cieling tiles hanging from the roof….entrances sealed off….sections blocked off

  49. I was looking online to see if Langs was still in Washington as my mother and I were reminiscing and I bumped into this site. We both remember Caldwells’s when it was uptown and upscale. We are up there in age. I haven’t been home for a visit in 5 years and haven’t lived in Washington for 26. I sometimes consider retiring there but the face of it has changed so much I don’t think I could bear it. I remember them building Franklin Mall. I rode horses there at Warrick’s Farm there before it became a mall and as a little girl I went to the circus in that same field. Washington Mall at one time was a very big deal. Oh the memories.

  50. Wow.. What a shame. I remember growing up in the Washington mall (late 80’s, early 90’s). It was much better than the Franklin mall at the time. Giggles and Pizza Boy (right across the hall) was a sweet combination. Now when I see how desolate the place is it’s depressing. Who knows what will happen now, since the foundry is collapsing (literally).

  51. Oh wow, really stumbled onto this by accident. Yes, the mall has I think two stores left in it. When Pizza Boy and the arcade (Giggles) left, I knew there wasn’t much hope of a come back. The father of my son used to work at the Valley Diary Restaurant there and I would hang out at the mall and Toys R Us until he got off work. Memories.

    The Foundry, where JC Penny’s moved to, is currently closed. I think the foundation is going because of the land settling/ shifting. I laughed so hard reading the wacky security guard and janitor. What else do you expect, though, they have nothing better to do than chase some stranger onto the highway. They probably got paid overtime for their efforts.

    Man, I miss that place. I miss the original (at least original to me at 29 years old here) Franklin Mall. Where I used to park with all the “cool kids” is now a part of Kaufmann’s I do believe. No arcade. My sons would love to go to a real arcade. Sad.

  52. Also, to the man who used to work at the Taco Bell in the ajoining lot to the old mall, what years did you work there? I have a friend who started working there in about 1996 and is still there today (the other location now on chestnut).

    Also, a quick “Hello” to Sam Clutter from my husband, Bob Mazon!!

  53. I have some fond memories of Washington Mall myself (mid-90’s)…

    A) There was a drugstore (Phar-Mor, CVS, something…) that was the only place anywhere around that would sell me Copenhagen while I was underage.

    B) The bookstore also was the only place that would sell me Playboy/Penthouse magazines while I was underage. I would then turn around and sell them at double-price to my 13-15 year old classmates.

    Entreprenurial spirit was alive and well….


  54. When i was really young i remember going to the Washington mall when it was better than the franklin mall. The franklin mall was really dark and gloomy but then when it became the Washington Crown Center the Washington mall died and i was sad because i liked it better. It was so wide open and cool. Now its sad to look at the mall.

    It sucks for JC Penny’s though because they moved from the Mall recently and were doing really well at the Foundry and then the ground started shifting and has made that whole strip to dangerous to be open. I had a bunch of friends that worked there at Penny’s and they lost there jobs because of (in my mind) a horrible plan from the developer to start building so soon after they just got finished moving so much dirt. Bad idea in my mind.

  55. I have been hearing rumors that Pennys might move back to it’s old spot.. That would be breat if they did cause then maybe it would bring others back and the mall could just get a face lift and be like it used to.. I would love to see that.. So many memories in that mall… My wife and I used to go there before and after we got married atleast 3 times a week even if it was just to walk around and get nachos or a preztel…

    Dianne Langs closed about 2-3 years ago I believe.

    Bill Langs was never in the kmart plaza it was always inside the mall since I can remember.

  56. Interesting architecture with this mall. That JCPenny looks mamoth! Is the orange part of the mall the main facade? I think it would need major capital to update this mall as a viable competitor, just looking at the photos. Would the area support another mall in addition to WCrowne Center?

  57. I am a manager at the old Washington Mall Theatre. I have been told that JC Penny’s is planning on returning to the old mall. In addition to the foundation and developing problems at the Foundary, the company building the Foundary filed for bankruptcy. The owner is supposedly in a bit of trouble with the bank he used for the loan also. All of the stores are shut down and all of the stores (except Penny’s) have moved their merchandise out already. Ross and Bed Bath and Beyond do not plan on returning to the Foundary regardless of what happens. I would love to see JC Penny return to the mall. Our business here slowed a bit since they left…

  58. There are 2 floors in the old Penny’s

  59. It’s really a shame what happened to the Washington Mall. I pretty much grew up in this place as a teenager. I worked there for many years at Jerry’s Pet Shop, one of the first tennants in that mall. And I spent many of Friday and Saturday nights hanging out at Giggles and Pizza Boy. (Rich, your pizza is still one of my favorites!) Couple things killed this place. #1, IMO, was Wal-Mart coming to town. The original store was right across the street. But when they built a super-center on the other side of I-70, the business in the mall dropped off. Then Giant Ealge pulled out and rebuilt over there. Along with the competition of the other mall, and rising rent prices for a space in the mall pretty much sealed its fate. Hope someone does do something nice with this place rather than just trash it.
    Jerry, Dave, Myrna, Lisa and/or Lois, if you are reading this, Im doing well. Best Wishes to you and your Families!

  60. I would hope that the return of JCPenney would give the owners some incentive to renovate the mall in some way.

  61. Cory, I’ve always thought that the Washington market could support two malls, as long as each mall has something different to offer. The Washington Mall is definitely in need of a major renovation however and more anchor stores are needed (perhaps bring former Foundry tenants Ross and Bed, Bath and Beyond) to compliment the JCPenney and attract smaller stores.

  62. Does anyone have pictures of the mall when it first opened or even some time during the 80’s? if so please post them so I can look at them

  63. I grew up going to the Wash Mall frequently. I saw Star Wars at the Mall Theartre there and remember going to the toy store frequently as a child. I even hung out there quite a bit as a teen. I think what killed the mall was some poor planning. I remember when the Franklin Mall was much shorter and ended at Hills. Then in the 80’s it went under a major expansion and when it opened, there were a lot of new stores and the look to the mall was very updated. The Washington Mall then went under it’s reconstruction, moving Giant Eagle to the back of the mall and a new multi-million dollar hallway that contained Jo-Ann Fabrics. I remember thinking what the heck is this? A lost opportunity to challenge the Franklin Mall and do something incredible with the retail space, and all we got was a hallway for Jo Ann’s?

  64. I was born and live in Washington PA. Washington has gone through alot of change in the past 35 years. We used to have alot of industrial sites, steel mills and a great downtown area. We have two major interstates running straight through us and are connected to an itersection for the nation. The Washington Mall was an O.K. mall in it’s hey day. But it was never all that. The reason JCPenney moved was to be closer to the new casino at the Medowlands Race Track. Washington is centrally located between some bigger population areas and the Interstate System is non-toll. If As a life-long resident of Washington, the Washington Mall is just one area of Washington proper that could be re-done. The mall had Penneys as an anchor. But, what they should’ve done was brought in two more big department stores when they had the chance. The area below Toys R Us is vacant. Where JoAnn Fabrics is could have been opened up and made into a two story department store like Macy’s (formerly Kauffman’s) Now, we got Tager Outlets, They moved some of the stores out of Washington Crown Center and put them out there off the racetrack road exit. Which, I associate that with nearby Canonsburg. It’s actually really dumb. Because, yeah, people like clean new stores, but, what they fail to realize is the amount of land that used to be famland and forest is now paved over by parking lots.
    If JJ Gumberg was smart they would do anything they could to retain Penney’s and bring the stores that were to go into the now defuct bankrupt Foundry into the mall. Personally, I like to be able to go into the mall and be warm in the winter time. I also like to park my car once and walk the mall to see the stores, the people and the smells. When I would go to Washington Mall it was home to me. My parents, grandparents aunts and uncles took me there as a child. I always knew I was going to get a pretzel at the Pretzel Oven, even if I didn;t get a matchbox at G.C. Murphy’s. Most of the stores that wer at the mall moved to the Wal-Mart plaza just about a quarter mile north on route 19. It was so stupid to not take better care of the mall. It will be sadly mised.

  65. I was born and live in Washington PA. Washington has gone through alot of change in the past 35 years. We used to have alot of industrial sites, steel mills and a great downtown area. We have two major interstates running straight through us and are connected to an itersection for the nation. The Washington Mall was an O.K. mall in it’s hey day. But it was never all that. The reason JCPenney moved was to be closer to the new casino at the Medowlands Race Track. Washington is centrally located between some bigger population areas and the Interstate System is non-toll. If As a life-long resident of Washington, the Washington Mall is just one area of Washington proper that could be re-done. The mall had Penneys as an anchor. But, what they should’ve done was brought in two more big department stores when they had the chance. The area below Toys R Us is vacant. Where JoAnn Fabrics is could have been opened up and made into a two story department store like Macy’s (formerly Kauffman’s) Now, we got Tager Outlets, They moved some of the stores out of Washington Crown Center and put them out there off the racetrack road exit. Which, I associate that with nearby Canonsburg. It’s actually really dumb. Because, yeah, people like clean new stores, but, what they fail to realize is the amount of land that used to be famland and forest is now paved over by parking lots.
    If JJ Gumberg was smart they would do anything they could to retain Penney’s and bring the stores that were to go into the now defuct bankrupt Foundry into the mall. Personally, I like to be able to go into the mall and be warm in the winter time. I also like to park my car once and walk the mall to see the stores, the people and the smells. When I would go to Washington Mall it was home to me. My parents, grandparents aunts and uncles took me there as a child. I always knew I was going to get a pretzel at the Pretzel Oven, even if I didn;t get a matchbox at G.C. Murphy’s. Most of the stores that wer at the mall moved to the Wal-Mart plaza just about a quarter mile north on route 19. It was so stupid to not take better care of the mall. It will be sadly mised.

  66. i went to the mall yesterday.
    all exited to look at it and possibally buy somethings.
    but to my dismay, there was no stores there
    but jo-anne fabrics and toys-r-us
    i was very confused in how you could just open the doors to
    all the closed up stores..
    but it was pretty fun..
    the mall was very creepy also.
    it was like a ghost town…
    i desided to look up the pictures of the mall today
    becuase i wanted to know what happended to it.

  67. im from washington…somehow i found this and i remember being a kid in the early to mid ninties going to shortys, giggles and pizza boy. i do believe there used to be a coin and hobby store somwhere in the the mall? anyhow it just really made me think about how things have changed in less than 15 years….i remember in 2nd grade there was a petting zoo at the mall and i i had a class field trip there….its very strange to think how busy that place used to be. i was there maybe 2 months ago…the roof is leaking and there a lot of water damage on the inside. smell musty as well. its actually kinda sad. oh well at least ill never forget the bookstore…i think it was called the little owl bookstore or something…ha i cant remember

  68. there used to be a restaurant next to Lang’s. does anyone remember the name of it? it was around 1991 or 1992.

  69. Question: there used to be a restaurant next to Lang’s *
    Answer: I think it was called “Bon Home Richard’s” or something like that.
    Question: coin and hobby store somwhere in the the mall *
    Answer: The stores name was “The Silver Mine” it is down RT19 a couple of miles by Washington Ford next to a subway shop.

    Questions for others: There used to be a once a year Mideavel Fair in the mall what was it called?

    PS: We now have Tanger Factory outlets so the stores are on the move againg from the Washington Mall to Washington Crown Center (Franklin Mall) to the Tanger Factory outlets.

    The cycle continues. I think Washington is the home of Mall Builders we just seem to create new buildings every 5 years to move the stores around.
    I still live in Southwestern PA

  70. The “Mideavel” fair was likely a Renaissance Festival, in the mall. But probably not, as those things are big and open-air.

  71. Washington Mall contributed to the demise of downtown Washington as a retail center when it opened in the late 1960’s. Now the mall itself has become a victim of changing retail trends. The property owners may not have done all they could to keep the mall viable, but, strip malls seem to be the current rage of the moment (witness the retail development trends in the Washington, PA area right now). Who knows, some day in the future we may be surfing web sites for old photos and reminiscing about the good old days of the Wal-Mart plaza or the Tanger Outlets.

    As a lifelong resident of the Washington, PA area, as well as a shopper and former employee of a Washington Mall business (now defunct), I have many pleasant memories of the people and places in the mall. It saddens and shocks me beyond words to see what the mall has become. JCP has returned (for now). Lets hope the current owners of the property take the steps to revitalize this space and return it to some semblance of its’ former stature in the Washington area. Honestly, given the central location, ample space, and easy access this property enjoys, I can’t believe someone hasn’t worked some retail magic long ago and pocketed a ton of money in the process. This place could be a gold mine!! One can only assume the current property owners are either flush with cash or real dunderheads.

  72. The restaurant was a Valley Dairy. At least it was in the early to mid-’90s. My brother-in-law worked there as a teenager. I think it was something else before that.

    That’s when it was the “cool mall” and the Franklin Mall sucked. Now the Franklin Mall (because no one my age or older actually calls it Washington Crown Center) is the “cool mall.” But it’s in trouble because the Tanger Outlets opened up only 10 minutes away and there is a lot of duplication.

    I was saying to my husband also that if the Washington Mall owners were smart, they would’ve went after Bed Bath & Beyond and Ross when the Foundry closed. The Foundry always a big debacle. You can’t trust something that has the largest retaining wall in the world!

    Here’s why retail works in Washington and why we have so much for a city of 15,000:
    1.) Washington is at the intersection of two major interstates, 70 and 79
    2.) Washington is the closest retail center for many in the surrounding rural areas (Greene County especially). This is why our Wal-Mart is one of the biggest in the Pittsburgh area as well as the busiest in the region.
    3. Pennsylvania doesn’t have sales tax on clothing and most food. Washington is close to the West Virginia border and it is easy for someone from Wheeling (only 20 minutes away) to hop on 70 to go shopping.

  73. I took around 30 pictures or so in August 2007. I didn’t encounter any problems during my adventure…I even got a security guard in one picture by accident. I think the mall has deteriorated even more since you posted these pictures. I posted my pics to my facebook and it’s almost sad because I remember the Washington Mall when it was actually a working mall.

  74. Yesterday,I went to Washington Crown Center outside of Washington, Pennsylvania. All of its anchor stores are still open, but many stores have closed such as AT&T, Old Navy, and The Gap. KB Toys are in the process of being liquidated at this time. It’s sad to see the demise of that mall since a year or two ago it was still bustling.
    After going to Washington Crown Center, I went to Washington Mall. I first went to the JCPenney that had moved back to that mall after the new store subsided last summer. They had the glass doors to the mall closed and painted over. I wanted to go into the mall and see whats left. I exited JCPenney and went to the mall doors on the outside. The first set of doors I went to were locked, then the second, and a man exited the third set and went through those doors. I walked in and on the left there was a Coldwell Banker agency and on the right there was a photography studio. They were both closed, I presume for the day. I noticed the entire mall was cold, maybe 50 degrees. I kept walking through the hall, turned left, and show no stores or signs until I saw the JoAnn Frabric store at the end. I circle around and walked to the other end thinking about all of the stores that were once in the mall and all of the people who have once worked there. I remember the pastry shop and the Baskin-Robbins, as well as the Langs and the Christian bookstore that was once there. The ceilings in the mall were leaking through. I had a camera in my car and I had the notion to go get it, but it was just too cold to go back in the mall to take picture.

  75. I love this site. It takes me back to my childhood. I basically grew up at Washington Mall since both of my parents worked at Penneys in the 90s. Shortys hot dogs and Murphy’s cheeseburgers were a very important part of life back then. I wasted more money at Afterthoughts and NRM plus bought my first hamster at Jerrys pet shop and Langs sold me my Christmas dress for my senior Christmas dance. Oh yeah, and I bought all of my Baby Sitters club books at Little Professor. I was just up at the mall last Thurs to get my hair done at Penneys and it is so bizarre to go up there and remember what it once was.

    My question is this….does anyone know of any reported hauntings or paranormal experiences at the mall? I have long been putting together research for a ghost stories from Washington County and Washington Mall seems like the perfect place now. I’m just wondering if it ever had anything unusual go on. Anyone know?

  76. Is the Home Depot still there? Is there any business where the Taco Bell used to be?

  77. The last time that I was in the mall it was a crowded place. The pictures brought back a lot of good memories, thank you.

    Your story made me laugh and think about the scene in “Titanic” when the ships personnel were so concerned about the property of the White Star Line even though it was soon to be at the bottom of the ocean.

  78. Linda said,

    on April 11th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Is the Home Depot still there? Is there any business where the Taco Bell used to be?

    Yes Home Depot is still there and there is a Waffle House where the Taco Bell used to be

  79. Washington mall has been dying for such a long time. I moved away in 1991, but was always sad to see how the mall had died a little more on each visit. We always did our grocery shopping at the Giant Eagle there in the 70’s and early 80’s, at the location that later became Pottery Barn and then who-knows-what. I remember the green bins that the produce was in and how COLD it could be in there. Also, Thrift Drug and Baskin-Robbins at that end. Little Professor was where we had to get our books for Mr Richardson’s (Trinity HS) history class book reports. There was the absolute best store called Only Happiness that had all the Hello Kitty stuff and the best stickers for grade school-age sticker collectors like myself… And remember the candy stand that was out in the middle by Penney’s. They had all the novelty gum and the beef jerky in little tins like snuff. AND there were even 2 Hallmark stores back then. One out in the middle and a regular one. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  80. Ok I am going to set the record straight! JJ Gumberg didnt own the mall, Falconi’s did and still do. They pay JJ Gumberg to run the mall for them. I was told by the man himself they were tearing it down and leasing the land like trinity point. They are supposed to build a best buy and a few other stores. The theater at the other end of the parking lot is staying and so is penny’s and staples. They are deadset on tearing it down for a strip mall instead. They have every advantage going for them, they are right by all the new resturaunts and walmart, lowes and home depot. All they had to do is rentivate the mall and attract new business’s. Their plans got ruined because penny’s pulled out and built a new building. well the land is unstable and all the new shopps closed. Why didnt falconi’s reach out to the business that closed up shop because of shifting land. The mall still sits waiting to be torn down. The plans to erect a strip mall have been put on hold. Mr. Falconi didnt tell me why the development firm pulled out of building the strip mall or what the future holds for the Washington Mall. I even volunteered to help take a proactive action in revitilizing the mall. Denied. They dont want to do anything. It’s a write off for all his other business’s I guess.

  81. CP, I was looking forward to seeing the mall revitalized, I even have conceptual drawings as to what these new designs could look like. It’s a shame that Falconi is not interested in the mall’s future. I was thinking how much it would be to sell the mall outright, which can’t be too much, not to mention JCPenney still owns their building. This could very well be possible if a number of investors stepped in and offered to negotiate for the property.

  82. Don’t forget about the barber shop and the little store that sold sweepers and sewing machines in the entrance near the old book store and the current drug store. Remember when they used to have the “Ag-Days” there with the animals and farm equipment? There was so many people there you couldn’t move, and it was even that way in the early 2000’s still. I also remember the NRM (later a Camelot) also used to be a Ticketmaster outlet. I spent hours there when I was in high school in the late 90’s standing in line to get tickets for me and my friends to great concerts at the Star Lake Ampitheater (now Post-Gazette Pavilion) such as X-Fests, Oz-Fests, Metallica, Korn, and many others. You hate to see places like this go away because of the little memories you have, like passing the test to get my driver’s license right up the road at the DMV in 1998, and the first place we stopped was Pizza Boy to celebrate.

  83. I grew up in Brownsville PA not far from washington PA and visited the mall and franklin mall. I can reember when Shorty’s hotdog was in there along with baskin robins, sun appliences, dollar general, and stores i can not remember. The mall began to die in the late 1990s and took a hard hit in 1999 when franklin. But When across of I-79 when all of those new retail shops opened, it did not help. I hope that the relick makes it because it is something i remember very well as a kid.

  84. @Linda, yes it is my sister works at that home depot, a waffle house stands in place of the old taco bell

  85. Anyone remeber Spaghetti Joe’s in the spot where Valley Dairy ended up? I remember not really liking the food there but it struck me as rather neat looking compared to other resturaunts.

  86. Growing up in Peters Twp (Washington Co.), the choice for us was North to South Hill Village, or South to the Washington Mall. It looks as though my memories of the Mall pre-date many on this thread (about 1976 – 1983 ). Funny how it still seems like recent history to me. Most trips we went to the Mall included a trip to the Silver Mine to see if there were any new coins we wanted for our collections. I also remember many trips to Penny’s for clothes and shoes. One commenter’s memory of taking his driving test up 19 at the DMV really brought back memories of the same thing for me.
    When we started going there, the McDonalds across 19 still had the original facade with the large arches and very little seating inside. This was before there was a McDonalds in Peters and before there was a McDonalds in Cannonsburg, so a trip to McDonalds was 20 miles down Rt 19.
    The last time I was in town, it was a shock to see the farmland north of Rt 70 turned into big box strips.

  87. Does anyone have an update on the condition of this mall? JCPenney is still active, but that’s all I know.

  88. @JAC, Just a heads up, the Silver Mine was the hobby shop you’re refering too, moved down Rt. 19 a little bit, it’s now near the Subway and John Sisson motors about 5 minutes on 19 north.

  89. @Corey, Giggles and Pizza Boy, along with Murphy’s, was my childhood lol. Giggles was an arcade that had a few awesome machines, like a road blasters, a nice skiball setup, operation wolf, and the NES 6 in one jukebox standup cab. I remember going to the mall, begging my mom for like 10 bucks, buying the most recent issue of Beckett’s magazine and a pack of baseball cards, then going to Pizza boy and getting the most awesome pizza burger ever (2 pieces of french bread pizza with a burger in the middle), the blowing whatever was left at giggles. I go to the Jo-ann’s in that mall a good bit and am sad every time I look at the awesome mirrored front of giggles and the falling apart neons of Pizza Boy.

  90. @Krissi, Sam Clutter? A guy that’s into zombie flicks with long black hair? I know Sam lol

  91. @phil, The Silver Mine was that coin and hobby store, it’s now down near John Sisson Motors on 19

  92. @CP, From what I understand the main reason that mall hasn’t been torn down is the amount of asbestos in the building means it’s going to have to be tented to take down, and that costs serious $$

  93. I was there today (July 18, 2009). It was creepy, to say the least. Although the doors were unlocked, I felt like I was trespassing. The area leading to the restrooms is boarded (closed). I took a few steps past the old Little Professor site and realized that J.C. Penney cannot be accessed from inside the mall now. There is also a fence to stop anybody from going through the mall. There was a scuba place, and then another fence. I entered from the other end by Joanne Fabrics. It was dark-looking with a fence on that end. LA Nails was the only other tenant to be seen. It is now worse-looking than the pictures seen online- very depressing. I didn’t see anybody at all except the fabrics employees and a couple of customers (no mall security or shoppers at all).

  94. @Gary,

    I was there yesterday to shop at Penneys. The doors out to the mall, which are usually closed, were cracked open due to a broken AC system. The mall looked like it was in good shape from what I could see, but the entire place smells like mildew. The only other stores that I know of that are there are JoAnn Fabrics and Staples. You can’t access the mall from Penneys. I don’t know if you can get in from all the other entrances or just the one by Staples.

  95. @Susan,

    If you get a chance to, enter by the doors straight across from the Wine And Spirits (not by Staples). Maybe don’t go alone, because it’s creepy. I’m curious if you think it’s almost scary.

    BTW, do you think the Crown Center is a good candidate for this site?


  96. @David R. in WV,

    I def will! Thought about stopping on Thurs, but didn’t have the chance. Maybe tomorrow if I get up there. I was in a few years ago when Hallmark was still in operation and it was creepy then! The only sound I could hear was my shoes-weird!

    Poor Crown Center! I like that mall! But I think Tanger Outlets is going to run them down. I think it would be good to put it on this site

  97. @JAY, so great to hear you’re doing alright!!! How’s your family? And another year has passed.

  98. I went here like three weeks ago! It was so creepy! There was a white fence blocking one of the entrances/exits, and another one blocking JoAnne’s fabrics so you had to go in another way. There was a Scuba Shop (I don’t know if it was out of business or just closed on the weekends because I went there on a Saturday). Most of the stores were closed and I only saw like two people there that were probably employees. You couldn’t get to J.C. Penney in the mall. The fountains weren’t on, there were just rocks and fake trees. It also smelled like mold…

  99. That mall used to be packed during the ’80s when I was growing up. For awhile the only four movie theatres actrive in town (after Midtown closed) were the two at the end of the old Washington Mall and the two at GEE BEE Plaza ( where Gabe’s is now)

    At the end of the old mall configuration (the mall used to end where JoAnns is located) there used to be a video game arcade and a pizza place, then you’d walk down steps exit both right and left from the mall and be at the movie theatres.

    It used to have several restaurants including Bon Homme Richard or something like that plus the lunch counter at 5 and dime store (McCrorys or something?)

  100. @Kevin, the lunch counter was in the GC Murphy’s store, and the Pizza place was Pizza Boy, with the arcade right next to it. I still remember when Channel 4 had a broadcast office there, right near the large open area where the pretzel oven was. They tried a few things over the years to bring the crowds back, like a dollar general and even indoor batting and pitching cages. I’ve always dreamed of buying the whole thing and opening an indoor entertainment center (indoor go-karts, mini golf, maybe an indoor skate park and urban paintball in one of the old stores.) But it takes money to make money, and I ain’t there yet.LOL

  101. PS: if anyone steals my indoor entertainment center idea, they owe me a cut!LOL

  102. Hopefully is someone goes in there soon we can get some updated pics???…Haven’t been there in a few years and I don’t remember the lights being on last time I was there, it’s gotta be creepy…

  103. I grew up in the Washington, Pa area and just wanted to add a few comments. First, the mall is not located in the City of Washington, but in South Strabane Township. The population you quoted is just for the City. Together with the surrounding municipalities, the Washington area has a population of 60,000-70,000. Washington County has a population of 200,000+, so that’s why there is so much shopping in that area. Plus, it really a suburb of Pittsburgh, so a lot of people commute through that area on a daily basis. Second, to echo other comments, that mall used to be jammed back in the 80’s. Its decline has more to do with poor management by the owners, and the growth of “big box” retailers, than the area’s ability to support shopping. The population of north- central Washington County has actually doubled in the past 10 years.

  104. My mom went to JoAnne Fabrics last Thursday. She says the fence which is blocking the mall entrance is the same fence that used to be used for Santa and the Easter Bunny at the mall. Thinking about it, she might be right. Also, she said there was music playing from one of the speakers. When we were pulling up, I could see that the lights were on down by the Rex entrance. I wish I would have left my camera in my purse. I’ll def try and get some when I’m up that way on Black Friday.

  105. Ha, this is a pretty interesting page. It is weird how that mall is so dead now. I walked through it about a year ago, it’s pretty crazy thinking about how active it used to be and how completely dead it is now. Kinda really sad in a way. I remember that awesome pizza shop in there, and the arcade across from it. I remember around once a year they’d have all kinds of stuff set up in there for people to sell stuff and a whole bunch of other cool stuff and that place would be loaded. That’s about at least 10 years ago now. =[

    That was a real interesting story about the security guard though. When I went in there about a year ago with my girlfriend, we were walking around and a security guard rudely said “do you need help with anything”, as if we were doing something wrong. My bad, but I didn’t no walking around a mall was an offense. I guess cops/guards can just like to abuse their power sometimes. Ha, I wonder if it was the same guy. o.o

    At any rate, I do think it would be AWESOME if they could bring that place back. Maybe throw in some really popular store, and from there add some restraunts or something other stores worth going to. Overall, it definately seems possibly.

  106. I went there today. It has a new store! It’s a furniture store where the Rex TV was. That might help a bit. (I think it’s like a single lifeboat at the Titanic disaster, though.) I did notice a lot of people going to the JoAnne Fabrics, Toys ‘R’ Us, the Wine and Spirits, and J.C. Penney. That does show that people do still go to that area . I wonder if a renovation might be worth a look. Maybe they should offer a contractor half ownership in exchange for remodeling.

  107. My brother and I toured this sad-ass mall in July 2008, having lived in Washington for 20 years, and we were amazed at how desolate the place has become. We walked the entire loop, remembering where every single store used to be. It’s really confusing why they even leave the doors unlocked because the air quality in the concourse likely doesn’t pass even the shittiest building codes. It literally smells like piss and moldy newspaper in there. Thankfully no security guards gave us the business as we walked through the empty corridors, because as the author found out, white trash rednecks are very territorial.

    Does anyone remember The Stamp Act? It was a hobby shop of sorts from about 1993 thru 1995 that sold stamps, coins, old documents and antiques right next to GC Murphy’s. The fella who owned it was named Ed and had a long black ponytail.

  108. @Corey, NRM was right next to the exit that went out by the checkerd dry cleaners place and the book store was the little professer,

  109. In the late 80’s early 90’s when i was just getting into middle school the washington mall was the spot to be and to be quite frank the franklin mall was poop back then. I walk to the mall almost every day took 5 minutes from where i lived on north main street. Pizza boy had in my opinion the best pizza in Washinton next to ossos of course. I went to the mall to jo-ann fabrics the other day and it made me feel hollow inside to see what has become of the mall. most of its blocked off because of falling ceiling tiles and tons of buckets on the floor to catch water from all the leaks and it feels more like a mortuary than the mall it was.

  110. I happened to be in the area with some friends about a year ago and tried to access the mall, but it was getting late and when I tried to enter, one of the security guards in her truck told me the mall was closed. I asked her if it was permanently and she told me just for the night. We talked a little bit about the mall and its history and she even offered me the owner’s number but I misplaced it somewhere. Overall, it was a totally different experience but not like the experience the site’s webmaster had to go through.

  111. There was a photo in the local paper recently of the moldy, dark, dank and creepy place, showing all the buckets to catch rainwater from the leaky roof. The place is a disaster. People say they can’t stand to go in there because of the moldy smell. There is a fat guy that waddles around the place-I think he’s supposed to be a janitor. I don’t know why officials don’t just condemn the place.

  112. @Billy Mike, I think the current owners are probably both – flush with cash and dunderheads! You should see the place now…the only remaining businesses there are JoAnne Fabrics, Penney’s, and a nail salon.

  113. @Mark, You can actually still go in? The fat, waddly guy may have been the janitor who tipped off the security guard, who was sitting outside the TV station watching TV on it, that I was taking pictures. Don’t think I am welcome back. 🙁

  114. @CB,

    It was the 21st Amendment Lounge
    XXI Longe
    Beside the Thrift Drug Store where I bought my baseball cards!

    Don’t forget about Net & Turf!

  115. @Bill,
    Anyone remember the head shop kiosk in front of giggles by pizza boy? I remember the theatre, called “Mall Twin” Two threatres down a long ramp. I saw the Omen there in 1976.

  116. Does anyone remember the name of the pizza place out in the back of the mall by K-Mart. I think it was in a caboose or something like that. There was a state store beside it if I remember right.
    Bought my first set of skis at Net & Turf.

  117. I lived in Washington from 1977-1984. My mom worked at Sten’s and later at Teek’s shoes. There used to be a store called Gil’s at the end of the mall across from the Pizza Boy. It was a small dime store type place. The toy store was Toyco then Circus World. There was a hardware store, a Richman brothers mens store, a uniform store, a knick knack store called Touch of Glass, Carmens hairdressers, Radio Shack, a self service post office. They had this cool cherry tree thing at Christmas where you made a donation to some charity and you could pull off a plastic cherry with a ticket for a prize inside. I went to JFK school and spent a lot of Sunday afternoons hanging out in the mall with friends. It’s such a shame to see it so dilapidated now. I went back for a visit in 2007 and walked around; very sad!

  118. this mall is sad. couple security guards there. a really nice gal who constantly cruises the mall; and a big heavy janitor. also some blond bimbo who i believe works security; not sure hardly ever see her. this mall is in really bad shape. needs alot of work. if you go in wear a gas mask.

  119. I drove past it about two weeks ago and noticed a new store where the former REX Electronics used to be, I couldn’t make out the name since it was getting dark but there was definitely something new in that spot. Also, JCPenney is still doing business there since the Foundry doesn’t seem like its going to reopen in its current form. Why they don’t invest money in this mall just boggles my mind, they could easily put several big box retailers inside and revamp the corridor, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy.

  120. I should also add that sometime in the late 1980s, DeBartolo Corp. once proposed the construction of a new mall across the street from the Washington Mall where Trinity Point now sits. It would’ve been around 900,000 square feet, bigger than the Washington and Washington Crown malls. It also mentioned three or four anchors and room for over 100 stores on two levels. There’s numerous newspaper articles about it if you look them up via archive search on Google.

  121. A little update. I visted the mall today. Most of it is closed inside. you can still enter at the far end by Joanne Fabrics. Inside you can clearly tell that plans to either remodel or tear down the inside because you can no longer walk through the mall and all of the ceiling tiles are missing. Shame i remember when the mall was filled with people and stores.

  122. @Prange Way, Most of it is now closed off

  123. I wonder if they could be getting ready to renovate the interior… were the ceiling tiles only removed or was the entire interior gutted?

  124. @Gary,
    The ceiling tiles are gone, but that’s it. I doubt seriously that it will ever be remodeled. I don’t see any sign that it will be demolished, either. They probably had the tiles removed because of mold and mildew. It’s a sad old mall… hopeless really.

  125. @Jess, I remember the Coin and Hobby. They’ve got two locations now. One in the Franklin mall and one on 19 north across from Sisson Nissan.

  126. The reason that Washington could support two malls for so long was that it was the focal point for several other cities that did not have malls of their own. All of the industrial towns along the southern Mon River would come to Washington. More importantly, the Washington malls were the most convenient for Wheeling, WV and it’s roughly 30,000 residents.

    It is a pity, though. The Washington Mall location is much better than the Franklin Mall’s. At Washington, 70, 79, and 19 all come together while only 70 and 40 (much less important) pass the Franklin Mall.

    Now, even the Franklin is becoming increasingly desolate as the Highlands big box development right over the border in WV on 70 saps the Wheeling crowd and the Tanger Outlets gobble everyone else. Probably means that there is 0 chance of the Washington Mall coming back in its current form.

    It’s possible that, because of the outlets, the Meadows Casino, and the location at the 70/79 nexus that a ‘destination’ mall could make a go of it. Certainly though, not in this economic climate and whether it could top Monroeville and South Hills Village is an open question. Either way, only one large mall could survive in the city. Not two undersized, independent ones.

  127. @Gary, The new store that went in the old Rex location is DFW furniture…we went to Penney’s 2 weeks ago and saw it….I heard that the Foundry is not going to reopen

  128. I grew up in Washington starting in 1974,and graduated from Washington High School in 1981,before leaving for the west in 1982. I remember that before they added the large addition to the mall on the one end that there used to be a Thorofare market on that end of the mall..it closed after a rather lengthly strike sometime in 1975 or 1976 I think.After that Langs took over the space.When they built the new addition,it initially had carpet on the floor in that part of the mall. Gils was actually a drug store that started in downtown Washington,the owner kept the downtown store for a while but moved his pharmacy to the mall store. I remember going to the movie theater and seeing close encounters of the third kind several times. There was a thrift drug where Eckerd is now, and I think the Giant Eagle was across from it(on the main mall entrance side); I remember fondly the Pretzel Oven ,Pizza Boy, and Shorty’s (although for some reason I thought the dogs from the dingy downtown location tasted better than the ones from the newer mall location). Also I miss the days of the G.C. Murphy’s of the world….I also want to wax on the loss of all the old ice cream soda fountains(Particularly Krause’s Drug store on S. Main St), and does anybody remember all the great penny candy we used to be able to get as a kid? Talk to a kid about that or RECORD ALBUMS today, you get the same stares from them that we gave our parents when they told us about their childhood—you know the one–OH,Oh, time to put dad (or grandad) in a home…. But it’s sad to hear whats happening back there, even if it is just a sign of progress and the times….I really miss that area sometimes….but you truely can’t go home again anymore….

  129. Does anyone remember if there was an entrance into the old giant eagle from the inside of the mall across from what used to be thrift drugs?

  130. @leslie, Yes there was. You could get to the G.E. from inside the mall without using the outside entrance.

    I really miss that mall….

  131. I was visiting my father who lives in Cokeburg, PA in Aug 2009 and happened to stop by the mall just to see if it was really as dead as my father had described. It was eerily dead. So dead that I came back a couple days later with a camera and took a few pictures. I didn’t run into any hostile security guards, in fact, I didn’t run into another living soul, although I could see a couple people in Jo-Ann fabrics. The pictures are haunting, and it was in reviewing these pictures that I did an internet search and happened to find this site.

  132. I actually work at the staples so i see this mall almost everyday and it is actually starting to get some life back the penny’s store moved away then came back , Rex closed a few years back and is now a furniture store the eckard has been gone awhile then the other day i saw a banner there is a chinese buffet being put in the old eckard building. toys r us still remains there is also a scooba diving shop in the mall which is odd and L.A. nails is still in the mall. I would love to see this mall go back into full swing i remember it as a small child and i loved it. its a very nice mall with a great location.

  133. I wish the owners would donate that property to the county or sell to somebody for $1 who would remodel it. The Wine and Spirits is one of the most successful in PA., and there clearly is traffic around the mall. I have been to the Staples and you all have a nice store and helpful people who work there. The Scuba place does a good business- I understand there is a warm lake in Pgh. that people can dive in and they do classes and trips to Fla.. Joanne Fabrics seems fairly busy. The mall owners, the Falconie’s, don’t want to do anything with it, but it could be good again. The location is excellent. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce or the county should ask them to donate it. They could get a huge tax deduction for that (trust me)!

    Eric, did you ever eat the carrot cake or chocolate desserts from Pastries By John there? Best ever!

  134. @David R. in WV, they could easily fill those spaces if they aggressively marketed the place and redo the interior, even by combining several small spaces and adding a few category killer retailers in different parts of the mall, it could very well be past the 70% occupancy range.

  135. I have eaten the carot cake there and it was so good. I really hope they do something to get stores in there. I loved going there it was always warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Jerrys pet shop was a nice little store we used to buy our pet supplies at and the GC murpheys was a great place to buy anything you needed. Is there any way to find out the news on the building?

  136. @John, Do you remember the steps at the end that led down to the theater?

  137. Thinking of this mall brings a tear to my eye. I remember going weekly to the Game Exchange with my dad when I was younger and we had just moved out to the area. (About 95-98)

    I remember going into Little Professor’s Bookstore, which is still my favorite bookstore even if it doesn’t exist anymore. The workers were always nice and I still remember a kind woman who gave me about 50 cents when I was short for a book.

    I remember being in Girl Scouts and selling cookies in Washington Mall too.

    A few years back my friend and I went through and remembered all the old stores and where they were, it made me want to cry seeing how far it had fallen. If they would lower the rent and get varied stores in it might be revived, if only it wasn’t in such disrepair that is.

  138. @Andrea, The little professor was a nice little book store. They also had a baskin robbins which was nice to go on a hot summer day. I remember going to the National Record mart and buying cassettes when the new ones were released it was always packed. I wish someone would invest in the building and bring back some business there. I know I would if I ever came into alot of money.

  139. @Rob T., I remember it being filled with retired people who didn’t want to be bothered with the young crowed at the Franklin Mall. There was always a few mall walkers to. The mall had all kinds of people in it up until they decided to build the new walmart plaza and now people seem to go there all the time for everything which it is convenant but sometimes it takes so long to get things in there and checkout because of to many people. Wish they would try to find some retailers to fill the store again. Bet Bed Bath and Beyond would come over there and fill the area where langs was if the pushed them enough. Miss the good old days

  140. Something is going in where I believe the 21st Amendment was. When I was at Penney’s last weekend, I saw a sign for a restaurant that was coming soon on the side of the building. It’s either going there or somewhere else around the old Sun end of the building.

  141. I visited this mall today actually. I’m from WV, and was looking for the Jo Anns… I was so confused because while in another shopping plaza I saw a sign for the Washington Mall and JCPenneys at “The Foundry”. We also saw a Bed Bath and Beyond and for a second I thought maybe the Wash Mall had moved.. and was quite excited. After entering this “foundry” place, i came to “no trespassing” sign and snow covered parking lot. No mall there. Finally went over to the old mall.. and wow, how creepy! I had been there probably 5 years ago and at that time it was a little creepy, but today when visiting Jo Anns, I was surprised to find the mall wasn’t heated.. there were no lights on.. there was a “Do not enter” sign just outside of the wing by JoAnns. Such a shame. I too remember visiting the pastry shop on my way back from Wheeling as a kid. What a treat… I just did some research and found out about the Crown Center Mall in Washington.. for some reason I never knew it existed.

  142. @Susan, Hopefully if they open a new resteraunt it will bring more people bacl over that way and some vendors to get some life back into the mall. All they really need to do is get some stores back in there that will attract the younger crowed and then that will get the parents walking around again and then you bring in stores to keep them there while the kids go do their thing. Just a few stores to start is all it would really take.

  143. Ever since Tanger Outlet opened up the street, Washington Crown Center has been slowly losing stores and getting less foot traffic. While all the anchors are still present, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the mall slowly continue on its way down especially since a lot of the stores at Tanger are duplicates of the Crown Center mall.

  144. @Kelly,
    The Washington Crown Center was formerly known as the “Franklin Mall.” It was struggling when the Washington Mall was winning. They remodeled (and renamed) it. I think it’s in trouble now, too. The Foundry was nice, but the ground was unstable and the stores had to leave. It should probably be on Labelscar, too. The Washington Mall is sad and now creepy.

  145. @Gary, Tanger is ok for some stores that you can’t find in the other 2 malls but who thought of putting it on top of that big hill? It’s Freezing cold in the winter with winds blowing between all the stores and then in the summer its extremely hot and usually no wind at all. Atleast in the malls you don’t have to go outside to get from store to store. Makes it very comfortable any time of year. I sat bring back the original malls and get rid of outlet stores.

  146. So i took a walk through the mall today i noticed one of the stores inside looks like it turning into a clothes store they have moved many racks of clothes into it and put up a whole new celing and lights into it there is also another old store that looks like its getting some work done. could this be the start of something?? I hope so cause i hate crown center and loved the old mall it nicer and bigger.

  147. @Eric, I hope so. I miss going there and like you said it’s bigger then Franklin mall.

  148. We used to spend entire weekends at this mall and were still pretty young when it started closing. We really want to just walk through it and try to relive memories that we had there. It’s just amazing how it was there one day and disappeared the next.

  149. @Ron, It’s a Chinese restaurant that’s coming, though I still can’t figure out if it’s going into Rite Aid or the 21st Amendment. They’ve got a permanent sign on the building now. I’m excited to see new life going in, but not sure when “opening soon” is.

  150. I was at the mall Sat. evening and the chinese resteraunt is under construction and looks to be putting entrances for access from the outside. Not sure if they will have access from the inside of the mall. Didn’t see signs of anything else that stood out but did look like they were planning something. Hope they do it soon looking for a change in the area.

  151. @Susan, I think its looking like it will open sometime between easter and Memorial Day. I have been in construction for over 15 years and kinda know how long things take. They are putting in 2 entrances from the outside now. I am stopping there on my way home today after work to check it out.

  152. Any updates on the malls future??

  153. Anyone know what happened to the owners of Pizza Boy? Just wondering if there was any chance they relocated. That was my all time favorite pizza!

  154. @John D., I am not sure what happened to anyone that left the mall. I was hoping someone had some new info on the future of the mall.

  155. @Ron, my mom read in the paper the other day that the Chinese restaurant is opening soon. I can’t imagine how much remodeling they have had to do on that space because they have been working on it for months now!

    Also, the entrance by the dry cleaners is totally boarded up now. I noticed that last Saturday when I was up at Penneys.

  156. @Susan, Thanks for the update. I hope they didn’t board it up because of wanting to close it. Hopefully its just to keep people from seeing tools or construction supplies. You know how people are today with steeling things. I am probably going to go check out the resteraunt in the next couple of weeks.

  157. @Ron,

    According to today’s paper, it opens June 9th 🙂

  158. @Susan,

    Hopefully they get a big turnout. Would be nice to see the mall get back to where it was. If people start going there to the new resteraunt it could bring some hope. Also Penneys is still doing good. All they need is for a few stores to open in the mall and start getting traffic flow. Well I hope it makes it.

  159. The new chinese resturant opened on the 9th the place has been packed every day all day ive ate there 3 times its amazing.. with all the traffic some places have to start lookin into the mall i hope so at least.

  160. Where in the mall is this Chinese restaurant located? Also, there was talk of a couple stores moving in from a previous post on here a few months ago… can anyone tell me if there’s any progress or if there’s any truth to that?

  161. @Gary, The resteraunt is located on the side by the DFW furniture warehouse. If you drive up to the mall between LJ and Home Depot you will see it.

  162. Does anyone have any news on the mall?

  163. Rich did not open another pizza place. If you remember, Tony was the original owner. A little Italian man.
    There was a scrubs store in there too, anyone remember the name of it? How about the place down by the entrence to Joann Fabric, it was one of the first places in Washington to have tanning beds, they did massages, and waxings.
    The mall is in horrble shape. The roof leaks all throughout the building. They have so much mold that you can smell it as soon as you walk in. They actually have the main part blocked off so that you cant even walk through.

  164. I went to this mall for the first time by myself on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) in 2002. I was 21, and it was my first time driving outside of my home state of Ohio (I lived in Shadyside, OH at the time). Ok, to get to the point, I went to the Washington Mall first. I saw the interior shown above, and it was darker than pictured. Kinda scary, and since mentioned before it was my first time out of Ohio by myself, I wanted to get the heck outta there! Washington Mall was my first taste of what a dead mall was like. Now reading this post of your experience getting chased out of the mall and onto the highway and getting cursed and screamed at by the guard and the janitor proves how scary it was! However, I did go back with my brother a few years later because he wanted to see the dead mall himself. It didn’t seem so scary anymore because I was older and had more experience going outside of Ohio. Can’t say my experience was as scary as yours!
    Lately I’ve heard rumors from other people and friends that the mall is going to be demolished, but unsure if it is true. I haven’t been out in that direction for a while.

  165. I’ve been to the Washington Mall many times over the years. I go there with various family members whenever I can. As of October 2011, which stores are still in the Washington Mall, besides JCPenney, of course?

    Also … I like your story about taking pictures inside of malls. In December of 2009 I went to the Mall at Robinson with my mother and I took pictures of a booth that was at the mall. It was for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. A local radio station was there and I took some pictures of the disc jockey who was at the mall that afternoon. I’m glad no one said anything about it. I used a digital camera to take the pictures, by the way.

  166. I went to the new Chinese Buffet and have to say it was great and well worth the price. Probably 100 different types of food and deserts to choose from. Will go back again for sure.

  167. Also curious if anyone knows any news on the mall?

  168. @Joseph P., I don’t know if it’s because of the nature of the location the mall’s in but Robinson seems to be more lax when it comes to picture taking compared to some of the other malls in the area. The whole mall has that welcoming vibe too which is great.

  169. @Ron,

    I went to Joanne Fabrics yesterday and the mall is colder and creepier than ever. The little fence is still up after the nail place blocking off the rest of the mall. The whole place was dark and smelled like mildew. I told my mom Shorty’s should move back. Her reaction: you’d never be able to eat there, you’d never be able to stand the smell. Sad to see how bad it is now.

    But I went to the Hallmark store’s new location the other night and it is beautiful. Sad it isn’t in the mall anymore, but they got a great location!

  170. @Susan, Thanks… I am gonna stop in next week when I do some xmas shopping.

  171. I got a great laugh out of your story. To post an update to it, the J. C. Penney store did leave, for a time, for the now-deserted and condemned “The Foundry” shopping center on Rt. 19. But that shopping center was built on fill, and had to be abandoned when the buildings started to crack, sag, and have other structural problems due to subsidence. Penney’s closed store at The Foundry in June of 2008, per a newspaper article http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/briefs/s_574211.html

    J. C. Penney moved back to their old store in The Washington Mall. They closed off the doors that lead to the Mall, and drywalled over them.

    A DFW cheap-furniture store moved into north end that faces Rt. 19.

    The center portion of the Mall is now cordoned off, absolutely reeks of mold, and the lights are turned off. I doubt that even is security guard or a janitor on the premises, because they’d need Hazmat gear and supplied-air respirators to sit in that building now.

  172. So, I had a nice little discussion about retail things with J.T.(who runs Sky City), and another person in the process of starting a Missouri/Kansas/etc.(and a few other places, like Omaha and possibly Oklahoma) retail blog, and one of the things that came up was Prange Way’s unfortunate run-in with that insane security guard.

    I didn’t mention this thought to either of them, but I started to think after I ended that online conversation(should’ve mentioned this to both of them, and will probably do so later), is that this one might end up like Mid-Cities Mall in Manitowoc, WI, where JCPenney was the last store standing after that mall was sealed many years ago. And of course, closed almost exactly a year ago to right now, give or take, as its closing was in January 2011. I’m surprised Joann Fabrics hasn’t thrown in the towel in Washington Mall, and relocated over to either the area around Washington Crown Center, or moved to the big box retail area by Wal-Mart Supercenter.

  173. @Allan,
    I doubt that Joann Fabrics will go anywhere. They don’t get enough business to relocate for one. 2nd The location is easier for the older crowd that shops there to get to and parking is easier for them. If they move they would lose business based on that part alone in my opinion. But I did hear that there are currently no plans to remodel or do anything with the mall at the present time. Maybe instead of people in the area donating money to colleges in other states to build new buildings with their name on it they should think about maybe opening up something in the area in the mall to help stimulate our local economy. I believe the number was something like 34 million. Just think how many stores or small businesses and jobs that could have opened in the mall. I know if I ever hit the lottery for a large sum I would invest into the mall to reopen it.

  174. I grew up in Bentleyville. I went to that mall many times as a child and a teen. I remember the foto hut that sat in the parking lot on the K mart side. I loved Christmas time there. I rememember big ornaments and a large tree hanging from the ceiling inside the main entrance. I visited Santa many times, usually located right outside of Penneys. I bought alot of G.I. Joe and Transformers toys from Kaybee and GC Murphys. I always stopped by Jerry’s to see all the fish and other creatures. In high school I used to get all my street hockey stuff at Strictly sports. I started to take my son to that mall around 2004 or 05. It was near Christmas and back then they would still decorate and still had Santa. No train though. my years may be off but Giggles was still open as were Pizza Boy, Haynes triangle, Silver Mine, Hallmark, Bakery, barbershop, “RESTROOMS” along with the stores that are still there. It was nice. It had heat and Christmas music was pumped throughout the mall. I felt like a kid again like I stepped into a time machine. Since then, year after year it has just gone down. Even when most of the stores had gone they still decorated for Christmas at least up until approx 4 years ago. Once the leaks appeared then it really got bad. up until then it was still nice to just walk through but once they cut the heat and the leaks came and the church & auction & Medeival Knights left then they blocked off sections. The best was when Penneys slid the glass doors so that just about a 4 foot gap was open to access the mall. I really don’t know how it’s not a health hazard to work at JoAnns or that nail place. I’m glad I got back there before it really went downhill. Just Sad. If I could I would still eat at Ci Ci’s and walk through all the way to Toys r us with my family. So many memories in that old place.

  175. @Kirk, If I won the lottery or something I would invest in the building and fix it up for vendors to come in and open stores. Just think the Powerball is up to 310 million. That would be more then enough to fix up the mall and invest.Then it would give our kids something to look forward to do for the future and make memories with their kids like we did.

  176. I was there today. I think Ci-Ci’s Pizza (an outparcel) has closed. The other places that are accessible from the outside are still there. The entrance across from the Wine & Spirits is closed, telling people to use the entrance by JC Penney. It looked pretty dark going in- most of the lights are off. There was a bit of graffiti on a display case and the walls. The scuba store is gone. I think the L.A. Nails place is gone, too. That leaves Joanne Fabrics as the lone wolf (from inside the mall). It was so quiet I think I could hear my heart beat! I didn’t see another person, living (or dead!). There is no music or air conditioning to make a sound. It was really strange. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is “shuttered” soon, so this might be the last chance to see it.

  177. @David R. in WV, looks like CiCi’s has exited the Pittsburgh market, shuttering all their stores in the area.

  178. @David R. in WV,
    I didn’t see that CiCi’s was closed personally but have been hearing rumors that it is.

  179. I was in the mall on July 4th. Had a day off of work and I was bored and wandering around. The only entrance open now and not locked is the Jo Ann’s fabric. The La Nails is the only store open. The back hallways and rooms are locked and sealed shut. I spent over an hour walking the whole mall.

    The rest of the mall is accessible thru a tiny plastic picket fence. The whole mall is in a terrible sad shape. There were some lights still working but it was mostly dark. Ac wasn’t working and parts of the ceiling were leaking. The smell was kinda of bad. Every store is closed and some are stripped down to the bare walls and ceiling. The Bath and Body works actually still smells like perfume. Its actually a bit dangerous in the mall now with lots of items hanging from the ceiling that could fall at anytime. The ceiling tiles are gone, the frame is left. Speakers hanging by wires and some of the lights as well. Easily the scariest and creepiest place I’ve ever been in. Between the sound of my shoes you could hear your heartbeat. I was so mad I didn’t grab my camera.

  180. I was there a couple of months ago and my experience was similar to Justin’s. I entered the building near the JCPenney’s side where the bank was. Most of the ceiling tiles were gone and it was very hot due to lack of A/C. The Hallmark store stated they were moving to the Foundry. I drove up to the Foundry and saw they were building a strip center near Max and Erma’s restaurant. There were no trespassing signs at the Foundry as well. John Sisson Motors stores autos up at the Foundry.
    Another thing about Washington Mall is that there were no “no trespassing” signs in the mall that was practically gutted. JCPenney is still doing business there and they have adopted some of the new concepts of the updated interior design started by their new President who was Apple Store VP before. The core stores are still there but there are no interior stores.

  181. @Steven Swain, Visited the Washington Mall today (9/20/12) and it seems to be getting a clean up.Video and many pix on our blog.

  182. @Susan, Washington Crown Center is much haunted. Especially on the end with Macy’s. I worked in the mall next to Macy’s for 3 years and heard many stories and witnessed some stuff myself.

    As far as I know, The Washington Mall is not haunted.

  183. Anyone have any news on the mall? Was up there last weekend and didn’t see anything going on.

  184. @Chippertheripper, I like your video. I thought about making one, but I don’t think I need to now!
    I was out there last week (Nov.1) and looked around a bit. The roof was leaking and there were buckets catching rain in several places. I agree that it doesn’t look horrible. I do think it’s too far gone to be remodeled to the level that people would go there again. After all, mall shoppers tend to go to the biggest and nicest ones. It’s a shame because it’s in an ideal location.
    Thanks again for sharing your video.

  185. The movie theater closed on January 25, 2013.

  186. it reminds me of parkway center mall.also giggles sounds alot like showbiz pizza place is that what it was like?

  187. @Paul, I saw that and it sucks. It might have been old but the price was great and have lots of memories there.

  188. @name, Giggles was just an arcade no food or drinks.

  189. @Paul, This is a sad day for me. I was wanting to go there when I got home from WI. By the time I get back, maybe it’ll be reopened. And maybe they’ll finally have done something with the mall, or at least have plans for it’s future. I miss going there and just walking through the mall with my friends. Some of my best memories of my father are in that mall. I always liked it more than Franklin, it had better stores and a better feel. It still does looking back.

    I miss home and hearing that the movie theater closed makes me miss it more. 🙁

  190. @KatEyes, follow up comment, my current b/f and I had our first date there. I wanted to take him back to that theater when we visited or moved back to PA. *sigh*

  191. Interesting article and a lot of good comments. I spent a ton of time in this mall growing up. My uncle ran the pet shop there many years ago and I used to come up to visit and spend the weekend with my cousin who was my age. We would venture down to the bookstore to look at magazines, spend a few bucks at Giggles (the arcade), look through music at NRM (later I think it became Sam Goody) and when Toys R Us opened in the late 80’s we made that a part of our routine. Not too mention the movie theater. There was also some family dining restaurant we ate lunch at everyday. I was last in that mall probably 15 years ago and I remember it being a little run down but it was still pretty busy for a mall at that time. I have no idea why I was there but I was meeting someone for some reason … I’m sad to hear it’s in such bad shape. We used to spend some time in the Franklin mall in the 80’s as well but it never had as good as a feel as Washington did. Actually my best memory of the Franklin mall is getting sick on some greasy pizza at the food court and throwing up everywhere! hehe Anyway that was a good trip down memory.

  192. Here’s what I remember of the mall and some of it’s tenants

    There was a pet store next to NRM with a talking bird, was their main draw if I’m not mistaken.

    Spaghetti Joe’s I think was the family restaurant across from the pet store/NRM

    GC Murphy was where the WTAE TV station was. I remember the food (diner) counter and you had to pay a dime to use the bathroom.

    There was a movie theater under the mall, 2 screens if memory serves me well, which I might have it confused with the theater that was next to the Gee Bee’s plaza just down the road.

    Pizza Boy was across from Giggles and was the best pizza in the tri state area. Haven’t found anything like it since. However, I did grow up, almost literally, inside Shorty’s. That was our “Let’s go out for dinner” place. I can remember the long lines at lunch to get in, almost around the corner of the King’s jewelry.

    A “photography studio” was outside Shorty’s, has some embarrassing 80’s photos taken there.

    The DFW was a grocery store (I believe Giant Eagle before it moved below the Toy’s R Us) then a Pottery Barn and then some sort of Stereo Outlet kinda place.

    Pastries by John…..The chocolate cupcakes with white icing and a piece of cherry in the center. They used to have a second store in Houston (now Diesels Heating and AC). Never could find anything like it. Damn….

    I can remember the fountain in front of JC Penny’s. My Grandfather and I would sit there while my Grandmother shopped.

    I remember the Foto-Hut which would have been just outside the Firestone tire.

    I can remember the Elby’s Big Boy just outside the mall. I miss that place. I could not tell you how may times I’ve eaten there.

    Little Professor book store.

    Baskin Robbins 31 flavors. Yum

    The Kay Bee toys where I bought the worst Nintendo game ever, Dark Towers. Was a Karate place last I seen.

    Lang’s was where the church is, or was….

    There was a diving school next to the Kings Jewelry.

    Pretzel Oven. Nothing warms the heart like a hot pretzel and an Icee

    Things Remembered had a small kiosk just before the fountain.

    Had a haircut or three at the “Barber” shop down the creepy hallway that lead to the bathrooms next to the vacuum cleaner shop

    That’s about all I can remember off hand

  193. Another store is biting the dust (out of the very few that are there). The DFW furniture store is holding a bankruptcy liquidation sale – December of 2013.

  194. I was there today. The Washington Mall has a wall (with a door) that blocks all of the mall except the small hall with Jo-Ann Fabrics. I was also at the Crown Center, which has a section stating “Coming soon: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.” That looks like the end of the interior of the Washington Mall. With JC Penney and DFW closing soon, I’d imagine the rest will likely fail soon too.

  195. Wow. Reading all these comments really helps me to remember how the Washington Mall used to be. I sure wish I had paid more attention back then. Ag Days (annual event held for farming vendors and businesses) was much better in the Washington Mall than it is at the Crown Center.

    I was at the Washington Mall on July 21 and again today. I didn’t try going in, though the one door between Penney’s and the bank appears to be open for the Mall Office (with a paper box strapped to the outside). Just past Shorty’s, there is drywall blocking the hallway, along with the drywall by the (now former) Jo-Ann Fabrics. I may go back tomorrow and try some doors to see what’s open, now that nobody’s inside the mall. The former DFW Furniture is going to be the new home of a Harbor Freight Tools.

    Is anybody else surprised that Imperial Cleaners is still there? They actually ran a radio ad the other day. There are still a decent amount of people driving around the parking lot of the mall. Toys R Us always seems busy.

    Sounds to me that there are a lot of people in Washington that would like to see the mall return.

    Even the Washington Crown Center (Franklin Mall) is sad lately. Most of the small spaces have been combined for a bunch of big boxes (Including Ross, and maybe BB&B). The Old Navy space is now a Marshall’s with an outside entrance. There is next to no traffic in the mall.

    I agree with another commenter about the pictures here. I remember the the mall being darker than the pictures show.

    We used to use the entrance by Imperial Cleaners all the time, but I can’t remember where the break in the stores was for that entrance. It’s not the entrance by Shorty’s, but the next one down. It’s since been boarded over and no longer accessible. The store next to Shorty’s has a bunch of clothing in it in some pictures floating around the net. I forgot to look today, but I’ll look tomorrow. I can’t imagine the store just leaving racks of clothes behind.

  196. “That looks like the end of the interior of the Washington Mall.”

    I hope not, but it seems that way. The doors to the short T hallway where Jo-Ann used to be are now locked, though the lights are still on. Circling the mall, all the other entrances are locked. The one hallway right beside Staples still has ceiling tiles in it, with a handful showing leaks and 2 or 3 have fallen right by the door with water dripping in. It rained two days ago.

    There is one door still unlocked by the Grand China Buffet, but with people around that entrance (the Buffet’s doing quite well), and for the sake of my health, I didn’t go in. That entrance in particular has the most water damage inside. There is a steady drip right in front of the old drug store inside with a decent puddle on the floor. There is also mold growing on the floor and it is peeling up in places. The seals around the windows leak, and I could smell the inside, outside.

    After about 2005 or so, they really let the mall go. I think the last time I was inside the main corridor was before Penney’s moved to the Foundry. The sliding doors were closed, but you could still open them and get into the mall. It was right about the time they turned the heat down to 50 F, which is why the doors were closed.

    The mall office moved to the store beside Shorty’s. Since it was 5:30, that door was locked. There are extension cords draped from the ceiling in multiple places, so they are doing some work inside. I could also see cart tracks inside, which suggests there is activity inside the mall. The tracks weren’t there 2 weeks ago.

    I don’t know if I’m allowed to post links, but here is a link to my Dropbox folder with the pictures I took in it. The last photo was taken from the parking lot of the Washington Hospital’s Neighborhood Health Center.

    The Harbor Freight Tools is making progress.

  197. I don’t know if anyone will read this but the reason all the stores had to leave is because of the mass amount of asbestos. It woul first off cost a billion dollars to control the asbestos then another billion to tear the place down. It’s now just the home of staples and toys r us. Jo ann fabrics has moved to the Washington Crown Center and there are no stores at all on the inside.

  198. After passing through Washington the other day, the Harbor Freight Tools store is now open in the former DFW/Rex Appliances space and was quite busy. A Spirit Halloween has opened up in part of the JC Penney first floor. Joann has left and the hallway to access is locked from the outside. The only place to enter the mall interior is next to the former JC Penney, which is where the Mall Office is located. Also, an Oil and Gas Safety Supply store has opened in the former Elby’s/Cici’s on the mall perimeter. Toys R Us, Staples, and Grand China remain open.

  199. Back in the 70’s there was a caboose by where CiCi’s pizza was. They had Italian food and pizza. Does anyone remember the name of it?

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