Midland, Texas, home to 111,000 residents, is located in a flat, dry region of sparsely populated West Texas known for ranching and oil. Along with its neighbor directly to the west, Odessa, Midland shares a sub-region of West Texas known as the Permian Basin, a mostly flat area of plains, rich in both petroleum deposits and the boom-to-bust-to-boom economy that comes with it.
Today, around 266,000 people live in the Midland-Odessa Metropolitan Area. Isolated from other major cities in Texas, folks in the region must travel between four and five hours to reach either El Paso to the west, or the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the east. Other, smaller regional hubs are a bit closer: San Angelo, Lubbock, and Abilene, Texas, are around two hours away.
Two super-regional malls exist in Midland and Odessa today: Odessa’s Music City Mall and Midland’s Midland Park Mall. The two malls are only twenty minutes apart, and are the only regional malls within a two hour radius. Like the twin cities of Midland and Odessa, both malls share similarities. Both malls offer Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Sears, both opened in 1980, and both malls were not the original enclosed malls in either city.
Midland Park Mall opened in 1980, on the northwest side of Midland, located at Loop 250 and Midkiff Road. Slightly smaller than Odessa’s Music City Mall, Midland Park Mall has around 650,000 square feet and a more linear layout pattern, with a slight bend in the mall in the Sears wing. Its anchors are Sears, Dillards, JCPenney, and Old Navy, which are very similar to that of Music City Mall, and what it lacks for size comparison with Music City it makes up for in popular national chain stores. Stores such as G by Guess, Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale, American Eagle, and Zumiez flank the halls at Midland Park, and are strikingly absent at Music City. In addition, the food court is flanked with the typical national food court chains such as Chik-Fil-A, and it’s apparent that the quality on offer is better than that at Music City. However, there is no ice skating rink at Midland Park, nor are there several live entertainment venues to entertain shoppers. Nor is there a Ten Commandments display.
Also, much like Odessa’s Music City Mall, Midland Park Mall was not the first mall in town. The Dellwood Mall, located less than three miles south of Midland Park Mall along Midkiff Road at the corner of Illinois Avenue, was Midland’s first enclosed mall. When did it open? What were its anchors, other than Kresge’s and Dunlap’s? Today, Dellwood Mall has been renamed Kingsway Mall, and still stands despite some modifications to house a Church and Family Dollar. Can you still go in and walk around here?
I visited Midland Park Mall in November 2009 and took the pictures featured on this page. Please feel free to leave any comments or observations you have, and help us fill in the retail history of Midland and Odessa.
Pictures from November 2009: