Rock Hill Mall; Rock Hill, South Carolina

The left side of the mall. At the center is the main entrance. Belk was at the far left, flanked to the right by Eckerd. That's my awesome truck sitting there.

This post is a first for us here at Labelscar. The mall featured here is one which neither I nor my blogging partner Caldor have ever visited. Instead, this mall was alerted to us by a reader named Shane from Rock Hill. We have to give him more credit than that, though, because he ended up going to the mall and taking pictures for us. What’s more, the mall has been unsuccessful for 15 years so he had to walk inside through some shattered doors and rubble to get some photos for our site. We think that’s pretty cool.

First, a bit about the city of Rock Hill, then more about the mall itself. Rock Hill, South Carolina is located just south of Charlotte, North Carolina and is part of its metropolitan area. Rock Hill has a population of approximately 60,000, is mostly middle class, and home to a top ten regional public university in the south called Winthrop University which currently enrolls about 6,000 students.

During the 1960s, Cherry Road became the prime commercial retail corridor in Rock Hill. Rock Hill Mall became the centerpiece of this corridor, also opening during the 1960s with anchor stores Belk, Sears, and JCPenney. Rock Hill Mall enjoyed a long period of success into the 1990s, when a new mall came to Rock Hill and stole its thunder. Rock Hill Galleria opened in 1991 just east of I-77 along Dave Lyle Blvd/SC 122, and it took all three of Rock Hill Mall’s anchors with it. Whoops.

The opening of Rock Hill Galleria effectively killed Rock Hill Mall according to a November 1996 article in the Charlotte Business Journal. The mall was almost completely vacant by 1992, and by 1996 the only business operating was a flea market occupying the old Sears space. The article also mentioned a possible redevelopment of Rock Hill Mall by Charlotte-based Faison Associates, which also named Hannaford grocery store, Home Depot, Target, and other smaller stores as possible tenants for a big box conversion of the mall in 1995 or 1996.

That redevelopment never happened. In 1997, the mall was purchased by the Red Lake Catawba Native American tribe which began operating a high-stakes bingo inside the former Sears store. In 2002, South Carolina began a state lottery and business at the bingo dwindled. As of early 2006 it was only open once a week.

Despite the Rock Hill Mall’s abrupt end as a retail center and failed talks to redevelop it as such, other possibilities presented themselves for the mall’s use. In 2002, the Catawba Tribe leased a considerable amount of mall space to RMC Ministries, which operated a teen center in the former mall. However, in Spring 2006 the Catawba Tribe told RMC Ministries they had to vacate the mall, and there was speculation the mall had been sold.

Today, the Rock Hill Mall is an unsalvagable ruin, except for a Carmike Cinema 7 which still operates in the outlot. The roof is leaking, doors are smashed open, and there has been rampant vandalism and graffiti throughout the former center. It is also apparently about to be demolished. Take a look at the pictures taken by our contributor Shane. Also, mouseover each picture for comments explaining each picture in Shane’s own words, and feel free to make comments yourself.

The front of Belk again. No labelscar. The old entrance to Eckerd. By this time, I had high-tailed it out. This pic is inside the main entrance of Belk, outside of the mall. I could have just walked right in the front.

Another store, apparently an old record shop. Another store, apparently an old record shop. Another storefront...not sure what this was.

Obviously, the GNC. Marshall Jewelers...not sure if that's a II or a decoration on the sign. I like this storefront, though.

A random, anonymous store. Brooks was a clothing store...notice the Gotta love the disarray of this. And the fake trees,

The old management office, and one of few things that read The Another store. Labelscar reads

The inside of here was pretty ugly. I think this MIGHT have been a record store. Inside of the more well-preserved spaces. Yikes. Ceiling's obviously leaking here.

I am now standing with my back to the entrance to the mall. To the left is Belk's main entrance at the front of the mall. A look to my left. I had just entered through the opening to the left. Adios, ceiling tiles. I didn't look at that binder to the left...maybe I should have? That's the entrance to the mall, to the right.

Continuing into the Belk showroom. Original merchandise? The condition inside part of the old Belk. In the back of the photo, you can see a little of the showroom. The door to the left leads to the room shown in pic 1362. Vandalism...lovely. I also didn't notice the roof caving in that much, until I looked at this photo. Stepping inside and to the left, I was greeted by this...too terrified to look inside the rooms, so this picture sufficed.

This door was shattered. I took a peek inside...again, not the best scene. This door was WIDE open. Not the best scene inside..not sure where the stairs lead to, either. The rear of Belk. Not in the best shape.

Random picture of outside JCPenney. A better shot. Note the A shot inside the old JCPenney, converted into a Christian youth hangout a few years ago...recently closed.

The still-operating movie theater on the premises. A sign outside of the old Sears. I'm pretty sure this is original, because didn't Sears stop referring to themselves as Sign outside on a window.

The right side of the mall. Sears was once where the Bingo place is.