Vintage Chicago Tribune: Shopping malls!!!!!

It could have been the site of your first date, kiss, job, major purchase using allowance money or where you saw that hot summer blockbuster movie.

Let’s revisit your favorite local mall, Chicago.

If your mom or a friend’s mom didn’t drop you off in the family suburban, station wagon or minivan, then maybe you took the bus there instead. Perhaps you went to the mall to get your ears pierced, spy on your secret crush who worked in the food court or buy a Christmas present for your father.

The mall was the hub of my pre-teen and teen years.

My hangout was Randhurst in Mount Prospect — the first Chicago-area enclosed regional mall — which celebrates its 60th anniversary this month. I took dance lessons in its basement, picked out luggage at Carson Pirie Scott to take to college (which I still use) and worked in the CD department at Circuit City during summer and winter school breaks in the 1990s (my main activity — telling shoppers “No, we don’t have a mall entrance in our store”). Speaking of 90s, my Grandma Rumore worked at GNC inside Randhurst as a nonagenarian. Though, really, she and I both preferred to get our mall walking and shopping on at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, which we did together frequently.

I don’t go to the mall any more, thanks to the multitude of delivery and curbside pick-up options available. Also, who has the time to just wander and window shop aimlessly these days? Honestly, it’s an activity I miss. But the photos Tribune photo editors Marianne Mather and Andrew Johnston discovered in our archives take me back to those simpler times.

As Alexandra Lange, the author of the recently released book “Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall,” wrote in her introduction, the nostalgia is palpable: “When I say ‘mall,’ you see a place in time, one shopping trip, one amazing afternoon. But even in my lifetime, the mall has changed and changed again. It’s an architecture born to be malleable, and in that malleability lies its future.”

Just as I’ve grown, Randhurst has, too. It’s now called Randhurst Village and has been reconfigured to mostly an outdoor mall during the past two decades. And though an ice cream shop in an outbuilding doesn’t have the same neon charm as The Picnic, it’s still a great place for my son and his Grandma Rumore — my mom — to create their own memories.

Do you have any great memories from attending the Bud Billiken Parade? Please email them to us! We just might include them in next week’s newsletter.

Please support our work and subscribe to the Tribune — it’s just $12 for a 1 year digital subscription.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!

— Kori Rumore, visual reporter

Chicago history | @vintagetribune on Instagram | Quiz: Test your Chicago knowledge | Last week’s edition of the Vintage Chicago Tribune newsletter

It billed itself as the largest mall in the world when built in 1962 but struggled to keep up as more upscale shopping centers opened nearby. It relaunched as Randhurst Village in 2011, an open-air shopping center with shops, restaurants, a movie theater and hotel. Read more.

Woodfield Mall opened in Schuamburg in 1971 — with celebrities including actor Vincent Price on hand to cut a huge orange ribbon — and was crowned the largest mall in America at the time. See more photos.

A fire started by an electric motor in a warehouse caused more than $1 million in damages to Ford City shopping center on April 2, 1968, but the stores remained open. Read more.

Vintage Chicago Tribune

Vintage Chicago Tribune


The Vintage Tribune newsletter is a deep dive into the Chicago Tribune’s archives featuring photos and stories about the people, places and events that shape the city’s past, present and future.

The shopping center at 151st Street and Dixie Highway became famous for its cameo in the 1980s film “The Blues Brothers,”where John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd tore through its walls in the movie’s iconic mall car chase scene. It was demolished in 2012. Read more.

Old Orchard Shopping Center opened in October 1956 with Marshall Field & Co. and The Fair Department Store as anchor stores. It is an open-air mall. See more photos.

Yorktown Center opened in 1968 as an indoor mall with four large anchor stores – Carson Pirie Scott, Montgomery Ward, Wieboldt’s and JCPenney. See more photos.

Oakbrook Shopping Center opened in 1962 near the corner of Interstate 88 and Route 83 as an outdoor mall. See more photos.

Harlem Irving Plaza opened in Norridge in 1956 with anchor stores Wieboldt’s, Walgreens, Woolworth and Kroger. See more photos.

At Orland Square Mall in southwest suburban Orland Park, empty anchor stores are providing an opportunity to diversify the mall’s retail and entertainment offerings. Read more.

Northbrook Court opened on Lake Cook Road in 1976 with Sears, Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus as its original anchor stores. Read more.