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River Roads Mall

The remainder of River Roads Mall was architecturally unremarkable, notable more for its state of deterioration than its design.

The mall consisted of a single main corridor with one level above ground and a basement. The interior was lit by high, milky translucent transom windows. A rather corny village square clock tower, added in the 1970s, puncuates one end of the space, very much at odds with the modern image of the building. On the outside, a number of superficial remodellings, "modernizations", and store alterations has left the mall with a very patchwork appearance.

In the basement was a bowling alley, Spencers Bowl.

At the opposite end of the mall, the Food For Less store - originally a Kroger till 1986 - had no interior connection to the mall and is in a different architectural style. Food For Less stayed open long after the adjoining mall, and remained in business even as the rest of the mall was being ground to dust.

I find myself wondering if both buildings and the main mall corridor connecting them all went up at once, or separately over time (an aerial view certainly seems to support the latter idea.) Major anchor stores such as Stix commonly sprouted attached malls over time.


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On the north side, the JC Penney anchor store added a much more brutal, purely functional aesthetic to its side of the mall, as well as a simple but impressive covered walkway, held up by powerful steel beams.

Outlot buildings included a Firestone Tire, and a suburban bank designed in a bizarre 1960s mashup of Colonial and Second Empire.

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