Built in 1965, Northwest Plaza was my shopping mall. The one I grew up with, the one I roamed for no reason as a teenager. We called it “The Plaza,” since there was another mall in town (Town & Country Mall). Originally, the Plaza wasn’t an enclosed mall anyway, although since I left they’ve built a roof over it.
Northwest Plaza once was billed as the world’s largest shopping center. It is the region’s largest mall. More than 1.7 million square feet. An Edward Jones Dome worth of shopping. It opened in the mid-1960s as an outdoor mall with gardens and sculptured water fountains. The region’s only mall with four department store anchors. It went indoors in 1989 under a massive new canopy. Sales boomed.
Before we left town, there was a shooting or two at the Plaza. Crime continued to creep west out of St. Louis City and into the county. It didn’t used to be that way. I worked at the Plaza as a janitor for Sears, my first real job when I started college. It was fun, we worked very early in the morning.
I’m sad to see Northwest Plaza has fallen so low. But the older you get, the more things change.