Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Update, new video et al.

A big thank you to a reader who has provided me with footage of the mall circa 1968. The footage is short, but what you will see is amazing. I will hopefully be able to post this, in both video form and in screen caps as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Artist and Muse?

(or Dork and Dump?)


Center court looking in from the west entrance.

A better shot of the side entrance on the backside of Hecht's.
*NOTE: this picture was taken through a broken window, not from the interior.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This and That.

There is a big piece to this Salisbury Mall puzzle, a piece that I have been questioning whether to cover or not: the post 2000 period; the rezonings, the condos, the protests, the transiants breaking into the mall, the trash spraypainting the walls and performing stunts in their cars across the parking lot. I don't want to touch any of it, BUT it is part of this story.

In any event, I found this:

I've only read about this group of citizens, but today I made contact so perhaps they will have something new to offer.

This is about the old Mall, though, so here are more pics from last weekend:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Bigger Picture.

I wonder, were the houses there before the mall? After driving around those blocks, I'm assuming most of those houses predate 1968... I could be wrong.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Film Update

A fellow University of Delaware Alum has agreed to score the film. He manages a local band call "Three Legged Fox" who, within my senior year of college blew up into an incredible jam band within a matter of months.

I'm also looking forward to recieving footage shot in the West Mall in the late 60s. Hopefully I will be smart enough to be able to post it via youtube.com, or something.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Really Strange...

I can't verify that this is true but, I just read an editorial on The Daily Times' Web site written by an L. Richard Lundy Jr.
Edit: Per my grandmother, he is my (step)grandfather's son.
Cycle of retail growth keeps shifting

When Route 50 was built through the downtown area (circa 1960), it was at the urging of local merchants hoping to siphon some retail sales off the beachbound traffic annually. Prior to Route 50, beachgoers came into town and threaded their way east via Main Street to Old Ocean City Road, right past the doorsteps of the downtown merchants. That golden opportunity wasn't about to be lost to a bypass around town.

Failing to realize their dreams after the road was built, some merchants, including Benjamin's and Hess Apparel, opened satellite stores in Ocean City, and after an addition was built, to the Salisbury Mall as well, still hoping to snag the coat tails of a market that was now speeding past their doorsteps. All of this ultimately failed in the face of larger retailers at both venues.

The demise of the Salisbury Mall came about when it became obvious that an extension of the Salisbury bypass from Route 13 north over to Route 50 west was necessary to relieve the annual downtown congestion. It is no coincidence that The Centre at Salisbury is situated such as it is, at the juncture of two major highways -- enjoying on the one hand, local business from Route 13, and hopefully beach traffic from the bypass on the other. The Centre was built at this location with that vision in mind.

If the mindset of "It's seen its day, why don't we tear it down and build something else" is applied to the Salisbury Mall, then in my opinion, apply it to the Downtown Plaza as well. Reportedly the Boulevard Theatre is facing the wrecking ball, and the Plaza Gateway has only recently been sold after a lengthy vacancy. Too much time and money has been diddled away on committees and studies in an attempt to revitalize this area. It's time for the wrecking ball to go to the river.

If there is fault in all of this, it is our own. In our incessant search for newer, better and "whatever is new and different," we have caused to be laid to waste much valuable property and material.

Certainly, anything that is currently marketed at The Centre could have also been sold at Civic Avenue, or downtown as well, with some renovation to both, of course.

The Salisbury Mall was barely 20 years old when it was upstaged by the venues on Route 13 north. In just a couple of years, The Centre will celebrate its 20th anniversary. In all of that time, I can't recall having seen it without a vacancy or two. Where and when, I wonder, will some outside developer perceive a need and another mall spring up out of our rapidly disappearing fertile fields?

And in 2015 or 2020, after having been rendered useless by time and the fickle mindset of those individuals that are "Born to Shop," will The Centre be facing the same demise as the Boulevard Theatre, to make way for another wave of apartment buildings?

And around and around it goes.

L. Richard Lundy Jr.



*If I am correct, L. Richard Lundy Jr. is the son (or grandson?) of my grandfather (my mother's stepfather). Not only did he basically outline the scope of my film, but he also incorporated the idea of the circular nature of the fickle consumer, an idea I have been toying with for a while.

If this turns out to be true, perhaps this could be a sign?

80's Gems (literally), Murder! and Current Press

First, I want to post these photos from the early-80s of two of the mall's jewelry stores, Barclay's and Castelberg's. I was kindly given these by a very helpful lady at the NABB Center at SU, so a huge thank you to her.

*NOTE* If the photos don't initially load, refresh your browser. Most of my photos are idiotically huge.

A while back, I was informed by someone who by now I consider a very solid source that there was a murder in the mall in the early to mid-70s. I couldn't, however, find any trace of this — until this evening.

Apparently, in 1972, a 17 year-old (?) was murdered by her husband (??) after he had shot her parents in their Fruitland home. She was shot while behind the counter of the bookstore where she worked which was in the West Mall.

This of course echoes the 1991 murder in the women's bathroom when a 17 year-old SU student from Pittsburgh was stabbed.

I intend on posting all of the articles, by the way. I just need to hijack someone's Lexus Nexus account first.

In the meantime, here are a few articles from the last few months:

Mall site could grow in size
By Laren Hughes Hall
Staff Writer

SALISBURY -- More commercial space within the old Salisbury Mall redevelopment project was approved Thursday.

The Salisbury Planning and Zoning Commission will forward its favorable recommendation to the City Council. Thursday's approval was only for the inclusion of three commercial parcels and has no bearing on any other aspects of the project on the 80-acre site.

Salisbury Mall Associates on Thursday requested the inclusion of the existing Eckerd's, Hebron Savings Bank and an undeveloped parcel -- totaling 35,000 square feet of retail space -- into its proposed Planned Residential District.

Developers initially requested a Planned Development District, which is more dense than the PRD. The tentative approval of the PDD by city officials was the subject of a lawsuit filed by four local residents who felt the more dense PDD classification would stress city infrastructure.

"This is a very dangerous precedent," said Salisbury resident Dot Truitt, one of many residents in opposition to the inclusion of the three commercial parcels Thursday. "My concern is that this (development) could grow even larger. This is how you lose control."

The three parcels are part of the former PRD and do not meet the minimum size of 5 acres to retain that classification.

While some residents were concerned developers were seeking the parcels for their own benefit, Salisbury Mall Associates representative Michael Dzaman explained that wasn't the case.

"This is not intended to have a material impact on the development," Dzaman said. "We wanted to proceed with doing this step so we could create a new zone that would not be illegal for someone else."

Developers also requested that a 5-acre parking lot used by the Wicomico County Youth & Civic Center be excluded from the PRD. Although it will no longer be included in the project, Dzaman said the acreage will still be provided to them.

The developers have scheduled a public meeting for Oct. 26 to discuss their proposed plans prior to their next meeting with the City Council. Although demolition of the vacant mall was scheduled for January, Dzaman said that will likely be delayed until final approval is granted by the City Council. Measures will be taken, however, to ensure the property is safe, he said.

Last week, several Salisbury agencies reported to the vacant mall where they conducted a safety inspection and, aside from ordering the building secure from intruders, a report is expected to be given to developers early next week with a laundry list of needs to be addressed.

As density has been a concern for many residents, Dzaman said his associates are working to reduce the number of units from 811 to 700, per a request by the City Council.

"We favor the plan," said Michael Pretl, Salisbury resident and president of the Wicomico Environmental Trust. "It looks like the density is moving in the direction we want it to and we look forward to the next meeting."


Reported by Elizabeth Harrington
Concerns Raised About Old Salisbury Mall Property


SALISBURY- People who live near the old Salisbury Mall are taking concerns about the vacant building to city officials.

The residents say vandalism, trespassing and the building's structural safety are all big problems there.

On Thursday, city officials, along with police and fire personnel will inspect the mall and then the city will come up with a plan to keep this area secure. They say it is up to the owners of the mall property to enforce a plan that includes fences, barricades and boarding up doors.

The fire department has told the city that the building is not safe for firefighters. A group of concerned citizens are also worried about the graffiti and crime at the condemned building. People like Linda Kent say police have had to respond numerous times to the mall property in the past several years for reports of vandalism and other nuisance violations.

Salisbury Mayor Barrie Tilghman said the city is taking these concerns seriously. She said her office has been in talks with the developers to come up with a new plan to redevelop the site before the end of the year. She said those plans will not be as large as originally planned

"[They will have to] lower the density to between six and 700 units," she said. She also noted that the property will have to be a true mix of residential and retail.

The developers will present their plans for this property at next Thursday's Salisbury-Wicomico County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.


Old mall site to be secured
By Joseph Gidjunis
Staff Writer

SALISBURY -- The old Salisbury Mall site could start mimicking the latest military installation in order to properly secure the site from children, the homeless and criminals.

A complete list of recommendations is expected to be discussed with city officials Tuesday that include installing thick plywood over doors and windows; painting over windows, erecting a chain-link fence, possibly with razor wire, cleaning up shrubs and trash and installing concrete barriers in front of parking lot entrances.

City fire and planning officials compiled lists as they walked past the no trespassing signs, condemnation certificate and broken glass at the old Salisbury Mall for the first time in more than two years Thursday to conduct the first inspection of the site since the last tenant left in 2004.

To complete the 40-minute walk-through of the facility, property owners and emergency personnel had to wear protective dust masks to keep out dust, mold and perhaps asbestos. Firefighters said they could smell the musty, rotten odor as soon as the front doors were opened. The public was forbidden from the inspection.

"I think everyone that came here saw what they expected ... There is nothing in the building to save," said Jonathan Natelson, managing member of Chesapeake Realty Ventures LLC, which owns the property. "We're trying to keep it as secure as possible, and we'll step up our efforts."

Some of the problems that concern officials are the fire hazards, sections of roof that could cave in and broken glass and debris.

Salisbury Fire Chief David See and Salisbury Neighborhood Services & Code Compliance Director Tom Stevenson said the recommendations will be finalized by the city and given to the property owner. A final plan of action by the owner is expected, along with a timeline for completion.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Real Story Lies Within The Details...

I've been documenting this old mall for a few months now and it wasn't until today that I noticed the minor details around the building. The cement has crumbled around where the curbs once were. A bus stop sign still lingers around the West Mall's entrance. The hours are still posted next to Sears. If you look through the side entrance above said sign, you can actually see into the side corridor leading to the back parking entrance.

I also took more time today taking photos, discovering different angles that I hadn't shot before. The mall sits low on the eastern side, something I didn't realized. The scale of the mall seems much larger from far away. The Hecht Co. building especially just seems so small up close. I took a photo from the front door but it didn't pick up anything beyond cob webs and a pillar.

On my way home, I ran into Susan from the SU Library which was totally cool. She helped me out big time when I first started my microfilm research.

I have set a goal to have this completed by Summer 2007. Hopefully I can document everything between now and then.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Salisbury Mall, October 14, 2006

The Salisbury Mall, early-70s

How it all began.

The Daily Times ran and ad asking for laborers to arrive at the mall site on Glen and Civic Avenues in July of 1967 for a mexican-style lunch and a quick ground-breaking. That was almost 40 years ago; imagine how much has changed.

I am 26 years old. I grew up in Milford, Delaware. A few months ago, while traveling (the long way) home to my father's home, I decided to take a detour through Salisbury and search out the old mall. I had last been there in 1999. It seemed empty, almost sad. Antique stores and a karate school lined the east wing. But there wasn't anything else. You can imagine my dismay when I discovered the mall once again on that August night, boarded up, shut down and basically left for dead.

So, I did my homework and I quickly discovered that if I didn't archive something about this building, it would fade into the "remember when..." segment of Sunday-evening dinners, and even that was questionable.

With that said, I am working toward a reasonable goal of creating— a documentary of sorts that will hopefully tell the final tale of this once-great Delmarva establishment.

Initially, I started out big. I called WBOC. Nothing. (It's not like they're just one of two TV stations ON THE SHORE) I called The Daily Times. No call back. I've haggled and begged and nothing really came of it. So, after taking the advice of a wise sage, I posted an ad on Craigslist.org. And it worked. Slowly, but surely, I've received email after email retelling memories, many of which matched mine. So if grassroots is how I need to do this, so be it. It's often better that way.

So, if you have a story to tell, contact me. If you information you want to offer, without your name being attached, contact me. I need photos, and memories. I need boring job descriptions and random dating disasters — just something that will last longer than dust that will fill the air over Glen and Civic when the Salisbury Mall meets its fate.

My email moore.cc@gmail.com

Welcome, friends, to The Salisbury Mall Archive.