Randall Park Mall in Cleveland, Ohio was built in 1976 and was formerly the world’s largest mall, though it was abandoned during the Recession of 2009. A place to shop, hang out and create memories; a place that could raise the nostalgia in anyone from the ’80s and ’90s period when the mall was the place to be. Perhaps nostalgic memories would surface if there were any to traverse the empty, echoing halls, but it lies forgotten and abandoned, the only visitors the ghosts of the many lives that once wandered its corridors. Empty windows stare out into the darkness, a few items left scattered from years gone by, growing with dust as it slowly recedes from the modern world now lived through electronics, where face-to-face interaction is becoming ever more rare.
As Steph Lawless, a photographer that took shots of the building before demolition began, told CNN Money:
“I remember walking through it and feeling overwhelmed by the memories, most of which were good ones. I mean, this wasn’t just a place to shop, it was a place people went to talk and meet other people. We didn’t have social media or smartphones. We had malls and it was what we did.”
“You always hoped they’d bring it back, but it never happened,”
says one past patron, Dawn Goldy, who frequented the former social hub as a teenager.
Demolition began Monday and is expected to take between four to six months to complete. Developers plan to build an industrial park on the site, using the former Sears store as a warehouse and hoping to bring thousands of jobs to the place that once boasted over 200 retailers and provided thousands of jobs to community members.
Twitter certainly saw plenty of comments regarding the demolition, with some sentiments such as Khrys Shefton’s:
@KhrysCLE 27 December 2014
truly the end of an era. Craziness!