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  • Thomas Rose

Intro/Dead Malls

Hey y'all. My name is Thomas Rose, and this is the first post of my blog, which I'm thinking of calling something like "Thomas's Saturday Square Dance" (title pending). I'm a freshman, an Urban Studies major, and also an out-of-state student from Overland Park, KS. Every time I bring up that last one, I definitely get some weird looks. I have a lot of interests, obviously music, as you can tell by my presence on this site (and the fact I have a show, Thomas's Classic 10's, that's on at 9 AM every Friday). In addition, I like history, which plays a big part in my major, and also film.

Enough about me, though; I figured for my first couple of blogs, I should just talk about whatever my autistic self is obsessed with lately—that being dead malls. Dead malls are, of course, shopping malls that don't see enough customers every day to keep themselves open. Back in Kansas, we had a couple of dead malls near where I lived, the one I remember most being Ward Parkway Center in nearby Kansas City. I saw "Thor: Ragnarok" there, and I had a blast. I remember, though, that the interior portion of the mall was nearly completely empty, save for some small stores.

Pictured above, the desolate interior of Ward Parkway Center in all of its fuzzy glory.

When I came to UIC, I figured there would be similar dead malls in the city, and my interest piqued when I heard that the Student Services Building used to be a mall, so I did some research. The mall that SSB now occupies is ridiculously forgotten. It took me a full 20 minutes to even find what it used to be named. However, thanks to a UIC alumni Instagram post, I found that it was called Circle Court shopping center, and even in the 1990's, when most malls were in their heyday, Circle Court, pictured in its mall days below, was almost completely empty save for a Burger King and a Jewel grocery store.

When UIC bought the mall, there was a hotly contested political battle over its purchase; famous Little Italy activist Florence Scala even came to try and persuade the university not to buy the mall, arguing that the neighborhood needed a grocery store like the mall's Jewel to sell healthy produce. Despite this, the university bought the mall anyway, and the rest is history.

Tune in to Thomas's Saturday Square Dance (title pending) next week, where I'll discuss... something. I'm going to keep it real; I'm probably going to review the Five Nights at Freddy's movie.



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