Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Mall…38 Years Ago

Comments on this post about the latest remake of The Mall food court stirred the gray matter in this old dogs head. I was a Columbia teenager when the mall originally opened on August 2, 1971. It was the biggest thing to happen in Columbia ever.

What I most recall about that summer was the sudden availability of jobs. Up to that point, the teenage labor pool in Columbia was considerably larger than the teenage job pool. That all changed when the mall opened. Every teenager who wanted a job got a job. I was the stock boy in a store called Bathtique.

It was big for our parents too. For several of those early years a major summer social event was the Columbia birthday “Ball in the Mall.” The big party was held on a weekend night after the stores closed.

The poinsettia tree dates back to the beginning as well. It graced the fountain that first Christmas and continued uninterrupted until 2007 only to return again in 2008.

I can’t recall how or why she got it, but my mom was given this Lucite pyramid commemorating that milestone in Columbia’s history. Over the years, even after she moved out of Columbia, she kept it on display in her home.

Like I said, it was the biggest thing to happen in Columbia…ever.

7 comments:

Kevin said...

I've lived in Howard County my whole life so I'd say 80% of my out of house memories center on The Mall in Columbia. It's fun to regale my wife with stories of cutting school and going to taco maker, or reminiscing with friends about the time wasted at tilt. Heck, my first job was making sandwiches at Bun Penny. Though I wasn't around when the mall opened, I remember asking high school friends their first thanksgiving back from college if they had seen the "new" mall yet (sans hideous brick red tile).

Mumball said...

Harmony Hut 45s, The Airport (your sis Kelly worked there), Paul Harris (I met Oprah in there), Provident Savings Bank, Potomac Toy Store, Smugglers Attic, Spencer Gifts, Pappagallo, and Scan Design. Growing up in Columbia memories. I can still see you in the store at Bathtique! Very large hair in those days.

sobohon said...

Aaaah, the Airport's rubber floor was easy on the feet. It was fun to watch customer faces when they first entered & stepped on it. Hey, when you work retail, you need some kind of entertainment.

sobohon said...

Oh, yea, & worked at Smuggler's Attic, too - pipes, papers & posters!

Kevin said...

Potomac Toy Store! I have vivid memories of playing with plastic toy swords while eating my Chick-Fil-A sample on a toothpick.

Anonymous said...

Used to skateboard 3 miles up Rt 29 to get to the arcade after school and played pinball until the Mall closed. Remember the inside Putt-Putt golf course where the Sears wing is now? Ahhh - Smugglers Attic. Harmony Hut and McCrory's...I'm still in the area but haven't been in years.

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Ellicott City but The Mall was certainly the best thing going in Howard Co. Hopefully my kids and grandkids will have even more to experience in the new downtown!