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.