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Memories of the Palm Beach Mall

By Michelle Quigley

The Palm Beach Mall opened on October 26, 1967, as one of the largest malls in the southeastern United States. Gov. Claude Kirk and Miss USA — Cheryl Ann Patton of Miami — performed the ribbon cutting and 40,000 people visited the mall on that day. You can see the Palm Beach Post story about the opening here (pdf).

The demise of the mall continued as all but three stores in and around the mall were set to close by January 30, 2010. The Firestone automotive center in front of the mall would remain open, and the two remaining mall stores — JCPenney and George’s Music — would not be connected to the inside of the mall. JCPenney closed its mall entrance in 2009. You can read more about the mall on The Palm Beach Post Malled! blog and on Wikipedia, but let’s take a trip down memory lane here at Historic Palm Beach and see what the mall looked like over the years.

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Shoppers relax amid tropical landscaping near Jordan Marsh in the Palm Beach Mall in the late ’60s.

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Mall interior in August 1968. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

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Undated file photo of the parking lot outside Jordan Marsh; but that is an AMC Gremlin just to the right of center in the photo, so it must be after 1970. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

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Another undated file photo showing the exterior of Jordan Marsh and Pantry Pride. The grocery store opened in 1967 as Food Fair. That space became the mall food court in 1988. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

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View from the parking lot outside Woolworth’s and the Harvest House Cafeteria, from 1978 or 1979. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

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Christmas shoppers waiting for Burdines to open in 1982. The store left downtown West Palm Beach to move into the mall in 1979. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)


Nov. 25, 1983: Christmas shoppers at the Palm Beach Mall. (Palm Beach Post staff photo)


Nov. 28, 1981: Hoards of shoppers jam the Palm Beach Mall on the first day of the Christmas shopping season. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

We invite you to share your memories of the Palm Beach Mall in the comments below, and upload your pictures to our photo gallery. (See photos that other readers have shared here.)

Graham Brunk (who keeps the Palm Beach Mall article in Wikipedia up to date) contributed to this article.

Opening dates of malls in Palm Beach County:

Palm Beach Mall: Oct. 26, 1967

Town Center mall: Aug. 13, 1980

Boynton Beach Mall: Oct. 9, 1985

The Gardens Mall: Oct. 5, 1988

Wellington Green mall: Oct. 5, 2001 (grand opening; Burdines had a “soft opening” Sept. 27)

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Posted in Flashback blog December 10, 2009 at 10:40 am.

80 comments

80 Replies

  1. Kathleen Dec 10th 2009

    Thank you for the wonderful memories! My most outstanding memory is of getting dressed up on a Saturday night to go window shopping with the parents. I still miss Jordan Marsh and Burdines.

  2. I remember standing on that bridget and throwing pennies in the water. I miss Burdine’s Tea Room!

  3. john tunberg Dec 11th 2009

    I was there when the palm beach mall opened in 1967.
    everyone thought that it was spectacular for this area.

    will always remember lord and taylors live poinsettia christmas tree, also burdines hibiscus room and jordon marshs gulfstream restaurant–they had such class!

    the malls of today are not that impressive

  4. Thank you for showing the center of the mall. I have often reminisced with friends (as each of the anchor stores closed) about the center of the Palm Beach Mall. Those who were transplants from the north never saw the glorious fountain. It was topped with a clear funnel that started from the ceiling of the mall and had streams of multi-colored oil that flowed down to the base. It was a beautiful prism of colors and for a child was spectacular. It’s a shame when the mall decided that the upkeep of the fountain was too expensive and removed it. For a while, all that remained was the bridge over the small pond. That soon was cemented in when it was decided that this was valuable retail space that could be used instead of for the enjoyment of the shoppers. Now, the mall is a vacant space filled with memories of things past.

  5. Walter Franklin Dec 11th 2009

    MALL MEMORY

    Two women from Clewiston planned a Christmas shopping trip to the Palm Beach Mall. As they backed out of the driveway, the car ran over a cat. They decided that the fastest solution to the incident would be to put the dead cat in a bag and pitch it into the canal on the way to West Palm Beach.

    Lively conversation and thoughts of shopping drove the planned cat disposal out of their mind. It wasn’t until they returned to the car with their first load of purchases and opened the trunk that they remembered their task. Setting the bag on the roof of the car, they quickly filled the trunk with purchases and returned to the mall for more shopping.

    FINDERS KEEPERS

    A little old lady (According to the story, she lived in Century Village.) observed the activity from a distance and waited until the two women had returned to the mall before securing the bag from the rooftop and proceeding to the lunch counter in Woolworth’s.

    After demurely seating herself and ordering a cup of tea (no lemon), our little lady friend casually bent down and opened the bag to peek at her treasure. The shock of her discovery was enough to cause her to faint. Assuming the worst, the counterperson immediately called for an ambulance.

    Arriving within seconds, the lady was placed on a gurney. As she made her departure from the store, the ever efficient counterperson asked the ambulance attendants to stop. Without looking at its contents, she rolled the bag tightly, placing it on top of the woman, so that it would not be lost.

  6. I never liked the movie theater, they had to close it when it attracted late night trouble,I miss the game room and hanging out in summer.

  7. Graham Dec 11th 2009

    That fountain was amazing wasn’t it?? If you go and look at the center today, you can see where new tile was added where the river use to be since the current floor of the mall was the floor added in 1980 when the fountain was still there. They took it away in 2000 because of the amount of water it used.

    I am not old enough to remember Pantry Pride necessarily, but I do remember when the food court was called “Treats” and had that nice sign with the plants around it.

    I’m glad everyone enjoyed the pictures we found!

  8. staceyflnative Dec 12th 2009

    we called it the “Monkey Mall” because it had a chimpanzee at the pet shop, if memory recalls correctly it was called Dr’s pet center, but geez I am 46 so like that was what …35/40 yrs ago!

  9. I once saw President Gerald Ford there in 1975, He came from PBIA and then too the mall and gave a speech. I remember how full of life the mall used to be and what fun I had there as a child.

  10. I remember Junior’s restaurant where i ate dinner all the time as a kid, and the “orange bowl” which i think was just a stand in the middle of the mall.

  11. I remember when I was a kid and I would cry like crazy when we had to eat at the nasty @ss Harvest House!

  12. Still is, Stacey! Dec 12th 2009

    Stacey it still is known as the monkey mall…..Too bad the Post didn’t have some current photos of what that mall looks like today. Many readers wouldn’t risk their lives stopping in there!

  13. Mr. J. Dec 12th 2009

    I remember working at TabaccoAnd, which later became TabaccoLand after the New Jersey Franchise went out of business. Christmas in the mall in those days was very exciting.

  14. As beautiful as it was back in the day I won’t miss this mall. It has gone to the dirt bags and dogs of society. I remember being at the mall (when woolworths was still there) with my grandmother and having a dirt bag of a guy rub himself up against me as my grandmother and I were walking through his group of loser friends. That was the last time I was at that mall.

  15. PATRICK Dec 12th 2009

    I remember back in the late sixties being in a band called the generation gap we played in jordan marsh for a fasion show

  16. THANKS FOR THE PATH DOWN MEMORY LANE. I LOVE PALM BEACH MALL. USE TO GO THE PALM BEACH MALL EVERY SATURDAY MORNING AND HAVE BREAFAST AT WALGREENS

  17. George Dec 12th 2009

    we call it the”Monkey Mall” today, I don’t understand why?

  18. I’m not a mall Shopper and my family & i used to shop at the mall all the time and we not do that anymore. We did like shopping at Jcpennys and Sears.

  19. I was in high school and worked at the Card and Gift Shop “Memory Lane” for two Christmas Seasons. I also remember taking cake decorating classes at JC Penneys while in high school with a “bunch of old ladies” that were probably younger than I am now! Lots of good memories but the Palm Beach Mall is past its prime and its great to see downtown West Palm Beach back in business.

  20. I watched the mall being built from my 8th grade Spanish class at Central Jr. High (Dreyfoos)…..That was a fun time for construction….The new Okeechobee going over Clear Lake, Leakyteepee Auditorium, and the first stretch of I-95. My Father would drive me by the mall construction site and, then we’d have a Lum’s hot dog steamed in beer, at the corner of Congress and Palm Beach Lakes..

  21. Graham Dec 12th 2009

    staceyflnative, You are thinking of the Shoppes at Palm Coast on Dixie Hwy in West Palm Beach near the border of Lake Worth. That was the place with the monkeys. That was Palm Beach’s REAL first shopping center. The indoor portion of that shopping center is now Tuesday Mornings. Perhaps one day there will be a post about that location.

  22. jaywilk1 Dec 12th 2009

    I remember my father taking may brother and I to Boy’s Town to buy suits for church and shopping at Jordan Marsh. A trip to the Palm Beach Mall was always fun because my mother would buy us clothes from Burdines and then proceed to Lane Bryant for herself. Trying to find parking next to Burdines was also a blast because people would driving round and round for that close spot just to find that the person was only putting their bags in the car to continue shopping. Also, I miss all the trees one would see along Okeechobee Blvd as we made the trek from the Glades to the mall. Those were the days.

  23. My mother was the nurse that did blood pressure screenings at a small desk located just near the center entrance information desk and the Jordan Marsh entrance..

  24. Lisa Tebeau Ladasic Carvin Dec 12th 2009

    My mall memories:

    Before Burdines, Dillards and Lord and Taylor — there was Jordan Marsh — the hip, “it” department store of the early 1970′s. I also remember giggling as a little girl over the naughty gag merchandise (nude plastic statues, sexy board games, etc.) in Barefoot Mailman and Spencer Gifts (loved Spencer’s blacklight posters and fluorescent lava lamps, Man. . .

  25. I remember making wishes into the water from the bridge…going to Woolworth’s for Christmas shopping and day after Christmas shopping,…Lord and Taylor’s, getting school clothes from Sears,…but most of all the water and the bridge! It has been missed!

  26. Please copy edit your work. “JCPenney closed it’s mall entrance earlier this year”…..No, JC Penney closed ITS mall entrance

  27. Calliope Dec 12th 2009

    Thank you for bringing back wonderful childhood memories. I’m a native Floridian 4th generation (my son makes it 5 and counting) from right here in good old West Palm Beach. Threw coins in the fountain and made tons of wishes – some of which came true, others not. Ate at Woolworth’s lunch counter with my grandmother. I think they use to also have a buffet style restaurant I think it was Morrisons, but am unable to remember the name – good food though. Use to sneak into the “naughty” section of the Barefoot Mailman/Spencer’s Gifts. Helped my father pick out shoes and shoe polish at Florsheim’s. Bought wonderful candles at Wicks & Things. LOVED Burdines, even when it was originally at the D&D Centre downtown across from the jail (or was that Sears?). Bought a puppy from the pet shop – I know, I know, but that was MANY MANY years ago. In high school I had my ears pierced at the Piercing Pagoda kiosk – took a friend to hold my hand while I tried not to cry at the pain. Later, sat in the movie theater with The Donald and his two young children – can’t recall the show. Was saddened to see it decline so dramatically throughout the years. Sorry to see it go.

  28. I started working at Fountains, Palm Beach Mall when I was 17 years old. Formally Modernage. What a wonderful family company. They made me what I am today. Their work ethic was impeccable. My memories of the Palm Beach Mall include Juniors restaurant and Woolworths Department Store. One of my fondest memories was when some kid release a dozen or so mice into the Fountains store, purchased from a store neighbor. Six months later we were still dealing with the offspring!!!

  29. native palm beach Dec 12th 2009

    My dad took us to watch the mall being built.I was there the day it opened in 1967.I was 8 years old.Richards dept store was where Sears is now.The food court used to be Food Fair.When the mall opened there was a Fanny farmer candy store,Hickory Farms was next door,Jordan Marsh,Orange bowl,Doctor’s pet store,.Barefoot mailman,Spencer gifts,the list goes on.I have so many fond memories of the Palm beach mall.It was a huge part of me growing up.

  30. Cranky Yankee Dec 13th 2009

    I remember before the mall, auditorium and stadium were built actually duck hunting in the area. The mall, when it opened, was the greated thing since sliced bread. What dripped down the monofiliment lines above the fountain was actually glycerine, which itself cause the prismatic effect. I was disappointed when they took that out-really killed the center of the mall. At one point I worked at Wicks-N-Sticks and Burdines and my sister worked at Barefoot Mailman. As for the mall cinema, that are was first a Modernage furniture store, then a Fountains Department Store. One of my first dates was a dinner at Harvest House. Some senior yearbook pictures were taken in front of the fountain.

  31. Palm Beach Post Staff Researchers Dec 13th 2009

    Well that’s embarrassing. It’s fixed. Thank you Dave for pointing out our mistake.

  32. WOW,it sure seems like yesterday when i worked in Sears Automotive Center when it was a full service auto and truck repair shop.We even worked on roxan pullizers car back then.Its a real shame that the mall is seeing the same fate as a lot of west palm beach,the city i was born and raised in.

  33. Mrs.Burgess Dec 15th 2009

    I really miss the mall especially when the mall had the tropical look and little bridge i would cross and play on. I really wish it could open up again with that scenary.

  34. The 4th photo, (Pantry Pride), was late 1974 or early 1975.

  35. I grew up in WPB in the 80s and early 90s. Bought an INXS tape from Woolworth’s, Nintendo games at Kay-Bee and loved going to Spec’s that was next to the JCP entrance (I think). Also used to frequent the Peaches and Spec’s on Okeechobee. I saw movies with the ‘rents at the movie house over by JCP (and at the movie house that was across the street where the Best Buy is – the Village Green?) and bought school clothes at Mervyn’s when I was a teen. Probably shopped at Jordan Marsh before that. We all shopped at Sears. I think I remember a Taco Viva near the mall entrance on the PB Lakes side (where Camelot music was once) and a bookstore on the right side of the fountain, near where Dillard’s ended up. AND…I always thought it was so cool to have a Walgreens in a mall! Wasn’t that down by Sears?

    I remember the Morrison’s cafeteria being down PB Lakes on the other side of I-95, where Miami Carpet and Waterbed City used to be.

    I took a look around last month and the mall is in a sad state now. It’s a shame that the mall has gotten to this horrible condition.

  36. PB Post “thanks for the great memories”. The Palm Beach Mall has seen its better days. It is a real shame that those “ghetto losers” from Riveria Beach and Tamarind Avenue ruined it for everyone else. It is now known as the “Money Mall”!!!!

    Time to just tear it down.

  37. I meant to say “Monkey Mall!”

  38. The Palm Beach Mall was in trouble back in 2000, before the recession, due to those “porch monkey thugs” from the hood causing trouble like robbery, killings, attacking innocent people and several other horrible acts of crime. I say that they should stick the whole population of Riviera Beach and Tamarind Avenue inside the mall when they demolish it. That will drop crome in Palm Beach County.

  39. Gosh some wonderful memories. We moved to Boca in 1965 from a northern city and I was mortified there was no downtown. We would come to downtown WPB but it was already in decline and the mall fairly sealed it. Boy did we love that mall! Boca had NO stores then, except Grants, and we were heaven with the bridge, the fountain, pizza at Ornage bowl, the smells of the Candle store, and the leather shoes at Florsheims.. My best friend and I had a traditional of buying each other ball shaped soap and oil lamps, always readily avaiable at Barefoot Mailman. I STILL Have psoter and CLACKERS that I bought there! We were ultra cool when we finally had babysitting money to buy really low hip hugger jeans at Chess King but still loved to be “nice polite ladies” and have date nut bread and cream cheese sandwhiches at Jordan Marsh! My friend was on the Teen Board and modeled there. As we got older we would go to the mall for a fresh hair cut and a new shirt before rock concerts at the leaky tee-pee, this was BEFORE I-95 so it was still a hike to come to WPB so we made the most of it! Years later I rran into an old friend from the Islands working at Hollywood Travel. We quickly resumed our friendship and spent some fun times at the mall both day and night – What WAS that bar on the outside east of the main entrance??? She was later killed in a plane crash and so many people that worked at the mall were there to mourn her. I remember one older black gentleman that worked at the mall, he remembered me as her friend and I would run into and chat with him for many years after that. I too took Grama to Woolworth’s, we had a list of all the different ones in different towns we visited through the years! I always bought the calendar towels for her there. WOW – Ditto on all you memories above ! However I do find it silly that we now have all these detached big boxes with people drving 500 feet to park at the next one- or even City Place where it’s hot as blazes to walk around inthe summer. What was so wrong with covered, air-conditioned common space???? Progress??

  40. The movie theater across the street was called the Village Green, I worked there for a few years (a fun place to work back then) as well as the theater at the Palm Beach Mall itself. The Barefoot Mailman was a great store. I have too many memories of the mall to list. I can’t believe they had a Pantry Pride way back when.

  41. I met my husband while I was working at Jordan Marsh on January 11th, 1968. He asked me to marry him 20 days later, on January 31st. We have now been together 42 years next month! So The Palm Beach Mall has great memories for us!

  42. I remember when I worked for Express in Clearwater Mall that the very tiny Palm Beach Mall store was the highest volume store in our district. It was also plagued with problems of shoplifting. My new store in Clearwater was so successful they transfered me over Palm Beach from the west coast to fix it.

    Running that store was a very stressful experience and I had a really hard time with it. I also remember getting great drinks from Orange Julius which was near the mall entrance. I remember the terrazzo floor and I remember shoplifters stuffing steaks in their pants at the Pantry Pride. There was always cops parked out front! On my days off I would walk over to Burdines with my book and eat my way through an EXCELLENT salad bar in the tea room. Back in the early 80s when I still lived in Miami and worked for a fashion jewelry company I visited Jordan Marsh and Burdines to inventory and display the merchandise.

  43. ALISON Dec 22nd 2009

    The bar outside the main entrance was Houlihans, I think.

  44. In the mid 90′s this place was already going down hill. I worked for the Gap and they would call guys from other stores in the area to come work there if the only had women working that day. There were always fights and shoplifting was very brazen. No one would even try to hide they were stealing from the stores. In the years after it only got worse. It is sad because as a child my grandparents used to take me there and the place was very nice. It was the upgrade to the Twin City Mall in lake park.

  45. staceyflnative Dec 22nd 2009

    no Graham, you didnt read what I wrote, I said chimpanzee, one ,not monkeys and I know my malls, it was Palm Beach Mall, Fl Native here, I know every inch of my Beautiful State!
    I will miss “The Monkey Mall” !!!!

  46. staceyflnative Dec 22nd 2009

    It is the name of the pet store I cant remember it was the entrance next to JCPenneys

  47. cheryl Jan 3rd 2010

    staceyflnative, it was Docktor’s Pet Center. My mom took us to Penneys the day the mall opened, I was in the 7th grade. I worked at the information booth in the center of the mall in high school, which is where I met my first husband. Jackie Kennedy walked by, with her entourage following behind. All the ball players hung out there – they had nothing else to do, other than hanging out at their hotel. My family knew Hank Aaron personally, and a couple of my friends were awestruck when he came up to me asking “Hey babe, how’s mama feeling tonight?” when she was in the hospital, because they didn’t believe that I knew him. I also later worked at Pantry Pride and The PB Mall Bank. Great memories, growing up in the mall, so sorry to see it gone.

  48. Nicky Jan 4th 2010

    There used to be a food shop in the entrance of the mall and they sold the best chocolate chip cookies Ive ever ate, I think it was part of woolworths in 96′. Does anyone remember? Thanks

  49. I would say that I basically grew up in that mall. From the mid 80′s to 2000 I would go to that mall almost every weekend with either my mom, friends or on dates. I still remember that when I started going to that mall in the mid 80′s it still had the 60′s look with the river going trough the middle of the mall with the little bridges especially over Jordan Marsh. My favorite place to eat was Taco Viva which was near a back entrance there was also a pet store by it I think, I also think that Taco Viva eventually mooved. to the food court. In the 80′s and early 90′s my mom would buy me Nintendo games at Kaybee toystore and at Woolworths. I also remember the arcade near the main entrance to the mall, spent plenty of coins there. As opposed to now I remember seeing that mall packed during holiday shopping season. I specifically remember December of 1996 my family shopping at Burdines and Mervyns. I also remember the couple of dates I would go out to the Palm Beach Mall during high school in 1996-1998. Finally, I remember that I went to that mall with my mom and dad the day before he died :( . Sorry that this is so long but as you see there are many memories from that mall. Sad to see it go..last time I remember that mall having some life was back in 2002.

  50. Robert Jan 28th 2010

    Originally from Massachusetts, I moved to Jupiter in 1991 after several years of living in New York City. I was thrilled to find the Jordan Marsh at the Palm Beach Mall — it was a little touch of home! My very first shopping excursion for my things for my new home in Jupiter was at Palm Beach Mall – at Jordan Marsh then at Burdines. Through the 14 years I lived in PB County (we live in Canada now), It was painful to watch the mall decline and die its slow death… in some ways this is like seeing a very sick old person finally being put to rest.

  51. Dolores Jan 28th 2010

    Yes, it was a beautiful mall at one time…I remember when my ex-husband and I moved to WPB, it was one of the first places we had to visit. Spent many days and many $$s at the beautiful Jordan Marsh there. Remember walking thru the mall 6 months pregnant with my twins (now 31 yrs. old) and someone stopping me and asking me if I was ready to drop…it was Christmas time and I had three more months of my pregnancy left to go!
    Also re the person who wrote their mom was a nurse who took blood pressure readings there, I remember that little desk with a nurse behind it! Wow; how can it be that long ago — sad to see it decline like that….

  52. To Rick, you actually ruined it for yourself and others. It is sad that we wait to the last minute or until something happens to place blame. The purpose of your comment was it to put others down or cover up the lack of respect that you have for yourself and others. Things are never ment to stay the same as time goes on you will find change, this is something you should have learned in elementary school. Does anyone mention who intially lived on the island of Palm Beach and how it was taken from those that called it home? No, they don’t but we find time to blame someone for the declination of a mall I am assuming by your answer is way more important then a place to call home. Think before you speak this 2010 and I hope you do not confess to any religion

  53. To Joan you say they should stick the whole population of Riviera Beach in the mall and tear it down. First, I suggest you take spelling for dummies the word is ” CRIME” not “crome”, it funny we pay less attention to the things that are really important. It’s sad when the wise lose their wisedom now who do we depend on for advice. I hope you don’t have children!

  54. I recall working at Jordan Marsh in the early 70′s. It took exactly 7 minutes to get to the mall on the new I-95 from my home in North Palm. The mall proudly boasted ” comfortable every day at 72 degrees” at a time when air conditioning on that scale was still a bit of a marvel. I worked in the glamourous cosmetic department. Everyone dressed up, customers and sales personnel alike, and everyone showed up to shop, from Jackie Onassis, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rose Kennedy, to Century Village retirees. Elegant high fashion models showed the perfumes, and Estee Lauder herself would come in to look at the cosmetic counters. The mall itself was state of the art and was endlessly exciting to walk through. On Sunday entire families would come in to spend the day together. I still feel fortunate to have been part of that genteel, golden age.

  55. Christine Jan 28th 2010

    I remember when I was ten and was visiting FL from NJ and my grandmother drove me and my mother to the PB Mall from Stuart. This was 40 years ago. WOW how the demographics changed over time. I used to shop there in the early eighties when I first moved to FL as a twenty year old young woman and liked it then. But soon thereafter, the stores became trashed (merchandise strewn on the floor, dirty from being handled) and the ‘area’ became…shall we say, not a safe place to be. And its’ been 25 years since then. How many years has it been since the unfortunate young man was MURDERED in the Chick-fil-a? Over a decade. God bless Nicholas and his family. I don’t care what replaces that mall…it’s still not a safe place to go DAY or NIGHT. Thank you.

  56. First time I walked the mall was 1979…moved up from Hollywood, FL I thought it to be a small town mall at the time. Worked at the travel agency in the mall for many years..and one of the many people who worked that mall…one name comes to mind…Big Al Minus…he washed the windows in the mall…everyone knew him and he became a fixture there…rarely did he miss a day from work.
    He worked there till the age of 76 on his way home on his bike from the mall he died of a heart attack. Here’s to Big Al and the Palm Beach Mall.

  57. I was there the day the Mall opened, and in the 70′s, I worked at several businesses . The first place was a little clothing store. I don’t remember the name. I worked there for one whole day, quit and went to work at Thom McCann Shoes. I quit there, went to work at Woolworths, worked there for one and a half years where I was manager of the camera and music department. Each job payed more than the last one did. The last place I worked for was Radio Shack, where I was an assistant manager. I ate at Walgreens or Harvest House every day.

  58. I’m from Washington DC and when I moved her in 1997 it wasn’t as bad as what everyone said it was. Compared to what I was used to it was actually nice. Now I have the Wellington mall. I would much rather deal with a lil crime than with the people who shop and work at the Wellington mall. Can’t wait to dodge another soccer mom in a brand new speeding suv through the parking lot. Great photos by the way.

  59. Lynette Jan 29th 2010

    What memories I had growing up growing at the Mall. Grandmother worked at Jordan Marsh and my best friend and I would ride the bus to the Mall to have a strawberry sundea at Jordan Marsh with her. The bus stop was in front of the Jordan Marsch entrance. My uncle worked in Pantry Pride, then we would head down to visit him. We always felt safe and never had any problems there. Got my first prom dress at Petite Sophicates and always bought school shoes at Thom McAnn’s or Bakers, and Levi’s at Fountains! Barefoot Mailman was a place that you could spend hours just looking at the variety of stuff!

  60. Wow– thanks for all of you for your memories– I too grew up at the palm beach mall.. so may memories– prom dresses at Petite Sophisticates– and I bought my wedding dress at the Bridal Boutique of Jordan Marsh.. Had Lots of girlfriend lunches at Burdines– and have many fond memories of the fountains of the mall…I have not visited the mall in many years–but took a small comfort in knowing it was there–movies, dates, and many shopping trips!!! thanks for the time to reflect and for sharing all of your memories!

  61. Mike Albright Jan 31st 2010

    I remember I had just started smoking and walked into the mall with a lit cigarette one day after indoor smoking had been banned. I tossed it into a trash can hoping nothing would happen. On my way out thirty minutes later I passed by the same can and security and maintenance men were there putting out the fire. Oops!

  62. jarenson Feb 1st 2010

    Wow! Can’t believe the PBM is closing. An era has certainly come to a close. As with many of you, I spent a lot of time at the Palm Beach Mall in the 80s and early 90s. My sister’s first job was at a place called Scribbles (anyone remember that place?) and I remember when Express came (a very different store then-bought yellow mesh earrings and vinyl purses that looked like Duran Duran record covers). Such a pleasure reading about everyone’s memories of this place.

  63. primes235 Jul 6th 2010

    First moved here to PB in mid 70s. Fifth generation Floridian here, grew up in Miami but moved to Palm Beach county and never went back. Of course, PBMall was the only mall at the time, no Gardens, no Wellington, no Boynton Beach, no Town Center. SearsTown was on Dixie just north of Belvedere and Burdines was downtown. Palm Coast, I think, was on Dixie south of Forest Hill (there was a theatre there and that is where I saw Star Wars in 1977). Before Sears, Richards department store was there, my first wife worked there in “cheap” jewelry dept before I made her quit. I was going broke with everything she was buying. Grocery store was right there at the time. Burdines was not there, neither was LordTaylor/Dillards anchors. Basically, there were two anchors and JCPenny was not there yet (it was a different store), probably Mervyns. Later I worked nearby and a whole group of us would go to lunch there almost everyday and eat at food court – quick and easy. Outside “bar” was Houlihans and some other place that I can’t remember. Waldenbooks was down near the food court and across from it was Waldenbooks Software (when you had mall-based computer software stores!). Waldenbooks Software went away and the Waldenbooks store moved towards the center next to Jordan Marsh into a bigger store (but eventually went away). Looking back as the newer malls came in (as mentioned above), we just didn’t go down to the old mall anymore. Sears moved in – closing Searstown. Jordan Marsh went away and became Dillards. Burdines built a new anchor store – Lord and Taylor came in but I am not sure of the order. I remember the theatre and my second wife and I got our dog “Mac” (black german shep) in the mall at the pet store just after we were married. I remember driving home with him (the dog) sitting on my lap (we didn’t know better-when we were kids we just sat in cars, no seat belts, there weren’t any). I know there were a lot of business people who came from adjacent areas to have lunch and do a little shopping during lunch on weekdays – but at night the mall was not a family friendly place, and you just didn’t feel safe there at night, or on weekends. Just bought a Diehard battery at Sears about a year ago at the mall. I think for me when that boy was killed at Chick-Filet it changed the “mood” of the mall. It seemed to decline after that – Borders came in but eventually closed – we used to go just for that store. We still visit the music store every once in a while. One of my mother-in-law’s former tenants still works at JCPenny I think (she still owes my mother-in-law rent!), but we go to the Penny’s at Wellington Green, or to the Sears at the Gardens. Great memories and it is a real shame that they did not keep up the mall, and keep it a safe place. I also remember going to the mall during the eighties as there seemed to be computer store on every corner and there was a good one in the small shopping center right next to the mall (now gone).

  64. Samantha Jul 6th 2010

    It WAS a FABULOUS place in it’s day…My family has many memories of those days in the late 60′s and early 70′s..I LOVED working at JC Penney’s…lots of good friends made and lots of fun back then…My son is now in his mid-40′s and I’m ready to retire…who knew??! The halcion days are over and it’s time to let go and build an IKEA there…That’s what they need to do with that space now…we don’t need any more places for derelicts to hang out…and that IS WHAT CAUSED the end of the Plm Bch Mall!! (just the facts!! check the stats!!)

  65. Susan Jul 6th 2010

    My dad and mom would take me out on Sundays back in 1966 & 1967 to see the progress of the building of the Mall.I have so many memories of that mall.Its a huge part of my childhood.I wish Palm Beach county would consider how much historic value the Mall has!!Please don’t even consider bulldozing all those memories!!

  66. I lived in West Palm in 1984-1988 and frequently went to the Palm Beach Mall. I remember brunch at Burdine’s, the Poinsettia tree at Lord & Taylor and the cashier lady at Walgreen’s with the darkest bob wig I have ever seen. LOL

  67. Annick Feb 6th 2011

    I remember that cashier with the horrible wig TOO!!! In the late 80′s worked at Parklane Hoisery (right across from Walgreens) and I’d buy cigarettes from her every morning. Not the most pleasant woman I’ve ever met either. Does anyone remember the Burger King that was in the middle of the mall? I always thought that was the WEIRDEST place to put a BK! Wasn’t there a pizza place somewhere in the middle of the mall too? Sbarros (or however it’s spelled??) When did they stop serving brunch at Burdines?Anyways, after working at that mall for a year (and encountering MANY weirdos) I was transfered to manage our new store in the Delray Beach Mall (another DEAD mall.) I kept in touch with the manager who took my place. I called her one morning and under her breath she told me to call the police because a man had just walked into the store holding a gun. I also remember a story about a food court employee being held up, at gun point I believe, and locked in the walk-in freezer. That was the beginning of the mall’s demise…so sad :(

  68. Graham May 6th 2011

    Annick, my mother managed the Parklane Hoisery store in the Palm Beach Mall and Boynton beach around that time, her name is Gloria…i wonder if you knew her.

  69. robin newman Jun 9th 2011

    I worked at Walgreens restaurant in the late 70s…until 85…We had to make many hot fudge sundaes, bananna splits, milk shakes …all hand scooped..We as waitress had to carry sweet and low in our pocket because Century village patrons were known to fill their purses..LOL …across from us was Ritz Camera.. I think..
    I remember at Christmas waiting on tables watching all of the people go by with filled shopping bags. It was awesome to be part of the mall family.. If you were an opener you would be counting the minutes til the steel gates were lifted and could hear up and down the mall every one else opening and you knew it was on..We had to wear ugly black dresses with white aprons , hair nets, and always keep our tray in our hands.. I will always remember the smells and the pride I felt when I would go on break and walk the mall being a part of it

  70. I grew up in that mall. My mom worked the “Richard’s” cosmetic counter on the first day the place opened. It was on the eastern entrance of where the Sears later was and there were big glass counters and it looked all very chic and ritzy. My dad took me every day to pick her up and I always loved to “run around” that whole place. Then my mom also worked for a short time as the hostess at the “Junior’s” restaurant. Later my sister worked there too but as a waitress when she was a teenager. We ate at Junior’s a lot. I had a few birthday dinners there. It was our family’s hangout. Much later (1980s) it became Hoolihans and we continued the tradition there. I remember the fancy pop artwork they had in the Juniors long hallway that connected the mall and the exterior entrance of Junior’s. The bar looked pretty trippy too, sort of dark and purple and red lighting, very exotic to a kid. Juniors was a big restaurant and I recall their dill pickles and kid portion london broils very fondly. On Sundays they had a magician and a toy chest– a free grab a cheap toy out the toy chest! Next to Juniors in the mall was the Pizza Bowl where I learned about hot pepper flakes and how mean teen agers can be to a dorky kid like me.
    Walden books was a nice spot to hang out. A while later (early 1970s) a magic shop kiosk opened near the Waldens and that was a great place hang out too because the guys would always show you tricks until you didn’t buy anything and then they ignored you. The Barefoot Mailman was great, and there was a Spencer Gifts too. Barefoot Mailman was made for a kid like me. Fake vomit, gags and all those “adult” themed gag gifts, wow I would get lost in there. My sister bought junk like “bag o’ laughs” and black light posters there. The Walgreens was ordinary. I liked the Woolworth, very old timey feel to it with the “ring the bell for service” clacker bells and wooden display cases even back then. They had a big candy counter too. Plus the Woolworth had a soda fountain that I liked but never seemed very busy. Harvest House cafeteria was always busy though. ModernAge furniture was down by the Penney’s. Later the Movie Cinema moved in after ModernAge left. Penney’s had a great toy department which was a nice feature because really 80 percent of the mall was clothes and shoes and just plain boring to a kid. I don’t like anything about Penney’s now (Action slacks in the 1980s, egads!). My dad had a JC Penney 12 foot tape measure that only went to 8 feet (mislabeled I guess) when they decided to try and sell tools. There was a small French themed cafe across from the Pennys and near the Woolworth. It never seemed busy either. Again, I learned about mean teenagers there too. I recall the walls and French scene murals behind the booths were all scribbled with small graffitti. And no, I never would have done such a thing. The Radio Shack was there forever and next to it was greeting card store that had some weird momentos like a snake head in an acrylic sphere. Between the center of the mall and the Richards there was a “soap” store. I liked the smell of those soaps on a Saturday night when my dad took us to the mall. The Hicroy farms smelled pretty good too. The Pantry Pride sold drinks with dreaded “cyclamates”.
    My dad hated the hard benches. They are pictured in the picture above. He would sit there and smoke Kent cigarettes waiting for my mom who was always trying on dresses some place in the mall. In the picture all the women have that “big” hair. My mom wore one of those wig things too. I recall my mom pushing my sister into being a runway model at the Jordan Marsh too. It was just a one time thing.
    In the Woolworth they had an old arcade machine that I liked. They sold venus fly trap plants there too for like 49 cents. The center of the mall had that fancy fountain light thing and must have run over those two little bridges a million times. The Specs music store was a little out of my league back then, but I recall the hippie kids and the funny smells of the cigarettes around that place. There was a Mary Jane clothing store that had a sitting area that looked real hip and cool for the late 1960s. I was introduced to Peter Max and lots of popular culture at the Palm Beach mall. It was an enormous place. I recall the public restrooms in the center concourse required a penney to get in the stall. I don’t thing that lasted very long. I had my picture with Santa taken at the mall in 1967. Later on they got real elaborate with the Santa Village set up, but it was fairly barebones back then. Yeah, that mall was a big deal for me between the ages 7 to about 13. My mom left the Richards only after a year because she got a good job elsewhere, but my dad made a weekly pilgramage there every Friday or Saturday. Just out of habit I suppose. There was really no place else to go for a while. There was a big JM Feilds on Okeechobee, but he liked the electronics at the “Salon of Music” and the Penneys upstiars. Plus he felt safe letting me run thru the place on my own. Other than snotty teens on a blue occassion, I never had any trouble there as a kid.
    Gosh, it was sad to see that place slide into decline in the mid 1990s. The trade got rougher and the place that had once seemed the epitome of elegance seemed seedy and even dangerous. It is a story repeated a lot if you browse “defunct malls” in Google you see it over and over again. I’ve had dreams about being in that mall as a kid. I can almost recall each and every original store in order as if the map were imprinted in my head. Lots of memories there.
    The Simon group sold the whole thing at a $25 million loss (google it) and once Penneys and the guitar store leave I hope the new owners bulldoze the whole thing down. It is sad to see the Palm Beach Mall just rotting and crumbling away.

  71. Remember Jan 17th 2013

    Wow! I enjoyed reading most of the memories of the mall. I hate a part of W.P.B history is gone. The PB mall hold some AWESOME memories for me and my family. As a resident of PBL area and still there it’s definitely good to see the re-development that’s going now. However, excited to see the new outlet coming soon. I remember as a child going to the mall with my parent’s, than as a teen, and as a parent myself. The mall change throughout the years which is sad. Although, it’s really “racist” to see some of the post as the “monkey mall,” but you have those closed minded who still exist and wear white sheets over his or her heads. You have the right to your own opinions.

    I remember I couldn’t wait until Saturday to hang with my friends in the mall; my siblings and I would get our $ 10.00 allowance and have lunch in the mall play games and save money to purchase cookies from the Oringinal cookie store.

    Matter of fact, my first date was in the mall. But, I do remember eating lunch at Woolworth, and also Morrison. Jordan Marsh was one of my mom’s favorite stores. A part of history gone!!!!!

    Hopefully, there will not be too many trouble makers at the new Outlets when complete and security will be visible. I would say place the people for Riviera and Tamrind in the while its being demolished, but hopefully him or her do stay away so other decent people can enjoy shopping in a safe enviorment. I currently go to Orlando two a year to shop at the outlets and enjoy my time there…..

  72. I can’t WAIT to see which stores will be at the new outlet mall! A few years ago, there was talk of an IKEA, but I think those negotiations fell through.

  73. Annick Jan 17th 2013

    Graham…I DO remember your mom very well. Last name starts with a B and ends with a K if I’m correct. She was the one who hired me. I always liked her :)

  74. SciGuy Jan 17th 2013

    I opened the Camera Department at Jordan Marsh when the PBMall opened. There were several events at the Mall too like the Engineering Design Contest, the Marine Aquarium Society, and the lovely orchid shows. The restaurants like The Gulfstream Room (Jordan Marsh), The Hibiscus Room (Burdines), Harvest House, Juniors, and others were a delight to many shoppers. I met my wife (40 years now) at PBCC, but she worked at Jordan Marsh while I did too. One Christmas we were too poor to afford a tree, so we helped ourselves to one sitting in the Mall since they were going to be thrown away the next day anyway and carted it home for our first Christmas together. Tearing down the PBMall is like tearing down a “town” that people had come to know and love. Nothing will ever replace the memories of folks like those mentioned here which is a good thing. Those were truly the “good ol days.”

  75. I can remember when the Palm Beach Mall opened. I was a great place to go to shop for whatever you wanted. I can also remember when everyone use to go to the Farmers Market on Congress Ave south of the Palm Beach International Airport. But the mall was the palce to go. I worked in Burdines Royal Palm Cafe’ for 11 years 5 months till they closed it up. Its kind of funny when they told us on 3-May-1991 that we didnt have to do a great clean-up job and for us to all meet out in the dining room. We knew right away what was happening. The restaurant made more money then any other department for several years. The decline came when they decided to open for breakfast and lunch only. I seen many days that we only got 7 or 8 people for breakfast. But the head people that run the food division for Burdines said that people in Palm Beach dont eat the restaurants type of food and they needed to try something else. The people stopped coming when they went to that tofu salad bar (Gross). After when they seen that happen Burdines was in talks with Macy’s for being bought out. After the big plans were made from what I was told is that the new owners didnt want any restaurants in thier stores. Thats when on 3-May-1991 they told us we were permanately closing. Alot of old employees that worked when it was downtown said they should have never left from down there. I met so many great friends at that job and I would do it all over again if I had to. Still keep in contact with some of them also. What good memories that mall has. And for the person who said they should put all of Riviera Beach in the mall then demolish it on top of them…Well I guess you dont know that alot of good people I worked with lives in R.B.. Dont blame everyone for the crimes that others commit. Yes there was alot of Black people that did that and it was surrounded by a bad neighborhood. And yes maybe it was black people that did most of the crimes, but dont blame everyone of them.

  76. DOES ANYONE HAVE PICS OF THE MALLS CONSTRUCTION, OR INSIDE THE MALL IN THE LATER 60′S AND EARLY 70′S. SURE WISH I’D USED MY CAMERA THERE. BUT BACK THEN, WHO THOUGHT THE PLACE WOULD ONE DAY FALL TO “PROGRESS.” AHHHH THE INNOCENCE OF YOUTH!!!

  77. Sheila Mar 19th 2013

    Great stores but Burdines cafe served the best Chick. crepes ala rein and rarebit burger. I worked in the court house in the 60′s & 70′s and could not wait for lunch, never could get the recipes. WPB was a great place to rear a child and be that child, thanks for the memories!!!

  78. Does anyone know the name of the restaurant inside Burdines? You had to walk through where they sold carpets. I frequented this mall from the early to mid 1980′s.

    Thanks in advance.

  79. Eric Rubin Oct 6th 2013

    I worked at the mall from 1987-1990. I worked at Walgreens and Walgreens liquor store (where “Big Al”) the window cleaner would stop in for what he would call “a nip”.Working in the liquor store made me well known and popular throughout the mall. I also worked at R Kaufman Jewelers, Burdines houseware department, Lord & Taylor shoe department, Sears tuxedo department, Jordan Marsh Suncoast Cafe, and Lechters. It was while I was working at Lechters that I fell in love with a beautiful young lady who was working at the candy store across from me. Great memories!

  80. Great mall


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