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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.

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