NORTH MALL: YORK, PA
Michael Stanhope's Commentary
User submitted August 22, 2011
Upon moving to York, PA in 1978, we lived in the fairly new North York suburbs. Nearby there was the North Mall. Since the W. Manchester mall was not open yet, and the Galleria Mall was over a decade away from planning, the North Mall was the place to go. There was the York Mall on the other end of town as well.
This Mall was a kind of oddity because it was part mall, part outdoor shopping center. The core building still stands today and is still an outdoor shopping center, currently named Manchester Crossroads, and it is still thriving!
Opened in 1968 as the North Mall, it was origonally anchored by The Bon-Ton which was part of the upper level "Mall", and JM Fields which was part of the lower level shopping center. I don't have much history of the mall until about the late 70's/early 80's, but JM Fields closed up and Marianne's moved into their place, which closed up shop in the early 80's. Marianne's was a womens store.
In the 80's, The Bon-Ton still anchored the upper level while the lower level anchor store was taken over by Burlington Coat Factory! In 1982 when the W. Manchester mall opened, The Bon Ton closed their North Mall location, and opened Mailmans department store, a precursor to Wal Mart. Mailmans was owned by Bon-Ton stores, and was a discount department store, to this day, one of the best there ever was! Burlington soon followed the Bon Ton and closed thier store.
When Mailmans took over the upper anchor store, the mall was rebranded "North Mall Factory Outlet Center" and at that time, people knew the mall was on a downhill slide. The upper mall was always at capacity with stores such as People's Drug (bought out by Eckerd, then by CVS ultimately), Olan Mills, Thom-McCan, S&H Green Stamps (that place was ALWAYS packed!), even Radio Shack maintained a store after the W. Manchester mall opened inside the mall. The mall was VERY dated in the 80's with typical 60's retail archetecture. Looking up on the ceiling of the mall, there were large murals that I think were supposed to be flowers with lights at the tips. They were all kinds of bright colours. The floor followed the same motif in the carpeting. The mall was always very clean, and kept up, just very dated, and somewhat dark looking.
Opposite of Mailmans, you could walk down the stairs or take an escalator down to the lower level which housed the shopping center area. I cannot even remember what all was down there anymore. At this time, Horn and Horn did have a restraunt down there, and the old JM Fields anchor was converted into an outlet store/flea market area that we used to visit.
Unfortunately, the 90's finally caught up with the North Mall. S&H Green Stamps went the way of the dinosaur, Peoples Drug closed up and consolidated into the W. Manchester Mall, and many of the smaller shops closed up because of declining traffic. The outlet center was closed up, and the mall started looking quite old and worn.
1992 was the fateful year. Mailman's closed all of their stores. The Bon-Ton decided they just couldn't keep both brands going, and Mailmans suffered. The mall was offically dead. A few of the smaller retailers moved to the shopping center in the lower part of the mall such as Olan Mills, but many moved out permanantly.
The mall was closed and rehabbed into a total shopping center a year later. Where Mailmans was located, County Market, a local grocery store moved in, and the "Mall" was converted into a shopping center. It thrived for some time after being renamed to "The Crossroads", and many outparcels moved in to the area as well. Unfortunately, this was short lived. The JM Fields building still sat empty, and would never be leased again, instead it would be turned into more storefronts that largely sat empty over the years.
In the early part of the 21st century, County Market would close, and the shopping center would go into decline. Office Max, the 2nd largest store would go into chapter 11 bankruptcy, and close their store in the crossroads, and many other smaller stores would follow.
A reprieve came when in about 2005, Old Navy and Linens-N-Things decided to take over most of the old Mailmans/County Market space, and upon demolition of the facade of the building, one could see the former Bon-Ton/Mailmans entrance that was just covered up! (See Pics). Part of the building was demolished and made into more strip stores with Old Navy and Linen's and Things, then more stores, and even more stores on the lower level.
Presently, the shopping center is doing well. It is about 80% occupied. The entire top level where the mall sat is 100% leased as of June 2011 with the final store being leased to Homegoods. They join Sprint/Nextel, Cici's Pizza, Radio Shack, Old Navy, HHGregg Electroics, Petsmart, Irving's Shoefly (which I believe had a store in the old mall!) on the upper level and a Planet Beach, Rent A Center, and a new freestanding LA Fitness on the lower level. There is also a new PA State Store attached to LA Fitness, and many stores on another addition on the lower section of the center.
One of the neat things is, the actual mall, as it was origonally built, still stands! The origonal facade is gone, but the buildings are largly intact. The upper section of the lower shopping center was demolished when the mall was offically closed, but all of the lower shopping center stores are still there, as well as everything up to where JM Fields/Burlington was. The origonal Mailmans store is now Old Navy and HHGregg, and Petsmart stands were the origonal mall entrance/People's Drug was.