Railyn Mest's Commentary:

Posted May 11, 2005 (user submitted)

Schuylkill Mall is another Crown American mall. It's one that has died, come back, died, come back.... Currently, it's teetering, but with a planned housing development and industrial park, I hold out hope for an upswing. It opened in 1980 with 5 anchors: K-Mart, Hess, Sears, The Bon-Ton, and another that I'm not sure what it originally was, but most recently was a Phar-Mor.

I discovered this mall while my late uncle was an involuntary guest of the state....and that facility is located across the highway.

It's easily the strangest mall to get in to that I have ever seen. It's located off a major state highway (Route 61) and you have to kind of merge in to their driveway. Then you have to drive around a mountain, and uphill. At the top of the hill is a scary 4 way intersection. You can avoid it if you pay attention and make a sharp left about half way up the mountain. One needs to hang a left at the scary 4 way to reach the mall.

It's a large mall, and co-existed nicely with the Fairlane Villiage Mall a few miles away. Truth be told, I always thought Schuylkill was the better mall. It's much larger. Fairlane Village was owned by the same company that owned our local mall, and it was pretty much a carbon copy, so we rarely went there.

I never really understood why Crown American never truly overhauled the mall. It sure could use it. It's very dated. Their website lists two renovations in the 90's, but I'd like to know where. In the mid 90's, the Fairlane got a major overhaul, as did our local mall. Funny thing, Fairlane struggles as Schuylkill manages to keep on chugging.

The first anchor to close was Hess. It was the smallest Hess I'd ever been in, and was never busy. Perhaps that is why Kaufmann's never took over. It was briefly home to a bargain store. The name escapes me, but the two times I went there, it was largely crap. Ultimately, Black Diamond Antique Mall moved in, and is the main thing that keeps me coming back. When I discovered the mall, Phar-Mor was in place as an anchor. That store closed when the chain went belly-up, and nothing has moved in.

This mall does have the last old-style Spencer Gifts that I have seen. It once had 3 record stores (Listening Booth, Record Town and another one that escapes me) but they have been swallowed up by FYE, which maintains one store in the mall. There is a 4 screen movie theater, which may or may not show current movies anymore. It was at one time a UA theater. I'm not sure if it still is.

I was last there about 6 months ago. The old mall is still chugging away. I just wish that they'd invest some money in the place and modernize it. I dont think it could hurt.


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