Daniel Hull's Commentary:

Posted April 5, 2005 (user submitted)

York, PA is an interesting city in being sandwiched 50 miles north of Baltimore, 90 miles west of Philadelphia, and 25 miles south of Harrisburg. Being so centrally positioned, many retailers have flocked to York over the years. This, along w/population shifts either into outlying areas or back into the cities has caused York to have some deadmalls.

The largest of these dead malls is York Mall. Built along Market St. (US Rt. 30), York Mall was built in the 1960's with 3 anchors: JCPenney, Hochschild-Kohn (a Baltimore-based department store that closed in the 70's), which would become York's own, The Bon-Ton, and Montgomery Ward. McCrory also had a store at the mall, as the York Discount Corporation, or YDC, owners of McCrory, had their headquarters adjacent to the mall. The mall was the largest mall in York for over 20 years. The mall had interesting access, as the mall was divided at The Bon-Ton, meaning to get between JCPenney and Montgomery Ward, you had to walk through The Bon-Ton.

In 1988, the York Galleria opened. JCPenney and The Bon-Ton would leave for the York Galleria. In the pictures I have of the mall from the 1980's, the hill behind the mall visible at the top of the picture is where the York Galleria is.

In 1990, the mall would be hijacked by The Boys from Bentonville. Sam's Club would build on the mall site, up from Montgomery Ward. Wal-Mart would convert the JCPenney site into one of their stores, the first of many to follow in the Keystone state.

The Bon-Ton kept ownership of their store at York Mall, but operated it as a test format called Bon-Ton Express. They closed that soon after, and the site became a Burlington Coat Factory, one of the sure signs of a dead mall in most cases. The mall corridor would remain open for a few more years, as Montgomery Ward still did well. I bought my Sony TV there in 1995 that I still use today. Wards closed their store in York Mall in the late 1990's, before they all did. At this same point, Wal-Mart decided to convert its store into a Supercenter, and in order to do this, they took the corridor between Burlington Coat Factory and the pre-existing Wal-Mart. The space between Montgomery Ward and Burlington Coat Factory was demolished for a small strip with Dollar Tree and other strip-based stores. Montgomery Ward was demolished for parking. The site today is just Wal-Mart Supercenter and Sam's Club, as well as some outlying places like Aldi, and Panera Bread in a former colonial A&P.

Jason Ilyes' Commentary:

Posted April 5, 2005 (user submitted January 31, 2005)

The York Mall first opened in 1968 with JCPenny, The Bon-Ton and a dept. store that I can't remeber but it did not last long and Montgomary Wards opened in the mid 70's This was the first enclosed mall to open in York County and was "thriving" until about 1990 when the BIG, 2- level York Gallaria Mall opened about a mile away and The Bon-Ton and JCPenny moved out of the York Mall to join Sears (which moved out of the York County Shopping Center) and Boscov's.

This left Montgomary Wards still at the mall but the mall would not stay empty long. Wal-Mart moved in where JCPenny was and this may be the very first Wal-Mart to open north of the Mason Dixon Line. The Bon-Ton "Express" took over the Bon-Ton space, all this store was is a "discount" Bon-Ton and the Bon-Ton had offices on the 2nd level. York Mall still survived Ok until about the mid 90's. This is when Bon Ton Express moved out and Burlington Coat Factory moved in. McCrorys filed for bankrupcy and they closed around 97 and by 1999 all that was left in the Mall was Wards, Burlington, Wal-Mart and about a half dozen small stores. Then in 2000 Wards closed up and Wal-Mart expanded into the largest Super Wal-Mart in the USA at that time (did not last long)

Then around 2001 the new owners of the mall decided it was time to demolish the old Wards and almost everything north of Burlington Coat Factory and turn that part into a strip mall. The Sams Club that was near the old Wards expanded and started selling Gas.

I spent alot of time in this mall back inthe late 70's and 80's. It was a nice mall in its hayday but by the late 80's it was time for BIG 2-level mall like the Galleria. The West Manchester Mall about 4 miles accross town is doing OK (last I saw in March of 2004, I no longer live in York) That Mall has Value City, The Bon-Ton, Hecht's and Super Wal-Mart.

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