This Video of Battle Creek’s Lakeview Sq. Mall Could Make You Cry
It's when you see some pictures from inside Battle Creek's Lakeview Square Mall similar to the one above from three years ago, and compare it to your own memories from maybe two or three decades ago, that you realize the seismic shift that has taken place in our society and our world. Forget the pandemic, this slow death has been going on for the past 10, probably closer to 15 years, especially in economically hard hit towns like Battle Creek. The Great Recession of 2008 combined with the loss of auto industry and other industrial manufacturing jobs hurt, but even more so, what has lead to Lakeview Square being on life support is a fundamental change of behavior in our society.
This video was posted on YouTube by someone named WallieB26, who was visiting Marshall, according to the description on YouTube and stayed over in Battle Creek last summer.
(WallieB26 via YouTube)
The comments below the video on YouTube are both sad, but also telling. A couple of weeks ago, Mary B. said "The beginning made me cry it made me think back to the 80s when I was growing up where I was and the fact that the malls and stores were packed full of quality merchandise beautiful clothing shoulder pads and aqua net back when merchants cared if you came back or not.
Speaking of the 80's, the producer of the video incorporated some newspaper clippings of the construction of Lakeview Square, which many probably have never seen. And all you have to do is the math. Lakeview Square was only built 38 years ago. We're not talking Tiger Stadium here.
What all this points out is how our society had fundamentally changed, and Jeff Olen summarized it well. "Millennials don't realize going to the mall was once an event; and malls were interwoven with pop culture- movies tv shows music. Memories won't be created sitting alone in your underwear buying stuff online."
Another comment from Bob Imbordino caught my attention: "It’s sad seeing malls going under. I’ve got so many good memories at malls with my mom. The internet killed the experience of meeting people in malls. I live by Woodfield Mall (by Chicago) & it’s almost fully abandoned. (Author's note: Woodfield opened in 1971 and was one of the biggest mall in the world until places like Mall of America came along. Woodfield even had it's own ice arena).
David Gallagher asks a very good question and makes a pointed comment: "The question is what's to be done with these large properties? How can they be repurposed? Everyone is sad the malls are dead but we all shop at Amazon or Walmart. Even strip malls or outlet centers are struggling. Rather than see these sit for years, they should be removed asap. It's an eyesore to a community and they will never be like they were before. Adapt or die!"
If you're looking to go down a rabbit hole, and look at some now dead malls, this website is great little time waster. Many of the post are out of date, from the previous decade, the mid-2000's, but still are interesting to read from a current perspective.